Google Aims to Make Life Easier While We’re Stuck at Home

Google Search has been offering personalized movie and TV recommendations since last fall. Now it is adding a new Watchlist tab that enables mobile users to easily track and save desired content. In addition, to help Android TV users navigate news and entertainment as we spend more time sheltering at home, Google has introduced three new rows of content from YouTube on the home screen: COVID-19 News, Stay Home #WithMe videos, and ad-supported free movies from YouTube. These new features are among a larger set of announcements made by the company this week. Continue reading Google Aims to Make Life Easier While We’re Stuck at Home

Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Google has streamlined its Shopping desktop and mobile portals in anticipation of the holiday season and unveiled a fashion recommendation engine for Google Lens, its AI-enabled computer vision search tool. According to Google Shopping vice president Surojit Chatterjee, the redesign is aimed at making it easier for users to “research and buy” what they are looking for. A personalized homepage offers product suggestions, and new sections allow re-ordering. Also more prominent are links to “nearby and online” stores. Continue reading Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Google Establishes Advisory Panel to Examine AI Fairness

Google is forming the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), an external eight-member advisory group to “consider some of the most complex challenges [in AI],” such as facial recognition and fairness. The move comes about a year after Google issued a charter stating its AI principles, and months after Google said it would not provide “general-purpose facial recognition APIs” before the ATEAC addresses relevant policy issues. The advisory group will hold four meetings in 2019, starting in April. Continue reading Google Establishes Advisory Panel to Examine AI Fairness

Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

During this week’s Google I/O conference, the importance of Google Lens to chief executive Sundar Pichai’s AI-first strategy became apparent. Google Lens combines computer vision and natural language processing with Google Search, for a solution aimed at consumers. Lens, described as “Google’s engine for seeing, understanding, and augmenting the real world,” resides in the camera viewfinder of Assistant and, soon, its top-end Android smartphones. Lens recognizes people, animals, objects, environments and text. Continue reading Upgraded Google Lens to Be Featured in Top Android Phones

Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Google is at work creating consensus among every major global cellphone carrier to replace SMS with “Chat,” based on a standard dubbed the Universal Profile for Rich Communication Services. Chat is the consumer name for RCS (Rich Communication Services) and is not actually a new texting app but rather a new set of features inside an app (Android Messages) already installed on most Android phones. Google is leading development to ensure interoperability of Chat on every carrier’s service. Continue reading Google Aims to Replace SMS with an Android Messaging App

Google to Take On Tech Giants With Second-Gen Hardware

Google just debuted its second-generation Pixel smartphones and Google Home speaker, among other hardware devices, as it competes with Apple, Samsung and Amazon to break into the top ranks of consumer electronics. The company’s first year in the space was mixed: although the devices got positive reviews, the Pixel smartphone suffered from supply shortages, capturing only a minute market share in the U.S. and elsewhere. Likewise, Google Home only made minor inroads into the arena dominated by Amazon’s Echo. Continue reading Google to Take On Tech Giants With Second-Gen Hardware

Comparing Major Cloud Storage Services by Price, Features

Amazon just pulled the plug on its Unlimited Everything plan, which allowed users to keep as much as they wanted in their private Amazon cloud “locker” for a mere $60 per year. That figure is at least half of the industry standard of $10 per month for 1TB of space. Although Unlimited Everything, which launched in 2015, has come to an end, Amazon’s new offering is still relatively inexpensive, at that same $60 per year for 1TB and an extra $60 for every additional terabyte up to 30TB. Continue reading Comparing Major Cloud Storage Services by Price, Features

Amazon, Google and Microsoft Race to Dominate AI Platform

Silicon Valley has dubbed machine learning and artificial intelligence as the next big thing. Today’s tsunami of data has created the need to make sense of it, quickly and efficiently. Although recent focus has been on giant public clouds from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, now those companies’ abilities to use AI to parse all that data has become the latest arena of competition. All three companies are now striving to define the next gen platform, with Google in the lead and Microsoft and Amazon playing catch up. Continue reading Amazon, Google and Microsoft Race to Dominate AI Platform

Google Pursues Bringing Machine Learning to Mobile Devices

Google is partnering with Movidius, a semiconductor startup, to begin developing technology that would allow mobile devices to do more heavy computing such as machine learning and image recognition. Movidius specializes in computer vision, so Google has licensed its MA2450 chip to help build image-recognition capabilities. The chip has 12 cores and was chosen for its low power consumption and hefty processing power. Image recognition could be used in all sorts of apps to identify objects and people. Continue reading Google Pursues Bringing Machine Learning to Mobile Devices

Facebook Updates its Moments Photo-Sharing App with Video

Facebook has added video to its newly released photo-sharing app Moments, enabling users to automatically create, customize and then share a music video created from mobile photos. This is the first update the app received since its June debut. With over 4 billion daily video views, video is becoming an important and fast-growing category on Facebook. By adding video to Moments, the social network competes with services like Flipagram, or Google Photos’ automatically created animations. Continue reading Facebook Updates its Moments Photo-Sharing App with Video

Users of Google Apps and Services No Longer Need Google+

Google recently announced it would relocate features once accessible through Google+ to other Google services. For example, location-sharing will be moved to Google Hangouts and photo features have been moved to Google Photos. The most celebrated change appears to be Google’s removal of the requirement of a Google+ account to make comments on YouTube, a point of contention between users and the company for years. Moving forward, interested users will only need a Google account to log in to the company’s apps and services. Continue reading Users of Google Apps and Services No Longer Need Google+

Google Unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Google Now and More

Although somewhat lacking in major device announcements, this week’s Google I/O developers conference featured some interesting news. Google unveiled Android M with simplified permissions, support for its Android Pay mobile payments system, and a promised boost to battery life and charging times. As expected, the company announced Project Brillo, its “underlying operating system for the Internet of Things,” and Google Now, which aims to “make the smartphone smarter.” The company also introduced Google Photos and a new version of its Google Cardboard VR viewer. Continue reading Google Unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Google Now and More

Google+ Compartmentalized to Push Growth of Popular Products

In 2011, Google launched Google+, an ambitious social media endeavor to rival Facebook and other emerging social media sites and apps. Under Google+, the company premiered Google Photos and Google Hangouts, two products that despite the social network’s shortcomings, have been well received by the public. In an attempt to further develop these and other Google+ products, the company plans to launch these products into separate services with new management in place to oversee their development. Continue reading Google+ Compartmentalized to Push Growth of Popular Products

Photo/Video Sharing and Backup App Odysee to Join Google+

Google has confirmed that it is acquiring Odysee, an Android and iOS app created by Nimbuz Inc. that enables users to privately share smartphone and tablet photos and videos with select groups of people and automatically back up content on their home computers. Odysee also features an API for integration with other apps. The Odysee app will be shut down as of February 23, when its team joins Google+ and all the photos and videos that have passed through the service will become available as a downloadable archive. Continue reading Photo/Video Sharing and Backup App Odysee to Join Google+