🎶 Google updates each business arm; AI, AR at I/O 🎶
It’s to the tune of “Old MacDonald” … Do not sing until Monday!
🎶 Google updates each business arm; AI, AR at I/O 🎶
We often gloss over Google’s accomplishments here at DNRUM HQ (📍: Boothsburg on 16), maybe as they never could quite figure out social (RIP +). However, the company we’re never sure if we’re supposed to call Alphabet now has its hands in pretty much everything else* so let’s take a look at what it announced at I/O.
Google offers its own answer to the iPhone, the Pixel, and it’s working on getting them into the hands of more users by offering a cheaper, pared down version. It’s also integrated the Nest branding to its Home Hub, its flagship smart home device, as well as… pretty much everything else smart home-related. Nest, which Google acquired in 2014, has a near-Xerox synonymy with smart thermostats and other implements, so it could be a good sign.
OR IS IT?!?
Along with the wider industry, Google has been leaning heavily into augmented reality. This week, its Lens technology – which uses your phone’s camera to interact with real-world items – got some new tricks. These include reading signs aloud when scanned – and translating them if necessary – as well as highlighting popular restaurant items when scanning a menu. It also help split a bill and calculate tips. (Now, if it can only remember who had what, and how many, and how to sort out cash vs. card, and … )
Sadly, while AR will be integrating with Google Maps, the lovely fox shown in the demo previously will not be present. Something about getting the “experience right between a helpful AR character and a person”. …Have they seen if Clippy is available?
It’s also tightened up its voice assistant game by cutting back tremendously on the bulk of the tech powering it. Now able to fit on a phone itself, the new Google Assistant promises to be significantly faster.
Also, since I mentioned in the headline, Google’s AI Duplex feature – which enabled resolutions to simple customer service calls – will be rolled out to search results.
Gotta catch ‘em all? Well, here’s Google’s list of 100 announcements at the conference.
*and yeah OK YouTube is more or less a social network
Chris Hughes’ Facebook Breakup Letter TL;DR
We saw it, we skimmed it, we tweeted it… but who’s really got the time to fully read it?!
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes dropped an op-ed piece in the New York Times this week and boy was it … quite a long boi.
TL;DR – Hughes argues that, while big Zuck is a “good, kind person”, he – and not just Facebook – holds too much control over the conversations of billions. As is the case with many op-eds, Hughes’ critique has many points worth considering. For example, it might be worth examining whether one person should hold a 60% majority stake of a company overseeing platforms with a total of 6.2 billion (not unique but still, c’mon) monthly active users.
Spinning out Instagram and WhatsApp sounds gloriously simple as well, but it – uh – totally wouldn’t be.
Facebook representative – and former UK deputy prime minister for those keeping score at home – Nick Clegg, essentially responded that the company shouldn’t be punished for being successful. Rather, that Facebook has been welcoming and working on government oversight to ensure accountability. (COO Sheryl Sandberg was even in Washington this week for discussions even.)
Hughes acknowledges this in his writing, but says it does not go far enough, stating that even a failed break-up would shake up the tech sector enough to keep major players – and not just Facebook – on their best behavior.
Will this go down? Prrrrrobably not any time soon.
Odds + The End
- Apple: bought 20 to 25 companies in the past six months.
- Also Apple: keep us out of tech breakup talk.
- Meanwhile, Bill Gates is out here defending socialism.
- I can see Clippy now: It looks like you’re trying to vote for a fraudulent demagogue. Would you like some help?
- Finally, I agree with Microsoft on something: It wants me to work less.
- Wait, it’s been their strategy all along!
- Look, (A)ma(zon) – no hands!
- Snapchat has the first hit using its new development platform!
- Annnnnd it’s being labelled abusive.
- Instagram got fact-checking.
- But won’t remove them?
- But will remove anti-vaccination hashtags.
- And changed its account banning policies.
- Twitter released a transparency report for July to December of 2018, with a significant decline in suspensions for terrorism and predatory activity.
- In case you *really* need to make fun of the original, you can now add photos and gifs to Retweets.
- If one thing can get Facebook out of this fix it’s in, it’s a better way to say happy birthday.
- You think I’m joking, but it’s worked before.
- Facebook celebrated Small Business Week by announcing automated ads, appointment bookings and more in DC.
- Also, how about those data-rich Facebook Groups, eh?
- Amazon Go stores will now accept cash.
- And so does Google?
- Apparently, Nike’s a tech company now too, and will use AR for sneaker sizing. Can I get a Fingerman take here??
- Andrew Fingerman: But I mean . . . let’s be real: Nike’s been a tech company for years, having created a digital/physical ecosystem that lives across their consumers lives from the daily commute walking down the street on air to how they exercise to new ways to purchase.
- We really are in the Endgame now: The year’s biggest movie will land on Disney’s hotly anticipated streaming platform December 11.
- May 10, 2019