Google Assistant Wins Top Spot in Loup Ventures IQ Test

In Loup Ventures’ 2019 Digital Assistant IQ Test, comprised of 800 questions, Google Assistant came in first, understanding 100 percent of the questions and answering 92.9 percent of them accurately. Last year, Google Assistant, also top-ranked, answered 85.5 percent correctly. Apple’s Siri also improved, understanding 99.8 percent of the questions (versus 2018’s 99 percent) and correctly answering 83.1 percent of the time (versus 2018’s 78.5 percent). Amazon’s Alexa came in third. Continue reading Google Assistant Wins Top Spot in Loup Ventures IQ Test

Reddit Expands Online Offerings with New Original Video Site

Reddit has officially launched its own video site called Reddit Original Video, pushing the company closer to becoming a full-fledged media entity. The new property will join Reddit’s popular news site, Upvoted podcast and Upvoted Weekly newsletter. Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian announced the site at this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Reddit, a company known for aggregating news and information, plans to use the site to significantly expand the type of content it shares with its growing online community. Continue reading Reddit Expands Online Offerings with New Original Video Site

Twitter Sues U.S. Government Over Surveillance Disclosures

Social network Twitter filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Tuesday, seeking to bring more transparency to government surveillance. Twitter wants the government to ease restrictions on what tech companies can publicly disclose about the government’s national security-related requests for user data. The company alleges that these restrictions violate the company’s First Amendment rights. This is the latest in a series of battles over online national surveillance. Continue reading Twitter Sues U.S. Government Over Surveillance Disclosures

Google’s Baseline Study Aims to Spot Diseases in Early Stages

Baseline Study, an ambitious Google project, plans to determine the fullest picture yet of a healthy human being. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist who joined the Google X research arm in 2013, is running the project along with his team of experts. The study will collect the anonymous genetic and molecular information of 175 different people, expanding to thousands more in the future. In the long run, Google X hopes to detect fatal illnesses in their early stages. Continue reading Google’s Baseline Study Aims to Spot Diseases in Early Stages

CockroachDB Cloud-Based Software Makes Websites Resilient

A team of open source developers, including several former Google engineers, is working on software that will allow companies to ensure that their cloud computing systems will run even if a server or data center goes down. The software known as CockroachDB is based on Google’s Spanner system, which uses thousands of servers to run its online empire. CockroachDB will similarly replicate information across data centers, so online operations will not suffer from outages. Continue reading CockroachDB Cloud-Based Software Makes Websites Resilient

FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Netflix and other entertainment companies have started paying Internet providers for faster service, a concept that some believe will adversely affect competition. In order to discover whether the consumers are getting the speed and quality of service that has been promised, the FCC has opened an investigation. The agency begins this process just as it decides whether it actually holds jurisdiction over their businesses as no laws give the FCC the power to enforce Net neutrality. Continue reading FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

The Center for Copyright Information released official figures on Wednesday regarding the first 10 months of the anti-piracy program initiated by movie studios, record companies and Internet providers. The group reports that it has forwarded 1.3 million copyright alerts thus far to consumers that have been accessing infringing media content. The voluntary industry agreement was designed to educate consumers and curb online copyright infringement. Continue reading Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Under pressure that its users may start sharing less, or make a move to more anonymous services, Facebook announced yesterday that it would provide a privacy checkup to every one of its global users. In an effort to help its 1.28 billion users better manage “private” information, the company is also recommending a privacy checkup be conducted on a regular basis, perhaps annually like a physical exam. And for new users, Facebook is initially setting content to be seen only by friends. Continue reading Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

Facebook and Google have benefited from the social login button, which allows consumers to log in to other websites and apps using their social media accounts. While app makers have found the tactic useful as users are spared the hassle of signing up, Facebook and Google+ use the information to track what their users do on the Internet. In reaction to users’ decreasing interest in social logins, both companies are shifting tactics to allow for more anonymity.  Continue reading Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

Nielsen Sets Out to Identify Who is Tweeting About Television

Nielsen expanded the information it provides for its Twitter TV Ratings service yesterday with the launch of demographic data. The new feature identifies the age and gender of those tweeting about TV shows and events in addition to those who see the tweets. Earlier Nielsen research found that the number of people who read tweets about TV shows outnumber those who create them by a 50-1 margin. In addition, the tweet “Viewers” represent a more demographically balanced profile than the tweet “Authors.” Continue reading Nielsen Sets Out to Identify Who is Tweeting About Television

PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged Snapchat of deceiving users about the privacy of their personal data and their image and video messages. Under the terms of a new settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be required to implement a privacy program that will be independently monitored for the next 20 years. If Snapchat violates the agreement, the company may be subject to fines. Snapchat has reportedly resolved most of the privacy issues over the past year. Continue reading Snapchat Agrees to Settle with FTC Over Deceptive Marketing

Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Last week, Yahoo announced the launch of its News Digest app for Android devices. The company has also made the iOS version available for all users worldwide by adding Canadian and International editions (it was originally only available to iOS device users based in the United States or United Kingdom). Using algorithmic and human curation, Yahoo News Digest provides news round-ups twice a day, each story presented with a collection of articles, maps, Wikipedia entries, videos and photos. Continue reading Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Reset the Net: Campaign Opposes Mass Internet Surveillance

More than twenty tech companies and civil liberties groups have started a coalition to fight the National Security Agency’s mass Internet surveillance programs. On June 5, these groups will participate in a “Reset the Net” day of action by posting the campaign’s splash screen on websites and mobile apps. The coalition is distributing free privacy protection software tools to users and calling on developers to add NSA resistant features to sites and apps. Continue reading Reset the Net: Campaign Opposes Mass Internet Surveillance

Study Measures Influence of New Technology on In-Store Sales

Deloitte’s recent study, “The New Digital Divide: Retailers, Shoppers, and the Digital Influence Factor” shows that digital technologies are an integral part of the entire shopping experience since they influence $1.1 trillion of in-store retail sales. By the end of 2014, the percentage of in-store sales that digital technologies influence will increase from the current 36 percent to 50 percent. The retail categories most influenced by digital include electronics, furniture and sporting goods. Continue reading Study Measures Influence of New Technology on In-Store Sales

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