Summary of “People love Google’s new feature that matches your selfie to a famous painting”

Do you look like the Mona Lisa? Or maybe more of an American Gothic?
Social media is being flooded with Google’s opinions, at least, as part of a new feature that compares a user’s selfie with the company’s catalog of historical artworks, looking for the just-perfect doppelganger.
The update to the Google Arts & Culture App has catapulted it to the most-downloaded free app on the App Store.
It claimed the No. 1 spot in the U.S. on Saturday, according to the app metrics site AppAnnie.
How does Google do it? The app uses computer-vision tech to examine what is similar about your face to the thousands of pieces of art that are shared with Google by museums and other institutions.
Google says this new feature is merely experimental – the app has been around since 2016.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Our favorite-and least favorite-tech of 2017”

We’ve polled each member of the Ars Technica reviews team about their favorite and least favorite tech products of 2017.
Sometimes there’s a difference between the best tech product of 2017 and your favorite.
Ron Amadeo Favorite: OnePlus 5T. The Google Pixel XL 2 is the best Android phone you can buy, but I’m a sucker for good, cheap devices, so I’ll have to pick the OnePlus 5T as my favorite product of the year.
My least favorite product of the year is probably Samsung’s new voice assistant, Bixby.
We’re used to Samsung shoveling piles of half-baked software out the door with every smartphone release, and sure enough, Bixby is a slow, barely working “Me too” product, with no redeemable qualities.
Siri is useful because it is on all your Apple products.
The Google Assistant is useful because it’s on most Google and Android products and any voice commands access the Google apps you’re using everyday anyway.
Because it’s so dominant, it gets away with driving out better products and services from would-be great tech companies on both the Web and mobile.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This cartographer’s deep dive into Google Maps is fascinating”

Most people who use Google Maps do so without much attention to detail.
So we should trust him when he explains – in depth – about what makes Google Maps so superior to any other mapping service.
“Google has gathered so much data, in so many areas, that it’s now crunching it together and creating features that Apple can’t make – surrounding Google Maps with a moat of time,” he writes.
O’Beirne starts out by marveling at the level of detail available in Google Maps for even extremely small towns, such as the one where he grew up in rural Illinois.
About a year ago, these “Main drags” began showing up in Google Maps as clusters of orange buildings.
What’s most interesting is that Google’s building and place data are themselves extracted from other Google Maps features.
As you’re driving through a city – or being driven, rather – Google Maps can use its accumulated data to pinpoint buildings where you have an upcoming appointment, for example.
With a powerful tool like Google Maps in its arsenal, it could have its leg up over its more established players.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The surprising thing Google learned about its employees”

This post explains what Google learned about its employees, and what that means for students across the country.
Google originally set its hiring algorithms to sort for computer science students with top grades from elite science universities.
In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998.
Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last.
The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others; having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.
Could it be that top Google employees were succeeding despite their technical training, not because of it? After bringing in anthropologists and ethnographers to dive even deeper into the data, the company enlarged its previous hiring practices to include humanities majors, artists, and even the MBAs that, initially, Brin and Page viewed with disdain.
Google takes pride in its A-teams, assembled with top scientists, each with the most specialized knowledge and able to throw down one cutting-edge idea after another.
Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 25 Best New Apps Of 2017”

For all the talk of peak app, 2017 was a surprisingly inventive year for makers of apps and software, from the industry’s giants to intrepid startups.
Many of this year’s best apps reflect broader trends in technology, including machine learning, augmented reality, cord cutting, and the rise of virtual assistants.
We’ve seen plenty of meaty improvements from apps that have been around for years.
Here are the year’s best new apps, new software, and substantial updates.
In one of the most clever applications of iOS 11’s new drag-and-drop feature, Yoink provides a central location for links, text snippets, images, and anything else you might want to drag between apps.
Apple’s own video editing app for iOS, Clips, turns out to be one of the best, allowing you to pan, zoom, add stickers, and translate speech to on-screen text.
As one of many apps that uses Apple’s ARKit framework, Ikea Place solves the age-old problem of figuring out what a piece of furniture would look like in your abode.
One of several apps that helps you navigate across streaming video services, Reelgood, is the most comprehensive with support for more than 250 video sources.

The orginal article.

Summary of “33 Incredibly Useful Things You Didn’t Know Google Photos Could Do”

Google Photos provides unlimited space for cloud-based backups, but there’s a catch: You have to use the service’s “High-quality” setting, which limits photos to 16MP and videos to 1080p resolution.
If you’ve uploaded super-high-res photos or videos at their full original size and are running low on Photos storage, you can retroactively compress those files and reclaim the space by going to Photos’ settings on the web and clicking the “Recover Storage” button.
Using Photos on a Windows PC or Mac? Don’t feel left out: You can find a full list of helpful keyboard shortcuts by pressing Ctrl-? from any area of the Photos web app.
Got images on your phone from Facebook, Twitter, or other downloaded sources? On Android, Photos can back those up to your collection automatically: Open the “Back up & sync” section of the app’s settings, then tap the line labeled “Back up device folders.” You’ll see a list of image-containing folders from your phone’s local storage and can opt to keep any of them synced with your Photos library.
Google Photos has a companion app that makes it incredibly easy to bring printed photos into your digital collection.
Photos also has a little-known link to YouTube, in case you ever feel like sharing some of your Oscar-caliber videos in that venue: Just meander over to the YouTube upload page on the web and look for the option to import videos from your Google Photos library.
Apple’s Live Photos and Google’s Motion Photos are both oodles of fun, but they also both suffer from the same pesky limitation: All the motion in their images is lost when the files are shared directly with an incompatible phone.
Here’s the fix: When viewing any Live Photos or Motion Photos item within Photos, open the overflow menu, and select “Save as video.” That’ll convert your creation into a regular, universally compatible video for all of your friends and family to enjoy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “2017 is the year people asked Google “how?””

The top Google searches in 2017 were quite expected topics.
Apart from those, Google notes that the world also asked more consequential questions including: how much will the wall cost, how many refugees are there in the world, how do hurricanes form, how to freeze credit, and how to help Puerto Rico.
As more people turn to Google to ask “How…?”, the accuracy of search results and Google’s algorithmic rankings have reached a pivotal point.
Google has promoted wildly inaccurate and offensive content this year, and displayed news results from malicious sources on numerous occasions, implicitly giving them authority.
As we’ve previously pointed out, Google essentially holds a monopoly on truth because it’s by far the dominant search engine on the web.
It’s more important than ever for Google to manage the integrity of its search result rankings.
Google’s Year in Search 2017 also reveals other top searches in categories including actors, Global news, and movies.
The lists were compiled based on search terms that Google said “Had a high spike in traffic in 2017 as compared to 2016.”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google and Amazon are punishing their own customers in a bitter feud”

Amazon has just responded to Google’s decision to remove YouTube from all Fire TV products and the Echo Show.
“We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.” YouTube is being pulled from the Show effective immediately, and Fire TV owners will lose out on the popular, essential video streaming app on January 1st. Google says it’s taking this extreme step because of Amazon’s recent delisting of new Nest products and the company’s long-running refusal to sell Chromecast or support Google Cast in any capacity.
Kicking the Echo Show to the curb doesn’t impact nearly as many people, but it still stings since watching cooking videos from YouTube on the Alexa screen in your kitchen seemed like one of the perfect uses for the thing! But since Google is being pedantic and needlessly obsessive over every detail of how the app functions on Amazon’s device, that’s no longer possible.
Sources familiar with Google’s position say the company takes issue with Amazon overlaying its own voice controls on top of YouTube.
Google is dealing Amazon’s devices real damage by withdrawing YouTube, and you could reasonably argue it has the upper hand here.
Is the company under any obligation to sell Google Home – the chief rival to its own Echo? Of course not.
Google says “We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.” Business terms take priority and customers come second.
Amazon and Google, your options are to make this right, take your grievances to the FTC, or go to court.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Big Tech Cannot Stop Shooting Itself In The Foot”

In early October, after the Las Vegas shooting, Facebook’s crisis response page was flooded with spammy and hyperpartisan news, and Google search queries served up links to 4chan, which was spreading hoaxes to politicize the tragedy.
After the Texas mass shooting, Google spread misinformation by listing conspiratorial tweets about the shooter as “Popular on Twitter,” and YouTube’s algorithm surfaced videos propagating a conspiracy theory that the Texas shooter was linked to antifa.
Between election interference, misinformation, and Washington’s growing unease at its unprecedented scale and influence, Big Tech is in the middle of a legitimate crisis of confidence.
“There’s a preexisting bias toward ‘we’re doing good.’ The irony is that Facebook is itself a machine for serving people content that confirms their own biases,” he said.
As anyone who watched Big Tech’s hearings before Congress can attest, Facebook is no longer just the place you go to kill time, and Google is no longer just a really good search engine, and Twitter isn’t just a collection of hashtag games and dumb jokes – they’re massive companies with world-historic power, and they don’t seem to recognize that consumers aren’t approaching them with the good faith they used to.
Which is why the last two months of unforced errors has been so damaging to Big Tech.
Public opinion of Big Tech companies is still high – 88% of respondents view Google favorably; Facebook hovers around 60%. But each unforced error peels back the curtain for a brief moment, allowing us to contemplate their centrality in our lives and the greater culture.
Judging by these companies’ responses, it appears that Big Tech is beginning to feel the heat too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Apple, Google, and the chase for tech that can’t be reverse-engineered”

In simple terms, machine learning promises to be the holy grail for giant tech companies that want to scale peaks that smaller rivals can’t reach.
Google’s HDR+ camera Let’s start with the most impressive expression of machine learning consumer tech to date: the camera on Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 phones.
Even if Google had done nothing whatsoever to improve the Pixel camera in the time between the Pixel and Pixel 2’s launch, the simple accumulation of machine learning time will have made the camera better.
Google’s Assistant At CES in January this year, Huawei’s mobile boss Richard Yu was asked if his company would introduce its own voice assistant in the US, to which he replied, “Alexa and Google Assistant are better, how can we compete?” That uncharacteristically pragmatic response neatly encapsulates the difficulty of copying Google and Amazon’s machine learning efforts.
The Assistant serves as a conduit for funneling users into Google search and the rest of the company’s services, with practically all of them benefiting from some variety of machine learning, whether you’re thinking of Google Maps tips or YouTube video suggestions.
Huawei’s AI chips and Samsung’s Bixby disaster Outside of Apple and Google, Huawei has been the biggest proponent of implementing machine learning and AI in mobile devices.
Huawei is moving in the right direction with this AI push unlike Apple and Google – both of which have turned machine learning into tangible, obvious and user-facing features – Huawei’s approach is to dig into the far less marketable sphere of using machine learning to optimize Android performance over the course of long-term use.
Bixby is what Google Assistant might have been if a company decided to rush it into production devices with inadequate planning, preparation, or time to accumulate a useful amount of data and machine learning knowhow.

The orginal article.