EU Nations and UK Accuse Clearview AI of Privacy Violations

Clearview AI, the facial recognition tool based on a database of faces scraped from Facebook and elsewhere, is facing several legal complaints from privacy watchdogs in Austria, France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom. The complaints, originally filed by privacy advocates, state that Clearview AI violates privacy protections established under the GDPR data privacy law and its UK equivalent. The New York City-based company claims to have helped thousands of U.S. law enforcement agencies arrest criminals and predators. Continue reading EU Nations and UK Accuse Clearview AI of Privacy Violations

Big Tech Companies Are Thriving Despite the Current Climate

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wares and services of Big Tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook have become more indispensable than ever. As such, they are thriving. Amazon, for example, reported $88.9 billion in sales, with profits doubling to a record $5.2 billion in the quarter ending June, even though it spent $4 billion on its supply chain and worker safety in that time frame. Apple marked an 11 percent increase in quarterly sales, and Facebook sales rose 11 percent to $18.7 billion. Continue reading Big Tech Companies Are Thriving Despite the Current Climate

Companies Complain to Justice Department About Big Tech

The federal government is listening to complaints about how the major digital platforms exploit their size and the paucity of regulations — and companies are lining up to tell their tales of woe. Yelp public policy chief Luther Lowe says firms that once quietly grumbled are now talking to the Department of Justice about anti-competitive behavior by the big tech companies, all of which vigorously deny the accusations. Two Instagram executives stated that, although some would like to break up social giant Facebook, that won’t help the problem. Continue reading Companies Complain to Justice Department About Big Tech

Cord-Cutters Are Driving Sales of OTA Antennas for Live TV

The Consumer Technology Association released research suggesting that, in 2018, about 8.1 million Americans will buy TV antennas, up from just under 8 million for the past several years. CTA senior vice president of research and standards Brian Markwalter believes that the uptick in sales of home antennas is due to more cable subscribers cutting the cord. CTA research found that 20 percent of consumers say they watch over-the-air (OTA) TV via an antenna; NAB stated that more than 72 percent of Americans rely on an antenna for OTA. Continue reading Cord-Cutters Are Driving Sales of OTA Antennas for Live TV

Google’s New Shopping Actions Aid Competition with Amazon

Google recently launched Shopping Actions, a new program to help retailers compete with Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. The program allows companies to list “products across Google Search, in its Google Express shopping service, and in the Google Assistant app for smartphones and on smart speakers, like the Google Home,” reports TechCrunch. It offers a universal cart no matter what device shoppers are using and Google earns money via a pay-per-sale model. The program is now open to any retailer in the U.S.

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Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

Pinterest is highlighting the “Search” and “Lens” features on its mobile apps, emphasizing its move into this arena. Lens, which was introduced to U.S. users this year, is a reverse image search tool that allows users to take a photograph of something and then use smart search to return pins with similar images and related design ideas. Lens is now available to users of the iOS application; Pinterest says it will soon launch the Android version. Google is also upgrading its visual search engine to compete in this space. Continue reading Pinterest and Google Compete to Offer the Top Visual Search

MasterCard Introduces Digital Wallet to Facebook Messenger

MasterCard just added its digital wallet MasterPass to Facebook Messenger, which will let consumers easily place online orders on the service. MasterPass is already available with FreshDirect and Subway, but is in its early stages of rollout. In related news, PayPal Holdings, which last year said would unveil its payment services on Facebook Messenger, will now unveil it on Alphabet’s Android Pay. Visa and MasterCard are also focused on expanding the consumer and merchant use of their digital wallets. Continue reading MasterCard Introduces Digital Wallet to Facebook Messenger

Slack Faces Off Against Bigger Competitors, Tweaks Software

Slack came to life three years ago, out of a failed video game, and, as messaging software, combines rich data on how people use a product with information on how people feel about using it. When it debuted in 2014, word of mouth catapulted Slack to a value of $4 billion. Now, the private company has attracted competition from Microsoft, which last fall unveiled Teams, free to 85 million users of Office 365, and Facebook with its free collaboration tool Workplace. A smaller company, Atlassian, has also had success. Continue reading Slack Faces Off Against Bigger Competitors, Tweaks Software

Amazon and Pinterest Challenge Google in Search Advertising

For years, Google dominated the search advertising market because two-thirds of all Internet searches are performed on the site. Now, Amazon is entering into the mix with new ad products that are competitively priced and bring consumers directly to the Amazon product pages. Pinterest also launched search ads last month that rely more heavily on images than Google’s text-based search ads. Advertisers believe players like Amazon and Pinterest could add much needed innovation. Both companies are trying to chip away at Google’s hold on the $37 billion market. Continue reading Amazon and Pinterest Challenge Google in Search Advertising

Pinterest Develops Image-Discovery App for Mobile Shopping

San Francisco-based Pinterest plans to unveil an image-discovery app aimed at jumpstarting a new kind of consumer shopping. The user points his smartphone camera at anything, taps dots over the object for recommendations of similar items, and the app searches 75 billion images for a visual match. Currently, Pinterest, valued at $11 billion, makes its revenue from advertising. With the image-discovery app, Pinterest could transform the company by encouraging consumers to embrace mobile shopping. Continue reading Pinterest Develops Image-Discovery App for Mobile Shopping

Google Cast Technology Powers New Vizio TVs and Speakers

Vizio is launching a SmartCast TV set and several soundbars and speakers, all based on Google Cast, the same technology as that company’s Chromecast streaming stick. With the SmartCast TV, the user can control streaming services directly from his or her phone, without a remote control. Vizio just introduced a companion Android app on Google Play that will allow volume control and other basic functions as well as a movie/TV show guide. One partner in the launch is Walmart’s video service Vudu. Continue reading Google Cast Technology Powers New Vizio TVs and Speakers

Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Walmart plans to launch a new loyalty program that will offer online customers unlimited free shipping for $50 per year. The program is half the cost of Amazon Prime, but does not include some of Prime’s popular perks such as streaming movies and TV shows, photo storage, and e-books. Walmart’s new service is part of a larger competition between retailers and e-commerce marketplaces for loyal customers. Walmart did not specify which markets will be part of the initial launch. Continue reading Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Internet of Things: Retailers to Promote Smart Home Devices

Retailers are gearing up to support a range of connected home devices for the upcoming holiday season. Best Buy’s new Connected Home department is scheduled to deploy in more than 400 stores by Thanksgiving, featuring more than 100 smart home products. Other big box retailers including Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples have unveiled new programs and products in their stores designed for the connected home. We can also expect to see specialists and tech support trained in smart home products. Continue reading Internet of Things: Retailers to Promote Smart Home Devices

Make Purchases from Your Twitter Feed with New Buy Button

Twitter has announced its trial run of a “Buy” button on tweets, which enables users to make purchases directly from their Twitter feeds. So far, Twitter has announced that it will test this new feature with a variety of retailers, nonprofits, and musicians, but movie purchases may not be far behind. Fandango, for example, has already launched a “Twitter Card” feature, which redirects users to the Fandango site so they can buy movie tickets. The “Buy” button is currently being tested by a select number of Twitter users. Continue reading Make Purchases from Your Twitter Feed with New Buy Button

Recent Home Depot Hack Prompts Retailers to Upgrade Security

Home Depot has confirmed that hackers have breached its store payments system and may have stolen up to 60 million credit card numbers. The breach could affect customers who paid with a credit or debit card at any of the 2,157 stores in the U.S. and Canada between April and September. This latest hacking incident has led retailers to speed up the installation of chip-reading credit card terminals at their stores. Credit card companies are also adding security to their cards. Continue reading Recent Home Depot Hack Prompts Retailers to Upgrade Security