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Snapchat Refreshes App to Revive Prospects
April 9, 2019
New augmented reality features, an SDK for Stories, and a games platform highlighted Snapchat's first developer's conference. AR features announced at Snap's first Partner Summit: solving math problems by pointing the app's camera at them; AR effects for monuments, pets and people; buying what the camera sees through Amazon; and identifying songs through Shazam.
Zuckerberg Tries, Tries Again
April 6, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's most recent effort to change the conversation about Facebook seems like just another attempt at self-justification. In a recent op-ed, he places the onus squarely on the shoulders of government to regulate how social media works. "I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability," Zuckerberg wrote.
What Lies Beneath Facebook's Sudden Embrace of Government Regulation
April 5, 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called for greater government oversight and even regulation of the Internet in an op-ed piece published last weekend. Zuckerberg, who famously built the social network by playing by his own rules, said it was time for government and regulators around the world to step up and help rein in the Internet. The main point was to regulate what he called "harmful content."
The Power of Influencer Marketing
April 5, 2019
Influencer marketing uses the popularity of people who have many followers and a wide reach to sway opinions. It's very much a strategy for the social media age. "Influencer marketing is one of the fastest-growing marketing channels today," said digital strategist Shane Barker. "It involves leveraging social media influencers or key leaders to get more people to trust your brand."
With More Than 8 Billion Things, Where Are the IoT Privacy Laws?
April 4, 2019
No one knows for sure how many "things" are connected to the Internet, but the Federal Trade Commission reported last year that it was more than 8 billion, and that it would exceed 20 billion by the end of 2020! Astonishing as it seems, it turns out that U.S. privacy laws do not apply to all of those devices and the data they collect. So, for the third time in three years, the Senate has proposed a new law.
Following Protests, Google Cuts Temps, Vendors, Contractors a Fairer Deal
April 4, 2019
Google has unveiled new minimum standards for temps, vendors and contractors in the United States, in response to demands from an employee coalition that included full-time Google staffers as well as temporary workers and contractors. "Yesterday, we shared an update on some new initiatives to support our extended U.S. workforce," Google spokesperson Jenn Kaiser said Wednesday.
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Report: YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content
April 3, 2019
YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, according to a report that maintained the company has spent years chasing one goal: engagement. The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
Apple's Path to Destruction
April 1, 2019
One of the things I mention very infrequently is that I was groomed to be a CEO from a very early age. My educational background and two programs at IBM gave me a unique view of what kills a company. One of the big company killers -- and Chrysler before Lee Iacocca is a leading example -- is excess product breadth. That is what we just saw from Apple last week.
WiFi, Managed Services and the Home Network: Solving In-Home Connectivity
March 30, 2019
Home networks are a key building block for today's connected home systems and products, and wireless is the dominant method of connectivity for a variety of smart home, computing and entertainment devices. As a result, loss of wireless connectivity can be disruptive to the user experience and seriously impair the value proposition of computing and entertainment devices.
Apple TV+ Is Much More Than a 'Netflix Killer'
March 29, 2019
Apple announced several new services earlier this week. Apple TV+, the star of the lineup, will launch this fall with some high-profile original content -- something that has become key to the success of any OTT streaming service. Apple also announced Apple TV Channels. With this announcement it could be argued that Apple is hedging its bets. channels, as well as other OTT services.
FTC Eyeballs ISPs' Data Privacy Practices
March 28, 2019
The United States Federal Trade Commission has announced an investigation into the privacy policies, procedures and practices of seven Internet broadband providers and related entities: AT&T Inc., AT&T Mobility LLC, Comcast Cable Communications doing business as Xfinity, Google Fiber Inc., T-Mobile US Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Cello Partnership dba Verizon Wireless.
EU Parliament's OK of Online Copyright Rules Fuels Dissent
March 27, 2019
The European Parliament plenary has adopted the "Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market" by a vote of 348-274 with 36 abstentions. Member states will have two years to adopt the directive's rules under their national laws. The directive will require certain online platforms to establish licensing agreements with rights holders for the use of copyright-protected content.
Apple Presents Its Spin on Entertainment and News
March 26, 2019
Apple announced a raft of new services, including original TV programming and news and magazine offerings, at an event held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. The Apple TV+ service, which will launch in the fall, already has a number of high-profile shows in its lineup, including Amazing Stories, a science fiction anthology produced by Steven Spielberg.
Instagram Launches In-App Shopping Experiment
March 20, 2019
Instagram has introduced Checkout on Instagram -- an in-app purchasing tool -- as a closed beta for consumers in the U.S. Among the 20 participating brands are Adidas, Nike, Burberry, Dior, Huda Beauty, Prada and Michael Kors. "Users in the U.S. can buy from a majority of these brands starting today, with all of them coming on board over the coming weeks," said Instagram spokesperson Paige Cohen.
Google Stadia: Future of Gaming or Pie in the Cloud?
March 20, 2019
Google has pulled the wraps off Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform. Using the power of Google's global information infrastructure, Stadia can stream the highest-quality games to any screen, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in announcing the platform, which is expected to come online later this year. Stadia represents Google's vision for the future of gaming.
New Chrome Extension Aims to Make the Web Less Toxic
March 14, 2019
Jigsaw has released Tune, an experimental Chrome extension that lets users hide comments its algorithms identify as toxic. It is available for Mac, Windows, Linux and the Chrome OS. Tune builds on the same machine learning models that power Jigsaw's Perspective API to rate the toxicity of comments. Tune users can adjust the volume of comments from zero to anything goes.
Mozilla Offers Free Secure File-Sharing Service
March 13, 2019
Mozilla has announced Firefox Send, a free encrypted file-sharing service that works in any browser. To share a file, you simply visit the Send site and drag your file to a box on the Web page. Unregistered users may upload up to 1 gigabyte in files, while registered users have a 2.5 GB allowance. After uploading your files, you choose an expiration time for the link used to share them.
Structural Shifts in Semiconductor Industry Spawn New Trends
March 8, 2019
Long-term trends in the technology segment are often the result of structural change. One such change in the semiconductor space was the shift to outsourcing specialized functions, including technology development in the form of intellectual property, chip design, fabrication, and packaging and test. That change has sparked a trend toward customization.
Google Images Now Display Shoppable Ads
March 7, 2019
Google wants to become your digital shopping catalog through shoppable ads. The company on Tuesday said it is testing a new format on a small percentage of traffic with select retailers. Merchants can highlight multiple products available for sale within a sponsored ad among Google Images results. Google is testing this approach on broad queries surfacing on searches like "home office ideas," "shower tile designs" and "abstract art."
Facebook's 2FA 'Security' Practices Violate User Privacy
March 5, 2019
Facebook has undermined privacy on its network by exposing mobile phone numbers provided to secure user accounts through two-factor authentication. That's because anyone can use the numbers to look up a user's account. One doesn't even have to be a Facebook member to do so. Moreover, there's no way to opt out of the setting, although it can be limited to "friends" only.
FTC's Fake Reviews Settlement May Spur E-Commerce Fairness Era
February 28, 2019
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced a settlement of its suit against a company accused of using fake paid reviews to boost sales of its health supplement product on Amazon. The settlement puts vendors and marketing firms on notice that the FTC is committed to rigorous enforcement of rules against fraudulent reviews on e-commerce platforms.
Why You Should Source Foreign Talent for AI, IoT and ML
February 27, 2019
The artificial intelligence revolution has been going on for a while, but that does not mean all of software research and development is part of it. It is, nonetheless, an interesting example of what pushes the software industry forward. The ideas and techniques that brought machine learning into existence were developed over the span of several decades.
Peddling Analog Tools in a Digital World
February 25, 2019
From fountain pens and high-end pencils to unique paper notebooks, analog writing tools have legions of fans, even though we're living in a primarily digital world. It's precisely the physicality of analog tools that makes them appealing to many people immersed in a digital reality. They're grounding and real in a world that has become increasingly ephemeral.
Will Congress Override State Net Neutrality Laws?
February 21, 2019
Way back in the dark ages in May 2011 -- about 2,345 Internet years ago -- I wrote a column about Net neutrality, which was in court at the time. For those of you who are not sure, "Net neutrality" is short for "Internet neutrality" or "network neutrality." The concept addresses user access to the Internet, and the debate around Net neutrality centers on whether ISPs can limit, tier, block or otherwise affect Internet performance.
Google Reveals Its Game Plan for Fighting Disinformation
February 20, 2019
Google has unveiled its game plan for fighting disinformation on its search, news, YouTube and advertising platforms in a 30-page document presented at a security conference in Europe. "Providing useful and trusted information at the scale that the Internet has reached is enormously complex and an important responsibility," noted Google Vice President for Trust and Safety Kristie Canegallo.
Apple's Plans for Subscription News Service Irk Publishers
February 14, 2019
Apple plans to launch a subscription news service at an event next month. Described as "Netflix for news," it would let customers access an unlimited amount of content from publishers for a single monthly fee. It will be based on a reworked version of Texture, the media subscription service Apple purchased last year. The monthly fee for the service is expected to be about $10.
LinkedIn Launches Streaming Video Service as Private Beta
February 13, 2019
LinkedIn has launched an invitation-only private beta of LinkedIn Live, a streaming video feature. The service initially will be available in the United States. After the invitation-only period, LinkedIn will post a contact form on its website for others who want to participate in the beta. The company will broadcast live content from conferences, product announcements, Q&As, and other events.
Zuckerberg's Take on Facebook's History Raises Eyebrows
February 6, 2019
Musing about Facebook's first 15 years, CEO Mark Zuckerberg positioned it as a David confronting a Goliath composed of hierarchical institutions. Facebook gives the masses a voice, he wrote. It brings communities together and provides businesses with low-cost outreach. Progress has been made in addressing the new social and ethical issues raised, including protection of privacy, he said.
Wading Into the E-Book Publishing Waters
February 4, 2019
Writing and publishing an e-book can be a great way to develop your brand, reach a broad audience, and potentially increase sales of your products or services. "Publishing an e-book is part of building and promoting your brand as an authority and thought leader," said Liz Mays, director of sales and marketing for Pressbooks. "It can make you more visible in your industry."
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How important is a candidate's knowledge of technology in winning your vote?
Extremely -- technology is at the center of most of the world's big problems and solutions.
Very -- a candidate who doesn't understand technology can't relate to young people.
Somewhat -- a general understanding is sufficient.
Not very -- choosing good advisers is more important than direct knowledge.
Not at all -- technology is often a distraction from more important issues.