TLDR Daily Update 2019-12-04

Larry Page steps down 👋, Genius sues Google ⚖️

Big Tech & Startups

Google Photos launches private messaging for quickly sharing photos (3 minute read)

Photos are as much about communications as they are a form of memory collection. Google Photos has launched a revamped share option that is effectively a private messaging feature. When users want to share photos, they can now send it in a message as long as the recipients have Google Photos. Users can use the feature to have a conversation. Group chats are enabled. Chat will add a social aspect to the Photos app, possibly drawing in more users. The feature will start rolling out over the next week and will be available on Android, iOS, and the web.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin relinquish control of Alphabet to CEO Sundar Pichai (5 minute read)

Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have relinquished their control of Alphabet to the current Google CEO Sundar Pichai. They will continue to remain Alphabet employees and retain their seats on the board. Pichai has stated that the change will have little to no impact on how Google operates on a daily basis. Both Page and Brin have disappeared from public view since the creation of Alphabet in 2015. Alphabet's stock price has more than doubled since its creation, despite the last four years being the most contentious in Google's history. Google has faced controversy over its involvements with several projects, as well as accusations of anticompetitive practices, sexual harassment, retaliation against workplace activists, and involvement with child exploitation.
Science & Futuristic Technology

Self-transforming robot blocks jump, spin, flip, and identify each other (4 minute read)

MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has created self-assembling robotic cubes that can climb over and around one another, leap through the air, and roll across the ground. Using radio signals or infrared to communicate can cause a lot of interference, especially at scale. M-Blocks are able to identify other blocks and faces using a barcode-like system. A fleet of blocks can currently accomplish simple tasks such as forming a line, following arrows, or tracking light. In the future, the blocks may be able to self-assemble into structures such as stairs. M-Blocks use a flywheel for movement and magnets for attachment. The blocks are inexpensive, robust, and can be easily scaled.

China Deploys World's First Commercial Hydrogen Streetcar (1 minute read)

The world's first commercially operated hydrogen energy streetcar is officially in use in Foshan, China. Running for 17.4 kilometers, the hydrogen energy trolley line has a top speed of 70 km/h and can accommodate up to 285 riders. Each tram car has six gas storage tanks of 20-kilogram storage capacity. Foshan has pledged to add another 80 hydrogen-powered buses to their fleet.
Programming, Design & Data Science

Deep Java Library (GitHub Repo)

Deep Java Library is a high-level framework-agnostic Java API for deep learning. It is designed to be easy and simple to use, providing a native Java development experience and functions like any other regular Java library. DJL can run in any IDE and it can easily integrate models with Java applications. No experience with machine learning is required to start. Developers can switch frameworks at any point.

Hubble (GitHub Repo)

Hubble is a fully distributed networking and security observability platform for cloud-native workloads. It can map service dependencies and communications and monitor networks, applications, and security. Hubble was created to make the best use of Linux's new eBPF abilities. It is still in beta.

How My Show Hacker News Project Got Acquired After 6 Months (18 minute read)

Josh Howarth found it 100 times easier to bootstrap a profitable online business if you ride recent big market trends, for example, podcast hosting or remote work. There was a lack of tools to find topics to plug into Google Trends, so Howarth decided to build one for himself. He marketed through Twitter, building an email list, and eventually launched on Hacker News. After some initial success, Howarth started focusing on making the product more robust and sustainable for the long term, and to monetize the product. After a few months of working on the code, with no extra marketing efforts, an offer was made to Howarth to acquire his product. With the acquisition, Howarth no longer needed to worry about customer acquisition and marketing, and could focus entirely on building a quality product.

Genius sues Google over allegedly stolen song lyrics (2 minute read)

Genius is suing Google for $50 million in damages, accusing the company of knowingly copying song lyrics and displaying them in search results. Google will sometimes display song lyrics that are provided by partners. Genius says that some of these lyrics were stolen off its website. A clever watermarking scheme was used by Genius to mark the content that it owned. The site used alternating straight and curved apostrophes to prove that Google was copying its content. Genius alleges that Google has been copying its lyrics for many years. Both Genius and Google hold licenses from music publishers to print song lyrics. Web scraping is not illegal, and since both parties have licenses to display the content, it might not be illegal for Google to display the copied lyrics.

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