USC Students Compete in Second ETC Metaverse Challenge

University of Southern California students were invited to participate in the second of two scheduled Metaverse Experience Challenges, hosted by ETC@USC. Making use of current and emerging tools, students were tasked with developing original ideas for compelling metaverse experiences. Ten teams started work at 1:00 pm on Friday, October 8 and presented their ideas to judges from Epic Games, Universal Pictures, Disney Studios, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud at 3:00 pm on Saturday, October 9. Each member of the winning teams — MetaversEdu and MetaMall — received a Nintendo Switch “Fortnite” Edition, courtesy of Epic Games. Continue reading USC Students Compete in Second ETC Metaverse Challenge

Google Action Team Is Ready for Its Cybersecurity Close-Up

By the end of 2021, cybercrime will cost the world an estimated $6 trillion through 2021, a figure that will swell to $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. To deal with that threat, Google has created the Cybersecurity Action Team (GCAT) and the Work Safer security bundle to help protect organizations, small businesses, enterprises and public sector institutions against cyberattacks. At Google Cloud Next ’21, the company said the Google Cybersecurity Action Team will draw on expertise from across the company to help protect entities from data breaches and help meet new government compliance rules. Continue reading Google Action Team Is Ready for Its Cybersecurity Close-Up

Intel’s 8K HDR Live Streams ‘Way Beyond Proof of Concept’

On the heels of several successful tests that included Tokyo 2020 Olympics telecasts in Brazil and Japan, Intel is moving full steam ahead to bring live, end-to-end 8K HDR streaming to audiences across the globe. The company sees the future of 8K HDR as revolutionizing the worlds of sports, entertainment and gaming by delivering spectacular, immersive events at stadium scale, augmented by 3D, VR, AR and UHD audio. The key to this brave new broadcast world is Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors for local encoding and delivery over-the-top. And of course, the slickest compression algorithms. Continue reading Intel’s 8K HDR Live Streams ‘Way Beyond Proof of Concept’

Google Debuts Enterprise IoT Essentials, New Analytics Apps

Google Intelligent Products Essentials is a new integrated solution designed to help enterprise clients quickly get hardware products online with a distributed Internet of Things. Intelligent Products Essentials aggregates critical components to launch distributed IoT and edge computing solutions. Essentially turn-key, Essentials does require a third-party system integrator to implement the system. As with other new offerings unveiled this week at the Google Cloud Next virtual event, Essentials is underpinned by analytics tools and designed to help organizations mine value from data for new and existing products. Continue reading Google Debuts Enterprise IoT Essentials, New Analytics Apps

Tech Unites Behind Trusted Cloud Principles, Best Practices

A juggernaut of the largest tech titans has joined forces to create Trusted Cloud Principles, a united front in the face of diversified international regulations on everything from how data is stored to dealing with increasing demands from law enforcement. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Atlassian, Cisco, IBM, Salesforce and SAP have united in the initiative, which they say seeks to protect customer rights. Meanwhile, a group of leading tech companies has also teamed up to develop a framework of best practices for implementing cloud services with a focus on protecting data. Continue reading Tech Unites Behind Trusted Cloud Principles, Best Practices

Google Reports Its Highest Quarter Ever for Sales and Profits

In Q2 2021, Google recorded its highest quarter ever for sales and profits: revenue of $61.88 billion, up 62 percent year-over-year; profit that more than doubled to $18.53 billion; advertising sales of $50.44 billion, a 69 percent surge, and YouTube ad business reaching $7 billion, up 84 percent from a year earlier. The numbers, which exceeded Wall Street expectations, were driven by e-commerce, streaming video and other online business and entertainment activities that surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, driving online advertising. Continue reading Google Reports Its Highest Quarter Ever for Sales and Profits

Multi-Cloud Strategy Over a Single Provider Gains Momentum

Amazon and Microsoft dominate cloud computing but more businesses are leveraging smaller cloud rivals such as Google, Oracle and IBM. Experian, for example, launched with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2014, but is now using Microsoft, Google and Oracle, according to Experian global chief enterprise architect Mervyn Lally. At Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, executive vice president Clay Magouyrk said that more customers “adopt a multi-cloud strategy simply because some workloads run better or more cost-effectively on different clouds.” Continue reading Multi-Cloud Strategy Over a Single Provider Gains Momentum

Google Develops New Security Solutions to Strengthen Cloud

Google is introducing new security solutions for Google Cloud, in addition to expanding availability of its Risk Protection Program. Google Cloud vice president and general manager Sunil Potti explained that the updates are part of a larger vision of “invisible security” within the cloud where silos will “eventually” disappear after all security tech is engineered into it. He added that, “rather than essentially build products that fix problems with other products … you have to hit the reset button and embrace something fundamental.” Continue reading Google Develops New Security Solutions to Strengthen Cloud

New Initiatives Signal Advancements in Quantum Computing

Two major steps forward for large-scale quantum computing just took place. Physicists from the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA) and elsewhere mastered the programmable quantum simulator, which can operate with 256 quantum bits (“qubits”). The company ColdQuanta also successfully created a 100-qubit quantum processor by cooling atoms down to “near absolute zero” and then controlling them with lasers. Their system, said experts, compares with other quantum systems built by leading players in the field. Continue reading New Initiatives Signal Advancements in Quantum Computing

Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

Google is providing full access to Workspace (formerly G Suite) for its 3+ billion existing users in consumer, enterprise and education markets. Users turn on Google Chat in Gmail to enable the full experience. Although Google Drive and Docs have already been free, Workspace brings features such as smart suggestions in emails and documents. Google is also debuting Google Workspace Individual, a paid version aimed at small business owners, offering “booking services, professional video meetings, personalized email marketing” and more. Continue reading Google Expands Workspace Features and Opens to All Users

National Security Commission on AI Pinpoints Chinese Threat

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence identified China as the first to challenge U.S. technological dominance since the end of World War II. To counter this potential threat to the United States, the 15-member commission issued a 756-page report urging a $40 billion investment in artificial intelligence research and development to be “AI ready” by 2025. The report also called for the U.S. to stay two generations ahead of China in semiconductor manufacturing. To that end, it suggested a significant tax credit for chip makers. Continue reading National Security Commission on AI Pinpoints Chinese Threat

Google Breaks Revenue Records, Boosts Cloud Investments

Due largely to robust online holiday shopping, Google’s parent company Alphabet reached a record-breaking $56.9 billion in revenue for Q4, up from $43.2 billion in the same quarter last year. The numbers represent an ongoing recovery in ad spending, which was hard hit in early 2020. FactSet reports that analysts predicted the company would post $52.7 billion in revenue, including $42.3 billion from advertising. Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said Google Search and YouTube led the positive performance numbers. Continue reading Google Breaks Revenue Records, Boosts Cloud Investments

Internet Task Force Pushes CDN Routing Security Measures

The Internet’s Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), its universal routing system, has always had design weaknesses. Now, a global initiative known as Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS) — supported by the Internet Society and a consortium of Internet infrastructure companies — has established a task force to assist content delivery networks (CDNs) and other cloud services in hardening security. Although MANRS already focused on improving security for network operators and their physical hardware, this task force focuses on bringing the process to the cloud. Continue reading Internet Task Force Pushes CDN Routing Security Measures

IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

IBM and others are advocating the adoption of Confidential Computing, a standard that they state will provide deeper levels of security and privacy in the cloud. With encryption that can only be unlocked by keys held by the client, Confidential Computing guarantees that the company hosting data and applications can’t access the underlying data, regardless of whether it is stored in a database or passing through an application. That prevents hackers from accessing encrypted data when it moves to the application layer. Continue reading IBM Advocates for Confidential Computing Security Standard

Microsoft Inks Deal With OpenAI for Exclusive GPT-3 License

Microsoft struck a deal with AI startup OpenAI to be the exclusive licensee of language comprehension model GPT-3. According to Microsoft EVP Kevin Scott, the deal is an “incredible opportunity to expand our Azure-powered AI platform in a way that democratizes AI technology.” Among potential uses are “aiding human creativity and ingenuity in areas like writing and composition, describing and summarizing large blocks of long-form data (including code), converting natural language to another language.” Continue reading Microsoft Inks Deal With OpenAI for Exclusive GPT-3 License