Big Tech Companies Collaborate on Smart Home Standard

The ordinary home is increasingly connected to the Internet, via cameras, doggy doors, lights, locks, sensors, switches and thermostats. But lack of an industry-wide connectivity standard can make these devices frustrating to use and manage. For that reason, Google joined with Amazon, Apple and other big tech companies to create Connected Home over IP. The independent working group, managed by Zigbee Alliance, aims to create a new, open smart home connectivity standard based on Internet Protocol (IP). Continue reading Big Tech Companies Collaborate on Smart Home Standard

CES: 5G and the Internet of Things Take First Steps – Part 2

Yesterday we noted that recent years have seen the Internet of Things and next-generation 5G networks evolving on parallel tracks. From autonomous vehicles to smart factories and wearables, 5G promises to super-charge speed, low latency and reliability. As carriers begin to introduce 5G networks, and we gear up for next month’s CES in Las Vegas, it’s time to check-in about the state of the relationship between these two technologies. Today, we’ll address the convergence of 5G and IoT in the enterprise space. Continue reading CES: 5G and the Internet of Things Take First Steps – Part 2

Intel Doubles Down on AI with $2 Billion Habana Acquisition

Intel acquired Israel-based AI chip manufacturer Habana Labs for about $2 billion, to strengthen its offerings for data centers requiring such chips. The tech giant already stated that it expects to complete more than $3.5 billion in sales related to artificial intelligence, an increase of 20 percent from last year. The Habana purchase is just one of several that Intel has made in recent years in its efforts to grow new markets. Intel expects the AI chip market to grow to $25 billion by 2024, half from selling chips for data centers. Continue reading Intel Doubles Down on AI with $2 Billion Habana Acquisition

Big Tech, Academics Launch Deepfake Detection Challenge

A coalition of Big Tech companies and academics have banded together to fight deepfakes. Facebook, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, the Partnership on AI, and academics at Cornell Tech, MIT, University of Oxford, UC Berkeley, University of Maryland College Park and the State University of New York at Albany just launched the Deepfake Detection Challenge announced in September. The problem is serious; deepfakes have swindled companies and could sway public opinion during upcoming elections. Continue reading Big Tech, Academics Launch Deepfake Detection Challenge

YouTube Takes Next Steps to Enforce Harassment Policies

YouTube has written guidelines to flag videos and comments that insult or demean others over race, gender or sexual orientation directed at anyone including private individuals, public officials and YouTube creators. The company will rely on “raters” to screen videos that have been flagged. YouTube earlier introduced policies to restrict exploitation of children, extremist content and hate speech, but those policies were scrutinized in June when a volatile situation arose between a commentator and a journalist. Continue reading YouTube Takes Next Steps to Enforce Harassment Policies

Amazon and Facebook to Lease More Space in Manhattan

Less than a year after Amazon pulled out of a deal to build its second headquarters (HQ2) in Manhattan, it inked a lease for 335,000 square feet in the neighborhood to house more than 1,500 employees. Facebook is also reportedly in talks to lease 700,000 square feet in a nearby neighborhood. If that plan goes through, the social media platform, which has other real estate holdings in the city, would become one of its largest corporate tenants, which include JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Continue reading Amazon and Facebook to Lease More Space in Manhattan

Google Founders Step Down: New Era for Tech Giant Begins

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have stepped down from their executive roles, with Google chief executive Sundar Pichai now heading up both Google and Alphabet. For the past 20 years, Page and Brin personified the company and many of their ideas on how to run an Internet company became standard for other Silicon Valley firms. The two first dialed back their involvement in 2015 when they created Alphabet as a holding company and turned their attention to “other bets,” including life-extending technologies. Continue reading Google Founders Step Down: New Era for Tech Giant Begins

AWS Previews Quantum Computing For Enterprise Clients

Amazon Web Services is previewing a quantum computing service to a select group of enterprise customers. The service, Amazon Braket, will allow enterprise customers to develop and test quantum algorithms in simulations to determine if and how quantum computing could be beneficial. “Braket” refers to a standard notation that describes quantum states. Its early stage quantum computer hardware includes solutions from D-Wave Systems, IonQ and Rigetti Computing. Amazon anticipates a wide rollout of the service in 2020. Continue reading AWS Previews Quantum Computing For Enterprise Clients

Facebook Takes Additional Steps to Address Data Concerns

Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg warned antitrust regulators that data is not a simple resource that can be easily monopolized but a more complicated commodity that can be shared and kept simultaneously. He urged officials to “relinquish” the idea that data is a finite resource that can be used in finite ways. Facebook and Google are facing scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and European Commission. Meanwhile, Facebook is also testing a data portability tool. Continue reading Facebook Takes Additional Steps to Address Data Concerns

Amazon Is Developing Faster Arm-Based Data Center Chip

Amazon debuted a second-generation processor chip for its Web Services data center that relies on technology from Arm Holdings, owned by SoftBank Group, according to sources. The new chip is expected to be 20 percent faster than the first generation Arm-based chip, dubbed Graviton, which was released in 2018 as a less expensive option for lighter computing jobs. If this second-gen chip proves as powerful as sources claim, AWS could rely less on Intel and Advanced Micro Devices for their server chips. Continue reading Amazon Is Developing Faster Arm-Based Data Center Chip

Tim Berners-Lee’s Contract For The Web Is a Plan to Save It

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, co-founder of the World Wide Web Foundation, has a new “global action” plan to save the Internet from what he dubs a “digital dystopia.” His Contract for the Web would require governments, companies and individuals to pledge and act to protect the Internet from abuse and “ensure it benefits humanity.” “We need to turn the Web around now,” said Berners-Lee, who noted that, “people’s fear of bad things happening on the Internet is becoming, justifiably, greater and greater.” Continue reading Tim Berners-Lee’s Contract For The Web Is a Plan to Save It

Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

Movies and TV shows have combined real and CG images for decades, for the purpose of entertainment. But we’re seeing the rise of deepfakes, which mix fake and real elements in still images or videos with a malignant or harmful aim. Many Big Tech companies that have benefited from letting users post and share photos are now turning their attention to battling deepfakes. According to cybersecurity startup Deeptrace, the number of deepfakes online has nearly doubled to 14,678 from December 2018 to August 2019. Continue reading Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

Google Reconsiders Micro-Targeted Ads Ahead of Election

Google is tweaking its policies in advance of the 2020 presidential election. The company has decided to restrict just how minutely political advertisers can target an online audience. While advertisers will still be able to target ads based on age, gender, location and content of the websites that users visited, they will no longer be able to target audiences based on public voter records or political affiliations described as “left-leaning,” “right-leaning” or “independent.” Meanwhile, social giant Facebook is considering a similar move. Continue reading Google Reconsiders Micro-Targeted Ads Ahead of Election

Europe’s Antitrust Chief Aims to Keep Pressure on Big Tech

In her five-year tenure, European Commission head of the antitrust division Margrethe Vestager fined Google more than $9 billion and required Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes. But she still has a dark view of the landscape, saying that, “in the last five years, some of the darker sides of digital technologies have become visible.” She has been appointed to an unprecedented second term and has been given expanded power regarding EU digital policy, and has already revealed an agenda that includes making sure that major technology companies pay more taxes in Europe. Continue reading Europe’s Antitrust Chief Aims to Keep Pressure on Big Tech

Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Gaming is available across multiple devices (such as consoles, phones, tablets, PCs) and numerous services, including Google Stadia and Microsoft Project xCloud, and subscription mobile gaming from Apple and Google. Most of the latest offerings have involved software and services, with new hardware releases expected for next year. For the holidays, a Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4 are good choices; the latest models, with better graphics and more storage than the 2013 versions, will go as low as $150 and $200, respectively, on Black Friday. Meanwhile, streaming services are improving and may replace the need for consoles among some gamers. Continue reading Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

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