Tag Archives: Google’s

Cloud and Data Center Trends Roundup 2016: Machine Learning, Hybrid Cloud and Google’s Enterprise Ambitions

A decade on from the launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud market is continuing to evolve quickly. What was once seen as a toy for test and development purposes now hosts mission-critical workloads for some of the largest companies in the world, while vendors work on the next generation of cloud services, such as those around machine learning.

Business demand clearly shows no sign of abating. Gartner claimed the overall cloud market was valued at $ 208.6 billion in 2016, amounting to a 17.2 percent increase from $ 178 billion the year before.

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Google’s AI is scary good at depicting what’s in your photos


Watch out IBM Watson, Google has its own kickass ‘Show and Tell’ AI and it’s getting pretty damn good at depicting what it sees in photos – and now everyone can use it. Today, the tech giant announced it’s open-sourcing its automatic image-captioning algorithm as a model in TensorFlow for everyone to use. This means anyone can now train the algorithm to recognize various objects in photos with up to 93.9 percent accuracy – a significant improvement to the 89.6 percent that the company touted when the project initially launched back in 2014. Training ‘Show and Tell’ requires feeding it hundreds of thousands of human-captioned images that the machine then uses and re-uses when…

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Google’s smart speaker will be cheaper than the Amazon Echo, report says

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Amazon might be getting a little worried.

Pricing details for Google’s upcoming smart speaker, the Amazon Echo-like Google Home, may have just been leaked and they suggest that Google’s speaker will be a lot cheaper than Amazon’s.

The speaker will sell for $ 129 when it goes on sale later this year, according to a report in Android Police. Google Home, which the company first introduced at its I/O developer conference in May, is a speaker that also has Google Assistant built in. (You can preview the assistant in the company’s new messaging app, Allo.) It can also control smart home devices, complete searches and help you manage tasks like managing your grocery list. Read more…

More about Amazon Echo, Amazon, Google Home, Google, and Gadgets


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Asia’s Quest For Google’s Lunar X Prize

In Asia, where government has long held the reigns in outer space affairs, how does the private competition stack up? The lure of space entrepreneurship is certainly resonating in the region.


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Google’s Magenta project just wrote its first piece of music, and thankfully it’s not great

Deep in the bowels of Google’s Google Brain, the company is asking the question: can neural networks create music? Google’s Magenta project has an answer: yes.

Whether that music is good, however… nah. Google may have annihilated its human competition in the ancient game of Go, but human artists don’t have to worry—yet—about losing their livelihoods. Still, it appears that Magenta could at least drop a riff or two that human artists could remix.

Want to hear it for yourself? Here it is: 

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Following Google’s lead, telecoms and users can join in the fight against robocalls

robocalls

For the first time, Google joined the legal fight last week against robocalls.

It filed suit against a search engine optimization firm in California for robocalls that promised better results from its search engine. It also set up a new Web page for reporting robocall scams.

But even mighty Google can only do but so much to counter the epidemic of robocalls. Carriers can and should do more to combat them, according to Jan Volzke, vp of reputation services for identity management firm Whitepages.

From VentureBeat

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We’re at “at a point where we have no trust in a phone call,” he told me in a recent conversation.

In case you’re one of the six people in the U.S. who haven’t encountered such “extremely urgent” robocalls, here’s one Googlized version that also touts Bing and Yahoo. (Although it’s of the same ilk, it’s not clear if this robocall is from the company Google is suing.)

But things could change. In early summer, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) strengthened carriers’ hand in combatting robocalls.

In a big breakthrough this past June, the FCC gave the carriers the green light to block unwanted calls. The carriers had asked the federal agency to decide if they could legally offer call-blocking, given their common carrier status and other issues. Under common carrier, all traffic needs to be handled in the same manner.

Yes, the agency said. You, the carriers, can block calls.

The FCC also gave consumers additional latitude in how they grant consent and in their ability to block calls. They said consent could be withdrawn at any time, consent is automatically removed if a landline or cell number gets assigned to someone else, and text messages count as robocalls.

Previously, Volzke pointed out, it was difficult to undo consent once you gave it, and “now all robocallers must allow you to get out of it.”

If there is any doubt you have opted out, the FCC clarified that later in the summer — the burden is on the robocalling business to show the user has opted in or that there is an existing business relationship.

Carriers now “need to get serious” about the fight, Volzke said.

As one example of their weak response, he said that carriers offer “these services for a ridiculous $ 4.99 a month to block up to ten [robocalling phone numbers], and then you have to renew it every 30 days.”

He’s not alone in his frustration. The attorneys-general of dozens of states have written to the carriers to take care of this.

But robocalls have not been declining since the FCC’s decision in June. In fact, Volzke said, the amount of mobile spam and robocalls that Whitepages blocks monthly is up about 40 percent since then.

He pointed to several remaining structural issues, such as the fact that unwanted calls can involve multiple carriers and the solution would best be industry-wide. And right now carriers can only block calls as the result of each subscriber’s request — that is, it’s still onesies.

So robocalling — even, probably, robocalling that drops Google’s name — is not going away anytime soon.

As we await the ultimate battle, Volzke offers a few tips:

  • The number one thing that affects the robocalls you get is the amount of consent you’ve given. In most cases, your phone number is the key to granting consent. So, treat your phone number with a level of confidentiality just below that of your Social Security number. He noted with amazement that people list their primary phone number on Facebook and Craigslist, where it can be scooped by a spider.
  • “Get a second phone number” for public postings, he advised, and be careful when you give your number to people or sites you don’t know. “No one reads all the fine print,” Volzke pointed out.
  • If you’re already on robocallers’ list, he suggests getting an app to filter the calls by originating phone number — assuming we’re talking about your smartphone and not your landline. (Not coincidentally, Whitepages offers a robocall- and robotext-blocking app for Android and iOS devices.)
  • Next step up is call blocking for a specific phone number, although the bad guys may well change their number after a while.
  • If that still doesn’t help, and you’re still getting multiple robocalls, Volzke said that getting a new phone number is “sometimes the only option.” That is, until the carriers get their act in gear.

By the way, Whitepages is an identity data company, not the phone book. They are involved in robocall issues because a) phone numbers are a key identifier, and b) they recently bought robocall blocker NumberCop.

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Google’s New Chromecast Reportedly Coming This Month, Spotify Support Also Likely

chromecast

Google’s second-generation Chromecast has been a while in the making, but now there appears to be some fresh leaks on what we can expect to see from it — and when.

The new Chromecast, which almost looks like a party balloon with a USB stick poking out based on newly leaked images, is expected to include the option to pull feeds into the home screen (that could mean social media feeds, for example, but not confirmed), better WiFi (perhaps 802.11ac), a new “Fast Play” feature, and more, according to 9to5Google.

The blog also said in a separate report Thursday that we can expect to see Chromcast support for Spotify’s mobile app.

Google is hosting an event later this month on September 29 where it’s due to unveil two new Nexus devices. If this Chromecast report is true, we can expect to see that there, too.

new-chromecase

Above: Image credit: 9to5Google

Image Credit: 9to5Google

With the original Chromecast, users still experienced a delay when hitting the cast button from a connected smartphone or tablet, so the report predicts that the new Fast Play feature could be around making that experience more seamless — it also ties into the faster WiFi.

Finally, Google is expected to also launch something called Chromecast Audio, according to the leaked documentation obtained by 9to5Google.

From VentureBeat

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“It appears that this could allow your Chromecast to plug directly into any speaker by way of auxiliary cord, providing Chromecast support to any speaker or audio system in your home,” the blog wrote. “This feature will, according to the documents, have multi-room support, the ability to mirror your Chrome or Android audio, and brings ‘high-quality’ audio.”

While Google has continued to push out firmware updates for the original 2013 device, the hardware itself is overdue for an refresh. For fans of the first Chromecast that have been patiently waiting, it looks like your time has finally come.

audio1

Above: Image credit: 9to5Google

Image Credit: 9to5Google

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