New GPUs Showcased at Intel’s Innovation Developer Event

Intel announced the consumer GPU brand Arc last year, which the company now says will begin delivering in Q4. The Arc A770 Limited Edition desktop gaming card will be available October 12, starting at $329, “the sweet spot of desktop graphics,” according to CEO Pat Gelsinger, who said the GPU “delivers 65 percent better peak performance versus competition on ray tracing.” Intel says other new GPU models, including the Arc Pro A30M for mobile unveiled last month at SIGGRAPH, will also come to market by the end of the year. The new GPUs feature built-in ray tracing hardware, machine learning capabilities and industry-first AV1 hardware encoding acceleration. Continue reading New GPUs Showcased at Intel’s Innovation Developer Event

Apple Music Displaces Pepsi as Super Bowl Halftime Sponsor

Apple has secured main sponsorship rights to the Super Bowl LVII halftime show, with Apple Music replacing Pepsi, which had a lock on the slot for the past 10 years. The event takes place February 12, 2023, at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, broadcasting on FOX. The price wasn’t disclosed, but the NFL had reportedly been asking $50 million for the prime halftime positioning. The deal played out against a backdrop of the NFL’s Sunday Ticket rights sale, with a reported $2.5 billion asking price and Apple said to be the most serious bidder. Continue reading Apple Music Displaces Pepsi as Super Bowl Halftime Sponsor

OpenAI Rolls Out Open-Source Speech Recognition System

OpenAI has released a new open source AI speech recognition model called Whisper that can recognize and translate audio at levels it says compare in accuracy and robustness to human abilities. Case uses include transcription of speeches, interviews, podcasts and conversations. “Moreover, it enables transcription in multiple languages, as well as translation from those languages into English,” says OpenAI, which is open-sourcing models and inference code on GitHub “to serve as a foundation for building useful applications and for further research on robust speech processing.” Continue reading OpenAI Rolls Out Open-Source Speech Recognition System

Google, Meta Among Big Tech Firms Cutting Costs and Staff

Meta Platforms is planning staff reductions as part of a 10 percent cost reduction goal, reports say. Stalled growth and increased competition are among the reasons cited by 20 additional tech firms who have since the summer been contracting their workforce. In the case of Meta, it appears to also be a matter of reallocating funds so as not to drastically scale back its metaverse ambitions. Departments there are being reorganized and affected workers are being encouraged to apply for other jobs within the company. Word is Alphabet’s Google is also seeking to fill vacancies by reassigning existing staff. Continue reading Google, Meta Among Big Tech Firms Cutting Costs and Staff

Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Among American adults who regularly look to social media for news, Facebook outpaces all other sources, according to a study from Pew Research, which found 31 percent of U.S. adults claim to “regularly get news” from the Meta Platforms site. Google’s YouTube was second, with 25 percent, followed by Twitter (14 percent), Instagram (13 percent) and TikTok (10 percent). Examined as a percentage of each site’s total adult users seeking news there, news-seekers, Twitter popped at 53 percent, followed by Facebook (44 percent), Reddit (37 percent) and TikTok (33 percent). Among that subset, TikTok was the fastest-growing, up from 22 percent in 2020. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube Among Top Social Apps for News in U.S.

Twitch to Reduce Revenue Sharing with Premium Streamers

Popular game streaming service Twitch — owned by parent company Amazon — plans to shrink the amount of subscription revenue it shares with top creators. After earnings surpass $100,000 in a 12-month period, the split with these premium streamers will reduce from 70/50 to 50/50, the same subscription share Twitch makes available to all streamers. The change goes into effect in June 2023, but Twitch stars are already rebelling. Having already lost a number of top creators to YouTube Gaming, Twitch potentially finds itself in a precarious position. Continue reading Twitch to Reduce Revenue Sharing with Premium Streamers

YouTube Tests Creator Music, Adds Shorts Partner Program

YouTube is beta testing Creator Music, a large catalog of songs creators can browse and purchase for use with their original longform content. YouTube announced the service at its Made on YouTube live event the same week its chief business officer Robert Kyncl was revealed as the incoming CEO of Warner Music Group, effective January 2023. “Creator Music is a new destination in YouTube Studio that gives YouTube creators easy access to an ever-growing catalog of music for use in their long-form videos,” YouTube said, explaining the service offers “affordable, high-quality music licenses.” YouTube also announced that Shorts creators can soon share ad revenue through the platform’s Partner Program. Continue reading YouTube Tests Creator Music, Adds Shorts Partner Program

Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

YouTube Shorts to Enhance Ad Revenue Sharing for Creators

YouTube Shorts is preparing to unveil a new creator revenue-sharing plan designed to bury TikTok, according to recent reports. YouTube has rewarded creators with more than $30 billion in advertising revenue in the past three years. By contrast, TikTok pays creators not through a percentage of ad revenue, but through a Creator Fund, announced in 2020, that now stands at $2 billion worldwide. YouTube is said to considering for Shorts creators a 45-percent ad revenue share from their clip views in a program more aligned with the 55 percent payout for long-form video creators in its Partner Program. Continue reading YouTube Shorts to Enhance Ad Revenue Sharing for Creators

California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act into law last week, making his state the first in the nation to adopt online child safety measures. The bipartisan legislation requires online platforms to default to privacy and safety settings that protect children’s mental and physical health. The new law, cosponsored by Assemblymembers Buffy Wicks (D-15th District) and Jordan Cunningham (R-35th District), prohibits companies that provide online services and products in California from using a child’s personal information and forbids collecting, selling, or retaining a child’s geolocation, among other things. Continue reading California Governor Signs Online Child Protection Bill into Law

Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced that the platform paid $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, a 50 percent increase over the $4 billion distributed in the same period in the prior frame. The amount includes monetization across all formats — short and long form video, audio only, live, user-generated content and more — on all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV), in over 100 countries. For the second consecutive measurement period, UGC drove more than 30 percent of the payouts for artists, songwriters and rights-holders, according to the company. Continue reading Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Google’s Project Loon, a plan to use balloons to beam broadband Internet to unserved areas, was shut down in 2021 after eight years, but Loon’s core technologies have propelled a spinout, Aalyria, which is developing advanced networking and laser communications that far exceed anything available today, extending connectivity where there is no infrastructure “at an exponentially greater scale and speed,” according to the company. Aalyria’s first commercial client is the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a division of the U.S. Department of Defense that awarded an $8 million contract to develop high-speed Internet in space. Continue reading Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

LG Electronics Offers NFT Art Marketplace via Its Smart TVs

LG Electronics has launched a non-fungible token platform, LG Art Lab, available in the U.S. on the company’s smart TVs running webOS 5.0 or later. Accessible from the home screen, the LG Art Lab lets users buy, sell and enjoy digital artwork transacting as NFTs. Based on the enterprise-grade public Hedera network, the LG Art Lab uses onscreen QR codes and works via Wallypto, LG’s new cryptocurrency wallet for smartphones. The platform includes a discovery feature, LG Art Lab Drops, which profiles artists, previews upcoming works and includes a real-time Live Drops countdown clock to keep purchases on track. Continue reading LG Electronics Offers NFT Art Marketplace via Its Smart TVs

Apple Passkey Implementation Begins This Month via iOS 16

The world is preparing for a passwordless future, which Apple provides with the September 12 launch of iOS 16 and macOS Ventura next month. Known as passkeys, the password replacement will work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs, letting users log in to apps and websites and create new accounts without having to store a password. Made from a cryptographic key pair, the passkey is synced across iCloud’s Keychain. Google, Microsoft, Meta Platforms and Amazon are also in various stages of developing passkeys using standards created by the FIDO Alliance, which means they’ll all likely be interoperable. Continue reading Apple Passkey Implementation Begins This Month via iOS 16

Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill

This past year, Big Tech has invested more than $95 million in lobbying initiatives designed to kill the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which seeks to rebalance the power between consumers and major technology companies such as Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Meta Platforms. In two years, the bill has advanced further than any similar U.S. legislative effort, but time is running out before midterm elections and the unknown of a potential shift in control of the House and/or Senate. Supporters of the measure say they currently have the votes needed for passage. Continue reading Big Tech Lobbying and Midterms Could Impact Antitrust Bill