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Rethinking the User Interface for Consumer Voice Tech
September 9, 2019
Voice can provide a simple, compelling user experience, but the path to adding voice controls to any product, service or application is complex. As dominant tech players continue to develop voice-enabled interfaces and assistants, product designers, developers and manufacturers will be forced to rethink the user experience. For many future homes, voice control will be the primary user interface.
Apple Says Sorry for Listening In on Siri Talks
August 29, 2019
Apple has suspended audits of consumer interactions with Siri, and undertaken a review of practices and policies related to the voice assistant. Before suspending grading, the process involved reviewing a small sample of audio and computer-generated transcripts from Siri requests -- less than 0.2 percent -- to measure how well Siri responded. The goal was to improve the assistant's reliability.
Instagram May Roll Out App for 'Real Friends' Sharing
August 28, 2019
A new application may be in the works that allows Instagram users to share real-time information with their closest friends. Called "Threads," the app allows users to set up automatic sharing with their closest Instagram buddies of such information as location, movement and battery life, as well as text, video and photo messages generated using Instagram's tools.
YouTube as Political Influencer Takes the Spotlight
August 16, 2019
YouTube, which operates as one of Google's subsidiaries, is under increased scrutiny after a report earlier this month highlighted the role it played in the recent presidential election in Brazil. Among concerns is YouTube's installation of a new AI system that can suggest additional videos to watch. The goal arguably is not much different from the way newspapers offer links to other stories.
Spotify for Podcasters Hits the Open Road
August 14, 2019
Spotify has launched Spotify for Podcasters following a year-long beta involving more than 100,000 podcasts from 167 countries. Spotify for Podcasters is a discovery and analytics dashboard designed to let podcasters track performance through data such as episode retention charts, aggregate demographics about listeners, and details on follower growth. Podcast data is updated daily.
Snap Unwraps $380 High-Tech Specs
August 14, 2019
With the announcement of its Spectacles 3 sunglasses, Snap must be hoping three times will be the charm. Unlike the two previous generations, Spectacles 3 has two HD cameras to add depth perception to the peepers' repertoire. "The second camera for depth should improve capture and the overall experience, if not add anything truly new," said Eric Abbruzzese, senior analyst at ABI Research.
The Future of Entertainment Services Authentication
August 12, 2019
New personal identification and authentication technologies have the potential to transform the way entertainment services are delivered, accessed and experienced. These technologies offer a high level of security, often incorporating biometrics such as voice, fingerprint, iris or retinal features, and facial characteristics. Each type of authentication bears its own advantages and disadvantages.
How to Exert Privacy Control Over Your Home Speakers
August 6, 2019
Amazon, Google and Apple have suspended contractor review of consumer recordings following disclosures that the devices are nearly always listening and have captured personal, business and other delicate human interactions. Consumers using smart speakers and digital assistant apps from Amazon and Google can apply some control over their system settings.
Leveling Up From Product Seller to Brand Builder
August 5, 2019
Video traffic is expected to make up 82 percent of all Internet traffic by 2022. This spike coincides with the increased production and distribution of videos throughout every industry. However, the value of video marketing for brands is as old as video itself. The difference now is that there are more opportunities to publish them and reach consumers via social media.
How Tech Could Rescue the Awful Democratic Debates
August 5, 2019
Like many of you, I watched eight-plus hours of Democratic debates last week, and they seem to be getting worse over time. The last effort made it look like CNN was trying harder to create drama than to help people make a choice among the candidates. We have a ton of technology -- some new, some in place for decades -- that could make this process far more informative.
What the CBS Blackout Means for the Future of Streaming
July 26, 2019
CBS went dark across AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV services, days after the seven-year contract between the two companies expired. As the two couldn't come to new terms, CBS and its related channels -- including CBSN, CBS Sports and The Smithsonian Channel -- were blacked out. This latest disruption in service affected viewers in major markets across the United States.
Why We All Need to Learn to Live on Camera
July 22, 2019
I was struck by a recent video of a soldier who apparently took some woman's parking spot and then went off the rails when she objected. He bad-mouthed the U.S. military and the U.S., abused his wife, and put his child at risk. A decade ago we probably wouldn't have seen this incident, but now there is a good chance that anyone who misbehaves, as this guy clearly did, will be caught on camera.
Zoom Flaw Turns Mac Cam into Spy Cam
July 10, 2019
A security researcher has found a flaw in the popular video conferencing app Zoom that could be used to turn on the camera on a Macintosh computer without a user's permission. The vulnerability allows any website to forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without a user's permission, explained Jonathan Leitschuh, a senior software engineer at Gradle.
The Democratic Debate That Wasn't: How Tech Could Help Elections
July 1, 2019
I watched the Democratic debates last week and was struck by three things: I'd likely rather watch paint dry; the application of technology to improve the experience was nonexistent; and I'd bet that if the Democrats don't up their game President Trump will have them to thank when he wins re-election. I'll suggest some ways technology could be used to improve events.
The Growing Menace of Weaponized Deepfakes
June 27, 2019
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently heard expert testimony on the growing threat posed by "deepfakes" -- altered videos and other AI-generated false information -- and what it could mean for the 2020 general elections, as well as the country's national security overall. The technologies collectively known as "deepfakes" can be used to manipulate and falsify images and videos.
What Shifting Data Use Means for Pay-TV and Video Services
June 21, 2019
For many, Netflix was the first wake-up call that a new-generation of online or technology companies could have a significant impact on pay-TV businesses. Over a 10-year period, Netflix grew from a U.S.-only DVD-by-mail service to a force in the international video entertainment industry. Netflix operates in 190-plus countries, and it has approximately 149 million subscribers.
Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer
June 1, 2019
When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interface with Internet users. More often a source for friends to include one another on events they're missing out on, frequent uses of live video streaming felt experimental in nature. What was it all about?
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Report: YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content
April 3, 2019
YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, according to a report that maintained the company has spent years chasing one goal: engagement. The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
August Adds Wireless HD Video Doorbell to Smart Home Line
March 6, 2019
The August View is a wireless doorbell that can stream sharp 1440p HD video. It supports two-way audio, so you can talk to guests via an Internet connection. The View can be paired with August and Connected by August smart locks. That means you not only can speak to visitors remotely, but also can let them into your house. That functionality can be handy for accepting package deliveries.
Microsoft Defends Jumping in AR Bed With Military
February 27, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has defended the company's $479 million contract with the U.S. military -- a commitment that some Microsoft employees strongly opposed. While pledging to engage with employees and consider Microsoft's role as a corporate citizen, Nadella said the company would not withhold technology from institutions in democracies elected to preserve the freedoms of their citizens.
LinkedIn Launches Streaming Video Service as Private Beta
February 13, 2019
LinkedIn has launched an invitation-only private beta of LinkedIn Live, a streaming video feature. The service initially will be available in the United States. After the invitation-only period, LinkedIn will post a contact form on its website for others who want to participate in the beta. The company will broadcast live content from conferences, product announcements, Q&As, and other events.
New Android Apps Come to the Aid of Hearing-Impaired
February 5, 2019
Google has announced two new Android applications designed to make life easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. One of the apps, Live Transcribe, turns live speech into real-time captions by using a phone's microphone; the other, Sound Amplifier, improves a phone's sound output. Live Transcribe, which works on Android 5.0 Lollipop and up, will be available in 70 languages and dialects.
YouTube TV Hits Screens Across Most of the US
January 24, 2019
YouTube TV will be rolling out to an additional 95 markets in the U.S., almost doubling its coverage. The streaming video service already covers the top 100 markets in the country, and the expansion will enable it to reach more than 98 percent of households in the U.S., YouTube said. There are roughly 120 million TV households in the U.S., but only about 108 million households have broadband.
Google Assistant Gets More Features, Greater Reach
January 10, 2019
Google this week debuted a slew of new capabilities for Google Assistant at CES in Las Vegas. The new Connect platform lets device manufacturers incorporate Assistant into their products easily and cost-effectively. Connect uses Google's existing smart home platform to expand to new device types, while making device setup and discovery easy for consumers.
Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content
December 19, 2018
Firework this week released a collection of shows consisting of 12 episodes that will run just 15-seconds each. The first, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," debuted Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday, and another is scheduled for release on Dec. 28. Users can download the episodes via the Firework app, which is now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
AI Meets VR in New Nvidia Tech
December 4, 2018
Nvidia has announced a breakthrough in 3D rendering research that may have far-reaching ramifications for future virtual worlds. A team led by Nvidia VP Bryan Catanzaro discovered a way to use a neural network to render synthetic 3D environments in real time, using a model trained on real-world videos. With Nvidia's technology, worlds can be populated with objects "learned" from video input.
Quirky but Useful Gifts: Rob Enderle's 2018 Personal Tech Product Guide
December 3, 2018
This is the time of year for a product guide. I'm a big fan of products most people don't have that solve a specific work problem, as well as those that could make your life easier, more comfortable or more fun. I like to give gifts that people actually would use. In some cases, due to the cost, these may be things you'd buy only for yourself, a spouse, or a relative you really want to impress.
When the News Went Live... Online
November 15, 2018
The shift of live content from traditional broadcast television to online sources has significantly changed the video industry -- and especially, the news media industry. News typically derives its value and attracts viewers with live updates and real-time engagement. The rise of live online alternatives extends those capabilities to nontraditional voices in the digital realm.
Crisis in Tech: Who Can Save Companies When Execs Go Off the Rails?
October 29, 2018
"Too many digital leaders have lost their minds," Kara Swisher recently wrote, citing some frightening examples of poor leadership. She pointed to the solution adopted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who hired a chief ethical officer -- but I think that would just repeat the mistake we made with chief risk officers around a decade ago. The risk managers had responsibility but no real authority.
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