Microsoft Calls On Congress to Regulate Facial Recognition

Microsoft is calling for regulation of facial recognition technology, with president Bradford Smith writing a blog post detailing its potential misuse, and comparing it to medicine and cars, both of which are highly regulated. He urged Congress to act, saying that, “government needs to play an important role in regulating facial recognition technology,” and that, “a world with vigorous regulation of products that are useful but potentially troubling is better than a world devoid of legal standards.” Continue reading Microsoft Calls On Congress to Regulate Facial Recognition

Increased Business Demand Fuels Strong Q2 for PC Industry

According to data from Gartner and International Data Corp., Q2 2018 marked the best quarter in six years for PC shipments. Increased demand from business customers is credited for the jump in numbers. “With sentiment looking improved for the second half of the year, the U.S. could deliver a strong market performance for the year,” said IDC analyst Neha Mahajan. However, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa points out that business demand is expected to “weaken in two years when the replacement peak for Windows 10 passes.” Continue reading Increased Business Demand Fuels Strong Q2 for PC Industry

Microsoft Introduces Inexpensive 10-Inch Surface Go Tablet

Microsoft just showcased a new 10-inch tablet, the Surface Go, that is the company’s smallest and, starting at $399, its least expensive ever. Designed as a smaller version of the Surface Pro, the new device will compete with Chromebooks and iPads. The Surface Go weighs 1.15 pounds, only a bit heavier than the 1.03-pound iPad. In a product demo in New York, a Microsoft rep pulled the Go out of her purse, demonstrating that the company has created a tablet that is light and small enough to be carried around all day. The Go is available for pre-order now and will be in stores August 2. Continue reading Microsoft Introduces Inexpensive 10-Inch Surface Go Tablet

Growing Strength of Amazon Advertising Biz Draws Concern

Amazon’s advertising and e-commerce businesses are growing in strength, challenging the dominance of Google and Facebook. That’s because Amazon holds the key to a very important piece of information for advertisers — what people buy — and the tech behemoth is beginning to leverage that data. Amazon still makes most of its revenue via e-commerce and Amazon Web Services, but in the first three months of 2018, revenue for advertising jumped 139 percent to $2 billion. This shift has advertisers concerned. Continue reading Growing Strength of Amazon Advertising Biz Draws Concern

Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

The business uses of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have so far been impressive. Now, a survey conducted by Microsoft with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, found that 68 percent of 394 executives said MR is important to achieving their companies’ goals in the next 18 months. Those surveyed worked in companies employing over 250 people, in a wide range of industries including engineering, construction, manufacturing, retail, defense and education. Continue reading Survey Analyzes Benefits of Mixed Reality in the Workplace

LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

LinkedIn is introducing two new features: the ability to use QR codes for quickly sharing profiles and contact details, and a “See Translation” button that will translate posts into different languages. Currently available for iOS and Android, the QR codes offer users a quick option for accessing someone’s profile or sharing their own code via messaging apps, email, websites or printed materials such as business cards, conference badges and company brochures. The translation tool, available for more than 60 languages, is offered through LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile web versions (and soon via iOS and Android). Continue reading LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

Facebook Reveals More Data Sharing Details in New Report

Facebook revealed that it made a deal to give dozens of app developers, hardware device manufacturers and software developers special access to user data, despite having stated that it did not release personal information to outsiders starting in 2015. In a 747-page document released to Congress last Friday, Facebook described those deals in much greater detail, and also stated why it believed these special deals were necessary to allow developers and manufacturers to become compliant with changes in its policies. Continue reading Facebook Reveals More Data Sharing Details in New Report

Court Rules Police Need a Warrant for Phone Location Data

The Supreme Court has ruled that police need a search warrant to obtain data showing the location of cell phone users. Similar to rulings made in 2012 and 2014, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that police should have the same access as investigators do in order to examine business records held in banks or conduct physical surveillance. The ruling stated the “world of difference” between 1970s decisions allowing the limited personal information obtained in accessing business records and today’s digital records. Continue reading Court Rules Police Need a Warrant for Phone Location Data

Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Electronic Arts has embraced a subscription model for its latest PC games, following similar moves by Sony and Microsoft to offer older games via subscription. EA’s Origin Access Premier, to debut this summer, will give full access to more than 100 of its games and some other publishers’ titles, for $15 per month or $100 annually. Ordinarily, games such as “Battlefield V” and “FIFA 19” cost $60 each. Electronic Arts comes in second after Activision Blizzard, the biggest U.S. video game publisher. Continue reading Electronic Arts to Launch Subscription Service for PC Games

Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

During Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that the company has acquired game studios Compulsion Games (Canada), Playground Games (United Kingdom), Ninja Theory (United Kingdom) and Undead Labs (Seattle). Microsoft is planning to expand its Xbox Game Pass service; building up its in-house game development should assist in that effort. Spencer also revealed that the company is developing a cloud-based game-streaming network that will work across Xbox, PCs and phones. Continue reading Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

Facebook Faces Another Privacy Issue Due to Software Bug

Facebook revealed that a software bug was live for 10 days during May and, as a result, may have affected up to 14 million users. The company explained that millions of users who believed they were sharing privately with their friends or small groups may have actually shared their information publicly; the bug apparently updated the audience selector to “public” without notifying users. Facebook announced it plans to contact the individuals that may have been impacted. “We’d like to apologize for this mistake,” said Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan in a statement yesterday. Continue reading Facebook Faces Another Privacy Issue Due to Software Bug

Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

The Software Alliance (BSA) published “Global Software Survey,” the latest edition of its report on pirated software, which reveals that the use of pirated PC software declined 37 percent in 2017, down from 39 percent two years ago. The report also states that the value of pirated software dropped 8 percent to $46.3 billion worldwide. BSA, which supports Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec and other software companies via legal action and lobbying, said that piracy is still widespread in some countries. Continue reading Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

Facebook Criticized for Sharing User Data with Device Makers

Over the last ten years, Facebook inked agreements with at least 60 phone and device manufacturers to share access to troves of users’ personal information. Among those manufacturers are Amazon, Apple, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, in addition to several Chinese electronics companies. These data-access partnerships started before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones. As a result of these deals, Facebook increased its influence as a social media platform, and device makers offered popular features including “like” buttons, messaging and address books. Continue reading Facebook Criticized for Sharing User Data with Device Makers

Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon 850 for Windows PCs and IoT

Qualcomm has built numerous specialized chips for the Internet of Things and, at Computex 2018, it unveiled the Snapdragon 850 processor designed for Windows devices. The goal is for the chip to enable Qualcomm’s many partners to build a new generation of Windows-on-Snapdragon devices for the holiday season. Samsung already stated it is working on a Snapdragon 850-enabled 2-in-1 PC. The new chip is intended for devices larger than a smartphone and offers the ability to run at higher clock speeds without overheating. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon 850 for Windows PCs and IoT

Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

Influenced by employee discontent, Google will not renew a contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven when it expires next year. Google Cloud business head Diane Greene, who won the contract, was the one who announced the company’s decision in a weekly employee meeting. The Maven project uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and, among its potential uses, could be employed to improve drone attack targeting. Many Google AI researchers worried aloud that it was a step towards using AI for advanced weaponry. Continue reading Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

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