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Firebase Genkit: Developer Framework for AI-Powered Apps

Google is offering developers a toolkit for incorporating generative AI features into mobile and web applications. Firebase Genkit, an open-source framework, is available now in beta. Blending models, cloud services, agents, data sources and more in a “code-centric approach” developers are used to, the Genkit makes building and debugging for AI easier, according to Google. The first release is built for JavaScript and TypeScript developers, making building AI-powered apps available to professionals who specialize in building server-side applications using the Node.js JavaScript runtime. Read more

Google Reimagines Home as Platform for All App Developers

The Google Home API has been opened to developers that want to use the smart home devices and automations in apps. “Building on the foundation of Matter, we’ve re-envisioned Google Home as a platform for developers — all developers, not just those that build smart home devices,” the company announced at Google I/O. The new APIs provide access to over 600 million devices with a single integration and create the possibility for Google TVs to serve as smart home hubs. Google’s established partners have access to the Home APIs, and the company is now waitlisting other interested developers. Among the first partners are ADT and Eve. Read more

Google Teases Astra AI Assistant and Debuts Gemini 1.5 Pro

Google is showing off a developmental chatbot it says represents the future of AI assistants. Called Project Astra, it has the ability to “see” and “hear,” remembering the information ingested, which it can then answer questions about — from simple queries such as “Where did I leave my glasses?” to unpacking and explaining computer code. Demonstrated at the Google I/O conference this week, Astra understands the world “just like people do” and is able to converse naturally, in real time. The company says some Project Astra features may come to Gemini late this year. Read more

Google Adds Open-Source Gameface for Android Developers

In a move aimed at launching more accessible Android apps, Google has open-sourced code for Project Gameface, a hands-free game control feature released last year that allows users to move a computer with facial and head gestures. Developers will now have more Gameface resources with which to build Android applications for physically challenged users, “to make every Android device more accessible.” Project Gameface evolved as a collaboration with quadriplegic video game streamer Lance Carr, who has muscular dystrophy. The technology uses a smartphone’s front camera to track movement. Read more

TikTok Creators Sue U.S. Over New Law Forcing Sale or Ban

A group of TikTok creators has filed a lawsuit with the intent to block a new law that requires ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the popular social platform, to divest of the app by mid-January or have it banned from U.S. app stores. The eight petitioners claim that banning the app would be a violation of their First Amendment rights. TikTok and ByteDance filed a similar suit last week and is also paying the legal fees for this latest challenge, according to media reports. The creator lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Read more

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