Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘google

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

Droiding

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Happy Humpday. Well that came faster than usual. We’re already halfway through the week!

But that hasn’t stopped the tide of economic data. The Institute for Supply Management issued its manufacturing index on Tuesday, which dropped to 49.1 in August, down from 51.2 in July. When below 50, manufacturing is contracting.

Yet there’s other news actually lifting the Dow today. Hong Kong withdrew its controversial extradition bill…the U.K. parliament voted to block a no-deal Brexit…Treasury yields are headed north…and the Fed’s Beige Book on current economic conditions will be released later today.

If you’re a Droid, it’s a happy day. Android 10 launched today after six betas over six months, and will be available to all Pixel phones first (there’s a reason you paid a premium for *that* phone!)

The download on new features, as reported by Ars Technica: “Fully gestural” navigation, which includes navigational swipe gestures; a fully supported dark theme; machine learning for incoming messages with “helpful” action buttons (think Gmail “smart replies”); and “Project Mainline,” a new and more powerful file type. Android 10 also ships with foldable smartphone support(You know, in case one ever actually makes it to market) and more robust multi-screen support. 

Happy Droiding!

Written by turbotodd

September 4, 2019 at 9:50 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

Sound the Same Droids

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Google is now making its lightweight version of the Google search app to all Android users globally.

TechCrunch reports that “Google Go” takes up a lot less space on phones — just over 7MB — and includes offline features for those with slow/intermitten Internet connections. Google claims SERPs are optimized to save up to 40% data.

New version also includes trending topics, voice search, image and GIF search, easy language switching, and AI-powered text-to-speech for reading pages aloud. Google Lens is also included, which lets users point their camera at objects and bring up relevant info.

I used a similar feature, Google Translate, on my recent trip to Mexico City. Many of the museum items only had Spanish placards, so when the lighting was right I could hold up Google Translate and get real-time Spanish to English translations. It was like magic.

Also on the Goog front…if you weren’t really all that into diagramming sentences when you were in grade school, VentureBeat reports that G Suite users are about to get spelling and grammar correction tools in Gmail that will offer corrections as you type.

So now we can all spell and write and grammatify exactly the same so we all sound like exactly the same Droids!

Written by turbotodd

August 21, 2019 at 10:01 am

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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

Tablets and Slackers

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Happy Friday.

Feels like this week blew by pretty quickly

So what’s the close of the week looking like for tech news?

First thing that caught my attention was Computerworld reporting that Google is officially done making its own tablets.

The last model, the Pixel Slate, was introduced into the market last year, and though Google apparently had two smaller-sized tablets under development, it opted to drop work on those devices and refocus its efforts on laptops.

For the record, I’m writing this post on a Google Pixelbook from 2018, a hybrid laptop-tablet that has exceeded my expectations (in terms of performance, etc.)

And Google also has its Pixel line of smartphones, so it probably makes sense to focus on a couple of form factors that represent where the market is leading, and to orient those efforts around Chrome OS.

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering which telco provider has the fastest mobile network in the U.S., PC Mag is reporting AT&T overtook Verizon this year for first place with its not-quite-full-5G offering, "5G Evolution."

AT&T has also secretly been helped by improvements in smartphone modems over the past two years. Wireless spectrum forms the lanes on which all smartphone traffic travels, and AT&T has more LTE spectrum than T-Mobile or Verizon, according to Fierce Wireless. But AT&T’s spectrum is typically highly fragmented, coming in many small pieces rather than a few large chunks. New modems are better able to aggregate a lot of small channels into one fast connection, which is working to AT&T’s advantage.

Next time you’re in a Walmart and thinking to yourself, "I think I’ll just walk out of here with this George Foreman Grill hidden under my jacket." Well, think again.

According to a report from The Verge, Walmart has been surveilling its checkout registers with a computer vision technology called "Missed Scan Detection" to identify when items move past the scanner without having been scanned.

The system runs on cameras that watch as items move across the register. If an unusual activity occurs, such as an item moving into a bag without being scanned, a checkout attendant will be notified to take action. Missed Scan Detection was designed to help reduce theft and other losses, a problem that has cost US retailers up to $47 billion in 2017.

And if you were wondering how Slack’s IPO worked out yesterday, it closed the day at $38.62, 48% above its $26 reference price (and valuing Slack at $20B).

Hardly a Slacker of an IPO…Keep an eye out for the floats of Postmates and Peloton soon.

Written by turbotodd

June 21, 2019 at 11:36 am

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