Google Wallet is ditching its debit card. “The card, which is linked to the user’s Google Wallet account balance, launched in 2014 in an effort to help people make purchases in stores and also provide Google with data on what people buy offline. “
Oh the silly: Microsoft has created a face-swapping Skype bot. “Project Murphy is billed as ‘the robot with imagination.’ With a keyboard or your microphone, you can ask it to imagine the combination of two things, and it’ll do its best to answer in the form of a robotically-made composite image, sourced from Bing Image Search.”
The government of Qatar has released an online database of private schools in that country. “Locations are displayed on a map of Qatar, with flags denoting which type is curriculum is taught at each school. In addition to browsing schools by neighborhood, users can find information on tuition fees, the size of the student body, contact details and other information.”
Snapchat has gotten a big update. Keep watching Snapchat! “Snapchat just stepped up its one-on-one chat features in a major way. The company added a host of new messaging features to its app Tuesday, including voice and video calling, audio and video notes and stickers.”
I have no idea whether this is amazing or creepy. It’s a tie. A man was offered condolences on the death of his father by the Google Now bot. Read the whole story. This is one of those things I can’t excerpt.
Yeah, it’s advertising of a sort, but this sounds pretty cool: Pinterest has launched “How-To” pins. “How-to Pins are launching today in the U.S., France, UK and Germany on Android and web, with iOS to come in the future, the company said. Jason Costa, product manager for Pins, said that in all more than 25 brands and organizations are providing content for How-to’s free of charge (that is, it costs nothing for the brands to create these Pins in their own Custom Feeds).” Individual users can’t create how-to pins (I hope that’s “can’t create how-to pins YET.”)
Facebook “Instant Articles” are going to get more native ads. Which means you’re going to see more Instant Articles, I suspect. “The move would provide another needed monetization stream to those publishers. Many of them are increasingly relying on native ads because they can command higher rates than traditional display ads, and because they look like real editorial content, readers are more likely to click on them.” Ugh.
Whoa! Microsoft is going to include ad blocking in its Edge browser. “The feature will be available in the next version of Edge, along with support for extensions — which it included in a preview build earlier this month — an integrated Bing translator as well as a list of previously visited pages you can navigate to from a menu tied to the back button.”
Looks like Google’s AlphaGo AI program might get a new challenger – only this one will be an AI program, too. “Scientists from the China Computer Go team will issue a challenge to AlphaGo by the end of 2016, said attendees at an event in Beijing organized by the Chinese Go Association and the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence, according to the report. It did not elaborate on the nature of the challenge.”
The National Security Archive has launched “The Cyber Vault”. “The 2008 Cyber CI plan is just one of the newly-published documents researchers can find in the National Security Archive’s Cyber Vault – an online resource documenting various aspects of US government cyber activity, including hacking and defenses against hacking, cyber intelligence, and cyberwar. The Vault also includes documentation on foreign government and international organizations’ cyber activities. Currently numbering more than 150 curated items, the list will grow with new additions on a weekly basis…. The documents in the Vault’s holdings include US government documents that have been pried loose and made publicly available thanks to systematic use of the FOIA and Mandatory Declassification Review process by Archive staff – led by Dr. Jeffrey Richelson, who directs this new project.”
Google has released a Google Cardboard SDK (Software Development Kit) for iOS. “Google says the toolkit simplifies a whole lot of tasks, such as including spatial audio, head tracking for deeper immersion in the experience and 3D calibration, among others.”
Twitter is working to make its images more accessible to the visually-impaired. “Starting today, people using our iOS and Android apps can add descriptions — also known as alternative text (alt text) — to images in Tweets. With this update, we’re empowering everyone to ensure content shared on Twitter is accessible to the widest possible audience.” I guess you can’t do this on desktop?
CNET UK has an extensive list of “Ok, Google” commands. Play Pacman?
Okay, this is odd: a new startup can help you set up shop in your Evernote account. “In addition to being a central repository of all of your meaningful electronic memory, one of the more interesting features of Evernote is its collaboration abilities. Evernote allows you to communicate, collaborate, and share in real-time with anyone in the world without ever leaving the app. New startup EverSeller is enhancing Evernote’s capabilities by enabling you to turn your Evernote account into an online shop. With EverSeller, you can sell digital access to your notes, e-books, design assets, courses, and stock photo’s all directly from Evernote.”