Amazon Echo Dot ad cleared over cat food order

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A television ad for Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker that caused a viewer’s device to try to order cat food has been cleared by a UK regulator. The advert, which aired in October, featured a man asking Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to order Purina cat food. A viewer said the ad caused their Echo Dot device to respond after hearing the ad on the television. The viewer complained that the ad was “socially irresponsible”. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced that it would not uphold the consumer’s complaint because it…

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You can now use Alexa to send SMS messages

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Amazon announced the launching a new messaging feature for Alexa devices in the U.S. that will allow you to send texts – yes, SMS messages – to your friends and other contacts using your voice. Customers can now ask Alexa to send a message to a specific contact, and Alexa will figure out how to route it appropriately – using either the previously launched Alexa messaging system, or by sending it out as an SMS instead, if the recipient doesn’t have an Alexa device of their own. There is one big…

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Yahoo-backed E-commerce search startup Twiggle gets $12.5M Series A Funding led by Naspers

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E-commerce operator Naspers led a $12.5 million investment that Twiggle will use to expand globally. (Bloomberg)—A Yahoo Japan-backed Israeli startup, Twiggle, has lined up a funding round led by Naspers Ltd., the Cape Town, South Africa-based group known for its early investment in Chinese e-commerce site Tencent Holdings Ltd. Twiggle, a web- and mobile-based service focused on search, aims to license its software to leading online retailing companies around the world and will use the $12.5 million in funding to expand globally. Using machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language…

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Apple Gains Support From It’s Greatest Rivals

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The last couple of weeks have been interesting in the world of tech, as we are in the throes of what might be the biggest tech battle of the decade. As we had reported last week, Apple was facing pressure from the FBI and the Department of Justice to not only hack into the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone but to also create a permanent backdoor into all future versions of the iOS. In the beginning, tech enthusiasts declared their support for Apple but now tech giants have gone a mile…

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WSJ: U.S. Technology Companies Worry About the Backlash They Face in Europe

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By Stephen Fidler:  Europe Pulls Welcome Mat for U.S. Tech Companies One message so far from the corridors around the World Economic Forum in Davos: U.S. technology companies are very worried about the backlash they are now facing in Europe. From their standpoint, Europe risks shooting itself in the foot by rejecting the cutting-edge technologies they have brought to the continent. But they would say that, wouldn’t they? Look at it from the European point of view. Europe once led the world in mobile technology: The Global System for Mobile…

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WSJ: U.S. technology companies are in a pitched battle with Europe’s sovereign states

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Discontent on Continent Highlights Battle Over Economics, Culture, Internet Control BRUSSELS—From Berlin to Madrid, from London to Paris, U.S. technology companies are in a pitched battle with Europe’s sovereign states. It is a clash that pits governments against the new tech titans, established industries against upstart challengers, and freewheeling American business culture against a more regulated European framework. And it poses one of the greatest threats to U.S. technology giants since their emergence from garages and college campuses over the past four decades. First and foremost, the battle is about…

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Amazon to Build Data Centres in ‘Every Large Country’ in Cloud Push

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Amazon.com Inc plans to build data centers in every large country over time as part of a broader investment push that will eventually make the Internet retailer’s cloud computing arm the largest part of its business. In a roundtable with reporters on Wednesday, Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy did not provide a timetable for these investments in the AWS unit, which provides Internet-based computing and data management to corporate clients. Jassy added that the Internet retailer intends to continue investing in AWS, despite investors’ concerns it was spending too…

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Our biggest search competitor is Amazon says Google Boss Eric Schmidt

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BERLIN: Google boss Eric Schmidt said on Monday his company’s biggest competition as a search engine came from e-commerce giant Amazon, not from its traditional rivals. In remarks prepared for delivery in Berlin, Schmidt hit back at accusations that Google as the world’s biggest search engine enjoyed unchallenged market dominance, saying that the sector was targeting the company on several fronts. “Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon,” he said. “People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if…

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book fair targets Internet giants Amazon, Apple and Google

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Organisers of the world’s biggest book fair warned on Tuesday against the domination of Internet giants as the publishing world grapples to blend old and new forms of reading. American giants Amazon, Apple and Google — whose entry into the world of online sales and digital books is threatening the traditional publishing industry — are “logistics magicians but are not publishers”, said Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. “There’s no passion there,” he told reporters as the giant German book fair prepared to open Wednesday. Boos warned it…

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