Google's AI is getting smarter, hopefully won't take over the world or friend request SkyNet on Facebook
Google have been playing with artificial intelligence (AI) for quite a while now, with previous reports and stories of it being able to detect cats in YouTube videos. But now the team is months ahead in their project, where they've been experimenting with different methods and giving it more power.
Google's learning software is all based on simulating groups of connected brain cells, that all communicate and influence each other - which is normally refered to a 'neural network'. When this network is connected to data, the relationships between differing neurons can change. Once this change begins, the network develops new abilities - where it is able to react in different ways to the incoming data, and its new ability is having learnt something.
Learning something for a neural network is the exciting part of it all - and various companies have been playing with this technology for quite a while with the Terminator and Matrix series' famous for making these networks more well-known. Where Google are changing things up is that the Mountain View-based company's engineers have found different ways to put more number-crunching power behind them, creating neural networks that can learn, all without human assistance.
Over the weekend, it seems Apple was feeling a little generous - they extended their additional storage offer until September 30, 2013. Originally, this offer was made to customers making the transition from MobileMe to iCloud.
At the time, they'd offer the normal 5GB that comes with iCloud to ease this move, and it was set to expire on September 30, 2012. But, Apple have been sending out e-mails to their customers informing them that this would be extended until September 30, 2013.
Nothing is required to take advantage of this, so if you were still wondering whether you should make the move or not, you now have another twelve months to scratch that noggin' of yours. Thanks Lee for sending this in!
Google Wallet, since its launch, has been held back by numerous limitations, the biggest was its lack of support for most major credit and debit cards. But, the Mountain View-based company, Google, have just opened up Google Wallet's heart to the cloud.
Google Wallet now supports any credit or debit card, and allows you to take them from one Google-based device, to the next. Early versions of Wallet used the phones secure storage to protect your card details, but now these details sit in the cloud allowing you to sync your preferred payment method across more than one device, as well as keeping track of both your in-store, and online purchase's through Google's web Wallet.
Worried about security? Google have your back, as they allow you to disable individual devices. So if you were to lose your Nexus for example, and you were scared someone might use the device to buy something, you can just jump online and disable that single device. Once you've acquired a new device, your details can slide over onto the new device, all with a few taps of your finger.
Cloud-printing gets another notch on its belt, you can now print documents direct from Google Drive at FedEx Office stores
Not that I print much anymore, apart from travel documentation and the like, but it's very cool to see FedEx Office locations supporting cloud-printing. Google Drive, as well as Box, Dropbox and Google Docs are able to be used to print from the cloud at FedEx.
Google mentioned the new feature on the Drive team's Google+ page, where they directed readers to the FedEx website for more information. FedEx lists the new service in their Print & Go service, but no tutorial seems to be in place, yet. Google Drive offers 5GB of free storage, and while Drive is looked at being more focused on corporate customers, rather than individuals, a service like this is a great step toward a cloud-based future.
Google Drive has slowly been getting new features, as it should, but this feature might just set it apart from the rest. Considering Android is an absolutely mammoth mobile OS, the more Google bake cloud-based features into brick-and-mortar stores, as well as their smart devices, the better.
A few weeks ago, there were reports of Dropbox users started to receive spam on the e-mails tied to Dropbox. The major problem with this was that some of these user's e-mails were only tied to their Dropbox account which meant that the spam or address leak was coming from Dropbox itself as there would be no other way for the e-mail to be released.
Dropbox enlisted the help of "an outside team of experts" to aid their own security team and law enforcement. Dropbox's VP of Engineering, Aditya Agarwal, said in a blog post that a number of usernames and passwords were stolen from third party websites. These combos were then used to sign into "a small number of Dropbox accounts."
One of those stolen password combos belonged to an employee. The employee's Dropbox contained a project file which had a list of e-mails. The company believes "this improper access is what led to the spam." Dropbox is taking several steps to prevent something like this from happening in the future. These are laid out below:
According to a piece from BGR, they've heard from a man called François Beaufort who discovered a piece of code in the Chromium source that states "Get 100 GB free with Google Drive". This means that people who buy a Chromebook, could be in for 100GB of free Drive storage.
Considering that Google charges $4.99 per month for the 100GB option, this would be a huge incentive for Chromebooks. This move would save Chromebook owners roughly $60 a year on cloud storage costs. But, it looks as though this deal is only for the newly-released Chromebook and Chromebox, from Samsung.
Meaning that first adopters of the first-gen Chromebooks won't get in on this deal. Google should really extend it to previous Chromebook owners, too.
Dropbox have just amplified their cloud storage and syncing offerings thanks to the increasing competition from Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others. Starting from today, Dropbox Pro subscribers will receive twice the storage space on their accounts, at no additional cost.
This means that those who were previously paying $9.99 per month, or $99 per year for 50GB of storage, will now receive 102GB of storage (100GB plus 2GB of free space that all users receive). Those who are paying $19.99 per month, or $199 per year will now receive 202GB instead of 100GB.
Dropbox are also offering any Pro members a 3-month 100GB trial to share with friends.
We're seeing the beginnings of Skynet, with Intel working on launching technology that mimics the human brain and "learns" of its user, but the Google X Lab has built a one-billion-connection "neural network" that can identify... cats... on YouTube. Yes, cats.
The project did have an aim, where it looked to simulate object recognition by humans, and was able to more than double the accuracy of item identification from a list of 20,000. Using 16,000 cores in 1000 connected machines (is that all?), the system was able to identify objects, all without human supervision.
The technology represents a big departure from current vision-learning methods. The system was fed 10 million images from YouTube thumbnails, at the low resolution of 200x200. After 72 hours of learning, the system was capable of recognizing not only the human face and body, but also cats, a subject seen frequently on video clips.
The improved 15.8-percent accuracy rate is said to be a jump of over 70-percent from the previous state-of-the-art system.
Dropbox today issues a couple of updates the the mobile and Web version of its software. Dropbox has found itself in competition with the newly released Google Drive and has still been adding customers. These latest changes are to help keep it competitive with the competition.
The biggest update is to the Web version. Dropbox has confirmed that they will no longer be supporting public folders. Dropbox posted on their forums about the change:
We wanted to let our developers know about an upcoming change to the Public folder for all user accounts. In April, we launched the ability to share any file or folder in your Dropbox with a simple link. This new sharing mechanism is a more generalized, scalable way to support many of the same use cases as the Public folder. After July 31, we will no longer create Public folders in any new Dropbox accounts. If your app depends on the Public folders, we recommend switching to the /shares API call. Public folders in existing accounts, however, will continue to function as before.
So, once August rolls around, users will no longer be able to create public folders to share files. Current public folders, however, will be unaffected by the change and will continue to be supported and work as they currently do. Other users who want to share files will have to use the new quick-link feature.
Microsoft have updated their cloud storage solution, SkyDrive, for both Windows and Mac. The new build is version 16.4.4111.0525 and adds improved Windows 8 integration, noting specifically photos, as well as the usual improvements, and bug fixes.
SkyDrive does have a big change in the form of its Windows 8 photo manager integration, so when a user logs in with their Microsoft account (Windows Live), the Windows 8 Photo app will work with photos from the associated SkyDrive account. Another fancy thing is that this feature will work with the just-released Windows 8 Release Preview.
Other notable changes include an increase from the 150,000 files limit to a maximum of 10 million, improved reliability for both syncing and stability, and quicker folder updates. If you have SkyDrive already installed, the update should be pushed to you automatically, the app just needs to be running. If you don't have SkyDrive yet, you can grab it here.