Cortana Makes Smart Thermostat a Glas Act

Microsoft and Johnson Controls this week unveiled Glas, a smart thermostat that runs on Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT Core, a special operating system designed specifically for smaller devices. Glas also utilizes Microsoft’s smart voice assistant Cortana and its Azure Cloud to help users save energy while monitoring air quality in the home. Heating and cooling of a residential home accounts for around 48 percent of energy use, making it the largest energy expense for most families, noted Johnson Controls, a provider of HVAC, fire and security systems, and maker of…

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CoreOS, OCI Unveil Controversial Open Container Industry Standard

CoreOS and the Open Container Initiative on Wednesday introduced image and runtime specifications largely based on Docker’s image format technology. However, OCI’s decision to model the standard on Docker’s de facto platform has raised questions. Some critics have argued for other options. Version 1.0 provides a stable standard for application containers, according to Brandon Philips, CTO at CoreOS and chair of the OCI Technical Oversight Board. Having a standard created by industry leaders should spur OCI partners to develop further standards and innovation, he said. Reaching the 1.0 mark means that the OCI…

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Microsoft Rolls Out Linux Support in SQL Server 2017

Microsoft on Monday announced the availability of its first public release candidate for SQL Server 2017, which includes full support for Windows, Linux and Docker containers. SQL Server on Linux improves on earlier previews with several key enhancements, including active directory authentication; transport layer security to encrypt data; and SQL Server Integration Services that add support for Unicode ODBC drivers. SQL Server 2017 has demonstrated faster performance than competitive databases or older SQL Server versions with new benchmarks, Microsoft said, including the world record TPC-H 1-TB non-clustered data warehousing benchmark…

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Google Brings Machine Learning to Online Marketing Assessment 2017

Google earlier this week unveiled Google Attribution, a tool that uses machine learning to measure the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns across a variety of devices and channels. Part of a series of new measurement tools introduced at Google Marketing Next, Google Attribution aims to help marketers determine what is driving consumers to make their online purchasing decisions. Google is at an “inflection point,” noted Sridhar Ramaswamy, senior vice president of ads and commerce, when it comes to the use of technology to measure online marketing effectiveness. “What’s exciting is…

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Google Gives Up Scanning Personal Gmail

Google recently announced the end of its policy of scanning user emails for targeted advertising purposes — a controversial practice that riled privacy advocates and spurred legal challenges. Gmail is the world’s most widely used email provider, with more than 1.2 billion users. Google attributed its decision to gains it has made in the enterprise. Its G Suite business over the past year has more than doubled in size to 3 million paying corporate customers, who are not subject to the scanning process. “G Suite’s Gmail is already not used…

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Google Launches Go-To Job Aggregation Site 2017

Google on Tuesday announced a highly anticipated launch of its new job search aggregation technology, following last month’s announcement of its Google for Jobs program at the company’s annual I/O conference. The initiative will allow Google users to search for jobs either on mobile devices or personal computers, and to use a set of filters to obtain highly targeted results pulled from many different sites across the Web. During his keynote presentation last month, Google CEO Sundar Pichai noted that the company has wanted to use its machine learning capabilities…

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Google Neutralizes Docs Phishing Scam 2017

A phishing scam that surfaced earlier this week used Google Docs in an attack against at least 1 million Gmail users. However, that amounted to fewer than 0.1 percent of Gmail users were affected, according to the company. Google last year put the number of active monthly Gmail users at more than 1 billion. Google shut down the phishing scam within an hour, it said, through both automatic and manual actions. It removed the fake pages and applications, and it pushed updates through Safe Browsing, Gmail and other anti-abuse systems.…

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Google’s May Count Out Passwords

By the end of the year, Android devs will be able to use a trust API from Google’s Project Abacus in their apps, Google ATAP Director Dan Kaufman suggested at last week’s I/O conference. The API, which will run in the background continually, is aimed at doing away with passwords. It will use a smartphone’s sensors to check users’ current locations, typing patterns and voice patterns, as well as for facial recognition. It will create a cumulative trust score that will authenticate users so they can unlock their devices or…

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Google Calendar Offers Life-Coaching Goals In Feature

Google last week rolled out Goals in Google Calendar, a feature designed to help users achieve their personal goals. Users set a goal, such as working out more often, and answer relevant questions, such as how often they want to work out and the best time for them to do so. Calendar then will sift through their schedules and select the best time to allocate for the task. Calendar uses artificial intelligence, so it will get better at scheduling the more often it’s used, the company said. “With this launch,…

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Burger King Whopper Advertise Creates Mess For Google Network

Burger King on Wednesday in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers’ homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”   The “OK Google” trigger phrase for Google’s artificial intelligence Assistant activated Google Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia’s description of the Whopper. Burger King apparently intended to prompt the Assistant to deliver the glowing description posted on the page. However, the Internet quickly caught…

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Google Resurrects Embrace, Extend

This almost sounds like a plot for a novel. Microsoft creates a successful strategy called “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” and then promptly forgets it, resulting in a string of failures. Google, which up to now seemed happy to repeat Microsoft’s mistakes, accidentally picks up a successful Microsoft practice and uses it against Apple — likely taking out a number of its Android partners in the process. I’ll share some thoughts on the impact of Google’s Pixel phone and related product strategy in the context of Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, and why this…

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Google Fills Nexus Devices With Nougat Features

Google on Monday began rolling out its long-awaited Android 7.0 Nougat release to Nexus smartphones and tablets. The new operating system became available as a beta release, known only as “Android N,” earlier this year. The experiences of developers and other users led to more than 250 new features, including improved multitasking, stronger battery life and tighter security features, noted Sameer Samat, vice president of product development. The new OS provides quick access to settings, so important features like Bluetooth, WiFi and the phone’s flashlight are readily available when needed.…

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Google’s Pixel Phone Wins a Place in the Sun

Google’s Pixel smartphone, which made its debut last month, has gathered some high praise from reviewers. “The Google Pixel is now the best Android smartphone you can buy,” wrote Joanna Stern in The Wall Street Journal. “The other leading contender was disqualified due to spontaneous combustion,” she added, referring to Samsung’s doomed Galaxy Note7, which was recalled for safety reasons. Stern was impressed with Pixel’s display; its high pixel count made the blacks in photos appear deeper, colors more vibrant, and everything sharper. “The AMOLED display makes photos look better…

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Google’s New Fonts Chip at Written Language Barriers

Project Noto, one of Google’s most ambitious undertakings ever, has reached a milestone. Noto now supports 800 languages and 100 writing scripts, the companies announced last week. Google and Monotype launched the open source initiative to create a typeface family that supports all the languages in the world, even rarely used languages. Both serif and sans serif letters with up to eight weights are supported, as well as numbers, emoji, symbols and musical notation. “Noto” is short for “no tofu.” Outside the font world, tofu is something to eat —…

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Google Invites Open Source Devs to Give E2EMail Encryption

Google last week released its E2EMail encryption code to open source as a way of pushing development of the technology. “Google has been criticized over the amount of time and seeming lack of progress it has made in E2EMail encryption, so open sourcing the code could help the project proceed more quickly,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. That will not stop critics, as reactions to the decision have shown, he told LinuxInsider. However, it should enable the company to focus its attention and resources on issues it believes…

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Android Google Aims for One Vehicle Ecosystem

Google showcased the next phase of its automotive strategy at its I/O conference earlier this week, and announced partnerships with Volvo and Audi, which unveiled concept vehicles running its new automotive operating system. Embedded Android for Automotive is an entirely new system rather than an update to the Android Auto that Google launched three years ago. Both Volvo and Audi announced plans to support Embedded Android for Automotive in their next generations of cars. It will allow drivers to utilize Google Maps, listen to Google partner entertainment channels, and ask…

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