Google to Open Up Its AutoML Vision AI Tool for Public Beta

At its Cloud Next conference, Google revealed that its AutoML Vision, which allows non-experts to train their own self-learning models for image and object recognition, will soon be available in public beta. It also debuted AutoML Natural Language and AutoML Translation. To democratize such techy AI tools, Google relied on a simple graphical interface and such widely adopted interfaces as drag-and-drop. The company is also pitching its cloud services to corporations, having recently nabbed Target as a client. Continue reading Google to Open Up Its AutoML Vision AI Tool for Public Beta

The Wall: Samsung Wows CES Attendees With MicroLED TV

In Las Vegas this week, Samsung is showcasing its first MicroLED consumer television. Dubbed “The Wall,” the 146-inch, bezel-less, 4K TV is modular, offering consumers the ability to customize its size and shape by adding or removing sections without affecting image quality. MicroLED’s self-emitting tech uses millions of micro-sized chips that individually emit light, which eliminates the need for color filters or backlighting. If one day affordable, this tech could replace LED for consumer TVs and lead to wallpaper screens. The Wall by Samsung is expected to be available later this year, although pricing has yet to be announced. Continue reading The Wall: Samsung Wows CES Attendees With MicroLED TV

Google to Take On Tech Giants With Second-Gen Hardware

Google just debuted its second-generation Pixel smartphones and Google Home speaker, among other hardware devices, as it competes with Apple, Samsung and Amazon to break into the top ranks of consumer electronics. The company’s first year in the space was mixed: although the devices got positive reviews, the Pixel smartphone suffered from supply shortages, capturing only a minute market share in the U.S. and elsewhere. Likewise, Google Home only made minor inroads into the arena dominated by Amazon’s Echo. Continue reading Google to Take On Tech Giants With Second-Gen Hardware

CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

Eighty-four million wearables were sold in 2015, and experts are predicting the market will grow to 245 million by 2019. That means that, once again, CES 2017 will be the venue to check out the latest commercially available products and the newest technologies that will power wearables of the future. MEMS and sensors are key to wearables’ capabilities and, Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group, says CES 2017 will showcase some “exciting” new wearables features. Continue reading CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

YouTube Go Maximized for New Users of Brazil, China, India

YouTube has spent more than a year creating YouTube Go, a site that has been customized to accommodate the limitations and needs of millions of new users from Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. These new users, online for the first time, bring different devices, connectivity and ideas about what the Internet is to them. YouTube has sent designers, engineers and researchers to those countries to plan a strategy. The challenges are balanced by the chance to engage more than one billion people of every socioeconomic level. Continue reading YouTube Go Maximized for New Users of Brazil, China, India

Survey Shows Growth in Online Shopping, Impacting Retailers

According to an annual survey of online shoppers conducted by UPS and comScore (now in its fifth year), consumers indicate for the first time that they made more purchases via the Web than in physical stores. Shoppers say they made 51 percent of purchases online this year, compared to 48 percent last year and 47 percent in 2014. Respondents also indicated an increase in mobile shopping; 44 percent of smartphone users used their device for purchases, compared to 41 percent the previous year. As a result, some department stores are experiencing sales slumps. Continue reading Survey Shows Growth in Online Shopping, Impacting Retailers

Siri Creators Introduce Next Generation Digital Assistant Viv

Siri co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer are getting ready to debut Viv, a new platform and virtual assistant that represents the latest frontier in artificial intelligence. In development for four years, Viv was recently tested by a group of engineers who were able to place an order for several pizzas — without a Google search, phone call or app — and the pizzas were delivered as requested. That success has been repeated with about 50 partners, and will be publicly demonstrated at a major industry event today. Continue reading Siri Creators Introduce Next Generation Digital Assistant Viv

WhatsApp Nears One Billion Users, Explores New Applications

Now reaching nearly one billion users, WhatsApp, the mobile messaging startup Facebook purchased for about $19 billion in February 2014, is looking at ways to make money. Until now, it’s been free for a year, and $1 per year thereafter, making it very popular for users outside the United States. In the process it’s become a social network and a way for businesses to communicate with the world. Now, chief executive Jan Koum dropped that $1 fee and has begun to experiment with how to create revenue. Continue reading WhatsApp Nears One Billion Users, Explores New Applications

Twitter and Facebook Widen Streaming Video Gap with Meerkat

Real-time streaming video has been the focus of several companies in recent months, and now bigger players Twitter and Facebook seem to be decisively pulling ahead of independent player Meerkat. Or not, says Meerkat founder Ben Rubin, who disputes the measurement criteria. What we do know is that Twitter’s live video app Periscope now boasts 10 million total accounts, while Meerkat, in May, reported two million accounts. Live video is still, however, a very small percentage of all consumer video on the Internet. Continue reading Twitter and Facebook Widen Streaming Video Gap with Meerkat

Facebook Steps Into Commerce, Building Shops Within Pages

Facebook has taken a leap into commerce by building out shops within Facebook Pages, allowing businesses with a Facebook Page a chance to sell directly to consumers. Although the new move into commerce is in its testing phase, some shops already sport a “buy” button, which keeps the consumer on the page from product browsing to purchase. The “buy” button was introduced last year, but Facebook’s new aim is to make the shopping experience more robust and integrated. Facebook currently does not take a percentage of sales. Continue reading Facebook Steps Into Commerce, Building Shops Within Pages

Chinese Company Offers Unbreakable Sapphire-Screen Phone

Desay, a Chinese manufacturer that supplies companies like Ford and Apple, has released an “unbreakable” smartphone. The display is made with sapphire, the second hardest mineral after diamond. The 5-inch Magical Mirror X5 costs $160, which reportedly does not cover the production costs of the phone. Apple had previously planned to use sapphire screens in the iPhone 6, but the company they were working with failed to produce enough of the mineral. Continue reading Chinese Company Offers Unbreakable Sapphire-Screen Phone

Amazon to Join Crowded OTT Device Market with Fire TV Stick

Amazon announced its Fire TV Stick, a $39 device ($19 for Prime subscribers) that plugs into the back of a television to provide access to movies and shows via online services such as Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and competitors Hulu and Netflix. Scheduled for a November 19th release, the Fire TV Stick offers twice the memory of Google’s $35 Chromecast (a bestseller on Amazon) and is priced lower than Roku’s $50 stick. However, it joins a crowded market of over-the-top Internet streaming devices. Continue reading Amazon to Join Crowded OTT Device Market with Fire TV Stick

Apple Introduces Two New iPads, 5K iMac and OS X Yosemite

During a 90-minute event at its headquarters in Cupertino yesterday, Apple unveiled two new iPads (the iPad Air 2, starting at $499, and the iPad mini 3, starting at $399), a 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display, and its new operating system, OS X Yosemite. CEO Tim Cook explained that the new Apple Pay mobile payment service will launch on Monday with more than 500 partners including American Express, MasterCard and Visa. Cook also said that the Apple Watch would be available early next year. Continue reading Apple Introduces Two New iPads, 5K iMac and OS X Yosemite

Forrester Sees Growth in Use of Big Data Despite Confusion

In a survey of 259 marketing and business development execs in finance, retail and consumer products, Forrester Research found that one-third of the respondents were confused about big data, and only 9 percent plan to implement related technologies in the next year. Forrester also found in a parallel survey that 452 technology execs at the same companies claimed they were more familiar with big data. Despite the confusion, the report encourages companies to take advantage of data supplied by Internet users and connected devices.

Continue reading Forrester Sees Growth in Use of Big Data Despite Confusion

Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

Facebook and Google have benefited from the social login button, which allows consumers to log in to other websites and apps using their social media accounts. While app makers have found the tactic useful as users are spared the hassle of signing up, Facebook and Google+ use the information to track what their users do on the Internet. In reaction to users’ decreasing interest in social logins, both companies are shifting tactics to allow for more anonymity.  Continue reading Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

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