Odds and Ends 

Googles SMILY is reverse image search for cancer diagnosis

Spotting and diagnosing cancer is a complex and difficult process even for the dedicated medical professionals who do it for a living. A new tool from Google researchers could improve the process by providing what amounts to reverse image search for suspicious or known cancerous cells. But it’s more than a simple matching algorithm. Part of the diagnosis process is often examining tissue samples under a microscope and looking for certain telltale signals or shapes that may indicate one or another form of cancer. This can be a long and…

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How parking app SpotHero is preparing for an era of driverless cars

On-demand parking app SpotHero wants to be ready for the day when autonomous vehicles are ubiquitous. Its strategy: target the human-driven car-sharing fleets today. The Chicago-based company, which has operations in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, has launched a new service dubbed SpotHero for Fleets that targets shared mobility and on-demand services. The service aims to be a one-stop shop for car-sharing and commercial fleets to handle all that goes into ensuring there is access and the right number of designated parking areas on any given day…

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WhatsApp reaches 400 million users in India, its biggest market

WhatsApp has amassed more than 400 million users in India, the instant messaging app confirmed today, reaffirming its gigantic reach in its biggest market. Amitabh Kant, CEO of highly influential local think-tank NITI Aayog, revealed the new stat at a press conference held by WhatsApp in New Delhi on Thursday. A WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed that the platform indeed had more than 400 million monthly active users in the country. The remarkable revelation comes more than two years after WhatsApp said it had hit 200 million users in India. WhatsApp —…

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The Unsung 3rd Member of the Apollo 11 Crew Reflects on the 50th Anniversary

On July 21st, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to ever set foot on the moon. The third member of the historic Apollo 11 mission was Command Module Pilot, Michael Collins, whose mission was to bring everyone home. In this animated Google Doodle, Collins reflects on the 50th anniversary of the mission that changed our world forever. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/michael-collins-reflects-on-50th-anniversary-moon-landing/

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Google launches new Assistant developer tools

At its I/O conference, Google today announced a slew of new tools for developers who want to build experiences for the company’s Assistant platform. These range from the ability to build games for smart displays, like the Google Home Hub and the launch of App Actions for taking users from an Assistant answer to their native apps, to a new Local Home SDK that allows developers to run their smart home code locally on Google Home Speakers and Nest Displays. This Local Home SDK may actually be the most important…

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India is investigating Google over alleged Android abuse

More than 95% of the smartphones that ship in India run Android, according to industry estimates. Now the Indian antitrust watchdog is convinced that the nation should investigate whether Google is abusing the dominant position of its mobile operating system to hurt local rivals. The Competition Commission of India (CCI), the local anti-monopoly regulator, began looking at Google’s Android business in India last year after it received a complaint from unspecified people. Last month, the regulator preliminarily found that Google had abused the dominant position of Android in the nation,…

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Headlines 

Alphabet: Google parent company’s shares drop after latest earnings report

Report comes as company faces internal worker turmoil, and a recent $1.7bn fine from the EU Google shares slumped on Monday after the company failed to beat analyst predictions, following a year of internal turmoil, privacy concerns, and several international fines. The companys stock was down 7% in after-hours trading after it reported first quarter revenue of $36.34bn, lower than the $37.33bn revenue forecast by analysts. The quarter one earnings represent a 17% increase from the same time last year, in which it reported $31.15bn in revenue. In a call…

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Headlines 

The UK’s Tech Backlash Could Change the Internet

British officials took a swipe at global internet giants Monday, suggesting rules that would require the companies to proactively remove content the government views as illegal or “harmful,” and giving the government the right to shut down offending sites. The proposals, contained in a 102-page white paper, are aimed at combating the spread of disinformation, hate speech, online extremism, and child exploitation. If enacted as described, they would constitute some of the most stringent and far-reaching restrictions on internet speech by a major western democracy. But critics said the proposals…

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Headlines 

Say goodbye to Google+

Google's robot assistant can make phone calls for you now.Image: Getty Images / ethan miller Sometimes, making an important phone call to set up an appointment can be inconvenient or nerve-wracking. That, or you just don’t feel like doing it. There’s potentially good news on that front. Google Duplex, a Google Assistant-powered phone call service, is finally coming to devices that the majority of people own. According to Google’s support site, Duplex has started rolling out to iOS and non-Pixel Android devices, as spotted by 9to5Google. SEE ALSO: Say goodbye…

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Report: Googles Waymo seeks outside investment and a sky-high valuation

Alphabet’s self-driving vehicle subsidiary Waymo may raise outside capital for the first time at a valuation “at least several times” that of Cruise, the General Motors-owned autonomous vehicle business worth nearly $15 billion, according to a report published by The Information on Monday. We’ve reached out to our sources to confirm. Waymo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Waymo, which is currently celebrating its 10-year anniversary, is a cash-intensive unit. Raising capital from outside investors, a move said to be encouraged by chief financial officer Ruth Porat, would…

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Headlines 

Most Android Antivirus Apps Are Garbage

The world of antivirus is already fraught. You’re basically inviting all-seeing, all-knowing software onto your device, trusting that it’ll keep the bad guys out and not abuse its own access in the process. On Android, that problem is compounded by dozens of apps that aren’t just ineffective—they’re outright phony. That’s the finding of newly published research from AV-Comparatives, a European company that, as its name suggests, tests antivirus products. In a survey of 250 antivirus apps found in the Google Play Store, only 80 demonstrated basic competence at their jobs…

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Google Assistant inserts itself into classic movies in Oscars ads

Just as mobile phones would’ve saved a lot of trouble in Seinfeld, Google’s Assistant would’ve been a saviour in so many classic films. That’s the subject of the tech giant’s new ad for its voice-activated assistant, which aired during the 2019 Oscars on Sunday night. In the ads, Google Assistant steps in for HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and helps Marion Crane avoid the motel in Psycho. In Scream, Drew Barrymore uses a Nest camera to ward off Ghostface, while Lyft is used to get out of an annoying…

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Google ends forced arbitration for employees

Google is finally ending forced arbitration for its employees. These changes will go into effect for both current and future Google employees on March 21. While Google won’t reopen settled claims, current employees can litigate past claims starting March 21. For the contractors Google works with directly, it will remove mandatory arbitration from their contracts. The caveat, however, is that it won’t require outside firms that employ contractors to do the same. Still, Google says it will notify suppliers so that they can see if that approach would work for…

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Google built an entire theme park ride in the CES parking lot

For a lot of companies, the whole point of CES is to get attention — and in this sea of noise, that’s tougher than it might sound. Someone else will always have a bigger screen, or a prettier booth, or a better celebrity guest. So Google tried something a bit… different this year. They built a friggin’ theme park ride. They built a two-story building right in the middle of the Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot, and the ride takes up the entire upper floor. From the pre-ride line…

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Argo AI acquires permit to test autonomous vehicles in California

Argo AI, the self-driving car startup that burst onto the scene in 2017 with $1 billion in backing from Ford, has obtained a permit to test its autonomous vehicles in California. The permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, is for one vehicle and two drivers. Unlike other self-driving car companies, California isn’t the first, or even third, market where Argo AI is testing its tech. The company, founded by former Google self-driving project veteran Bryan Salesky and Uber Advanced Technologies Group’s former engineering lead Peter Rander, has…

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