Google launches new AI hardware development tools

Testing and developing AI applications can be a difficult process which is why Google is bolstering its range of AI products and services with three new hardware devices aimed at developers. The devices themselves have not yet been officially announced by the company, though a web page promoting them under a new brand called Coral …

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Net Neutrality Gets a Power-Up from Democrats

Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a bill on Wednesday that would restore Obama-era net neutrality rules, a response to a December 2017 vote by the Federal Communications Commission that basically gutted the regulations that were put in place by the Democrat-controlled FCC in 2015. The 2017 vote had repealed the order that prohibited blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against lawful content, and opened the door for internet service providers to block or throttle content at their own discretion. Today’s bill, proposed by Senator Edward Markey (D–Massachusetts) and Representative Mike Doyle (D–Pennsylvania), would restore the 2015 protections and would bar the FCC from repealing the rules again.

The bill is similar to legislation passed by the US Senate in 2018, when three Republicans—senators Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski [...]  read more

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to move people beneath Vegas

Elon Musk’s Boring Company could land a deal to construct and operate a “people mover” for the Las Vegas Convention Center that will theoretically shuttle people in autonomous electric vehicles at high speeds in a loop of underground tunnels.

It’s not a done deal quite yet. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has recommended that the Boring Company be selected. The LVCVA board will vote whether to approve the recommendation March 12.

The initial design would focus on the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is currently in the midst of an expansion that is expected to be complete in time for CES 2021. The newly expanded Las Vegas Convention Center will span about 200 acres once completed. The LVCVA estimates that people walking the facility would travel two miles from one end to the other, a distance that prompted officials to find a transportation solution.

Potential LVCC Loop Station Locations-Final configuration to be determined by the LVCVA Board.

The initial phase [...]  read more

Google Assistant can now make restaurant reservations in 43 states

The Google Assistant feature built on Duplex tech that makes restaurant reservation calls for you is expanding. Now you’ll be able to use it in 43 US states and, in the coming weeks, it’s expanding to non-Pixel Android and iOS devices, as per a Google blog post.

Sure, the feature’s current capability is more of a cute trick (and lovely for those of us who hate speaking to other humans over the phone), but it represents the first possibilities of what Google’s Duplex technology can do: interface with other humans on our behalf, whether it’s making inquiries or using Google Assistant as a more complex secretary to phone out requests.

That’s all in the future. For now, it’s exciting that this tech is finally coming to more users, especially to those who don’t have Pixel phones.

Duplex possibilities

When Google debuted Duplex tech at Google IO 2018, the feature – again, simply live-demonstrating its ability to make phone reservations – wowed the crowd. Not just by doing a menial task, but by [...]  read more

Google gives Android developers new tools to make money from users who won’t pay

Google today is introducing a new way for Android developers to generate revenue from their mobile applications. And no, it’s not subscription-related. Instead, the company is launching a new monetization option for apps called “Rewarded Products.” This will allow non-paying app users to contribute to an app’s revenue stream by sacrificing their time, but not their money. The first product will be rewarded video, where users can opt to watch a video ad in exchange for in-game currency, virtual goods, or other benefits.

The feature may make developers happy, but it remains to be seen how users react. Reception will depend on how the videos are introduced in the app.

Even in Google’s example of the rewarded product in action – meant to showcase a best design practice, one would think – the video interrupts gameplay in between levels with a full screen takeover. This is not a scenario users would respond well to unless this was presented as the only way to play a popular, previously [...]  read more