Thington Concierge Helps Users Navigate Their Smart Homes

The smart assistant app Thington just launched, with the aim of making the smart home and its devices less intimidating. Thington’s Concierge is a conversational bot that helps the user set up smart devices in the home and get the maximum benefit from them. The idea, say its founders, is that Thington is a “super smart remote” that will talk users through the confusing process of setting up an Internet of Things-enabled home. Thington is currently compatible with devices from six manufacturers. Continue reading Thington Concierge Helps Users Navigate Their Smart Homes

Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Out of Messenger’s one billion users, 300 million people are now using its audio and video calling features every month. This represents tremendous growth from Facebook’s first trials with VoIP audio for Messenger in 2013, and video calling in mid-2015. More recently, Facebook launched Instant Video for live connections in Messenger and group audio calling, with hints on plans to introduce group video calling. The idea is that multimedia options will always be part of the ongoing conversation. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Facebook Messenger Passes the One Billion User Milestone

Facebook’s messaging app Messenger just reached a landmark: one billion people use it every month, says the Silicon Valley company. Facebook’s other messaging app — WhatsApp, which it acquired for $19 billion two years ago — is the most used messaging app in the world, passing the one-billion user mark in February, likely growing further since. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says each messaging app is distinct. The company goal is to make messaging, not apps, its primary computing interface. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Passes the One Billion User Milestone

Zendesk Customer Service Product Built on Machine Learning

Zendesk is introducing Automatic Answers, a service that answers a business’s emails from customers, without human intervention. But it’s far more sophisticated than today’s well-known auto-responders, having been built on a machine-learning platform that in-house data scientists and engineers have been developing for some time. The platform is also used for another Zendesk service, Satisfaction Prediction, which helps determine the customer experience. Automatic Answers will be rolled out later in the year. Continue reading Zendesk Customer Service Product Built on Machine Learning

Facebook Messenger Will Soon Enable ‘Secret Conversations’

Facebook Messenger currently has more than 900 million regular monthly users, more than quadruple the 200 million it touted in early 2014. To grow in international markets, Facebook is testing a new feature inside Messenger that will encrypt some messages, creating “secret conversations” between the users of the two mobile devices. Users must opt-in to a secret conversation. Although this isn’t the full encryption found in WhatsApp, the new feature offers more security than before, which Facebook hopes will appeal to global users. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Will Soon Enable ‘Secret Conversations’

Facebook Bot Recommends Movies Based on Your Interests

While Facebook’s bot platform remains in its early stages as developers test potential apps and the challenges involved with natural language processing, a company named And Chill has created a movie recommendation engine that may be ideal for the social platform. Going beyond the basic like/dislike model, the new bot can be accessed through Messenger or SMS and asks each user for specific reasons why he or she likes a given movie. The information is then analyzed by And Chill to provide appropriate recommendations of similar films and links to YouTube trailers. Continue reading Facebook Bot Recommends Movies Based on Your Interests

Google’s Virtual Products Could Upend Traditional Ad Models

Google is building technologies that rely less on physical devices: Google Home and its virtual assistant; Project Jacquard, clothing with computing built into the yarn that responds to gestures and voice commands; and Project Soli, that allows gestures to control computers. Also new is Project Ara, a smartphone design that “surrounds” the user wherever she goes, which chief executive Sundar Pichai calls “ambient computing.” What’s unclear with the new paradigms, however, is how Google will generate revenue. Continue reading Google’s Virtual Products Could Upend Traditional Ad Models

Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

Google is focusing on advances in artificial intelligence as a competitive advantage. Its new Google assistant is positioned as the company’s latest iteration of search, and Google is promoting a variety of products based on machine learning that face competing products. Google Home will compete with Amazon Echo, while messaging app Allo will take on Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, and Snapchat. With regard to virtual assistants, Google is going against versions from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. Continue reading Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

Bots are text or language-based user interfaces to a service rather than ones that are graphical, and they’re getting a boost from several big technology companies, especially those that missed out on smartphones and their apps. Microsoft has described a vision of bots that can do everything from book a hotel room to order pizza, and has debuted tools to make it easier for a developer or small business owner to build one. Now, Facebook has plans to roll out a bot store that connects with its Messenger service. Continue reading Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Microsoft is on track to reach the goal it set when it first introduced Windows 10 last July: to reach one billion devices within two or three years. Less than a year later, Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, is running on 270 million active devices, adopted faster than even Windows 7, its previous high point. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is pinning future hopes on artificial intelligence and “bots” to create new ways to interact with computers, and replace apps as the dominant paradigm. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

At Mobile World Congress, Seven Trends Point to the Future

At Mobile World Congress, phone manufacturers introduced new hardware and software. Rivals Samsung and LG competed with new screens, cameras, and payment technologies. From the perspective of advertisers, however, other mobile capabilities are emerging that are likely to have significant impact on how brands and consumers interact. Among those developments, messaging evolves into a dominant platform, artificial intelligence becomes “our best friend,” and ad blocking forces mobile content behind a pay wall. Continue reading At Mobile World Congress, Seven Trends Point to the Future

Brave Browser Aims to Reinvent Online Advertising Paradigm

Brendan Eich created JavaScript, the world’s most widely used programming language and co-founded Mozilla, the organization behind the Firefox browser that has become one of the most popular ways to navigate the Web. Now he’s back with Brave Software, a startup developing an open source browser for desktop and mobile that carves a middle path between excessive online advertising and antagonistic ad blockers. In his paradigm, advertisers, browser companies, websites and users stand to win. Continue reading Brave Browser Aims to Reinvent Online Advertising Paradigm

Study: Marketers Losing Billions to Fraudulent Online Ad Traffic

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently conducted a study that found that marketers are continuing to lose money to bots, the computer programs that create fraudulent Web traffic by mimicking human Web browsing habits. Despite efforts to inform marketers about the dangers of bots, the level of fraud remains relatively unchanged from the previous year. The authors of the study estimate that companies could lose more than $7 billion globally this year because of it. Continue reading Study: Marketers Losing Billions to Fraudulent Online Ad Traffic

Algorithms: New Content Creators are Redefining Fair Use

A debate was sparked recently when a photographer sued BuzzFeed over the use of unlicensed images and BuzzFeed’s claims of fair use. A problematic issue is that in many instances, there are no actual human artists, writers, or editors creating what is seen online. When a search, automated process, or algorithm collects images, it falls under a copyright loophole. But fair use tools can be made in order to allow free content or maintain exclusivity. Continue reading Algorithms: New Content Creators are Redefining Fair Use

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