Europe to Spend €1bn on Supercomputers, Facebook Overhauls News Feed, Google Consolidates its Payment Offerings and more news
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1) Twitter has quietly started verifying users again
Twitter, the magical social media platform where rules are implemented and changed as quickly as hyenas appear in the night, seems to have gone about-face on one of its more recent policy changes. Late last year, the company announced it would pause its verification process. The rationale was that the coveted blue checkmark, in a Derridean turn of fate, had lost all its meaning. What was once a measure of verifying whether a Twitter user of public interest was actually who they claimed to be became a sort of status symbol whereby some people (including white nationalists) were bestowed the honor and others weren’t.
Read more at Fastcompany
2) Google consolidates its payment offerings, including Android Pay and Google Wallet, under a single brand: Google Pay
If you’ve ever paid for groceries with Android Pay, used Chrome to automatically fill in your payment info, or purchased an app on Google Play, then you’ve already experienced some of the ways Google helps you pay for things online and in stores. Over the past year, we’ve been working to make these experiences simpler, safer, and more consistent.
Today, we’re excited to announce we’ll be bringing together all the different ways to pay with Google, including Android Pay and Google Wallet, into a single brand: Google Pay. With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind.
Read more at blog.google
3) Morgan Stanley: Amazon could be a $1 trillion company within a year
Amazon may reach the $1 trillion market value milestone in the next year, according to a top Wall Street firm.
Morgan Stanley reiterated its overweight rating for Amazon shares, presenting a “bull case” 12-month price target of $2,000 per share or roughly a $1 trillion market cap.
“Amazon’s high margin [revenue] disclosure speaks to the $1trln ($2,000/sh) sum of parts bull case,” analyst Brian Nowak wrote in a note to clients Sunday entitled “The Math Behind the Trillion Dollar Bull Case.”
“Our sum of the parts methodology looks out to 2022 for the 5 various segments (1P, 3P, AWS, Subscription, and Advertising/Other) and applies multiples based on what we view are appropriate peer groups, factoring in relative growth rates and margin profiles. We discount each segment back to year-end 2018 to arrive at a $2,000/share value or ~$1 trillion bull case.”
Read more at СNBC
4) EU plans to spend €1B by 2020 on supercomputing, aims for an exascale system based on EU tech by 2022; uncertainty over Brexit may result in UK missing out
The European Union will spend one billion euros ($1.2 billion) to try to catch up to China, the U.S. and Japan in supercomputing, the European Commission said Thursday.
But as the initiative launches, uncertainty over Brexit is creating anxiety among British computer scientists that the U.K. may miss out on opportunities from the plan.
The goal of the project is for Europe to acquire two “world-class” supercomputers, capable of at least a hundred million billion calculations per second, and at least two mid-range systems, capable of tens of millions of billions of calculations per second, by 2020. The EuroHPC initiative was launched in March last year, with funding specifics unveiled today.
Read more at Bloomberg
5) Facebook Overhauls News Feed to Focus on What Friends and Family Share
Facebook has introduced sweeping changes to the kinds of posts, videos and photos that its more than two billion members will see most often, saying on Thursday that it would prioritize what their friends and family share and comment on while de-emphasizing content from publishers and brands.
The shift is the most significant overhaul in years to Facebook’s News Feed, the cascading screen of content that people see when they log into the social network. Over the next few weeks, users will begin seeing fewer viral videos and news articles shared by media companies. Instead, Facebook will highlight posts that friends have interacted with — for example, a photo of your dog or a status update that many of them have commented on or liked.
Read more at NY Times
6) IBM led on patents in 2017, Facebook broke into top 50 for the first time
Patents may sometimes get a bad rap for how they are abused (and misused) by some companies for commercial gain, but they also remain a marker of how a tech company is progressing with its R&D and pushing ahead on innovation. For one measure of that advance, today, IFI Claims, the patent analytics firm, published its 2017 list of companies with the most U.S. patents assigned for the year.
At the top of the list, IBM has once again come in at number-one, a position it’s held for the past 25 years. It was assigned 9,043 U.S. patents in 2017, one thousand more than it picked up in 2016, and around 3,300 more than its next-closest assignee, Samsung Electronics.
Rounding out the top 10 list, were Canon, Intel Corp, LG Electronics Inc, Qualcomm Inc, Google, Microsoft, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and Samsung Display.
Read more at Tech Chrunch
7) Toyota will add Amazon Alexa to select cars in 2018
Toyota said Tuesday it will introduce Alexa, Amazon‘s cloud-based voice assistant, in some Toyota and Lexus vehicles in 2018.
The feature will be available in all Toyota and Lexus cars that have the Toyota Entune 3.0 App Suite and Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 in 2018.
The company will add the feature to additional models in 2019. Toyota announced the news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Read more at CNBC
8) More than 100 CEOs urge Congress to protect Dreamers
More than a hundred prominent chief executives are urging Congress to pass legislation to protect young immigrants, calling the looming expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program a “crisis.”
In a letter to House and Senate leaders sent on Wednesday, the group called on lawmakers to pass a bill supporting the so-called Dreamers.
“We write to urge Congress to act immediately and pass a permanent bipartisan legislative solution to enable Dreamers who are currently living, working, and contributing to our communities to continue doing so,” the letter reads. “The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country.”
Read more at The Hill.com
9) 97% of all bitcoins are held by 4% of addresses
Is bitcoin just another toy for the 1%?
It’s a question analysts at Switzerland-based bank Credit Suisse explored in a big note on cryptocurrencies and blockchain sent out to clients on Thursday.
“The concentration of wealth at a small group of addresses – be it individuals or exchanges –means that a few key players in the game can have a massive influence on the bitcoin market,” the bank said.
Those “holders,” as they’re referred to in the crypto world, are holding onto their bitcoin for dear life. As such, wealth in the ecosystem has become very concentrated.
97% of all bitcoin are held by 4% of all bitcoin addresses, according to the bank.
By way of comparison, the wealthiest 1% own just about half of the world’s wealth, according to analysis by Credit Suisse in November.
Read more at Business Insider
10) Apple is about to have a great year — here’s what to expect it to launch in 2018
Apple launched a lot of new phones and computers in 2017, propelling the company to its biggest year — selling 322 million individual gadgets, according to one estimate.
But that was last year.
Right now, in Cupertino, California, Apple engineers, designers, and marketers are working on the iPhones and iPads that will launch this year.
Apple never comments on future products, but thanks to a robust ecosystem of journalists, analysts, and rumormongers, we can put together a pretty good preview of what to expect from Apple in 2018. Of course, release dates and details can change.
Here’s what you can expect Apple to launch this year:
Read more at Business Insider