Amazon Maintains its Lead in Growing Smart Speaker Market

The Amazon Echo lineup continues to dominate the smart speaker market with a 63 percent share in the U.S., according to an online consumer survey conducted during July and August by Strategy Analytics. While Amazon models represent the majority of smart speakers currently in use, Google follows at 17 percent and Apple trails at 4 percent. The survey found that 88 percent of U.S. homes with smart speakers currently have at least one Amazon speaker, and 31 percent indicate they have at least one Google speaker. Additionally, 58 percent of households with smart speakers are already using two or more devices. Continue reading Amazon Maintains its Lead in Growing Smart Speaker Market

Blockchain-Based RNDR Harnesses Power of 14,000 GPUs

Los Angeles-based OTOY, a company that has created software used for visual effects in projects such as “Westworld” and “The Avengers,” also launched a blockchain- and cryptocurrency-based rendering platform called RNDR to help other content creators harness the power of thousands of graphics processing units (GPUs). OTOY’s strategy is to gather a group of computer owners who can share their GPUs in the cloud in a decentralized way, and thus trade GPU power among members to accomplish data-intense imagery. Continue reading Blockchain-Based RNDR Harnesses Power of 14,000 GPUs

Scientists and Military Look for Key to Identifying Deepfakes

The term “deepfakes” describes the use of artificial intelligence and computer-generated tricks to make a person (usually a well-known celebrity or politician) appear to do or say “fake” things. For example, actor Alden Ehrenreich’s face was recently replaced by Harrison Ford’s face in footage from “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The technique could be meant simply for entertainment or for more sinister purposes. The more convincing deepfakes become, the more unease they create among AI scientists, and military and intelligence communities. As a result, new methods are being developed to help combat the technology. Continue reading Scientists and Military Look for Key to Identifying Deepfakes

Eventbrite to Sell Concert Tickets From YouTube Music Vids

Online video giant YouTube, which already has a deal with Ticketmaster, is adding Eventbrite to its ticketing initiative. The new partnership will bring Eventbrite listings for live music performances to YouTube’s Official Artist Channels on the video platform’s desktop and app versions. Event listings and a “Tickets” button will appear below an artist’s video so that fans can purchase tickets directly through Eventbrite. Through YouTube’s deals with Eventbrite and Ticketmaster, the streaming video platform covers more than 70 percent of the ticketing market in the U.S. Continue reading Eventbrite to Sell Concert Tickets From YouTube Music Vids

Gartner Labels AI a Megatrend, MIT Plans AI-Centric College

According to Gartner Research vice president Brian Burke, the democratization of AI is one of the five megatrends impacting emerging technologies. Although AI is currently in the “hype” stage of its evolution, to be followed by disillusionment, by 2020 it is expected to shape 80 percent of new technologies. Pursuant to that prediction, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released plans for a college of artificial intelligence to be built with $1 billion in investment, of which two-thirds has already been raised. Continue reading Gartner Labels AI a Megatrend, MIT Plans AI-Centric College

Facebook Offers More Hack Details, Exposes Web Scraping

Facebook downgraded the number of users hacked two weeks ago to 30 million, revealing that the personal information stolen was more substantial for 14 million of the those hacked, including gender, religion, telephone number, email addresses and computing devices used to connect to Facebook. Hackers also captured the last 15 people or things the user had searched for on Facebook and the last 10 physical locations he had checked into. Another 15 million profiles were scraped for names and contact information. Continue reading Facebook Offers More Hack Details, Exposes Web Scraping

Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Facebook introduced its Fb.gg online gaming hub this summer, created to draw game streamers and their followers away from rival sites such as Amazon-owned Twitch. The hub — featuring videos based on games and streaming celebs that Facebook users follow, as well as Liked Pages and Groups — is going mobile with an Android launch, now in its beta testing stage. The Android version is expected to provide gamers who stream via Facebook Live a more prominent landing page for improved discovery. Continue reading Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Microsoft and Google Making Progress in Streaming Games

Streaming games have taken a step forward. Microsoft is tapping its Research division and 54 global regional Azure data centers for Project xCloud, which aims to transform the Xbox from a box into a hub. The company hopes to test it publicly in 2019. Meanwhile, Google is beta-testing Project Stream, which streams games over the Internet via the Chrome browser. Although gaming boasts 2.3 billion players, console makers are now second place to mobile games, which are responsible for more than half of this year’s $138 billion revenue. Continue reading Microsoft and Google Making Progress in Streaming Games

Google Debuts New Phones, Smart Speaker, Hybrid Laptop

Google debuted its third iteration of Pixel smartphones to rival high-end Apple and Samsung phones. The company also introduced a smart speaker with built-in display and a hybrid laptop/tablet. Although the hardware devices showcase Google’s chops in AI and image processing, they haven’t moved the needle on the company’s sales or market share; its most popular hardware product is a wireless router. Google also unveiled Duplex, a human-sounding bot to be available on Pixel smartphones by the end of 2018 in a few U.S. cities. Continue reading Google Debuts New Phones, Smart Speaker, Hybrid Laptop

Microsoft Joins OIN, Open Sources its Entire Patent Portfolio

Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the North Carolina-based open-source patent community that launched in 2005 with a mission to protect Linux and Linux-related software. In joining OIN, Microsoft is essentially granting an unrestricted, royalty-free license for its patents to the community’s 2,650 members. Microsoft’s corporate VP and chief IP counsel Erich Andersen said the company is pledging its “entire patent portfolio to the Linux system. That’s not just the Linux kernel, but other packages built on it.” Continue reading Microsoft Joins OIN, Open Sources its Entire Patent Portfolio

Facebook Unveils Video-Calling Devices Portal, Portal Plus

Facebook debuted Portal and Portal Plus, two video-calling devices, which sport a 12-megapixel camera with HD video and AI-empowered software — all in the service of video chatting. The AI is used to allow the camera to follow users. Portal and Portal Plus also include Amazon Alexa to play music or check the weather. Portal, with a 10-inch screen, is priced at $199, and Portal Plus, with a 15-inch screen that can be rotated, goes for $349. The devices will debut during the holiday season on a standalone website. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Video-Calling Devices Portal, Portal Plus

Demise of Google+ Points to Facebook’s Social Dominance

Google is shutting down its Google+ social network in the wake of revelation that a software bug exposed the data of up to 500,000 Google+ users since 2015. The company also debuted tools that give users more control over the data they share with Google-connected apps and services. The demise of Google+ is in stark contrast to its 2011 launch, when it represented an “exclusive club” that required a private invitation to enter. In following years, Google discovered running a social network is trickier than it appears to be. Continue reading Demise of Google+ Points to Facebook’s Social Dominance

IFPI: Music Streaming Continues its Growth, As Does Piracy

According to an annual report released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), music streaming is continuing to rise, with 86 percent of respondents ages 16-64 in 20 top global markets opting for streaming. The report notes that 57 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds use a paid audio service. While nearly half of the time consuming on-demand music is via YouTube, the report finds that terrestrial radio is still relevant. And even though popular streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have brought growth to the industry, piracy still remains a problem. Continue reading IFPI: Music Streaming Continues its Growth, As Does Piracy

Politicians Team With Tech Industry on Internet Bill of Rights

Given compelling issues of privacy breaches and data hacks, Senator Nancy Pelosi became convinced that a set of principles that everyone in the tech industry agreed to would be a good step toward adhering to values. She asked Democratic legislator Ro Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley, to create such a list. He consulted with Apple, Facebook, Google, think tank Center for Democracy and Technology and individuals including Nicole Wong and Tim Berners-Lee, and just recently released the resulting Internet “Bill of Rights.” Continue reading Politicians Team With Tech Industry on Internet Bill of Rights

D-Wave Offers Free Real-Time Quantum Computing For All

Canadian company D-Wave Systems launched the Leap Quantum Application Environment, a web portal that aims to offer public access to quantum computing for “any and all developers.” D-Wave R&D executive vice president/chief product officer Alan Baratz says Leap will provide such developers “immediate, free, real time access to a live quantum computer.” Quantum computing, which is expected to dramatically improve the ability to manipulate and analyze data, has thus far had a very limited user base. Continue reading D-Wave Offers Free Real-Time Quantum Computing For All

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