Alphabet Reveals Major AI Push, Plans to Take On ChatGPT

Alphabet is touting artificial intelligence advances as it faces disappointing Q4 earnings, with CEO Sundar Pichai, who is also CEO of Google, telling analysts the company will soon share its own generative AI system with the public, competing head-on with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E. “In the coming weeks and months, we’ll make these language models available, starting with LaMDA, so that people can engage directly with them,” Pichai said. Google’s parent company reported a 3.6 percent decline in core ad revenue, at $59 billion in Q4, while overall revenue was up 1 percent to $76 billion. Continue reading Alphabet Reveals Major AI Push, Plans to Take On ChatGPT

QuickVid Uses AI to Create Short Videos from Text Prompts

QuickVid is a new AI-driven text-to-video platform aiming for a mass market user base. The tool draws on various generative AI systems to automatically create short-form videos for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and other platforms. Created by former Meta Platforms programmer Daniel Habib “in a matter of weeks,” QuickVid is quite rudimentary, though Habib says he plans to continue fine tuning and adding features. Unlike Google and Meta have done with their nascent text-to-video systems, QuickVid has bypassed the formalities of research papers and industry previews and jumped directly to a public-facing website. Continue reading QuickVid Uses AI to Create Short Videos from Text Prompts

Microsoft Rolls Out Ampere-Powered ARM-Based Azure VMs

Microsoft’s new Azure Virtual Machines, featuring Ampere Altra ARM–based processors, will be generally available on September 1, debuting in 10 Azure regions and multiple availability zones worldwide. Microsoft says the VMs can also be included in Kubernetes clusters managed using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Engineered to efficiently run scale-out, cloud-native workloads, Microsoft says that since the technology began previewing earlier this year hundreds of customers have tested the ARM-powered VMs “for web and application servers, open-source databases, microservices, Java and .NET applications, gaming, media servers and more.” Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out Ampere-Powered ARM-Based Azure VMs

Tech Firms Seek Energy Alternatives to Power Data Centers

Hotter temperatures are not only wreaking havoc on residential electric bills and power grids, but also on data centers, which are looking for reliable green backup power to prepare for “the new normal” and keep our planet’s collective knowledge accessible online through record heat. Cooling system failures resulting from the UK’s July heatwave resulted in Google Cloud’s London data centers going offline for a day, creating a ripple effect for customers as far off as the U.S. and in the Pacific region. Oracle’s London cloud-based data center was also impacted by what the company called “unseasonal temperatures.” Continue reading Tech Firms Seek Energy Alternatives to Power Data Centers

Google’s Ad Growth Slows While Search Exceeds Projections

Alphabet had a rocky second quarter with revenue of $69.69 billion, up 13 percent from the same period in 2021, though net income was down 14.6 percent to $16 billion. It was Alphabet’s slowest growth rate since Q2 2020, when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the economy. In a contracting 2022 advertising market, Alphabet posted 12 percent ad growth, totaling $56.3 billion for the quarter ended June 30 versus the same period the previous year. Ad growth was down substantially over the 69 percent increase of Q2 2022, but increased nonetheless where others are declining. Continue reading Google’s Ad Growth Slows While Search Exceeds Projections

Big Tech Taps AI to Advance Data Center Safety, Efficiency

Data centers can be hazardous to the workers that build and maintain them, with exposure to live electrical wires and dangerous chemicals part of the job. Now tech firms including Microsoft and Meta Platforms are exploring how artificial intelligence can be used to make data centers safer for employees. Microsoft is working on an AI system that triggers alerts to prevent or mitigate dangerous incidents, while Meta is also analyzing ways AI can optimize data centers operating under extreme environmental conditions in order to prevent safety hazards. Continue reading Big Tech Taps AI to Advance Data Center Safety, Efficiency

Google Reveals AR Glasses, Immersive View for Maps, More

Google seems to be angling for a slice of Apple’s pie, unveiling a universe of interconnected Pixel-branded gadgets across an ecosystem of watches, earbuds, smartphones and tablets. The Google I/O developers conference previewed next-generation Pixel 7 and 7 Pro smartphones, a new tablet and the highly anticipated Pixel Watch smartwatch. The company also showcased Pixel Buds Pro with noise cancellation and the budget Pixel 6a smartphone, ending with a teaser for AR glasses that translate languages. Google CEO Sundar Pichai led the Wednesday event, talking up the new Immersive View, coming soon to Maps. Continue reading Google Reveals AR Glasses, Immersive View for Maps, More

Google’s Media CDN Provides Content Streaming Automation

Streaming is booming, accounting for 53.7 percent of Internet bandwidth traffic, up by 4.8 percent for the year according to Google, which anticipates continued growth as gaming, social networks, AR and VR experiences take hold. To service those needs, the Alphabet unit is officially launching Media CDN, an extensible Google Cloud platform for the distribution of streaming content. At the 2022 NAB Show Streaming Summit this week, Google touted Media CDN as a more affordable and efficient way for media and entertainment companies to deliver immersive streaming experiences globally and at scale. Continue reading Google’s Media CDN Provides Content Streaming Automation

Google Debuts Game Developer Tools for Android, PC, Cloud

Google this week announced a host of new features at the Google for Games Developer Summit, a free virtual event designed to help developers get the most out of its platforms. Developers that have more than $5 million in annual consumer games spending will be able to tap a new Google Play Partner Program for Games. A “play as you download” feature for Android 12 users will let itchy-fingered players get to gaming sooner, and an “immersive stream” for games will let developers leverage cloud gaming service Stadia’s underlying technology. Continue reading Google Debuts Game Developer Tools for Android, PC, Cloud

Google to Spend $5.4 Billion for Cybersecurity Firm Mandiant

Alphabet has agreed to purchase cybersecurity firm Mandiant in a deal valued at nearly $5.4 billion. Mandiant — which services global enterprises, governments and law enforcement agencies — brings expertise that will fortify Alphabet’s Google Cloud with increased security at a time when businesses worldwide are focused on preventing cyberattacks. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close later this year. The fact that Mandiant complements, rather than expands, Google’s sphere of influence should prove beneficial as Alphabet faces antitrust lawsuits from the Justice Department and U.S. states. Continue reading Google to Spend $5.4 Billion for Cybersecurity Firm Mandiant

Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Google parent Alphabet posted Q4 2021 revenue of $75.33 billion, a 32 percent increase over the same period in 2020 that outperformed expectations. The blowout results were attributed to small and large businesses embracing digital advertising as a way to reach consumers housebound by COVID-19. Profits rose 36 percent to $20.64 billion in Q4. Alphabet revenue for the year ending December 31 was $257.6 billion, a 41 percent increase over 2020. The company also announced a 20-for-1 stock split. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai cited “a quarterly sales record for our Pixel phones despite supply constraints” among the achievements. Continue reading Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Google Quietly Developing Cloud-Based Android AR Goggles

Meta has a VR megaphone; Apple has been working on an AR headset; and Microsoft wants the best of both worlds, with its mixed reality HoloLens and headset-agnostic Xbox game platform. But observers say don’t count Google out. The search giant is reportedly ramping up its headset efforts under the codename Project Iris with a release target of 2024. As with HoloLens and, experimentally as of last summer, Passthrough API-enabled Oculus Quest 2 headsets, Google’s device-in-progress is said to use an outward-facing camera to provide a real-world backdrop for digital images. Continue reading Google Quietly Developing Cloud-Based Android AR Goggles

Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Nasdaq says it will in 2022 begin migrating its North American markets to Amazon Web Services in a phased approach starting with the Nasdaq MRX U.S. options market. Nasdaq AWS will use a new edge computing solution the companies designed for market infrastructure that will be made available to other entities as well as leveraged across Nasdaq’s anti-financial crime, data and analytics, and market infrastructure software programs. The announcement was issued the same day Goldman Sachs said it was teaming with AWS on a suite of cloud-based solutions for financial institutions. Continue reading Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Google Cloud Lands Exchange Giant CME in $1B Equity Deal

Google has purchased $1 billion of CME Group’s stock in a deal that will move the financial giant’s core trading systems to the Google Cloud. This 10-year partnership is all but guaranteed to boost Google Cloud’s bottom line, as well as improve its fourth-place market share. Google Finance calls Chicago-based CME “the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange,” trading in asset classes that span agricultural, currencies, energy, stock indexes, cryptocurrencies and more. However, the financial-services sector has lagged behind other industries when it comes to moving to the cloud, partly due to regulatory oversight and security concerns regarding client data. Continue reading Google Cloud Lands Exchange Giant CME in $1B Equity Deal

Google Ad Growth Propels Alphabet to $65.12 Billion Quarter

Alphabet’s third quarter earnings saw revenue hit $65.12 billion, a 41 percent increase characterized as the company’s largest quarterly gain in 14 years. Profit of $21.03 billion is a nearly 300 percent increase over profits reported prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights include 43 percent growth in Google’s advertising sales business — across Search, Maps and YouTube — for a total of $53.13 billion. YouTube “recently surpassed 50 million Music and Premium subscribers, including those in trial,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on the Q3 conference call. Continue reading Google Ad Growth Propels Alphabet to $65.12 Billion Quarter