Google’s Pixel 2 event in San Francisco on Wednesday had a lot of stuff to show off and most of it was more of the same…But tucked into the tail end of the presentation, Google quietly revealed that it had changed the world with a pair of wireless headphones. Not to be outdone by Apple’s Air Pods and their wirelessly-charging TicTac storage case, Google packed its headphones with the power to translate between 40 languages, literally in real-time. The company has finally done what science fiction and countless Kickstarters have been promising us, but failing to deliver on, for years. This technology could fundamentally change how we communicate across the global community.
Google’s latest project may be the most widely accessible and comprehensive fashion collection on the planet. All you need to view it is an internet connection.
“We Wear Culture” is a collaboration between Google and more than 180 museums, schools, fashion institutions, and other organizations from all parts of the globe. It’s part of Google’s Arts & Culture platform, which is digitizing the world’s cultural treasures, and functions as a searchable guide to a collective archive of some 30,000 fashion pieces that puts “three millennia of fashion at your fingertips,” Google says.
But it isn’t just a database. Google has worked with curators to create more than 450 exhibits on different topics—say, how the cheongsam changed the way Chinese women dress—making the site an endlessly entertaining, educational portal filled with stunning imagery touching on everything from modern Japanese streetwear to the clothes worn at the court of Versailles. READ MORE: Google’s “We Wear Culture” project is a stunning, searchable archive of 3,000 years of world fashion | Quartz
Engel and Resnick are part of Google Magenta—a small team of AI researchers inside the internet giant building computer systems that can make their own art—and this is their latest project. It’s called NSynth, and the team will publicly demonstrate the technology later this week at Moogfest, the annual art, music, and technology festival, held this year in Durham, North Carolina.
The idea is that NSynth, which Google first discussed in a blog post last month, will provide musicians with an entirely new range of tools for making music. READ MORE: Google’s AI Invents Sounds Humans Have Never Heard Before | WIRED
For all the hype around augmented reality, Google’s Tango technology hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. In fact, the second handset to support the tech – the ASUS ZenFone AR — was only announced last week at CES.But there’s certainly a chance for Tango to have life beyond the consumer space. The Detroit Institute of Arts is looking to the tech as a way to engage museum-goers, following in the footsteps of last year’s MWC-tied play by Barcelona’s Museum Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. READ MORE: A Detroit art museum is leveraging Google Tango for an AR history lesson | TechCrunch
Google’s search algorithm appears to be systematically promoting information that is either false or slanted with an extreme rightwing bias on subjects as varied as climate change and homosexuality.
Following a recent investigation by the Observer, which found that Google’s search engine prominently suggests neo-Nazi websites and antisemitic writing, the Guardian has uncovered a dozen additional examples of biased search results. READ MORE: How Google’s search algorithm spreads false information with a rightwing bias | Technology | The Guardian
Image Source: Google/WIRED
SOMETHING FUNNY HAPPENS when your computer or phone can’t display a font: A blank rectangular box pops up in place of the missing glyph. This little box is called .notdef, or “not defined,” in coder lingo, but everyone else just calls it tofu. Bob Jung hates tofu…His team spent six years working with designers at Monotype to banish tofu from Google’s devices with a cohesive, pan-language set of fonts called Noto (short for “no more tofu”). Noto, one of the most expansive typographic families ever made, supports 800 languages, 100 scripts in up to eight different weights, innumerable special characters, and absolutely no tofu. READ MORE: Meet Noto, Google’s Free Font for More Than 800 Languages | WIRED
We must fight racism and stand up for human rights. Raising awareness is one of the ways. Treat kindly your family, friends, neighbours and every living thing.
Following a detailed investigation by Mic, Google has pulled a Chrome extension that was used by racists to identify and track Jewish people online. The plugin, called “Coincidence Detector,” added a series of triple parentheses around the surnames of Jewish writers and celebrities. For instance, visiting the page of Mic writer Cooper Fleishman, you’d see his surname presented as (((Fleishman))) — turning the symbol into the digital equivalent of the gold star badge used to identify Jews in Nazi Germany. Until Google banned it for violating its policy on hate speech, the plugin had just under 2,500 users and had a list of 8,768 names that were considered worthy of tracking. READ MORE: Google pulls Chrome extension used to target Jewish people | engadget
Earlier this month Google’s software engineer Andrew Dai explained to BuzzFeed News that the genre’s formulaic approach to storytelling makes it ideal for machine learning. They hit a sweet spot between the labyrinthine, meandering sentences found in literary fiction, and the less elevated language used in kids’ books.
And in a heartrending plot twist: the experiment worked. The hairy details were released last week, but in short, the AI successfully connected lines of text to related phrases based on frequently connected words and phrases used in romance novels. READ MORE: Here’s What A Robot Learned After Binge-Reading Romance Novels | HuffPost
This has to be one of the most awesome headlines I have ever seen while curating news for this blog! 🙂
For the past few months, Google has been feeding text like this to an AI engine — all of it taken from steamy romance novels with titles like Unconditional Love, Ignited, Fatal Desire, and Jacked Up. Google’s AI has read them all — every randy, bodice-ripping page — because the researchers overseeing its development have determined that parsing the text of romance novels could be a great way of enhancing the company’s technology with some of the personality and conversational skills it lacks.
And it’s working, too. Google’s research team recently got the AI to write sentences that resemble those in the books. With that achievement unlocked, they’re now planning to move on to bigger challenges: using the conversational styles the AI has learned to inform and humanize the company’s products, such as the typically staid Google app. READ MORE: Google Is Feeding Romance Novels To Its Artificial Intelligence Engine To Make Its Products More Conversational | BuzzFeed News
For the past few months, a “very large fraction” of the millions of queries a second that people type into the company’s search engine have been interpreted by an artificial intelligence system, nicknamed RankBrain, said Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist with the company, outlining for the first time the emerging role of AI in search. RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to embed vast amounts of written language into mathematical entities — called vectors — that the computer can understand. If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries. READ MORE: Google Turning Its Lucrative Web Search Over to AI Machines | Bloomberg