Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘google

Faster, Cheaper, Better AI

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Happy Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has passed the 28,000 mark, apparently prompted by news that China and the U.S. are zeroing in on a trade deal.

And to help with translation of any future meetings between the parties, they might want to consider the Google real-time translation that works in conjunction with Google Assistant now on mobile devices.

The new feature is now available in 44 languages, and should help you more easily ask directions to the nearest metro station around the globe.

The AI juggernaut of apparently continued unabated this year, according to the AI Index Report, which reported a 300% rise in research papers.

The report generally aspires to get a handle on AI progress, yet another headline seems to be that while AI is on the march, we’re a long way from reaching “general intelligence.”

The U.S. continues to lead in terms of private investment (just under $12B, compared to China’s $6.8B, which places them in second).

Algos are coming faster, cheaper, smarter, easier to train, and self-driving cars continue to get more investment than in any other field.

I eagerly await the algo and/or SDV that can cleverly route me from north to south Austin in rush hour without raising my blood pressure!

Written by turbotodd

December 12, 2019 at 11:22 am

New (Google Ad) Rules

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Google is jumping on the political advertising guard rail bandwagon, announcing new limits on its microtargeting to age, gender, and general location (zip code). Google will also continue to allow retargeting based on content of website visits.

They will no longer allow ads to be directed to specific audiences based on public voting records or political affiliations (“left-leaning,” “right-leaning,” etc.)

The policies will impact both Google search results, on YouTube, and via the Google Content Network which displays ads on other sites.

The move left many politicos stunned, for in past campaigns they have leaned mightily on microtargeting specific sets of voters, an efficiency that makes many grassroots campaigns financially feasible.

Also on the GOOG front…remember Google Duplex, the creepy-crawly AI that would sound like a human and call to make your hair appointments? Well, Duplex is now officially moving beyond the confines of voice ops and launching as “Google Assistant in Chrome” as a streamlined workflow to help you buy movie tickets.

Next up: Streamlining the process of renting a car. And then?…maybe using Google Duplex to more easily buy political search ads from Google??!

Written by turbotodd

November 21, 2019 at 10:32 am

Cached Check

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Good morning.

Google’s apparently following Apple and others’ leads and becoming the next big tech firm to move into finance.

Specifically, to offer checking accounts to consumers through Project “Cache,” whereby the company will partner with banks and credit unions to offer the new services.

What’s in it for Google? More consumer information and insight, particularly around personal finances. ‘Cause nothing could ever go wrong there.

To whit: The FT is reporting that popular health websites in the UK are sharing sensitive user data with dozens of companies including Google and Facebook (including medical symptoms and diagnoses). This info would presumably be protected under GDPR, but you should probably talk to your family doctor first.

More digital money stuff…Facebook has dropped Libra but added “Facebook Pay,” which will allow users to shop, donate to causes, send money to friends, etc on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Don’t ask for change.

Today’s funding fun: DoorDash is raising $100M from T. Rowe Price Group and others to bring it to a $13B valuation. And digital freight marketplace Convoy, which matches truckers with cargo shippers, has raised a $400M Series D at a $2.75B valuation.

10-4, Billy Big Rigger!

Written by turbotodd

November 13, 2019 at 9:52 am

Go Pixelbook

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I was too busy being busy to watch yesterday’s Google announcement, but here’s my short list of what I saw announced: Pixelbook Go Chromebook, Pixel 4/4XL smartphones (with gesture controls and “Face Unlock,” Nest Mini, Nest WiFi, and Pixel Buds. And a Pixel 4 Recorder app that can record and transcribe audio simultaneously (that one actually sounds handy).

The Pixelbook Go is probably the most alluring of the shiny new GOOG objects, and the $649 makes it Google’s most affordable Chromebook yet – although this version won’t flip into tablet mode (only major downside I read about).

I bought a Pixelbook and a year and a half later am still most pleased with the product. While it runs no Mac or Wintel programs, I’ve spent far less time updating or maintaining the Chromebook than any other computer I’ve owned, pretty. And while it doesn’t necessarily do everything I want it to, it does pretty much everything I need it to. 

Meanwhile, LinkedIn has thrown down the gauntlet against WeWork and its “Meetup” group. The company has launched a new “Events” feature, a free tool to plan, announce, and invite people to meetups. This just WeWork/Meetup has faced a backlash for announcing a $2/per-RSVP service charge.

Yeah, Meetup not WeWorking.

Written by turbotodd

October 16, 2019 at 9:54 am

Posted in 2019, chromebook, google

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What’s in a Domain Name Server?

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Happy Monday.

The news you need to know about this fine Monday morning (that doesn’t involve impeachment inquiries): Google and Mozilla are looking to encrypt the Internet domain name system (better known as DNS), which could keep bad actors from snooping on websites and spoofing.

But which could also keep ISPs from gathering user data because the browser session data would become opaque to them.

As a report in The Wall Street Journal observed, Google indicated it is making this move to improve users’ security and privacy and will leave consumers more in charge of who shares their Internet data.

Though ISPs are logically concerned by the move, so are the Three Letter Agencies, for which the move could make it more difficult to monitor Internet traffic.

And with Google operating its own DNS service, the story cites that some “are concerned that the DNS upgrade could ultimately concentrate too much off the Internet’s traffic in the hands of Google.”

Engadget is reporting separately that this move is “raising hackles among American officials” and that the U.S. Department of Justice has received complaints and the House Judiciary Committee is investigating.

Turns out the answer to the question “What’s in a name?” is, quite a bit.

Written by turbotodd

September 30, 2019 at 9:45 am

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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