Competitive Edge: Tech Giants spent a combined $80 billion last year on big-ticket physical assets stockpile

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General Motors Co. and Google couldn’t be more different. GM musters an army of people and machines to produce the 10 million cars it sells each year. What Google makes doesn’t really exist: You type on a laptop or click play on a YouTube video, and Google zips back bits of digital information. But Google parent Alphabet Inc. and the other four dominant U.S. technology companies—Apple, Amazon​.com, Microsoft, and Facebook—are fast becoming industrial giants. They spent a combined $80 billion in the last year on big-ticket physical assets, including manufacturing…

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Google reportedly paid millions of dollars in secret data deal with Mastercard to track retail sales

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For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the U.S. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for. The revelation comes amid heightened concern about how much consumer data is consumed by tech companies like Google. Earlier this year, Facebook was criticized when data on as many as 87 million people was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, raising…

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Net giants urge court to reinstate repealed net neutrality rules

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Representatives of internet giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon on Monday urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules. Net neutrality rules, ideally prohibited internet service providers from blocking, throttling or prioritizing most web traffic. The FCC officially repealed in June causing a huge outrcry. The Internet Association (IA) and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), two of Silicon Valley’s most prominent trade groups, filed in support of a lawsuit against the FCC for its repeal of the 2015 regulations late last year.…

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Users Spent a Record 85 Billion Hours In WhatsApp vs 31 Billion In Facebook In The Past 3 Months

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According to app analytics company Apptopia, among all the social media platforms, people globally spent a whopping 85 billion hours on the Facebook-owned WhatsApp in the last three months. By contrast, we’ve only spent 30 billion hours in Facebook, the company says. “It’s clear WhatsApp is the global messaging app of choice,” says Apptopia spokesperson Adam Blacker. “Apps having to do with communication take up most of our time spent on our mobile apps.” The data does not encompass all of China’s third-party Android app stores, or WeChat and other…

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Google brings offline translations for 59 languages to its Translate app

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Currently, when the Google Translate apps for iOS and Android has access to the internet, its translations are far superior to those it produces when it’s offline. That’s because the offline translations are phrase-based, meaning they use an older machine translation technique than the machine learning-powered systems in the cloud that the app has access to when it’s online. But that’s changing today. Google is now rolling out offline Neural Machine Translation (NMT) support for 59 languages in the Translate apps. Today, only a small number of users will see…

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Google is delaying a Chrome audio update that broke countless web games

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Google is partially and temporarily rolling back a recent Chrome change that blocked autoplaying audio, after web developers complained that it had broken countless games and apps. The update rolled out with Chrome version 66 in early May, and it was intended to quiet annoying ads and videos that would drive users toward ad-blocking software. But it also ended up completely removing the audio from interactive web projects that relied on specific commands, which created problems for artists — and doomed any abandoned projects to silence. “The team here is…

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Google will make its paid storage plans cheaper

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Google is rolling out new changes to its storage plans that include a new, low-cost storage plan and half off the price of its 2TB storage option.It’s also converting all Google Drive paid storage plans to Google One, perhaps in part because you’ll now have one-tap access to Google’s live customer service. Google One will get a new $2.99 a month option that gets you 200GB of storage. The 2TB plan, which usually costs $19.99 per month, will now cost $9.99 a month. Finally, the 1TB plan that costs $9.99…

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Google to warn when humans chat with convincing bots

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Google says it will take steps to ensure that humans are not fooled when they get called by software bots that can convincingly mimic the human voice. Anyone called by the bot will be told they are conversing with a machine, Google told tech news site the Verge. The vocal skills of the Duplex bot were demonstrated at Google’s I/O developer conference this week when it was shown booking a hair appointment. The demo left one technology expert “horrified” by what she had seen. Social impact In its statement, Google…

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Google Changes Rules on Election Adverts

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Google is demanding that those placing political ads during the forthcoming US elections must prove they are US citizens or permanent residents. The demand is part of an update to its policies that tries to make political adverts more “transparent”. In addition, advertisers must reveal who has put up the cash for the advert. Social media firms have updated their policies in the wake of revelations that their ad platforms have been abused by Russian propaganda outfits. Google’s new policy follow similar changes at Twitter and Facebook governing who can…

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Google Confirms Its Services Are Casualties Of A Russian Blockage Due To The Recent Telegram Ban

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A shower of paper airplanes were darted through the skies of Moscow and other towns in Russia as users answered the call of entrepreneur Pavel Durov to send the blank missives out of their windows at a pre-appointed time in support of Telegram, a messaging app he founded that was blocked last week by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) that uses a paper airplane icon. RKN believes the service is violating national laws by failing to provide it with encryption keys to access messages on the service (Telegram has refused to comply).…

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