Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

During the Moogfest music and technology fest in North Carolina, Google Brain researcher Douglas Eck outlined a new artificial intelligence research project at Google called Magenta. The group, expected to publicly launch next month, plans to use the company’s machine learning engine TensorFlow to explore new ways that computers and AI systems could be trained to create original art and media such as music or video. The initiative should prove challenging; so far, the most advanced AI systems have struggled to replicate styles of existing artists. Continue reading Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

Twitter Character Update Makes Room for Interactive Content

Twitter is planning a series of changes designed to make communication easier via the social platform, hopefully without alienating its loyal base (earlier proposed changes led to public outcry). Notably, Twitter will modify the 140-character limit of a tweet, which often frustrates some users, but in many ways has come to define the service. “Under the rule-bending, tagging users by their handles at the beginning of replies and adding photos, GIFs and videos will no longer count against the 140-character limit in tweets,” reports The New York Times. “Twitter users will also be able to quote and ‘retweet’ — or rebroadcast — their own older tweets, which was not possible before.” Continue reading Twitter Character Update Makes Room for Interactive Content

Google Introduces VR System Daydream, VR-Capable Phones

During its I/O conference this week, Google announced it is releasing a new virtual reality system, dubbed Daydream, which includes a range of VR-capable Android smartphones, a headset design, a controller and applications, all of which will be released this fall. Daydream will be compatible with Google’s current and future Android mobile operating system, including the upcoming version, code-named Android N. Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi are among those already building Daydream-compatible phones. Continue reading Google Introduces VR System Daydream, VR-Capable Phones

Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

Google is focusing on advances in artificial intelligence as a competitive advantage. Its new Google assistant is positioned as the company’s latest iteration of search, and Google is promoting a variety of products based on machine learning that face competing products. Google Home will compete with Amazon Echo, while messaging app Allo will take on Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, and Snapchat. With regard to virtual assistants, Google is going against versions from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. Continue reading Google Launches its AI Ecosystem with Allo and Google Home

Image Recognition Tech Paving the Way for Future Advances

Image recognition, or computer vision, is the foundation of new opportunities in everything from automotive to advertising. Its growing importance is such that the upcoming LDV Vision Summit, an annual conference on visual technology, is now in its third year. Computer vision has expanded through trends that have benefited other forms of AI, including open source, deep learning technology, easier programming tools and faster, cheaper computing, opening up opportunities for a wide range of businesses. Continue reading Image Recognition Tech Paving the Way for Future Advances

Comcast to Introduce 1,000-GB Data Limits in Select Markets

In the wake of customer backlash over limits and surcharges, by June 1, Comcast will unveil a 1,000-gigabyte cap for broadband customers in markets previously limited to 300-gigabytes monthly. In 2012, the company stopped enforcing a universal 250-gigabyte limit, and since then has been testing different Internet plans in mainly Southern states, reaching 14 percent of its homes or 2.8 million customers. Comcast has stated that 10 percent, or more than 2 million people, use 300 gigabytes or more a month. Continue reading Comcast to Introduce 1,000-GB Data Limits in Select Markets

Experimental Google Feature Allows Direct Content Publishing

In January, Google began testing a new feature allowing media companies, marketers, politicians and others to publish content directly to Google. The content, which can be up to 14,400 characters, contain links and up to 10 images or videos, appears instantly in search results and can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or email. Among those using the feature are Fox News, with political debate content; People.com, with content related to the Oscars; and HBO, which has used it to promote the third season of “Silicon Valley.” Continue reading Experimental Google Feature Allows Direct Content Publishing

Researchers Demo Environmental Modeling Scanner at NAB

Korean grad students are developing an Environmental Modeling Scanner that takes an interesting approach to detailed scanning of complex and crowded environments. Their hardware/software capture volumetric architectural and décor details and, in post-processing, extract people and any other moving or unwanted elements from the model. The approach creates a model by scanning an environment, the result of which can be combined with other capture sessions. They are demonstrating their solution at the NAB Show’s VR Zone in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Continue reading Researchers Demo Environmental Modeling Scanner at NAB

Instagram Debuts New Algorithm, Bumps Video to 60 Seconds

Facebook-owned Instagram is testing a new algorithm, which will choose which posts users see in their feed and in what order. Brands are worried, afraid that means their posts won’t be seen. That’s essentially what happened when Facebook changed its algorithm, and the Pages that businesses and brands built to reach fans for free, slowly but surely disappeared from their followers’ feeds. Instagram also announced that it is rolling out a new cap for videos, bumping the limit from 15 seconds to 60 seconds. Continue reading Instagram Debuts New Algorithm, Bumps Video to 60 Seconds

Instagram to Slowly Introduce New Algorithm-Based Newsfeed

Following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is on the verge of changing its newsfeed. But, unlike Facebook, Instagram plans to roll out its changes slowly, as a series of small tests to a single-digit percentage of user groups. The new feed will be algorithm-based and personalized, much like that found at its parent company Facebook. The result would be a shift away from reverse chronology list to the photos/videos Instagram thinks you will most want to see from among those you follow. Continue reading Instagram to Slowly Introduce New Algorithm-Based Newsfeed

At Mobile World Congress, Phone Makers Pitch Virtual Reality

Virtual reality now trumps megapixels in phone manufacturers’ pitches to consumers. Over the years, the biggest phone makers have boasted of bigger screens and better photos. But, at this year’s Mobile World Congress, many manufacturers are highlighting the use of their smartphones as an inexpensive mobile device for VR viewing. That’s particularly the case with new offerings from Samsung and its archrival LG, both of which are offering virtual reality capabilities. Even smaller manufacturers are getting in on the game. Continue reading At Mobile World Congress, Phone Makers Pitch Virtual Reality

Facebook Adds Algorithm, Indexing to Grow Search Capabilities

Facebook has always had its eye on search, but the company is trying again to take on Google and Twitter. Facebook already handles 1.5 billion searches a day on its site, but the vast majority of those searches are for names. In October 2015, Facebook made it possible to search for all public posts, developing an algorithm to rank trillions of posts daily. If its efforts pay off, Facebook will dwarf Twitter’s 320 million users, and provide a more personal, friend-oriented spin on Google’s more generic search. Continue reading Facebook Adds Algorithm, Indexing to Grow Search Capabilities

Viacom Signs Multiyear Deal with Snapchat to Sell Advertising

Viacom just inked a multi-year deal with Snapchat to sell advertising for the vanishing-message app. Viacom will get a bigger investment in digital media and the millennial-focused Snapchat — which already carries content from Viacom’s MTV and Comedy Central — will get the chance to draw in bigger advertisers. In addition, Viacom will add the U.S. version of MTV and an international version of Comedy Central on Snapchat’s “Discover” page, where CNN, Vox, Mashable and The Wall Street Journal also have channels. Continue reading Viacom Signs Multiyear Deal with Snapchat to Sell Advertising

Washington Post Introduces In-House Tool to Optimize Content

Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post from the Graham family for $250 million, he has been experimenting with using technology to improve the customer experience and apply data to make decisions. The media company has now unveiled Bandito, a tool created in-house that enables The Post to maximize readership by automatically optimizing articles on the website. Among the features that can be varied are headlines, images, teaser text and even different article versions. Continue reading Washington Post Introduces In-House Tool to Optimize Content

Smart Nano Drone Packs Big Features into Tiny Flying Machine

The ONAGOfly drone fits in the palm of your hand, but it comes with built-in features that are comparable with bigger and more expensive drones. The $259 flying camera system captures 1080p HD video and has smile-recognition technology and auto-follow technology to help operators capture the perfect shot. As far as safety, the ONAGOfly has obstacle avoidance sensors and can withstand wind speeds of up to 3.3 m/s. The drone is so small that it doesn’t even need to be registered with the FAA. Continue reading Smart Nano Drone Packs Big Features into Tiny Flying Machine

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