Big Tech &
Google cloud boss Thomas Kurian makes his first big move — buys Looker for $2.6 billion (2 minute read)
Google Cloud has made its first major acquisition under its new CEO, Thomas Kurian. Kurian, a former executive at Oracle, joined Google in November and had announced plans to expand the business significantly. In a move to gain market share from Amazon Web Services, Google has purchased Looker, a data analytics platform, for $2.6 billion in cash. The purchase of Looker will add new analytics tools for Google Cloud customers. Looker will continue to work with other products, such as Amazon Web Services’ Redshift and Microsoft’s Azure SQL Server. Google has recently announced its Anthos product, which allows businesses to run computing workloads on multiple clouds.
Uber Copter to Offer Flights From Lower Manhattan to J.F.K. (4 minute read)
Uber will begin their new ride-hailing service for helicopters, Uber Copter, on July 9 in New York City. Users will be able to book a helicopter ride in the Uber app that will take passengers between Lower Manhattan and the Kennedy International Airport. The service will only be available for Platinum and Diamond users. A car service is included that will transport the customers to and from the helicopter tarmac. The 8 minute flight will cost around $200 to $225 per person, depending on demand. Luggage may be an issue, as the helicopters will not have space or the weight capacity to carry large bags. Other companies also offer private helicopter services. Some citizens in New York City are protesting against the use of helicopters in city areas due to the noise they make and the fumes they generate.
Jeff Bezos took the controls of some 'weirdly natural' giant robot hands but could not solve the riddle of a Rubik's cube (1 minute read)
Jeff Bezos demonstrated a pair of remote-controlled robotics hands at Amazon’s re:MARS conference in Las Vegas this week. The robot hands were able to perform delicate tasks, such as stacking cups. Bezos described using the hands as ‘weirdly natural’ and that the haptic feedback provided by the gloves was ‘tremendous’. The robot exhibit was a collaboration between Shadow Robot, HaptX, and SynTouch. Shadow Robot specializes in building dexterous robotic hands, HaptX develops technologies for touch feedback, and SynTouch makes robots that can sense touch. A 44 second video is available showing Bezos using the device.
Boston Dynamics prepares to launch its first commercial robot: Spot (4 minute read)
Boston Dynamics has announced that its first commercial robot will be on the market in the next few months. Spot is a quadrupedal robot that can be controlled with a gaming tablet. A robot arm that is mounted on Spot is able to grab and move objects. The arm allows the robot to be used in many different scenarios, as its controls are completely customizable. A video in the article shows Spot picking up a soft toy and giving the toy to a police dog. It is unknown how much Spot will cost to buy, but Boston Dynamics revealed that they already have paying customers, mainly construction companies in Japan, who want to use the robots to oversee the progress of work on sites.
Programming, Design & Data Science
GitHub: Generate new repositories with repository templates (1 minute read)
GitHub has introduced the ability to create repository templates in order to make boilerplate code management and distribution easy on GitHub. To create a template, users only need to select the option to mark a repository as a template, after which it can be used to generate new repositories with all of the required files and folders. Template repositories will display a ‘Use this template’ button. More features and template types will be coming soon.
Deep Learning Models (GitHub Repo)
This repository contains a collection of various deep learning architectures, models, and tips. Each topic is divided into subsections for TensorFlow and PyTorch in Jupyter Notebooks.
Google’s Stadia Game Service is Officially Coming November: Everything You Need to Know (6 minute read)
Google has officially released details on its Stadia game service. Stadia will be released in November in 14 different territories, including the US, UK, and Canada. At least 31 games from 21 publishers will be launched with the service. A $130 ‘Founder’s Edition’ hardware kit will launch with Stadia, which includes a Chromecast Ultra and a limited-edition dark blue version of the Stadia controller. The subscription service will be $10 a month after a 3 month included subscription with the Founder’s Edition kit. A free tier will be launching in 2020. Google eventually intends to have a backlog of free games that comes with the subscription service, but Stadia is not primarily a subscription service for games. Customers will still have to purchase games to play on the platform. A list of the countries Stadia will be launched in and the games that will be available at launch is available in the article.
Amazon’s Home Surveillance Company Is Putting Suspected Petty Thieves in its Advertisements (4 minute read)
Amazon’s Home Surveillance Company, Ring, is using footage captured by its doorbell cameras in its Facebook ads, asking users to identify a suspected criminal and contact police with any information about the individual. The video clearly shows the person’s face from two different angles and accuses the person of breaking into a vehicle at Mountain View, California. Ring has worked with law enforcement previously, but this ad was not requested on behalf of the Mountain View Police Department. The woman is only suspected of a crime and is still innocent in the eyes of the law until proven guilty. This advertisement may set a dangerous precedent where people may turn to the internet for justice rather than through normal law-enforcement avenues.