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.”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Summary of “It’s time to stop trusting Google search already”

As usual, Google promised to improve its search results, while the offending tweets disappeared.
Faith in search engines – a field long dominated by Google – appears consistently high.
Though Google’s text-based search page is clearly a flawed system, at least it makes it clear that Google search functions as a directory for the larger internet – and at a more basic level, a useful tool for humans to master.
Google Assistant turns search into a trusted companion dispensing expert advice.
Even if search is overwhelmingly accurate, highlighting just a few bad results around topics like mass shootings is a major problem – especially if people are primed to believe that anything Google says is true.
Simply shaming Google over bad search results might actually play into its mythos, even if the goal is to hold the company accountable.
Yes, Google search should get better at avoiding obvious fakery, or creating a faux-neutral system that presents conspiracy theories next to hard reporting.
Alongside pushing Google to stop “Fake news,” we should be looking for ways to limit trust in, and reliance on, search algorithms themselves.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Building A.I. That Can Build A.I.”

“We are following the same path that computer science has followed with every new type of technology,” said Joseph Sirosh, a vice president at Microsoft, which recently unveiled a tool to help coders build deep neural networks, a type of computer algorithm that is driving much of the recent progress in the A.I. field.
All of them are selling cloud-computing services that can help other businesses and developers build A.I. “There is real demand for this,” said Matt Scott, a co-founder and the chief technical officer of Malong, a start-up in China that offers similar services.
Google is investing heavily in cloud-computing services – services that help other businesses build and run software – which it expects to be one of its primary economic engines in the years to come.
Neural networks are rapidly accelerating the development of A.I. Rather than building an image-recognition service or a language translation app by hand, one line of code at a time, engineers can much more quickly build an algorithm that learns tasks on its own.
Building a neural network is not like building a website or some run-of-the-mill smartphone app.
In building a neural network, researchers run dozens or even hundreds of experiments across a vast network of machines, testing how well an algorithm can learn a task like recognizing an image or translating from one language to another.
Google said AutoML could now build algorithms that, in some cases, identified objects in photos more accurately than services built solely by human experts.
At the University of California, Berkeley, researchers are building techniques that could allow robots to learn new tasks based on what they have learned in the past.

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Summary of “What I Learned From Reading Every Google Founders’ Letter”

From its unconventional dutch-auction IPO, to giving employees 20% time to explore any interest related to Google, to balloon-beaming Internet projects, Google, and now Alphabet, has been anything but conventional.
1/ It’s search, stupidWhy did Google succeed and endure in the Internet battlefield when almost all other startups have faded into distant memory?
2008Even as Google has grown into a behemoth, they never took their eyes off the prize in search.
2012As the world moves increasingly digital, the core business value of Google is becoming increasingly stronger as they build even stronger network effects into their search business.
From the beginning, Google gave their team members the ability to work on projects outside of search in a 70-20-10 format.
2012But one of the biggest innovation Larry and Sergey made was to appoint Sundar Pichai as the CEO of Google in 2015.
Sundar Pichai, 2015Takeaway: if you don’t make lots of small and smart bets along the way, you might not live long enough to make the big bets.4/ Culture eats strategy for breakfastWhile Hollywood had some fun at the expense of Google in the movie The Internship, Larry and Sergey never took the culture of Google for granted.
IPOLarry was reviewing every hire even in 2007 when there were 17,000 people at Google.

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Summary of “Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt On Fake News, Russia, And “Information Warfare”

In some of the most unequivocal comments yet, the company’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, recently acknowledged to Fast Company that the search giant didn’t do enough to safeguard its services against Russian manipulation.
Schmidt’s comments, from an August 30 interview published as part of a new Fast Company feature about how Alphabet is grappling with digital threats such as fake news and disinformation, offers a preview of how Google may frame its testimony before the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees this week.
“Some of the problems that are being created are being created because the [tech] companies aren’t fixing them,” Schmidt told Fast Company.
Some of the research on the problem of fake news is being handled by Jigsaw, a think tank-like subsidiary previously known as Google Ideas.
Google, in response to growing public criticism since that time, has created initiatives to address the problem of fake news.
Who serves as Jigsaw’s CEO and is also a senior adviser to Schmidt at Alphabet, says the company can’t solve the fake news problem immediately.
“So that’s a really interesting problem, that Google and particularly Jigsaw should be pursuing, whether with fake news sites or more subtle things. Just using the Russians as an example-although plenty of other governments can do this-how would you feel if that stuff gets stronger? Would you be worried about it?” Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be essential to addressing these challenges, he explains, but “It remains to be seen whether some of these algorithms can be used to prevent bad stuff.”
“If there is going to be a regulatory framework that would come out of looking at something like fake news, how in the world are those people going to understand what’s actually happening on the internet if we don’t? It’s impossible. So if we can help understand it, then we can help educate policy makers, and we can also take some prophylactic steps beforehand so we can obviate the need for something that’s very cumbersome.”

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Summary of “Google and Amazon bet on artificial intelligence versus Apple”

Gadgets are going through a major change AI and cloud computing are more important than “Speeds and feeds” The shift benefits Google and Amazon and poses a big risk for Apple.
So far, it’s Google and Amazon leading the charge, even as this shift stands to hit hardware-centric companies like Apple hardest.
Google baked all kinds of artificial intelligence goodness into the Pixel 2.
The Google Assistant is very good – so good, that Apple should be embarrassed about how far behind Siri is.
Suddenly, by applying its considerable edge in artificial intelligence, Google has transformed an unremarkable little machine into a flagship.
While Apple has been investing heavily in R&D, it still can’t match the progress made by Amazon, Google, or Microsoft in AI and cloud computing – you only need to look at the vast difference between what Alexa and Google Assistant can do, versus the limitations of Apple’s Siri.
A lot of the smartest apps for iPhone come from Google itself, including the popular Google Photos app.
It’s no coincidence that Amazon and Google operate their own cloud computing platforms for outside app developers to use.

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Summary of “How Google’s Physical Keys Will Protect Your Password”

The physical keys are an evolution of two-factor authentication, an extra security layer to ensure that your password is being entered by you.
To get started, you will have to buy two physical keys for about $20 each.
Mr. Sabin, the former N.S.A. hacker, who is now a director of network security at GRA Quantum, a security consulting firm, said the physical keys had pros and cons.
On the other hand, if you lose the keys or don’t have the keys around when you need to log in to a new device, it takes longer to regain access to your account.
Ms. Sandvik, who has been testing Google’s program to assess whether to recommend it to the newsroom, said she had not yet discovered vulnerabilities in the security key system outside of the slim possibility that a hacker gained possession of both your password and your key.
The Bottom LineWhile the security keys are easy to set up and provide tough security, they may be disruptive to your productivity if you rely on apps that are incompatible with the keys.
Another example of how the keys can stifle productivity: Many employers still require using the Microsoft Outlook app for email, which won’t work with the keys.
The question is how long it will take security researchers to find a way to hack the physical keys as well.

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