MOUNTAIN VIEW — Google has decided to echo Amazon.The search giant is developing an in-home voice-activated Internet device that will be able to answer users queries, play music and control smart home devices, the company announced at its I/O developer conference Wednesday.Dubbed Google Home, the device, which will be out later this year, looks like it s targeted straight at Amazon s Echo.Home will serve as a showcase for Google s new intelligent assistant technology, prosaically named the Google assistant.Google representatives at the conference indicated that consumers will be able to use the device to make or cancel dinner reservations, check flight information, look up sports scores and turn on lights in their home.The device will have a built-in speaker, and owners will be able to use it in coordination with Google s Chromecast Audio product to play music throughout their house.Google didn t say what Home will cost or when exactly it will be available.Amazon s Echo, which the company debuted in late 2014, costs $180.Photo: Google s Home product viewed on a screen above the stage at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View during the keynote presentation at Google s I/O developer on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.Troy Wolverton, Mercury News.Tags: amazon, amazon echo, chromecast audio, Google, google assistant, google home, intelligent assistants, smart home
Swedish-Chinese pair Yu Wang and Sophia Pan is about to be completely under the radar from us at home in Sweden, build the next really big tech success with Swedish roots, writes Breakits China expert and columnist Tom Xiong. Do not let expressions Tinder clone fool you when dejtingappen Tantans rampage discussed: To successfully build a product with millions of users in China is very, very difficult. Tantan can look like a Tinder-copy on the surface - but if it was so easy to just copy Tinder, launch the app and then be really successful - how come all the other Tinder copies in China has failed to exactly this? Most people begin to prepare for the university entrance exam with hard plug 12 hours a day every day of the week during the second year of high school. If you are lucky, so calling her at least and says she set up a dinner with a very nice guy / girl. I want to enjoy it, do not marry and have children!
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Google is getting in on the bots game, joining Facebook and Microsoft.This summer, the search giant plans to launch a new messaging app called Allo, Google representatives announced at the company s I/O developer conference on Wednesday.The app incorporates Google s intelligent assistant technology and is to allow users to accomplish more things without having to launch other apps.By simply typing questions or commands within Allo, users will be able to make dinner reservations, check sports scores, find photos or check their flight reservations.So it can understand the context questions are asked in.So, in one demonstration, Google representatives showed how users could use Allo to find information about soccer star Cristano Ronaldo and then get Allo to find videos of him by just typing best tricks.The Google assistant was able to glean that the user was interested in seeing videos of Ronaldo from the context of the conversation.Google s move into text bots follows Facebook and Microsoft.Meanwhile, Facebook at its F8 conference last month unveiled similar features that are coming to its popular Messenger app.Bots have the potential to make it less important which operating system users have on their smartphones.Troy Wolverton/Mercury News Tags: allo, bots, chatbots, facebook, Google, intelligent assistants, Messenger, Microsoft, Skype, the google assistant
Personal data of more than 100 million LinkedIn users may have been stolen, the company has warned.For nearly four years, everything seemed fine.On Wednesday the company began invalidating passwords for all accounts created before the 2012 theft that hadn t been updated since the breach, LinkedIn said.Regularly changing your password is always a good idea and you don t have to wait for the notification, LinkedIn said in the statement, which was on the company blog.In a tilt at the infamous windmill of criminal hacking, LinkedIn added that it had demanded that parties cease making stolen password data available and will evaluate potential legal action if they fail to comply.People can t rely on organizations to keep their personal data safe, but must take as many steps as possible to secure it themselves, Kennerley said.In this case, ensuring that the password used for LinkedIn is different from other accounts is crucial – this will limit the potential impact on other accounts, including email, which can lead to other, more sensitive, information being stolen.Photo: LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File Tags: Dave Kennerley, email, hackers, hacking, linkedin, passwords, personal data, personal information, Russian, Webroot
Yahoo may sell for less than predicted – but it depends on which parts of the company are sold.A new report suggested that leading suitor Verizon and other bidders are expected to bid $2 billion to $3 billion for Yahoo s core business.But analysts have pegged the troubled firm s value at higher levels, with SunTrust issuing a note last month saying it foresaw bids of $6 billion to $8 billion or more for the core.On Friday, the Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources in reporting that Verizon and additional bidders are expected to offer $2 billion to $3 billion for the core.Some offers could still be above the $2 billion-to-$3 billion range, other people said, and it is generally in the interest of bidders to play down their enthusiasm in an auction, the paper reported.It is also possible that not everyone will bid for all of the core business and that proposals will be structured differently.We think it is unclear as to what is being bid for, and it is important to understand that there are various assets that Yahoo can potentially sell, Peck said in a note issued Friday.Yahoo s patents alone could be worth up to $3 billion, its real estate could be worth $1 billion, and its perpetual royalties  – $90 million last year – from its stake in Yahoo Japan could add another $1 billion in value, Peck said.Peck put Yahoo s core advertising business value at $1.53 billion, and its non-advertising core value  – including Yahoo Japan royalties, patents and real estate – at $3.76 billion.Add further savings and workforce reductions achievable through  strategic synergies between two merging companies, and a buyer could see $8.3 billion of value in Yahoo s core, Peck said.For the next round of bidding, offers are due in the first week of June, but it s not clear whether more rounds will follow, the WSJ reported.The lower-than-expected bids came after weeks of presentations by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, and the firm s release of data that revealed weakening prospects, the paper noted.The company s first-quarter report showed revenue down 18 percent to $860 million, marking the first time revenue dropped below $1 billion since Mayer took charge about four years ago.Photo: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer AP/NBC, Peter Kramer, file Tags: bidders, core, marissa mayer, Patents, Real Estate, Robert Peck, sale, sell, value, Yahoo, Yahoo Japan
Bluetooth LE is normally used to connect wearables to your smartphones.The same concept of using one device to unlock another exists today between the Apple Watch and the iPhone.It's convenient because it saves you having to unlock two devices.This lines up nicely with an earlier rumor that Apple is planning to introduce Apple Pay support for web browsers, which would let us pay for online shopping without having to enter our banking information.So, instead of having to type out a password to pay for shopping from our Macs with Apple Pay, all you'd need to do is unlock your iPhone with Touch ID while you're near your Mac.We'll be learning more about Apple's next big OS X update next month at Apple's annual developer conference WWDC.EXCLUSIVE FREE REPORT:25 Big Tech Predictions by BI Intelligence.More from Tech Insider:A company in North Carolina will give you a Tesla Model 3 if you work for themApple might soon let you unlock your Mac with your iPhone AAPL Google's artificial intelligence is going in the wrong direction GOOG A fearsome crocodile that's known to kill humans has shown up in the US — and no one knows how it got thereAston Martin just revealed a stunning new concept carNOW WATCH: Everything we know about the iPhone 7Loading video...
One of the suppliers that manufactures Apple's iPhone screens is reportedly making a new type of iPhone screen that's expected to be released in 2017, according to Bloomberg.Applied Materials, the iPhone screen supplier, made a large equipment order to retool its production line, which indicates it'll be making the new display for Apple's iPhones.The new screens are said to be of the organic light-emitting diode OLED variety, which offers a brighter, sharper image than the LCD screens currently used on iPhones.The timing of the suppliers' retooling suggests that it'll start making OLED displays for the 2017 iPhone, as opposed to the iPhone coming this fall.Indeed, rumors and analyst predictions claim that Apple is saving the biggest iPhone changes for 2017, which would be the iPhone's 10th anniversary.Those rumors include an all-display front surface that doesn't have borders or bezels, as well as a full glass build similar to the iPhone 4 generation.Samsung has been using OLED displays on its smartphones for years now, and it's true that they're better than the LCD displays used on iPhones.For one, OLED displays can display better blacks, which helps colors and the brightness pop out to look more dynamic and striking.OLED displays can also be brighter and sharper than LCD displays.Either way, we'll have to wait over a year until Apple's fall 2017 event to find out.EXCLUSIVE FREE REPORT:25 Big Tech Predictions by BI Intelligence.Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.More from Tech Insider:Next year's iPhone will have a much nicer screen AAPL Seth Rogen promises 'Preacher' will stay true to its highly controversial comic roots4 ways the Hyperloop will change how we travelHow 'Preacher' came up with that surprising Scientology gag5 details you might have missed in the latest 'Game of Thrones' episodeNOW WATCH: Sorry Apple fans — the iPhone 7 is going to be boringLoading video...
Over the weekend, longtime iOS developer and serial entrepreneur Marco Arment made a splash when he aired concerns that without a serious investment in artificial intelligence, Apple could go the way of BlackBerry.— Adam D'Angelo @adamdangelo May 22, 2016It's a nice idea on paper.Apple is the most valuable company in the world.While it had made some early investments in smartphones with its Windows Mobile business, and had much of the technology, the company's obsessive focus on the Windows PC kept it from pulling these mobile efforts together into a cohesive business.And so, in 2014, realizing that it had fallen far behind, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made what we now recognize as a tremendous mistake: He championed the purchase of Nokia's phone business for $7.2 billion in a Hail Mary play to make Windows on smartphones a thing.It didn't work.And on Monday, research firm Gartner issued a smartphone market report indicating that Microsoft has less than 1% of overall share of the market.EXCLUSIVE FREE REPORT:25 Big Tech Predictions by BI Intelligence.
One might think that Jaron Lanier would be elated right now.More than 30 years after his pioneering work in virtual reality, VR finally appears to be on the verge of becoming a mass market phenomenon.In particular he s concerned about how virtual reality technology will put even more power in the hands of a very small number of already powerful companies.And whenever one side of a relationship has far more information than the other side, there s the potential for abuse, he said.Each of the major VR systems is relying on or developing some kind of pointing device or game controller to allow users to manipulate things in their world.Those types of interfaces may be appropriate for some games and simulations, but they run the risk of limiting what people will be able to experience in VR, Lanier warned.Users might want to be able to sculpt virtual clay and feel its texture as they squish it.A simple button-based controller can t really offer those experiences, but that s what virtual reality should strive for, he said.VPL Research, which was one of the first VR companies and was founded by Lanier in the 1980s, developed a glove filled with sensors that could track movements and could be used to navigate virtual worlds.While it s still early days in VR, the danger is that design choices or moves to standardize the technology today will limit the technology for years to come, both in how people experience it and in how designers envision how it will work.
Like it or not, your Google Maps are going to have advertising pins stuck all over them.A promoted pin for McDonald s might make them want to stop for a bite to eat, Google vice president of product management for AdWords Jerry Dischler said.Pins may have associated text offering discounts and special promotions, he said.using personal features in a privacy-sensitive way.I wouldn t show you Starbucks ads if you don t go to Starbucks often, Dischler said.Google has no plans to let users opt out of seeing promoted pins, Dischler said.The company is working to optimize the pin ads so they don t distract drivers, he said.A Google spokesman said the pins would start to appear by year s end.Photo: Screenshot from Google Maps blogTags: ads, advertising pins, Google, Google Maps
News: EY Attractiveness Survey ranks London highly on investor sentiment.This is according to the latest EY Attractiveness Survey which saw investors naming London as having one of the best chances of creating the next tech giant, second only to San Francisco.The attractiveness of London has helped the UK to become a more attractive proposition for foreign direct investment, although it is the north-west which has been the main draw.By contrast, FDI projects in the south-east fell by 22% compared with 2014.London's rise as one of the best places to invest and the view that it is likely to produce the next big tech giant has been boosted by a thriving tech sector that has seen the likes of fintech become a hot topic.For example, the Competition and Markets Authority recently proposed that banks which offer current accounts should maintain open application programming interfaces and share data in order to force greater transparency for account holders and to increase competition between banks.
Google has been jumping through the required hoops to bring its ultra-fast Internet service Google Fiber to San Jose, but hasn t yet committed to providing it.However, San Jose officials expect that well before summer s end, the tech giant will announce it s going ahead with gigabit-speed Internet in the city.It remains possible that Google would decide not to provide Fiber service in San Jose, but its work to date on the project suggests it will commit to the service.On Tuesday, the San Jose City Council unanimously approved Google s plan to reduce negative impacts from construction of a fiber-cable network, and council also gave Google the OK on site leases for five more huts to house cable and equipment.One additional important approval will come later this summer, for an agreement that Google will pay the city s projected $7 million in permitting and inspecting costs on the project for the following three years, said city spokesman David Vossbrink.Vossbrink said that well before that agreement goes to the council for approval, Google is likely to announce officially that it will bring Fiber to San Jose.Google appears very eager to move quickly, Vossbrink said.Based on the City approvals they ve already secured, the level of their investment and effort to get the project to this point, and their other actions needed to proceed, we re very optimistic that the Fiber  project is very close to beginning construction.Photo: The Google logo  KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images Tags: city council, construction, Google, google fiber, microtrenching, San Jose, trenching
Apple might have to rethink how it names the iPhone.For years, the company has been on a "tick-tock" schedule with each new iPhone release.This year we're on the "tick" cycle, so you'd expect Apple to call the next iPhone coming in September the iPhone 7.This year may be the year of the iPhone 7, but Apple could possibly skip ahead to the iPhone 8 in 2017.If it were up to me, I'd kill off the numbering altogether.EXCLUSIVE FREE REPORT:25 Big Tech Predictions by BI Intelligence.More from Tech Insider:Science says parents of unsuccessful kids could have these 9 things in commonApple may be building more than just an electric car AAPL Google is opening a new driverless car facility near Detroit this yearApple has a huge decision to make about naming the iPhone AAPL This is, quite simply, the best WiFi router you can buyNOW WATCH: 7 tricks buried in your iPhone that only power users know aboutLoading video...
Image caption Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has pledged to tackle abuse on the platformHalf of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.The research comes as five UK MPs - Yvette Cooper, Maria Miller, Stella Creasy, Jo Swinson and Jess Phillips - launch their Reclaim the Internet campaign, in response to growing public concern about the impact of hate speech and abuse on social media.The campaign has opened an online forum to discuss ways to make the internet less aggressive, sexist, racist and homophobic.The Demos study also looked at international tweets and found more than 200,000 aggressive tweets using the words, "slut" and "whore", were sent to 80,000 people over the same three weeks.Researcher Alex Krasodomski-Jones said: "This study provides a birds-eye snapshot of what is ultimately a very personal and often traumatic experience for women."While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it's important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions."
A study into the number of aggressive and abusive tweets sent from UK Twitter accounts revealed large scale social media misogyny.It found that 6,500 unique users were targeted by 10,000 misogynistic and aggressive Tweets.Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey has committed to tackle abuse on the social media platform."While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it's important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions."This is less about policing the internet than it is a stark reminder that we are frequently not as good citizens online as we are offline."According to the study, over 100,000 Tweets mentioned 'rape' between 26 December 2013 and 9 February 2014, more than 1 in 10 seemed to be threatening in nature.
Google s new Home virtual assistant device, Amazon s Echo device and Apple s Siri may break federal child-protection law and expose the companies to millions of dollars in potential fines.That s the conclusion of an investigation by The Guardian newspaper, published Thursday.Both Echo, which houses Amazon s Alexa virtual assistant, and Google s Home, which houses Assistant, are marketed at children, the paper pointed out.In a video promotion for Echo, a pre-teen girl is shown asking her father about the new device, asking, Is it for me?This is part of the initial wave of marketing to children using the internet of things, Jeff Chester, executive director of privacy group the Center for Digital Democracy, told The Guardian.Recording children in the privacy of the home is genuinely creepy, and this warrants additional investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and states,  Khaliah Barnes, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the paper.Under the law, companies can t store young children s personal information, including voice recordings, without verifiable parental consent.Although all three companies store audio files of voice requests in the cloud, none of them use a COPPA-approved method to seek consent beforehand, The Guardian reported.Breaking the act can bring fines up to $16,000 per violation, the paper said, noting that Yelp in 2014 paid $450,000 after it admitted to collecting kids personal information without telling their parents or receiving consent.The federal trade agency specifies that fines can depend on number of children affected and the size of the company – and Amazon has sold some 3 million Echo devices in the U.S. and Apple has sold more than 100 million iPhones, according to The Guardian.Amazon, Google and Apple told the Guardian that they comply with the act, with Apple adding, We don t target kids, according to the report.Of course, one can ask Siri what Cookie Monster is.
Apple was rumored to be ditching the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 in order to make iPhones thinner.But that doesn't seem to be the case if a new set of leaked schematics showing the iPhone 7 dimensions are legitimate.According to these schematics obtained by Czech tech site letemsvetemapplem.eu and unearthed by 9to5Mac, this year's iPhone 7, with its 4.7-inch display, will be 7.2mm thick.The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s are only 7.1mm thick.The site claims the source is from a Chinese Apple parts supplier, which 9to5Mac says has proven to be reliable in the past.The schematics for the iPhone 7 Plus seem to be identical to the current iPhone 6s Plus.It's such a small difference that most people may not even notice, but it does suggest that Apple's reasoning behind ditching the headphone jack has nothing to do with making the iPhone thinner.We could only speculate that Apple may be adding a bigger battery, or it has to make more room for the supposedly larger camera module.Apart from the change in thickness, the newly leaked schematics back up some previous rumors, including redesigned antenna stripes, no headphone jack, and a dual camera for the iPhone 7 Plus and not for the iPhone 7 .However, the leak does back up rumors that the 4.7-inch iPhone 7's camera will undergo some sort of change, as previously leaked schematics and photos show that it looks larger than the camera module on the iPhone 6 generation.And yes, it appears as if the camera bulge will remain in the iPhone 7 line, but as my colleague Rafi Letzter says, that's not necessarily a bad thing.The newly-leaked schematics also show the iPhone 7 Plus with a Smart Connector towards the bottom, which doesn't match with a recent rumor that claims to show the production molds that will apparently shape the iPhone 7's body.It's still totally unclear whether or not any of the iPhone 7 models will have a Smart Connector, but recently granted patents show that Apple has been toying with different ideas for interesting functionality for the feature.Either way, nothing is confirmed until Apple's iPhone event in September, where we expect the iPhone 7 will be announced.EXCLUSIVE FREE REPORT:25 Big Tech Predictions by BI Intelligence.That might be great news!14 innovative features in Volvo's latest electric SUVThis is the oldest tech still used by the US governmentArtificial meteor showers could make a fearsome problem in space much worseNeanderthals built something deep inside a cave that scientists can't yet explainNOW WATCH: 7 tricks buried in your iPhone that only power users know aboutLoading video...
But I understand the case for iPhones: They're reliable, always up to date, and mostly  just work.Ask the average iPhone user why they stick with Apple's increasingly boring, expensive lineup though and the answer is simple: They're used to iOS.Trying to convince one to switch to Android is almost like trying to convince a Windows or OS X user to switch to Linux the niche, techy PC operating system on which Android is in fact based .But Google is on the verge of striking a major blow in the ease-of-use wars: Project Abacus, Google's plan to do away with smartphone passwords almost entirely.With Abacus, due to release in the next several months, Android devices will keep track of biometric markers like walking gate, typing patterns, the look of your face, your location and other things to build an up-to-the moment "trust score"  — a degree of certainty that the person holding your phone is in fact you.Different apps will be able to set different trust score thresholds at which you can use them.This plan could largely kill the lock screen, finger presses, and other obstacles built into the current every day experience of phone use.And as iPhones get less and less interesting compared to premium Galaxies and HTCs, Abacus is exactly the kind of standout feature that could cause buyers on the fence to flip.EXCLUSIVE FREE REPORT:25 Big Tech Predictions by BI Intelligence.More from Tech Insider:America shut down the original NSA because 'gentlemen do not read each other's mail'If you have over 25 photos on Instagram, you re no longer coolWhat it's like to fly on Spirit Airlines, the most hated airline in AmericaThis is about to be the best reason to switch from iPhone to AndroidWatch live: SpaceX is about to attempt another extremely difficult landingNOW WATCH: 7 tricks buried in your iPhone that only power users know aboutLoading video...
Technology giant Apple, already hit with a $625 million patent-infringement award, will have to shut down iMessage and FaceTime if the company that won the award succeeds in an additional court action.Apple in February was ordered to pay Nevada holding company VirnetX $625 million over infringement of four patents addressing secure communications.On Wednesday, VirnetX asked an East Texas federal district court to block Apple from operating its messaging and video-chat apps, and to add another $190 million to the award because Apple was a poster child for unreasonable litigation, according to Law 360.VirnetX has been referred to as a patent troll, a label describing a company existing solely to win patent-infringement awards and settlements without producing products.However, VirnetX claims Apple s patent infringement damaged business opportunities for VirnetX s video-chat and messaging apps, according to Law 360 s report.The suite of apps, called Gabriel, appears to be available by subscription on the company s website.East Texas district courts are notoriously friendly toward patent trolls, with almost half of U.S. patent-infringement lawsuits filed in the district, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.Apple told Fortune magazine in February it planned to appeal the $625 million verdict.The Cupertino firm in 2013 had complained to the Federal Trade Commission that it was the world s biggest target for patent-infringement suits, having been dragged into court 92 times in the previous three years.Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple headquarters in Cupertino Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group Tags: $625 million, Apple, FaceTime, imessage, lawsuit, patent infringement, patent troll, Patents, VirnetX
The new-age taxi company has heard your complaints.It knows you don t like surge pricing, so it s experimenting with getting rid of it.Instead, the company has decided to just hide the fact, to make it less transparent that you are in effect paying a surge price.The company has moved away from identifying surge pricing to users with its UberPool service, Quartz reported.That service attempts to create ad hoc carpools of Uber users heading in similar directions at the same time.Instead of showing Pool users the lightning bolt symbol that indicates when surge pricing is in effect or notifying them that they are paying some multiple of Uber s regular rates, the company just gives them a simple price quote.But by testing the service multiple times during the day, Quartz was able to show that Pool prices weren t fixed, that the company s surge pricing was still basically in effect, it just wasn t alerting users to the fact.Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber s New York operations, confirmed to Quartz that prices for UberPool do fluctuate depending on demand, but the company isn t showing users how much extra they re paying during peak periods.The reason people don t like surge pricing, the Quartz report seems to imply, is not because they feel like they re being gouged by the company when they most need a ride, or that Uber appears to be taking advantage of their desperation.As Quartz puts it, surge pricing puts friction in the market — and that s bad.And really, what s best for Uber is best for everybody, right?Photos: File photo of an Uber decal displayed in the the window of a car owned by a part-time Uber driver.
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