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To: zzpat who wrote (14807)10/6/2017 12:32:55 PM
From: TimF
   of 15077
Are you sure you posted that on the right thread?

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To: TimF who wrote (14808)10/6/2017 3:54:49 PM
From: zzpat
   of 15077
Yes, we were talking about earphones that can translate languages. Then there two links from fake news about sources other than Google who said they have this technology.

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From: Savant10/9/2017 11:49:33 AM
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In these early days of voice commerce there's still room for two retail giants in the space, experts say

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is not letting Inc. run away with the growing voice-commerce market, jumping on Wednesday's Google device announcement with a $25 discount for users who purchase their device from Wal-Mart, place an order with the retailer and link their Wal-Mart account to Google Express.

According to the latest data from Accenture, 89% of shoppers in 2017 are familiar with Alexa, while 77% are familiar with Google Home. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of shoppers are using or would like to use Alexa, while 68% responded in kind about Google Home.

Experts argue that it's still early days for voice commerce, so even if there has been buzz around Alexa and the Echo products, there is room for others.

See also:Everything Google announced at its Pixel event (

"Owning the home is an emerging strategy," said Kathy Gersch executive vice president of strategy execution and change management at Kotter International, a business management consulting firm.

Amazon (AMZN) used its summertime Prime Day event ( to push Alexa-enabled devices, staking its claim on the voice-commerce space. Last week, the e-commerce giant launched a number of new Echo devices ( at varying price points.

In August, Wal-Mart ( announced ( its voice-shopping partnership with Google (GOOGL). Experts say that the partnership elevates the challenge for Amazon and Alexa.

"The industry has been waiting for sellers and technologists to map out a path to compete with the Amazon juggernaut and the rise of Alexa," said Jennifer Sherman, senior vice president of product and strategy at Kibo, an omnichannel commerce software company. "With this move Wal-Mart has unlocked voice-based commerce on devices that already enjoy greater penetration than the Echo, the smartphone.

Read:Here's why flagship stores for retailers like Apple and Starbucks have become tourist attractions (

"Now, with this new development from Wal-Mart, the question for retailers and brands is how they can make their offering discoverable and differentiate themselves in the rapidly increasing voice-first environment," said Sherman.

Matt Sargent, senior vice president of retail at consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, questions whether the Wal-Mart customer would be interested in voice commerce, though he believes Wal-Mart is targeting more than its typical customer.

"Wal-Mart wants to change, doesn't want to serve that same customer base it always has," he said. Acquisitions like and Bonobos show that it is trying to change its brand image.

Prathap Dendi, general manager of business performance monitoring and analytics at AppDynamics, an application intelligence company, agrees voice commerce might not be for everyone.

Don't miss:Artificial intelligence will be important this holiday shopping season even if shoppers don't know it (

Still, he sees some advantages in grocery, an area where Wal-Mart is "King" and already caters to a demographic that has an interest in picking up groceries "on the way home."

"Once you unlock millions of bricks-and-mortar consumers with the omnipresent ability of Google... they can take over," he said.

In this area, Wal-Mart's click-and-collect capabilities could come in handy.

"We know that 78% of consumers have used buy-online-pickup-in-stores (BOPIS) in the past six months, so having that option available right now for Walmart shoppers--especially for grocery products--will be a key differentiator," said Kibo's chief marketing officer Tushar Patel.

Ryne Misso, director of marketing at Market Track, also notes the seemingly speedier decision making at Wal-Mart, which he says is a big takeaway from its Google partnership.

"What we know about Amazon is, despite their size, they tend to be very fast to fill these holes," Misso said, calling that an "underrated element to competing with Amazon."

Also: How Nordstrom is changing the department store game (

"This enables both Google and Wal-Mart to have access to resources that neither had access to standing on their own," he said of the partnership.

Google also has partnerships with other companies including Home Depot Inc. (HD) and Panera Bread Co., which announced Wednesday that members in St. Louis and Silicon Valley can order and pay using Google Assistant.

Wal-Mart shares are up 14.2% for the year so far, while Amazon shares are up 32.4% for the period and Alphabet Inc. shares are up 25.3%. The S&P 500 index has gained 13.7% for 2017 so far and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 15.2%.

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From: FUBHO10/9/2017 6:00:59 PM
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Google Loon gets OK to help in Puerto Rico
by Monica Alleven Oct 8, 2017 6:47pm
Google's Project Loon will get a chance to show how its network of balloons can provide connectivity to the people of Puerto Rico.

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From: Savant10/11/2017 5:39:28 PM
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Credit Suisse analyst says advertisers are back on the platform, raises price target on Alphabet stock to Street-high $1,350

After making headlines by boycotting YouTube advertising purchases, most of the companies that led the charge have resumed spending on the video platform operated by Alphabet Inc., according to a Credit Suisse analyst.

After initial reports that the boycott could have cost the tech titan as much as $1 billion (, the 250-plus companies that suspended contracts with the company have not appeared to have an effect on Alphabet's (GOOGL) (GOOGL) top line. Alphabet apologized for serving ads on pages with extremist content (, but advertisers themselves--or the agencies hired to perform media buys and other tasks--have had tools to filter where YouTube displayed ads, analyst Stephen Ju wrote in a note to clients Wednesday.

"Filters to screen unwanted content have always been available for ad agencies to implement on behalf of their clients," Ju wrote, later adding, "At any rate, we believe nearly all of the advertisers who have publicly announced that they are halting spend are back on YouTube."

Reports from early August ( also suggested that advertisers had begun to return to the platform.

Read:Google survives YouTube ad controversy, for now (

Alphabet declined to comment on the boycott's impact on sales or how many customers have returned to advertising on YouTube. In an emailed statement YouTube reiterated that it was working on handling extremist content on the site, following an August 1 announcement ( of some of the changes.

"We appreciate the trust brands put in us everyday, and know that it's critical we continue to earn that trust by ensuring our systems are working well," a spokeswoman wrote in an email. "With tighter advertising policies and added controls in place to give brands more choice over where their ads appear, we're committed to working with both advertisers and creators to get things right."

With 1.5 billion monthly viewers, YouTube has been responsible for driving a significant amount of ad sales growth ( for Google, but despite new Securities and Exchange Commission revenue recognition rules (, it does not break out the unit's results in quarterly financial statements. In the second-quarter earnings call, executives discussed YouTube nearly as extensively as its search products, according to a rough transcript.

Read:Alphabet earnings keep Google investors in dark (

"The biggest contributors to growth again this quarter were mobile search and YouTube," Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on the earnings call.

In the Credit Suisse note, Ju wrote that he expects YouTube to become a more significant revenue contributor in the future, with the opportunity lying in emerging markets as well as targeting logged-in viewers, which can inflate the price YouTube can charge for its inventory.

Other Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook Inc. (FB) and Twitter Inc. (TWTR) have been scrutinized for displaying offensive content ( in the past and more recently for selling ads to Russian-tied accounts seeking to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In the note Ju wrote that he expects continued strength in mobile search and traffic acquisition costs--a concern for some investors an analysts--to continue to rise through the current quarter and beyond. Ju has an outperform rating and raised his price target on Alphabet stock Wednesday from $1,100 to $1,350, the highest price target tracked by FactSet.

Alphabet's Class A shares cracked $1,000 Wednesday, closing up 1.8% at $1,005.65. Shares of Alphabet have climbed 26% this year, with the S&P 500 index rising 13.9%.

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From: Savant10/11/2017 5:53:50 PM
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From: JakeStraw10/12/2017 10:48:51 AM
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Target takes voice-activated shopping nationwide with Google, joining Wal-Mart in fight against Amazon

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From: Sr K10/12/2017 1:18:14 PM
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ATH 1011.40

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From: Glenn Petersen10/13/2017 9:56:18 AM
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Alphabet and its best-known subsidiary, Google, have put considerable resources into machine learning going back to 1999, the first year that Google acknowledged publicly that it used AI to improve Google Search, then its only product. Once Google decided to get more serious about its cloud computing business and serving enterprise customers—Google Cloud storage officially launched in 2010—it has found more ways to take its AI investment and acumen and use it to serve others.

How Amazon, Google, Microsoft, And IBM Sell AI As A Service

The tech giants with cloud computing businesses are using artificial intelligence offerings to distinguish themselves and win business.

By Fast Company Staff

10.11.1712:30 pm

The success of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant has reverberated throughout the business world, making AI- powered chat the next big thing. [Illustration: Daniel Zender]

Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft have all discovered that the artificial intelligence they use to make their own products better can be turned into a service and sold to corporate customers as a value-added service on top of their booming cloud-computing businesses.

Alphabet and its best-known subsidiary, Google, have put considerable resources into machine learning going back to 1999, the first year that Google acknowledged publicly that it used AI to improve Google Search, then its only product. Once Google decided to get more serious about its cloud computing business and serving enterprise customers—Google Cloud storage officially launched in 2010—it has found more ways to take its AI investment and acumen and use it to serve others. Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud, has admitted that enterprise customers had been wary of Google because the company has been so consumer focused; its AI capabilities have played a meaningful role in winning them over.

Alphabet has two major divisions working on AI: Google Brain and DeepMind, which it acquired for $500 million in 2014. Both groups have worked on applying AI in healthcare, for example, which then allows Google Cloud to better serve businesses in that field. The company’s efforts in image recognition can become valuable for Airbus and other aerospace businesses that need to process and glean insights from large volumes of satellite imagery. All of Google’s work on Google Translate can now help any global business with a call center. Although most of the value in Google’s AI accrues to its own products and services, the company has stated that Google Cloud is one of its fastest-growing business units.

Amazon has a much more natural synergy between its AI efforts and how it can sell those initiatives to others via its industry-leading cloud computing service. As CEO Jeff Bezos wrote earlier this year in his letter to shareholders, “Much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface . . . quietly but meaningfully improving core operations.” The examples Bezos cites include demand forecasting, fraud detection, and translations—all features that any business would value. As our feature on the Great AI War recounts, a sheriff’s department in Oregon pays Amazon about $6 a month to use Amazon’s facial-recognition service on an ongoing basis.

More than any of its rivals, Amazon has electrified the public with its audacious vision for an AI-powered future. Its line of Echo devices, brought to life by the artificially intelligent Alexa, has defined the path for the next generation of home automation and commerce and made voice-powered speakers arguably the hottest segment in consumer electronics. That success has enabled Amazon to release the technology powering Alexa as its own product so that any company can develop its own intelligent voice applications.

This strategy is central to Amazon’s history of success; it has largely always relied upon its ability to transform something it built for itself into something it can then sell to millions of businesses. Amazon started as a mere bookseller and then opened up its marketplace to let other retailers take advantage of its e-commerce platform. After it built warehouses to fulfill orders for customers, it offered Fulfillment by Amazon to those same marketplace businesses. Amazon Web Services started because Amazon had had to build excess computing capacity to support its business during the busiest shopping season; it could then sell that capacity to a host of others. This is how Amazon’s famous “flywheel” works and AI-powered services are its next frontier.

To that end, keep a close eye on the company’s retail concept called Go. It relies on computer vision and machine learning to present a different kind of shopping experience. Amazon has yet to open this new take on the convenience store to the public almost a year after announcing the idea. But once the company gets Go working, do not expect the company to roll out thousands of Go stores across the country. It is far more likely that Amazon will offer up this AI-powered retail infrastructure to existing shopkeepers who will pay Amazon a recurring fee to use it.

Also note that Amazon Web Services currently represents almost 10% of the company’s annual revenue and it is a part of Amazon’s business that investors monitor very closely. The more Amazon can keep AWS humming, the more its entire enterprise thrives.

Unlike Alphabet/Google or Amazon, almost all of Microsoft’s business lies in serving enterprise customers. It is the tech giant most focused on converting AI directly into revenue. “Our company’s identity is fundamentally about creating technology so that others can create more technology,” CEO Satya Nadella told Fast Company recently. “And it’s essential that it is being used for empowering more people.”

Artificial intelligence “is at the intersection of our ambitions,” Nadella told an audience of Microsoft partners in September 2016, suggesting that it will let the company “reason over large amounts of data and convert that into intelligence.” A few months later, Microsoft officially closed its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, giving the company a large amount of data about employees, companies, and recruiting to reason over and try to make smarter.

In August, it debuted a real-time AI system for its enterprise cloud customers, which could help the company win business from companies who want to deploy such business initiatives as dynamic pricing and retail personalization. Microsoft’s mission to help companies in a wide range of industries to be more productive and effective means that it is the one company whose AI work is most keenly connected to its future prospects.

Similarly, IBM’s approach has been to target specific industries, from healthcare to retail, and learn those domains so that its Watson-branded AI (which IBM calls cognitive computing) can alleviate drudge work and wrangle impossibly large sets of data. “There’s a reason we call it cognitive [computing],” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty told the CNBC personality Jim Cramer in June 2017. “It’s about augmenting what you and I do so we can do what we’re supposed to, our best.”

IBM’s argument to customers is that it is the only company offering sector-based AI solutions and those businesses within them can own their own AI rather than just rent it. It’s also made the most overt effort to connect its industrial internet of things initiative to Watson, as best seen in IBM’s 2016 acquisition of The Weather Company for approximately $2 billion. The deal gave IBM access to 2.2 billion forecast points worldwide, a trove of data that Watson churns through to fuel multiple client services. These efforts have generated a lot of attention and Watson is arguably the strongest brand in AI, but they haven’t yet turned around IBM’s business.

A version of this article appeared in the November 2017 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/15/2017 9:47:54 AM
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Google Has Made a Mess of Robotics

Its scattered, ambiguous, frequently abandoned objectives for its string of big acquisitions have hurt the whole field.

By Mark Bergen and Joshua Brustein
October 12, 2017

Illustration: Oscar Bolton Green

In 1982, Blade Runner introduced the world to replicants, director Ridley Scott’s term for the alarmingly lifelike robots of author Philip K. Dick’s imagination. In the past few years, there have been two buzzy follow-ups. One, a Scott-produced sequel called Blade Runner 2049, grossed a disappointing $31.5 million during its Oct. 6 opening weekend. The other, a secretive robotics division at Google named Replicant, has flopped much harder.

Andy Rubin, the Google executive who created Android, began scooping up roboticists in 2013, acquiring at least nine companies in all. The shopping spree, while a side bet next to Google’s search-driven ad revenue, seemed to establish the company as the likely leader in building an army of intelligent machines. Its acquisitions were doing some of the most exciting work in the field, and its vast reach and resources made Google an ideal place to combine those efforts into a single vision. The industry welcomed its new overlord. “People were very enthusiastic about it,” says Rosanna Myers, chief executive officer of startup Carbon Robotics.

Not anymore. None of the acquired companies have robots in use beyond the offices of Google’s now-parent company, Alphabet Inc. At least three key robotics chiefs who joined in that 2013 wave left the company in the last few months, and, because four years is the typical vesting period for Google stock options, they probably won’t be the last. At this point, Myers says, the exodus counts as a win for robotics, since many of the brightest minds in the field have essentially spent the past few years trapped in a time capsule. Ultimately, Google’s run on roboticists “held the industry back more than moving it forward,” she says. Alexa Dennett, a spokeswoman for Alphabet’s skunk works, X, says its robotics projects will likely take at least five more years to come to market because substantial technological advances take time.

Google had tried working in the field before Replicant. As early as 2010 a team began work on “cloud robotics,” systems where groups of robots share data and code and most computing happens on remote servers. It also tinkered with toy robots for kids. The company dropped these efforts because of concerns about market size and privacy, according to people who worked on them. Rubin’s plans indicated that it was taking a much bigger swing.

The companies Google bought were working on a wide range of projects. Boston Dynamics made mobile robots resembling four-legged animals. Redwood Robotics and Schaft Inc. were working on arms, andMeka Robotics was building a humanoid automaton meant to work alongside people in factories. Industrial Perception Inc. specialized in computer vision. Bot & Dolly and Autofuss worked on related applications in media and design. Holomni’s plans vaguely involved mechanized wheels.

Most of the companies were unlikely to yield products in the near term, says Rich Mahoney, who ran the robotics division of researcher SRI International and was on the board of Redwood Robotics in 2013. “My view was that they were all acqui-hires or seeding a range of technologies Google wanted to build future opportunities on,” he says. But it never became clear what opportunities Google was pursuing. Its new robotics division communicated nothing to the outside world, and the company never articulated its vision even to employees who came along with the acquisitions, say people familiar with the division.

Rubin left Google in 2014 to create a venture firm and a hardware-focused startup incubator. Replicant was disbanded soon after his departure, and its workers fanned out across Google, other Alphabet subsidiaries, and elsewhere. Google’s failure to follow through on a broad plan for robotics mirrored similar problems it’s had elsewhere in commercializing technological gains, says Ryan Hickman, a cloud robotics pioneer who now runs home-robot startup TickTock AI Inc. “Google will continue to crank out engineering marvels, but other places are taking the lead on product innovation,” Hickman says.

Google’s difficulties with robotics are hardly unique; most companies in the field fail. But some failures build the foundation for future success. One prominent example is Willow Garage, an incubator that spun off three of the companies Google acquired in 2013. Willow Garage shut down in early 2014 but is responsible for the Robot Operating System, open source software now incorporated into a wide range of equipment. By contrast, Replicant swallowed promising projects and stifled them, says Jeremy Conrad, a partner at hardware incubator Lemnos Labs. “These were some of the most exciting robotics companies,” he says, “and they’re just gone.”

The robotics industry is now worth $24.5 billion, according to VC firm Loup Ventures and trade group International Federation of Robotics. More than half of that comes from industrial machines like those used in e-commerce warehouses. The robotics market is projected to double in five years.

Google hasn’t entirely receded from the scene. Besides Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous-car division, Google is investing in drone development. For the last year it’s also operated what has come to be referred to as the “arm farm,” a room somewhere at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters where at least 10 robotic limbs are being refined to grasp and manipulate various objects. “There’s still a ton of work needed to make robotics less robotic,” says Vincent Vanhoucke, principal scientist at Google. “But we believe these building blocks could lead to big breakthroughs.” A few Replicant projects moved inside X two years ago.

Other behemoths are becoming more prominent. Inc. is steadily pushing automation, including with a robotics division it built from its $775 million acquisition of Kiva Systems in 2012. Toyota Research Institute, a robotics lab the automaker started with a $1 billion investment in 2015, has also been a big draw for researchers. At the moment, none of these places, including Google, looks like the decisive leader, says Mahoney, the former SRI robotics chief. “In the end, it’s going to come down to the right set of people coming together, not just resources,” he says. “That hasn’t happened yet.”

BOTTOM LINE - The top roboticists netted by Google starting in 2013 have been given little direction and have little to show. They’re starting to strike out on their own.

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