google

Google changes its messaging strategy again: Goodbye to Allo, double down on RCS

Google’s long-and-winding road to figuring out messaging is taking yet another change of direction after the company called time on Allo, its newest chat app launch, in order to double down on its vision to enable an enhanced version of SMS. The company told The Verge that it is “pausing” work on Allo, which was only launched as recently as September 2016, in order to put its resources into the adoption RCS (Rich Communication Services), a messaging standard that has the potential to tie together SMS and other chat apps. RCS isn’t new, and Google has been pushing it for some time, but now the company is rebranding it as “Chat” and putting all its efforts into getting operators on board. The new strategy will see almost the entire Allo team switch to Android Messages, according to The Verge...

ZTE postpones earnings report after being slapped with U.S. exports ban

ZTE will postpone the release of its quarterly earnings report after the United States government banned American companies from selling goods to the Chinese telecom and smartphone maker. In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, ZTE said that its earnings report, originally set to be released on Thursday, is now delayed to an undetermined date. About a year ago, ZTE pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Its deal with the U.S. government included penalties and fines totaling more than a billion dollars, but allowed it to continue doing business with U.S. suppliers. On Monday, however, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that ZTE had failed to follow the agreement’s terms. It accused the company of making false statements and failing to punish e...

UK report urges action to combat AI bias

The need for diverse development teams and truly representational data-sets to avoid biases being baked into AI algorithms is one of the core recommendations in a lengthy Lords committee report looking into the economic, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence, and published today by the upper House of the UK parliament. “The main ways to address these kinds of biases are to ensure that developers are drawn from diverse gender, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, and are aware of, and adhere to, ethical codes of conduct,” the committee writes, chiming with plenty of extant commentary around algorithmic accountability. “It is essential that ethics take centre stage in AI’s development and use,” adds committee chairman, Lord Clement-Jones, in a statement. “The UK has a ...

Is America’s national security Facebook and Google’s problem?

Jamie Metzl Contributor Jamie Metzl is a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Atlantic Council. More posts by this contributor Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement Eleonore Pauwels Contributor Eleonore Pauwels is Director of the Anticipatory Intelligence Lab at the Wilson Center, an international science policy expert specializing in the governance and democratization of converging technologies, and a former official of the European Commission’s Directorate on Science, Economy and Society. Outrage that Facebook made the private data of over 87 million of its U.S. users available to the Trump campaign has stoked fears of big US-based technology companies are tracking our every move and misusing our personal ...

How Facebook gives an asymmetric advantage to negative messaging

Andrew Keen Contributor Andrew Keen is the author of three books: Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo and The Internet Is Not The Answer. He produces Futurecast, and is the host of Keen On. More posts by this contributor Facebook co-founder says its rise reveals the fault lines destroying the “American Dream” 2018 might be Amazon’s year to take a leading role in online advertising [embedded content] Few Facebook critics are as credible as Roger McNamee, the managing partner at Elevation Partners. As an early investor in Facebook, McNamee was only only a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg but also introduce him to Sheryl Sandberg. So it’s hard to underestimate the significance of McNamee’s increasingly public criticism of Facebook over the last couple of years, particularly in the light of the grow...

How to save your privacy from the Internet’s clutches

Another week, another massive privacy scandal. When it’s not Facebook admitting it allowed data on as many as 87 million users to be sucked out by a developer on its platform who sold it to a political consultancy working for the Trump campaign, or dating app Grindr ‘fessing up to sharing its users’ HIV status with third party A/B testers, some other ugly facet of the tech industry’s love affair with tracking everything its users do slides into view. Suddenly, Android users discover to their horror that Google’s mobile platform tells the company where they are all the time — thanks to baked-in location tracking bundled with Google services like Maps and Photos. Or Amazon Echo users realize Jeff Bezos’ ecommerce empire has amassed audio recordings of every single interaction they’ve had wit...

Android Auto now works without wires if you have the right hardware

Android Auto — Google’s system for powering your car’s dash display from your phone, and the company’s answer to Apple’s CarPlay — is going wireless. You can leave your phone in your bag, and it’ll still be able to push your apps and content to your in-dash screen. Alas, there’s a catch: To get it all working wirelessly at this point, you’ll need to have some pretty specific gear. You’ll need the right phone (Pixel or Pixel XL, Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P) and the right head unit — and for now, that means one of just a handful of units announced by JVC/Kenwood earlier this year. The list of compatible devices will grow in time (Google says to expect more “this year”) — but if you want wireless right this second, the options are quite limited.

Is Android Popsicle next?

Barring any sort of major shakeup at Google’s mobile division, there are two things we know for sure about the next Android’s name: it will start with the letter “P” and it will be a dessert food. That already narrows things down quite a bit — you’ve got pudding, pecan pie, peanut brittle… Then, of course, there’s Popsicle — a fact the company might well be alluding to in its new Spring Wallpaper Collection. 9to5Google noted a colorful array of frozen confections in amongst the selections. Granted, it’s not thematically too far from the rest of the outdoor, sunshine-themed offerings. Google’s never shied away from such cheeky suggestions — and it’s certainly teased us before, including in the lead up to Oreo. Though that could just as easily mean it’s a bit of a red herring — remember Andr...

Google’s ‘Semantic Experiences’ let you play word games with its AI

Google does a great deal of research into natural language processing and synthesis, but not every project has to be a new Assistant feature or voice improvement. The company has a little fun now and then, when the master AI permits it, and today it has posted a few web experiments that let you engage with its word-association systems in a playful way. First is an interesting way of searching through Google Books, that fabulous database so rarely mentioned these days. Instead of just searching for text or title verbatim, you can ask questions, like “Why was Napoleon exiled?” or “What is the nature of consciousness?” It returns passages from books that, based on their language only, are closely associated with your question. And while the results are hit and miss, they are nice and flexible...

LG promises to speed up bringing Android updates to its smartphones

LG is making efforts to improve the user experience on its devices after it opened a “Software Upgrade Center” in its native Korea. The new lab will be focused on “providing customers worldwide with faster, timelier, smartphone operating system and software updates,” the company explained in a brief statement. The idea is to help get the latest versions of Android out to more users at a faster pace than it does right now. That’s a genuine problem for Android OEM who are tasked with bringing the latest flavor of Android to devices that already in the market. Issues they have to deal with include different chipsets, Android customization and carriers. The issue has been pretty problematic for LG. Android Oreo, for example, announced by Google last September only began rolling out to the firs...

Google’s latest undersea cable project will connect Japan to Australia

When you’re a company as large as Google, you need to make build versus buy decisions every day, whether that’s buying a company or building the software or renting time on an undersea cable or building your own. Today, the company announced that it’s decided to build another undersea cable. This one will run from Japan to Guam and from Guam to Australia. That’s a lot of territory, approximately 9,500 KM or almost 6000 miles, and it’s a major undertaking. The company doesn’t take a project of this scope lightly, but they felt that it was in their best interest from an economic and technical perspective. The cable has been dubbed JGA and will connect up with the existing Hong Kong-Singapore-Australia cable to build a ring that covers the Asia-Pacific region. Map: Google “JGA is being co-bui...

Apple steals Google’s AI chief

Apple has just poached one of Google’s top AI executives in a move likely to have far-reaching consequences. Apple has hired John Giannandrea, previously Google’s head of AI and Search, The New York Times reports. Giannandrea will lead Apple’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy,” the Cupertino company said in a statement to the Times; he will be one of only 16 executives that report directly to CEO Tim Cook. Just yesterday, The Information (paywalled) had reported that Giannandrea would be stepping down from his role at Google and would be replaced by 19-year Google veteran Jeff Dean. Giannandrea first joined Google in 2010 after it acquired MetaWeb, where he served as CTO. The startup sought to make search results more contextually aware through its hefty database of tagged data. The hir...