Google Expected to Be Issued Major Antitrust Fine in Europe

The European Commission, executive arm of the European Union, is expected to issue a multibillion-euro antitrust fine against Google, according to insiders. Google will likely be charged with forcing the company’s search and Web browsing tools on manufacturers of Android-equipped mobile devices, which affects Google’s ecosystem and its successful advertising business. In addition to a hefty fine, Google will likely be ordered to make adjustments to its business practices in Europe related to Android, the most widely-deployed mobile operating system in the world. Continue reading Google Expected to Be Issued Major Antitrust Fine in Europe

Microsoft Claims Brainwave Pushes Bing’s AI 10 Times Faster

Microsoft’s Brainwave system, which is “specialized hardware for AI computation,” was able to “get more than 10 times faster performance for a machine learning model that powers functionality of its Bing search engine,” reports VentureBeat. Brainwave is designed to run trained neural networks as quickly as possible with minimal latency and with the goal of providing “roughly real-time artificial intelligence predictions for applications like new Bing features.” This news was shared with a handful of Bing updates announced Monday.

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Alphabet, Amazon and Apple Post Record-Breaking Quarters

Alphabet, Amazon and Apple recorded glowing quarterly financial results for Q4 2017, for a combined market value of over $2 trillion. Apple’s revenue rose 13 percent to $88.29 billion, in part due to the iPhone X. Alphabet marked its 32nd consecutive quarter of revenue growth of 20 percent or more, and a 38 percent increase in revenue to $60.5 billion, with $1 billion per quarter profit in cloud computing. Amazon built beyond its core market, with the largest cloud-computing business, a Hollywood studio and the purchase of Whole Foods. Continue reading Alphabet, Amazon and Apple Post Record-Breaking Quarters

Alexa, Cortana, Watson Execs Discuss Today’s AI Limitations

In what might have been the most popular panel at CES 2018, the executives responsible for three major AI-enabled applications — IBM Watson, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa — met to dig deep into artificial intelligence today and tomorrow. In a conversation led by Tom’s Guide editorial director Avram Piltch, the three executives stressed that machine learning and AI is nothing new, but, in fact, has been the technology behind long-established activities from recommendations to warehouse robots. Continue reading Alexa, Cortana, Watson Execs Discuss Today’s AI Limitations

Google Aims to Take On Snapchat With New Stamp Product

Google is joining Facebook in seeking to undercut Snapchat by offering similar features. The company is reportedly developing Stamp, a so-called news product that will offer articles in a magazine-like design, similar to Snapchat’s Discover feature. Snap, however, isn’t standing still, with plans to focus Discover more on episodic video content. News of Google’s development of Stamp follows buzz that the company floated an offer last year to purchase Snap for $30 billion, according to sources who call it an “open rumor.” Continue reading Google Aims to Take On Snapchat With New Stamp Product

Facebook Introduces New Strategies to Combat Fake News

After months of testing, Facebook is launching a “related articles” feature, in another effort to combat fake news without actually taking down those posts. Instead, U.S. users will see links to informative articles on the same topic appended to stories spreading misinformation. The goal is to convince users to hesitate before sharing false news stories, although it does not prevent them from doing so. Facebook is also paying Snopes.com and other fact-checking sites to tag completely false stories as being “disputed.” Continue reading Facebook Introduces New Strategies to Combat Fake News

Text-to-Speech System Quickly Mimics Hundreds of Accents

As another example of the significant advances we have been following in artificial intelligence and deep learning, Chinese search giant Baidu has introduced Deep Voice 2, the second iteration of its compelling text-to-speech system. The company introduced Deep Voice just three months ago, with the ability to produce speech “in near real time” that was “nearly indistinguishable from an actual human voice,” according to The Verge. While the first system was limited to learning one voice at a time, “and required many hours of audio or more from which to build a sample,” the updated version “can learn the nuances of a person’s voice with just half an hour of audio, and a single system can learn to imitate hundreds of different speakers.” Continue reading Text-to-Speech System Quickly Mimics Hundreds of Accents

Microsoft Encourages Testing of New IoT Security Paradigm

Security is a top concern for the Internet of Things, in particular when large numbers of IoT devices are deployed in an organization. There’s been a rise in attacks on such devices, via botnets, and a search engine, Shodan, is dedicated to finding unsecured IoT hardware endpoints. In that context, Microsoft, which is updating its Azure IoT toolset, is also testing a new approach to securing and managing such devices. Dubbed Project Sopris, Microsoft Research hopes to mix secure hardware and a secure communications channel. Continue reading Microsoft Encourages Testing of New IoT Security Paradigm

Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Streaming video giant Netflix will finally enter the Chinese market, via a newly inked licensing deal with iQIYI, one of that country’s streaming platforms. When Netflix launched its efforts to go global a year ago, it failed to make deals in only a few countries, among them China, Iran and North Korea. Although not many details of the new arrangement have been made public, what is known is that Netflix content will be available on a day-and-date or near-simultaneous basis, as with other global territories. Continue reading Netflix Inks Licensing Deal with Chinese Online Video Platform

Fact Check: Google Takes on Fake News with Search Feature

Facebook is not the only tech giant looking to address the growing problem of fake news. Alphabet-owned Google, the world’s biggest search engine, is introducing a feature that offers users a new layer of fact checking in their search results. The move follows criticism that Google and other Internet companies are assisting with the spread of misinformation. After limited testing, Google rolled out the feature to its News pages and search catalog Friday. “Fact Check” tags will appear in News search results, but they will not be powered by Google. Instead, the feature will rely on fact-checking firms such as PolitiFact and Snopes, as well as reputable publishers including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Continue reading Fact Check: Google Takes on Fake News with Search Feature

Google Home Adds Feature to Purchase Home Goods by Voice

Consumers can now use the voice-controlled Google Assistant on Google Home to order products and supplies and get them delivered within a few hours. The products and delivery times vary based on where the user lives, and Google has partnered with brands such as Costco, Walgreens and Whole Foods to supply the goods. Customers using the new feature either pay a delivery fee for each purchase or subscribe to the Google Express delivery service. The Amazon Echo smart speaker already has a voice-powered purchasing capability. Continue reading Google Home Adds Feature to Purchase Home Goods by Voice

Google Competes with Customers for Prime Online Ad Space

Google is among the biggest buyers of its own ads and the Silicon Valley titan is increasingly pushing its own hardware products — from Nest smart-home thermostats to the new Pixel phones — on its own site. Now a recent study shows that Google gives its own ads and those of its affiliate companies the most prominent placement nearly all the time. Google isn’t the only company competing with its customers for online ad space; Facebook and Microsoft fall into that same category. The digital advertising industry is valued at $187 billion. Continue reading Google Competes with Customers for Prime Online Ad Space

Google Tools Encourage Developers to Create More Chatbots

Alphabet recently unveiled a system of tools called Conversation Actions, designed to help developers create chatbots that work with Google Assistant. The move is the latest by Google to compete in the emerging digital assistant space with companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook that are investing heavily in artificial intelligence. Google’s virtual assistant “is the strategic centerpiece of an effort to keep its lucrative Web search business relevant in an age of mobile devices and wearable gadgets,” reports Bloomberg. “Just like its search engine sent people to the right places on the Web, the company’s assistant should connect users to the most relevant and useful services.” Continue reading Google Tools Encourage Developers to Create More Chatbots

Big Surge in Pirated Links Brings DMCA Efficacy into Question

Copyright infringement on the Internet is surging. Over the last year, copyright holders asked Google to remove more than one billion links from its search engine results. That makes a total of two billion that Google has received over the years. But whereas the first billion accumulated over several years, the second billion took a mere 12 months. Of the 1,007,741,143 infringing links, Google removed more than 90 percent, which comes to 908,237,861. The remaining links were either not valid, not infringements or duplicates. Continue reading Big Surge in Pirated Links Brings DMCA Efficacy into Question

Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

In a new first, Internet monitoring firm StatCounter reports that more consumers are accessing the Internet from their mobile and tablet devices (51.2 percent) than from their desktop PCs (48.7 percent). According to TechCrunch, “this means going forward, companies that haven’t yet decided to focus on a mobile-first approach to their Internet services and Web properties really should, as the trend line is unlikely to reverse.” Mobile platforms are by far the method of choice for accessing the Internet in emerging markets such as India, while the gap is narrower in more mature markets like the U.S. and U.K. As of May, Google noted that more searches conducted through its engine originated from mobile platforms than desktop. Continue reading Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs