From the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2018, shipments of AI-imbued speakers grew 95% to 38.5 million units, Venture Beat reports, citing a new report from Strategy Analysics. “The massive fourth-quarter leap isn’t too surprising — a report released by Adobe during the Consumer Electronics Show in January last year found that nearly 76 percent of smart speaker sales occur during the holiday season,” VB writes.
The Hollywood Reporter chats with Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke about various issues, including the unit’s content acquisition strategy and broadcasting live events. “A year after she took the job, the former NBC Entertainment president is cementing her film strategy: a mix of theatrically distributed art house titles and blockbuster swings,” THR writes.
Over the holidays, Walmart enjoyed a 43% rise in e-commerce sales, year-over-year. “The retailer topped analyst expectations, with $138.8 billion in revenue for the quarter, just ahead of the forecasted $138.76 billion,” TechCrunch reports. “Walmart attributed the strong e-commerce growth to the expansion of its grocery pickup and delivery businesses, and a broader assortment on Walmart.com.”
The New York Times suggests that YouTube might have to “punish” some its most popular publishers in order to slow the spread of misinformation. Of course, the video giant has already had to pull the plug on some of its biggest stars for various infractions. Logan Paul infamously spoiled its relationship with YouTube after publishing footage of an individual who had competed suicide.
Among other looming tech trends, The Wall Street Journal says to prepare for foldable phones, 5G, more automated retail experiences, and privacy legislation. As for whether or not the climate will warm for tech company, The Journal says it can’t be any cooler than 2018. Among other embarrassments, “It felt like every week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and friends were apologizing for some major privacy blunder or platform manipulation,” it writes.
Chinese app developers are flooding the Indian marketplace, TechCrunch reports -- citing a new report in Factory Daily, which found that 44 of the top 100 Android apps in India were developed by Chinese firms. “The list of top Chinese apps includes major names like ByteDance, the world’s highest-valued startup which offers TikTok and local language news app Helo.”
Some mental health experts and police officials are calling Facebook’s efforts to address suicidal users as potentially harmful. “Facebook’s calls to the police could also cause harm -- such as unintentionally precipitating suicide, compelling nonsuicidal people to undergo psychiatric evaluations, or prompting arrests or shootings,” The New York Times reports.
Netflix is about to name Spencer Neumann as its new CFO, sources tell Reuters. Neumann would be coming from Activision Blizzard, which appears to be fine with his loss. In a new regulatory finding, in fact, the video game holding company said was preparing to fire Neumann for unspecified reasons.
The European Union plans to fund a bug bounty programs for 14 open-source projects, ZDNet reports. As it writes, “The 14 projects are, in alphabetical order, 7-zip, Apache Kafka, Apache Tomcat, Digital Signature Services (DSS), Drupal, Filezilla, FLUX TL, the GNU C Library (glibc), KeePass, midPoint, Notepad++, PuTTY, the Symfony PHP framework, VLC Media Player, and WSO2.”
Facebook has apologized to evangelist Franklin Graham for briefly blocking his account last week. "A member of Facebook's content review team … had mistakenly decided [a post published by Graham’s account in 2016] violated Facebook’s policy that bans 'dehumanizing language' and excluding people based on sexual orientation, race and other factors," the Charlotte Observer writes.