Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Adobe announced it plans to purchase rival digital design suite Figma for $20 billion in cash and stock. The news was disclosed as part of its Q3 earnings report, which saw revenue of $4.43 billion, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Despite the healthy cashflow, Adobe says it may have to finance part of the deal, which will have to clear regulatory hurdles in a very pro-competition environment. Founded in 2011, Figma released its first product in 2015, leveraging the WebGL API to create real-time collaborative tools for web-based design teams “working together beyond company walls.” Figma lists Airbnb, Conde Nast and Github among its users. Continue reading Adobe Will Purchase Digital Design Rival Figma for $20 Billion

Businesses Experiment with DALL-E 2, Report Mixed Results

OpenAI’s powerful text-to-image generator DALL-E 2 is still in beta, but businesses are already testing it for commercial use. Apparel firm Stitch Fix has been using it to visualize fabric and color personalization, while Heinz tapped the AI system for a marketing campaign. Cosmopolitan used it to design a magazine cover. Others have leveraged the image engine to generate logos and thumbnails. These early adopters are identifying technical issues that OpenAI says it is addressing as it readies DALL-E 2 for enterprise. Foremost among the complaints is the lack of a dedicated API for public use. Continue reading Businesses Experiment with DALL-E 2, Report Mixed Results

Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

Amazon just debuted new Alexa features including one that simplifies coordinating multiple voice assistants on a single device using Agent Transfers (AT) and Amazon’s Universal Device Commands (UDC). Using UDCs, Alexa will be able to act on instructions; for instance, saying “Hey Sonos, turn up the volume” to get results for devices with Sonos Voice Control. ATs enable Alexa to transfer requests it can’t unilaterally fulfill — like “Place an order on Uber Eats” — to other assistants that can. Amazon outlined its AT and UDC plans in a white paper on design recommendations for the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII). Continue reading Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

AI Coding Tools Speed Process to Offset Developer Shortage

New AI-powered coding tools such as Amazon’s CodeWhisperer and Copilot from GitHub and OpenAI may be giving some developers the jitters. Following splashy debuts for both programs last week, GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke offered public assurances that Copilot is not designed to replace coders, but to speed the process, alleviating a software developer shortage. Similar to Copilot, CodeWhisperer can autocomplete Java, JavaScript and Python functions based on a comment or some keystrokes. Amazon says it trained the system using billions of lines of open source code, publicly available documentation and its own codebase. Continue reading AI Coding Tools Speed Process to Offset Developer Shortage

Meta Launches WhatsApp Cloud API for Business, Enterprise

WhatsApp is now offering commercial services to businesses that want the global messaging app, which now has more than a billion users. The WhatsApp Cloud API lets companies build their own WhatsApp dashboard to chat with customers. WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook, now Meta Platforms, in 2014 for a reported $22 billion, and this expansion is the company’s first serious attempt to monetize the platform. Speaking at a “Conversations” live event last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new WhatsApp Cloud API was for businesses “big and small.” Continue reading Meta Launches WhatsApp Cloud API for Business, Enterprise

Paramount’s Pluto TV FAST Success a Streaming Case Study

As global streaming leader Netflix retools its business model to accommodate a less expensive, ad-supported subscription tier, the industry is turning its attention to FAST service (free ad-supported streaming television). It’s part of the process of accommodating linear television for the streaming age. Pluto TV, a division of Paramount Global, managed to hit the $1 billion revenue mark last year without any paying subscribers and tallied over 64 million monthly active users as of December 2021. Not too shabby for a service that was not taken very seriously when it launched on April Fool’s Day 2014. Continue reading Paramount’s Pluto TV FAST Success a Streaming Case Study

Lens Fest: Snap Reveals New Augmented Reality Possibilities

During Snap’s annual Lens Fest event, the company introduced new features and upcoming changes to its Lens Studio creation suite. Snap touted updates involving the integration of outside media and data in addition to a collection of new augmented reality features intended for future glasses, including its own AR-enabled Spectacles. Creators will be able to add audio clips and licensed music to Snapchat Lenses. The company is working on delivering real-time data such as weather info from AccuWeather and cryptocurrency prices from FTX. Developers will also have the ability to embed links inside Lenses and send Snapchatters to different websites. Continue reading Lens Fest: Snap Reveals New Augmented Reality Possibilities

Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

Twitter is testing a new feature that allows bots to self-identify with a label on their account profiles. Although the feature will allow users to differentiate automated accounts that perform legitimate services — such as retweeting news, providing customer service, PSAs or community alerts — it will not flag the problematic “bad bots” that spread misinformation and spam. Last year, Twitter requested developers specify if an account was a bot, who was powering it and its intended use. The new automated accounts to designate “good bots” will be issued to more than 500 accounts for testing and feedback before they are made available to all developers. Continue reading Twitter Asks Developers to ID ‘Good Bots’ Using New Badge

TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

TikTok is pushing out its Creator Marketplace API, which allows partner firms to optimize campaigns using first-party data and platform integration. The Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok’s influencers, sharing basic stats that helps them connect with brands that can then mount, manage, measure and track campaigns within the app. The new API takes this to a new level with features including demographic filtering and real-time campaign tracking. Formally debuted in June 2020, Creator Marketplace aggregates TikTok influencers with at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. Continue reading TikTok Creator Marketplace Connects Brands and Influencers

OpenAI Debuts Tool to Translate Natural Language into Code

OpenAI’s Codex, an AI system that translates natural language into code, was released via an API in private beta. Codex, trained on billions of lines of public code, can turn plain English commands into 12+ programming languages and also powers GitHub service Copilot that suggests whole lines of code within Microsoft Visual Studio and other development environments. OpenAI explained that Codex will be offered for free during an “initial period,” and invites “businesses and developers to build on top of it through the API.”

Continue reading OpenAI Debuts Tool to Translate Natural Language into Code

Facebook F8 Event Highlights Tools for Developer Community

At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company would “refocus” on the developer community by spotlighting technologies that “enable developers and businesses to build and grow” on its platforms. The company announced, for example, that the Messenger API for Instagram is now available to all developers. It’s also adding third-party tools to its Facebook Business Suite, which was launched last year. Going forward, PyTorch will be Facebook’s default AI platform.

Continue reading Facebook F8 Event Highlights Tools for Developer Community

OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

OpenAI unveiled a $100 million OpenAI Startup Fund to fund early-stage companies pursuing ways that AI can have a “transformative” impact on healthcare, education, climate change and other fields. OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman said the Fund will make “big, early bets” on no more than 10 such companies. OpenAI, with funding from Microsoft and others, will manage the Fund. Selected projects will get “early access” to future OpenAI systems, support from OpenAI’s team and credits for Microsoft Azure. Continue reading OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

OpenAI and EleutherAI Foster Open-Source Text Generators

OpenAI’s GPT-3, the much-noted AI text generator, is now being used in 300+ apps by “tens of thousands” of developers and generating 4.5 billion words per day. Meanwhile, a collective of researchers, EleutherAI is building transformer-based language models with plans to offer an open source, GPT-3-sized model to the public for free. The non-profit OpenAI has an exclusivity deal with Microsoft that gives the tech giant unique access to GPT-3’s underlying code. But OpenAI has made access to its general API available to all comers, who then build services on top of it. Continue reading OpenAI and EleutherAI Foster Open-Source Text Generators

GPT-3: New Applications Developed for OpenAI’s NLP Model

OpenAI’s natural language processing (NLP) model GPT-3 offers 175 billion parameters, compared with its predecessor, GPT-2’s mere 1.5 billion parameters. The result of GPT-3’s immense size has enabled it to generate human-like text based on only a few examples of a task. Now, many users have gained access to the API, and the result has been some interesting use cases and applications. But the ecosystem is still nascent and how it matures — or whether it’s superseded by another NLP model — remains to be seen. Continue reading GPT-3: New Applications Developed for OpenAI’s NLP Model

Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

Next month, Amazon is slated to launch a new Fire TV interface for its Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube streaming devices. In 2016, Amazon pioneered the “content-first user experience,” which listed rows of movies and TV shows from various streaming apps on the home TV. This idea was picked up by many others in the industry, including Google, Vizio and LG. But, as the number of streaming services has expanded, this model has become unwieldy and chaotic — and Amazon is about to rein it in via a simplified navigation bar. Continue reading Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube