Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘google’ Category

Investitech

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It’s Friday the 13th. And the U.S. investigatory knives have come out for Big Tech in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As The New York Times reports, a House committee investigating Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google over possible antitrust violations today sent the four companies detailed requests for documents, emails and other communications.

According to the report, investigators are seeking information on the companies’ businesses, acquisitions and conduct in digital markets including internet search, advertising and e-commerce.

The Times report suggests the House documents indicate congressional staff have “done considerable homework on the companies under scrutiny,” with one request to Google naming 14 senior executives and asking for their communications on a series of company moves that included Google’s purchase of DoubleClick in 2008 and AdMob in 2011.

Similarly, with Facebook, the House is asking for extensive internal information about its acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. Both companies were, at the time of their acquisition, “potentially emerging competitors” until Facebook bought them.

The House inquiry joins several other investigations into big tech, including the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

Written by turbotodd

September 13, 2019 at 10:48 am

Knock Knock

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Happy Hump Day.  The GZERO Signal warns this morning that the AI backlash has been recently accelerating.

Noting Bernie Sanders becoming the first 2020 prez candidate to call for an outright ban on facial recognition in policing….European policymakers weighing regs to curtail “indiscriminate” use of AI by companies and governments…Hong Kongers donning masks to prevent authorities from using their faces ID to them.

Wayback machine “Minority Report” showing, anyone? I’ll bring the GMO popcorn!

On the Chimerica front, the Google’s apparently taking no chances on the US-China trade war. 9to5 Google is reporting the Droid is set to move production of its Pixel phone from China to Vietnam, but suggest it’s unclear whether this move will affect the production of the upcoming Google Pixel 4.

If it did, that would be some awfully fast production line and supply chain retooling. Good morning, Vietnam!

Google is also putting its algos to work on the Nest Hello doorbell, which The Verge is reporting can now detect deliveries and notify U.S. users of such for a mere $5/month with its Nest Aware service.

No word yet if the Nest Hello could help say goodbye to porch thieves watching your arriving Prime packages.

Written by turbotodd

August 28, 2019 at 9:52 am

Autonomous Theft

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Big IP theft news coming out of the Valley this PM.

The New York Times and others are reporting that Anthony Levandowski, a self-driving technology guru, was charged by federal prosecutors on Tuesday with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets from Google.

This could present a new front in the all-out IP war between the major autonomous driving players: Uber, Google’s self-driving outfit, Waymo, potentially others.

The cause of action? Mr. Levandowski is alleged to have downloaded more than 14k files containing “critical information about Googles autonomous-vehicle research before leaving the company in 2016.” And then transferred those files to his personal laptop…which was a no-no.

The files he’s alleged to have stolen contained drawings and schematics pertaining to circuitry and LIDAR laser-sensors used in Google’s self-driving cars.

Here’s what the U.S. attorney, David L. Anderson, had to say in a statement issued by the DOJ: “All of us have the right to change jobs; none of us has the right to fill our pockets on the way out the door. Theft is not innovation.”

If convicted of the charges against him, Levandowski faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000. Leave those USB sticks at home, kids!

Written by turbotodd

August 27, 2019 at 1:50 pm

T-Mobile Doesn’t Fold

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Apple’s deal for obtaining the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business is a done deal. Estimated transaction value: $1B

To help pay for the deal, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple and Goldman Sachs are issuing a credit card targeted to launch as early as the first half of August.

When Apple starts issuing credit cards, it could be time to start looking for a new phone.

Alphabet (Google) announced earnings yesterday PM, reporting Q2 revenue of $38.9B, up 19% YOY. On its earnings call, the company said its sound business now has an $8B annual revenue rate, double that reported last year.

And Amazon reported Q2 revenue of $63.4B, up 20% YOY, with AWS up 37% YOY – the first sub-40% growth rate since Amazon began sharing AWS figures.

Following up on the revitalized Samsung Galaxy Fold, don’t look for it at T-Mobile, a spokesperson for which indicated that “T-Mobile will not carry the Galaxy Fold because we already offer customers a wide range of the largest smartphones.

Yes, but do any of them fold when they fold?

Written by turbotodd

July 26, 2019 at 10:18 am

Reservation for 5,000

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I read a piece in The New York Times yesterday that provided a recent test of Google’s Duplex technology.

Google Duplex was the technology revealed in May 2018 at the Google I/O developer conference that uses a Google AI engine via Google Assistant to call and make appointments. The original I/O demo, and The New York Times test, partly centered on making restaurant reservations.

In the Times piece, you can listen to a couple of the reservation calls. You should give them a listen. No, really.

Do they pass the Turing Test? Maybe not, but the AI does a really good job of playing the human. And in many cases, Duplex is still using humans, not bots, for making the reservations.

That, presumably, is to better train the bots so that we can get rid of the humans altogether and move the humans up the value chain to a far more interesting job like, say, delivering for Uber eats!

I wonder what happens if one of the algos messes up and tries to make a reservation for 5,000 using someone’s Amex black card for a deposit.

Does the Duplex AI start screaming for help from Dave because the algo doesn’t know what to do with that information? Does Amex reverse the charge when the human calls blaming the mistake on the Duplex AI? Do they try to sue Larry and Sergey!??"

*That* one you can try at home, kids!

Written by turbotodd

May 23, 2019 at 10:02 am

Posted in 2019, artificial intelligence, google

Tagged with , ,

Hey Google, Get Me a Red Hat Tattoo!

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There’s so much tech news breaking this week I can’t keep up. 

I need some kind of artificial intelligence thingamajiggy to keep up with it all.

There are people working on that, but in the meantime, allow me to put my human filter on (while I still have some relevance) and convey what I perceive to be the most relevant news of the day/week.

First, on the IBM Red Hat front, the U.S. Department of Justice approved IBM’s $34B acquisition of Red Hat…While “IBM and Red Hat continue to work with competition authorities in other jurisdictions, and IBM continues to expect the transition to close in the second half of 2019.” 

FYI, the Red Hat Summit kicked into full gear today in Boston, and you can follow on Twitter at #RHSummit  And don’t forget to get your Red Hat tattoo while you wait for Ginni’s keynote to start this PM.

Google’s I/O developer conference also kicked off today and there’s more news coming out of Mountain View than you can shake an Alexa Echo at, but some headlines that caught my attention:

  • New Google Pixel 3a, comes in with “excellent camera” and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but a slower processor and no wireless changing. Starting at $399, you can’t have everything.
  • Android Q will now have a dark mode (welcome to the club, says iOS), better gestures, Live Captions, Focus Mode, and mas
  • Google Assistant’s shifting into a higher gear, with the Google Borg claiming it’s now 10X faster and has more app-specific functionality. Read that privacy policy, though. It will also have a driving mode, which hopefully will put millions of eyes back on the road where they belong. We’ll see if Siri has a response to Google A’s new smarts at WWDC shortly.
  • Google Lens is coming to Google Search, which means AR could soon help feet on the street more easily find local joints. Pokemon Go, it could be game on!

Of all these, Google Lens could be the most transformational in terms of real world implications, but I suspect I’ll get the most use out of Google Assistant’s improvements my own self. 

Finally, if you’re a full on cybersecurity enthusiast, The New York Times has a must read piece on how Chinese intelligence agencies acquired NSA hacking tools and repurposed them to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia.

Talk about the laws of unintended consequences. Uh, could the last one out please lock down the Faraday Cage so we can put an ix-nay the Chinese acking-hay?

Written by turbotodd

May 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm

Bull Run

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The 2019 bull run continues.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 211.22 points higher at 25,928.68 today, and CNBC reports that the S&P 500 has notched its best start to a year since 1998. 

What happened to that inverted bond yield???

Perhaps that’s all just more goodness for the soon-to-be rampant unicorns, including Lyft, whose IPO float today send the stock trading up 8.7 percent to $78.29, with more than 70 million shares trading on its first day as a public company. 

That lifted Lyft’s market valuation to $22.2 billion.

Other unicorns likely to be unleashed into the wild soon? Uber, Slack, Pinterest, among others.

Just remember, Lyft is currently #2 in the ride-hailing pecking order and lost $900 million in 2018.

While we’re on the subject of moolah, let’s talk about TechCrunch’s story about consumer spending on apps.

Sarah Perez’s headline suggests that spending will reach $156 billion across iOS and Google Play by 2023. Yes, you read that right.

That research estimate came from app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, and suggests that both stores will more than double their revenues over the next five years. That’s +16.8 percent CAGR, if you’re counting along.

Getting further down into the numbers, that’s an estimated $96 billion for Apple and $60 billion for Google, with Apple taking nearly 62 percent of all revenue generated by the two platforms.

To put that in perspective, the global film industry was worth an estimated $136 billion as of 2018.

Time to hone those developer skills, because the bull run appears to continue across the board.

Written by turbotodd

March 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm

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