Google Launch New Online Education Program, Amazon narrows HQ2 Search, Instagram Testing ‘Active At’ Feature and more news
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1) Google Offers Online Course in Jobs Push Amid Concerns About AI
Alphabet Inc.’s Google is launching a new online education program to certify people for work in information technology support, part of the internet giant’s philanthropic push around job training.
Google has poured billions into artificial intelligence, a technology that many expect will render jobs across several fields obsolete. Last year, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai introduced a companywide initiative focused on employment. He announced Google would give $1 billion over five years to nonprofits in the field.
The new program, developed with online education firm Coursera Inc., is designed to help people without formal training or college degrees find IT jobs at large companies. “As technology advances change or replace more jobs, we must create more pathways for people to jump into the new, high-paying careers of the future,” Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera’s CEO, said in a statement.
Read more at Bloomberg
2) Amazon narrows HQ2 search to 20 cities, moving to next phase in contest for $5B economic prize
Amazon has selected 20 cities to move to the next phase in its HQ2 selection process, the latest twist in an unprecedented headquarters search that has turned into a national curiosity.
The cities, named by the company this morning, are Toronto, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, Boston, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., Raleigh, Northern Virginia, Atlanta, and Miami.
“In the coming months, Amazon will work with each of the candidate locations to dive deeper into their proposals, request additional information, and evaluate the feasibility of a future partnership that can accommodate the company’s hiring plans as well as benefit its employees and the local community. Amazon expects to make a decision in 2018,” the company says in a news release.
Los Angeles is the only West Coast representative on the list of 20 cities, which is concentrated heavily in the Midwest and the Northeast. No cities from the Pacific Northwest made the cut, confirming that Amazon is focusing on other parts of the country to differentiate from its longtime home in Seattle. This is despite bids by the economic development officials in the Seattle region, Tacoma and Portland in the Pacific Northwest.
Read more at Geekwire.com
3) Bitcoin briefly dips below $10,000 on Coinbase, and ethereum crashes too
Bitcoin briefly plunged below $10,000 late Tuesday afternoon on Coinbase, after first topping the psychologically key level in late November.
Other major digital currencies also sold off sharply. Digital currency ethereum plunged 30 percent Tuesday, to below $1,000, while ripple fell below $1.
In fact, nearly every major cryptocurrency suffered massive losses during the day.
Ethereum traded at about $1,062 as of 8:12 p.m. ET. That represented a sizable rebound after hitting a low of $854 earlier in the afternoon. Coinbase is the leading U.S. marketplace for trading bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash.
But at around 10:50 p.m. ET, the price of ethereum fell below $1,000 again to trade at $973.
Read more at CNBC
4) IBM Revenue Grows for the First Time Since 2012
International Business Machines Corp. IBM 0.28% reported higher revenue for the first time in 23 quarters and signaled continued growth into 2018, giving Chief Executive Ginni Rometty breathing space as she tries to turn around the century-old tech giant.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 3.6% to $22.54 billion. The last time IBM had revenue growth from the prior year was the first quarter of 2012, Ms. Rometty’s first as chief.
Several factors drove growth in the latest quarter: sales of industrial-strength computers—which the company typically refreshes every few years— rose 32% to $3.33 billion, while cloud-computing revenue climbed 30% to $5.5 billion. Also, currency exchange rates have been working in IBM’s favor lately, accounting for 3 percentage points of the quarter’s revenue growth after years of being a headwind.
IBM said it took a $5.5 billion charge related to the new U.S. tax law, helping to push it into the red for the period. Its tax rate, excluding the charge but including certain one-time benefits, was 6%.
Read more at WSJ
5) Facebook’s Adam Mosseri on why you’ll see less video, more from friends
Facebook on Thursday announced sweeping changes to the way it plans to manage the newsfeed, the front door to the service for its 2 billion monthly users. Under the new regime, Facebook says users will see more content from friends and family, and less from brands and publishers. The new algorithm also will favor content that draws a lot of comments over posts that are popular, but don’t elicit comments.
Fred Vogelstein sat down with Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s vice-president in charge of newsfeed, to discuss the changes and why Facebook thinks they are necessary. Edited excerpts follow:
Read more at Wired
6) Computers are getting better than humans at reading
Artificial intelligence programs built by Alibaba (BABA) and Microsoft (MSFT) have beaten humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test.
“This is the first time that a machine has outperformed humans on such a test,” Alibaba said in a statement Monday.
The test was devised by artificial intelligence experts at Stanford to measure computers’ growing reading abilities. Alibaba’s software was the first to beat the human score.
Read more at CNN
7) CES 2018: Real Advances, Real Progress, Real Questions
CES is huge, and it matters. CES 2018 was interesting but not earth-shattering, but if you go thinking it is going to be earth-shattering then you will be disappointed this year just as you would have been for just about any show in the past.
After my 3 days and 87,207 steps I offer these five observations about the direction of products and technology on display at CES.
Read more at Medium
8) ‘It Took Us by Surprise’: Even Google Was Shocked by the Success of Its Megaviral Face-Matching Art App
The search behemoth’s app was all the rage on social media this weekend.
Googling yourself took on a whole new meaning this weekend. That’s because a Google app that matches your face with artworks from museums around the globe not only rocketed to the top of your social feed, but also became the number one free app on the iOS app store, according to the company.
“It took us by surprise,” said Patrick Lenihan, a spokesman for Google. “I’m the PR person and I didn’t even pitch anybody.” Google’s Arts and Culture arm added the new selfie feature to its app a month ago, but it wasn’t until the last several days that it took hold. Lenihan didn’t have figures for the “tons and tons” of traffic the app has suddenly seen.
Patient Zero for the viral spike hasn’t been identified, though Lenihan said that recent press coverage from the likes of Gizmodo and Buzzfeed helped launch the app into the stratosphere. The sleuths at Know Your Meme point out that early adopters included celebrities like Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz. And a handful of celebrities—from actors Kumail Nanjiani and Kristen Bell to journalists Jake Tapper and Ryan Seacrest—posted their decidedly mixed results to social media:
Read more at Artnet news
9) Global app downloads topped 175B in 2017, consumer spending surpassed $86B, and time spent in apps per user rose to ~43 days per year
In our annual end-of-year retrospective report, App Annie sheds light on the key indicators of a booming app economy and explores the most important market trends of the last year
With 2017 officially behind us, it’s time to take stock of the year that was for the app economy – and what a year it was. Today, we’re excited to release the App Annie 2017 Retrospective Report, our annual deep dive into the numbers and trends that defined the year.
As always, the report is a balance between top level takeaways and in-depth data analysis about the booming app economy, delving into everything from the top regional markets to monetization trends within particular categories.
Read more at Appannie
10) Instagram now shows when users were last active
Instagram is continuing to build out its messaging section with a new feature that’s already found in popular apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. From the direct messages screen, people you follow or have previously chatted with can now see when you were last using Instagram.
The new “Show Activity Status” option is enabled by default inside of Instagram’s settings. You can choose to toggle it off if you don’t think anyone really needs to be that up-to-date on what you’re doing. But if you disable activity status for yourself, you won’t be able to see that info for anyone else. It’s possible that Instagram is only testing this feature for a certain number of users, but it’s available for several people I’ve asked to check across both Android and iOS.
Read more at The Verge