Tag Archives: google

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Me: pandemic masks will make it hard to do face tracking. TensorFlow: we have face AND hand tracking


Yep. See here for more details:

Face and hand tracking in the browser with MediaPipe and TensorFlow.js — The TensorFlow Blog

 

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Another example of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella being effective by being different

Is this: Inside Microsoft’s surprise decision to work with Google on its Edge browser – The Verge.

Years ago Microsoft would have not made such a move. They would have kept trying until the bitter end (e.g. Zune, Microsoft phone). Instead Nadella and team made a  decision based more on what works for the users rather that what works for Microsoft.  It’s not a radical notion in itself, but for a company that prides itself on being successful and dominant, it’s a big switch. And it’s not just here with browsers. Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure, has a range of technology supported. It’s one of the reasons it is successful.

Microsoft has always been a successful company. They were successful under Gates and Ballmer with one approach. Nadella has a somewhat different approach, and I believe they will continue to be successful with it.

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Two ways to get more out of your Sonos One

  1. How to control Sonos with Google Assistant – good if you like / use Google assistant
  2. Sonos speakers now work with IFTTT so you can automate your music – good if you are a fan of IFTTT, like I am

The Sonos One is a smart little speaker. Using Google Assistant and IFTTT.com make it even smarter.

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North, or advances in smart glasses since Google Glass.

Companies keep trying to make smart eyewear happen. First Google. Then Snapchat. Now there’s another company making a go at it. IT Business magazine has details on North, the company trying to make it happen here.

I think these are a big improvement on Google Glass. Is it enough? I don’t believe so. I think greater miniaturization needs to occur, such that there is very little difference between the shape of “dumb” eyewear and the shape of “smart” eyewear.

Meanwhile, we are getting closer to that time when there is very little difference. Stay tuned.

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How confidential are Gmail’s new “Confidential Mode” features?

According to EFF, not very confidential. To see why, read:  Between You, Me, and Google: Problems With Gmail’s “Confidential Mode” | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

 

 

Who are The Frightful Five?


According to the New York Times, the Frightful Five are Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google’s parent company. What makes them frightening?

(The Frightful Five) have experienced astounding growth over the last few years, making them the world’s five most valuable public companies. Because they own the technology that will dominate much of life for the foreseeable future, they are also gaining vast social and political power over much of the world beyond tech.

These companies are getting alot more scrutiny lately. Any organization as wealthy and powerful as they are warrant it. Especially so because we aren’t even certain what impact they have on our societies. I hope the Times and other newspapers continue to give them focus and question their power. And I hope more writers like Scott Galloway examine what these companies do in books like the one he has just written. Most importantly, I hope you continue to seek out information on these companies and question how you interact with them, either directly or indirectly as a member of society.

Some thoughts on the problems Facebook and Google (and even retailers) have with people being awful on their platforms

Google, Facebook, and Twitter are platforms. So are some retail sites. What does that mean? It means that they provide the means for people to use their technology to create things for themselves. Most of the time, this is a good thing. People can communicate in ways they never could before such platforms. Likewise, people can sell things to people they never could.

Now these platforms are in a bind, as you can see in this piece and in other places: Google, Facebook, and Twitter Sell Hate Speech Targeted Ads. They are in a bind partly due to their own approach, by boasting of their ability to use AI to stop such things. They should have been much more humble. AI as it currently stands will only take you so far. Instead of relying on things like AI, they need to have better governance mechanisms in place. Governance is a cost of organizations, and often times organizations don’t insert proper governance until flaws like this start to occur.

That said, this particular piece has several weaknesses. First up, this comment: “that the companies are incapable of building their systems to reflect moral values”. It would be remarkable for global companies to build systems to reflect moral values when even within individual nations there is conflicts regarding such values. Likewise the statement: “It seems highly unlikely that these platforms knowingly allow offensive language to slip through the cracks”. Again, define offensive language at a global level. To make it harder still, trying doing it with different languages and different cultures. The same thing occurs on retail sites when people put offensive images on T shirts. For some retail systems no one from the company that own the platform takes time to review every product that comes in.

And that gets to the problem. All these platforms could be mainly content agnostic, the way the telephone system is platform agnostic. However people are expecting them to insert themselves and not be content agnostic. Once that happens, they are going to be in an exceptional bind. We don’t live in a homogenous world where everyone shares the same values. Even if they converted to non-profits and spent a lot more revenue on reviewing content, there would still be limits to what they could do.

To make things better, these platforms need to be humble and realistic about what they can do and communicate that consistently and clearly with the people that use these systems. Otherwise, they are going to find that they are going to be governed in ways they are not going to like. Additionally, they need to decide what their own values are and communicate and defend them. They may lose users and customers, but the alternative of trying to be different things in different places will only make their own internal governance impossible.