In case you haven’t caught up all of the technology news from this week, here’s your weekly Friday dose of everything tech, from glass iPhones from Apple to Microsoft’s new 5000-member “super-team” for artificial intelligence research to Google’s rebranding of its business productivity apps as “G Suite”, this is the only place you need to come every Friday to get everything you need so you’re that much more informed over the weekend.
Google’s been very busy this week, with several announcements – and even rumors – making their way into the daily news. The Oct 4 event in San Francisco is probably the headliner for Google this week – in four days we’ll probably get to see the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google Home smart speakers, a brand new 7-inch Huawei tablet, a 4K-ready Chromecast dongle and possibly a couple of devices with the new hybrid operating system (Android+ChromeOS) Andromeda OS. The links above will lead you to the relevant news pieces from 1redDrop and other sources, so you can just right-click and open them in new tabs.
Google has also consolidated a whopping 19 of their official English-language blogs into a single entity they are calling “The Keyword.” They’ve also now put voice commands capability into Google Maps, and we think that’s a big move that should have come ages ago.
Facebook has been busy as well, but not in a good way. Last Friday it was reported that Facebook has been miscalculating and misreporting a crucial video metric for the past two years! About a month ago they discovered it and apologized to their partners, but some of them, like Publicis Groupe, are understandably miffed at what they essentially perceive to be a cover-up of the fact, saying that Facebook introduced “new metrics…with new names for what they were meant to measure in the first place.”
Facebook will also be launching its Facebook for Work service on October 10 at an event in London. This is part of their effort to break into the enterprise communications business, an industry thick with competition, including Microsoft’s Skype for Business and Yammer (and also the newly announced Skype Teams that will mirror Slack), as well as HipChat, Slack and other collaboration tools. They’ve already been testing a beta version, and some of the early adopters include the Royal Bank of Scotland, Norwegian telecomm company Telenor and other European enterprise-level companies.
Mark Zuckerberg first announced that he would pledge $3 billion to cure all the world’s diseases within his daughter’s life span, then spun around, logged into his Facebook account and shared some photos of Facebook’s data center in the Arctic city of Luleå, Sweden, which the company says is “10% more efficient and uses almost 40% less power than traditional data centers.”
Facebook is also looking to “do a Google” and spent tons of money on outdoor advertising, urging people to start streaming their live videos on Facebook Live. In addition, they’re also going to reportedly advertise on TV – a first for any social media company, I should think.
Microsoft has been at the Microsoft Ignite conference all week, with CEO Satya Nadella bashing Google for “playing games” with DeepMind, and then proceeding to highlight all the things Microsoft has been doing in artificial intelligence. Later in the week they announced the formation of a 5000-member team comprising several divisions of Microsoft for the purpose of researching artificial intelligence and “infusing” that in everything the company produces.
Microsoft also released a free analytics tool for enterprise users that will allow them to see how their systems will perform after migrating to Windows 10. The tool also tells network and systems administrators what devices might be problematic, which apps need to be updated and fixes for the most common issues.
Amazon will be launching three new original series to its Prime members on Prime Video, and the company has also kicked off a photo printing service called Amazon Prints.
They also announced the Alexa Prize, a $1 million prize for the university that can build an artificial intelligence chat bot that can “keep up its side of the conversation with a human being for 20 minutes.” If nobody wins, the creators of the “socialbot” that performs the best will be awarded $500,000 in prize money.
Amazon Game Studios also launched Stream+, a form of currency that can be used in a new “sports-brawling multiplayer game” called Breakaway, and which will be a first on the popular game-streaming service Twitch.
The Cupertino smartphone major is reportedly building a $45 million research facility to develop hardware in Beijing, China.
There were also rumors about the iPhone 8 – to be launched on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone in 2017 – which will most likely feature a single piece of glass on the display side. This was something we reported a while ago, but now even more evidence points to the same conclusion.
And there’s also talk that Apple’s upcoming wireless earphones – AirPods – are garnering more consumer interest than the Apple Watch series 2.
IBM has been working feverishly on its new Blockchain initiative. They’ve recently completed a successful pilot project with UnionPay China to show how bonus points from various banks can be exchanged or consolidated by card holders.
IBM has also been showcasing a real-time payments system for banks. Once fully rolled out on the back of new payment network infrastructure that’s being built around the world, banks will be able to offer real-time payment settlements for their customers.
IBM is also now a part of a tech giants fraternity called Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (I kid you not!) with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. The group is teaming up to set standards for advancements in artificial intelligence and create a platform for ongoing discussion around the AI space.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our technology news round-up this week. We’ll see you again next Friday, but please don’t be a stranger on other days!
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