Forbes has the inside scoop on how Facebook failed to come up with its own voice recognition technology for its Portal video-called device. “Facebook started investing heavily in voice tech from 2013,” it writes. “Yet despite that early start … the company has yet to plant a stake in technology that lets you talk to computers, widely regarded as the next wave of human-to-machine interfaces.”
As part of a broader effort to clean up its network, Twitter is now inviting users to identify accounts they think might be fake. “When a user reports a tweet as ‘suspicious or spam,’ a menu appears asking why,” Fortune reports. “Users can select from a number of explanations, including ‘the account tweeting this is fake’; ‘includes a link to a potentially harmful, malicious, or phishing site’; ‘the hashtags included seem unrelated’; or ‘uses the reply function to spam.’”
Apple has reportedly help numerous acquisition talks with augmented reality startup Leap Motion. Earlier this year, “The company was on the verge of being acquired by Apple, for what insiders said was a figure between $30 million to $50 million,” Business Insider writes. “But then, just days before the deal was expected to close, Apple’s offer mysteriously fell through.”
Google is expanding its Bitmoji-like Mini Stickers with the launch of “Emoji Minis,” TechCrunch reports. “Similar to the initial launch of Mini stickers, the new emoji are also created using machine learning techniques,” it writes. “The company said the idea is to give people a way to use emoji they feel better represent who they really are.”
New York Magazine profiles The Skimm -- the daily newsletter originally tailored to the tastes of upwardly mobile millennial women. “The newsletter is a Frankensteining of clear, sober-minded news aggregation with a tone imitating the way young women supposedly talk to one another,” it writes. “It has grown by more than 100 percent since Donald Trump took office and has 7 million subscribers, twice as many as the New York Times.”
VentureBeat considers the fate of beacons -- those little mobile-friendly transmitters that were supposed to reshape the business of retail. “The consensus roughly five years ago was that radios in restaurants, retailers, and sports stadiums would drive contextually relevant, highly personalized promotions to patrons within range of their wireless signals. Yet, “It didn’t quite work out that way.”
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel recently promoted Kristen O’Hara to the position of chief business officer -- but then changed his mind, Bloomberg reports. In place of O’Hara, Snap hired Jeremi Gorman, who most recently oversaw ad sales at Amazon. “The switch was jarring for Snap’s sales division, as O’Hara was well-liked,” sources tell Bloomberg. O’Hara has since tendered her resignation.
By April of 2020, the UK government plans to introduce a 2% “digital services” tax on tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple, TechCrunch reports. Those digital services include advertising and streaming entertainment, but not online sales. “The UK government expects large companies, and not startups, to ‘shoulder the burden’ of the tax,” TC writes.
Over the past quarter, Facebook says it removed 8.7 million user images of child nudity with the help of some special software. “The machine learning tool rolled out over the last year identifies images that contain both nudity and a child, allowing increased enforcement of Facebook’s ban on photos that show minors in a sexualized context,” Reuters reports.
Twitter is testing “presence indicators,” which The Verge describes as “status indicators to help you describe what you’re doing while you tweet,” as well as conversation-starting “ice breakers.” Bigger picture: “The designs come at a time when Twitter is attempting to promote more positive discussions and to reduce the number of hateful, abusive ones that take place on its service.”