Weekly Digest #7: One-Look Purchases and a Week of Announcements From Google

May 24th, 2016

IT News // Zee

One-look e-bay purchases and other IT news

The main event of the last week was, of course, the Google I/O 2016 which we have talked about in our blog here. Last week also brought us the first virtual reality store, Google’s new developments in the area of artificial intelligence, and investors’ newfound interest in the Internet of Things. All this and more in our weekly digest below.

GOODBYE, FLASH

Finally, it happened! Google Chrome browser completely abandons the use of Adobe Flash technology and will rely on HTML5 by default. Google did make an announcement, however, that certain sites will be exempt from this policy: YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, Live.com, Twitch.tv, Amazon.com, Vk.com, Yandex.ru, Ok. ru and Mail.ru. This list is valid for a year, but it’s not yet known what will happen afterward. Nevertheless, the trend of getting rid of Adobe Flash is a good one - it’s about time!

AD TOOLS

Google also launched new advertising tools in mobile image search. Product Listing Ads (PLA) will be displayed in a form of a carousel on top of the image search in the mobile version. Besides that, the company is also engaged in testing of a new search results interface where results are presented not with a list, but in the form of cards. Following that development, Google launched a new format for mobile search results - Rich Cards format. The SERP results are presented in a form of cards’ carousel, but this format is available only for cooking or movie-related requests.

LOOK AND BUY

eBay, the well-known Internet auction site, launched a store that uses virtual reality technology. The project is done in conjunction with Myer, Australian retailer. In order to use the store, customers have to install a special app on their mobile phones - eBay Virtual Reality Department Store - and have VR glasses.

In order to buy something in this store, you need to closely look at something. This kind of purchase is possible thanks to a special technology called Sight Search. In time, eBay promises to learn visitors’ likes and preferences and offer them products they are sure to enjoy. We can only imagine the “joy” of credit card owners, whose kids would venture into a store like this and take a “close look around.”

Robots that Control Other robots

Chinese company Cheetah Mobile is working on creating robots that will control with IoT devices. The global goal of the company is to eliminate the human factor in the IoT management. Idea authors think that artificial intelligence is able to replace people in processes where only a mechanical interference is required. At the same time, the Cheetah Mobile developers team is working on creating an automatic worldwide news aggregator with their subsequent analysis.

Perks for Indiegogo Startups 

IoT-device creators, who posted their projects on Indiegogo crowdfunding service, will get access to the online design tools from Arrow. In addition, projects that were selected on Indiegogo will be able to get advisory services from Arrow specialists, startup support, and help in supply chain management. The companies supported by Arrow will be marked with a special icon on the website. The Arrow product, offered to the entrepreneurs, is a set of software tools and frameworks called Intelligent Services that helps OEM-producers and system integrators to create and deploy IoT-platforms.

Fighting Cataract

Apple and IBM are working on an app for assistance in the treatment of cataract. The app helps the surgeons to make calculations and choose adequate lens replacement for a particular patient. This app would interact with the previously created calculator from Bausch + Lomb used for calculation of lens size. Granted, such app simplifies the work of a surgeon to a point - it doesn’t yet take into account other studies and requires manual data input.

At the moment, the app allows to measure the eye and the lens, get biometrical data, enter it into the program and make calculations. Besides that, it will be possible to save other patient’s data in the app. In the future, it will be connected to the Watson supercomputer. The developers promise that this app, together with Bausch + Lomb, would help to eliminate any errors when choosing the lens.

Cybersecurity Startups

According to Lux Research estimates, investors will pay a special interest to IoT-startups segment and especially to startups that offer cybersecurity solutions. Since the beginning of 2016, investment in this segment increased by 78% compared to $228 million in 2015. Lux Research analysts also made following statements:

  1. Almost half of all IoT-security startups were created in the United States of America. Also, a large number of them (about a third) comes from Israel.
  2. Since 2000, 77 cybersecurity startups have attracted over $808 million in investments.
  3. Instead of developing vertical solutions, most startups create horizontal platforms that can be applied to a wide variety of IoT-devices and cases of its usage.
  4. The majority of startups are focused on an innovative analysis of device behavior, network analysis of behavior, or a combination of those two directions. They also work on developing new approaches to authentication and encryption in IoT-environment.

OpenThread

Nest, the company that develops IoT devices and protocols, presented a new protocol with the open-source code called OpenThread. This new protocol is actually an adapted version of Thread. Like Thread, it is based on IPv6 and uses 6LoWPAN. It also gives access to the cloud and provides AES algorithm encryption. It is possible that in the future Nest will offer to make OpenThread a standard for the IoT and this is a reason why they want to populate this protocol among major IoT manufacturers. You can check out the OpenThread code on GitHub.

You Look Too Warm

Another innovation from Nest thermostat developers - it will literally punish people if they would spend too much on heating. The thermostat will analyze the financial account and if there’s not enough money left, it will turn off the heating. Kind of makes you think that some smart gadgets are becoming a tad too smart. One more gadget that wants to control the behavior of its owners is Pavlok bracelet. It will shock the wearer in case he will spend too much money shopping. What would happen if / when hackers get access to the bracelet and will start shocking everyone?

Music by Google Brain

Google Brain project developers are working on studying the neural network’s artistic abilities and showed first results already. Google’s artificial intelligence demonstrated the ability to compose a rather complex melody at a Moogfest music festival. Magenta department, dedicated to this kind of research, will start publishing the software code on their GitHub.

Neural Networks Chip

At the Google I/O conference, Google’s Sundar Pichai presented the chip for implementation in neural networks, in other words, a chip for AI. Moreover, the special ASIC-processor (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit) called Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) already went through the testing phase.

What do you think - should we be concerned about Google’s AI strong influence on search system and other company’s services?

Author: Zee

Zee is in charge of the Marketing at the APP Solutions/Grossum. Her areas of interest include quantum physics, astronomy, new trends in the web & mobile development (especially in the areas of AI and machine learning) and digital marketing instruments.

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