Facebook, Twitter, and Google Summoned to Congressional Panel on Russian Election Interference

Hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google have been asked to appear on Nov. 1 at hearings on alleged Russian interference in U.S. politics called by the U.S. Senate and House Intelligence Committees, officials said.

Facebook and Twitter have already agreed to send representatives to the Senate committee hearing, a Congressional official said.

An official knowledgeable about House committee plans declined to disclosed whether the companies have agreed to send representatives to its hearing.

Sources said that Google had not yet notified the committees that it would send representatives to the hearings, though ultimately the company was likely to do so.

Tech

Google Also Found Russia-Backed Ads on YouTube and Gmail

Google has discovered that Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on YouTube, Gmail, Google search, and other products, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

The ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook fb , which may indicate a broader Russian online disinformation effort, the paper reported. Google runs the world’s largest online advertising business and YouTube is the world’s largest online video site.

Google, owned by Alphabet googl , did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the story.

Google has downplayed the possibility of Russian influence on its platforms, but launched a probe into the matter, according to the Post. Both Twitter twtr and Facebook have said that Russia bought ads and had accounts on their platforms.

Meanwhile, Congress has started multiple investigations into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, with lawmakers on both political sides saying Russia intended to sow discord in the United States, spread propaganda, and sway the election to elect President Donald Trump.

Google officials are expected to testify publicly before both the House and Senate intelligence committees on Nov. 1 alongside Facebook and Twitter about Russian attempts to use their platforms to influence the election.

Tech

Famed Architect’s Lawsuit Against Google Just Got Much More Serious

Eli Attia alleges he wasn’t the only one mistreated by the search giant.

A long-running lawsuit filed against Google by a prominent architect has just gotten much broader.

Last week, the Superior Court of California granted a motion adding racketeering charges to the civil case being pursued against Google by Eli Attia, an expert in high-rise construction. Attia claims Google stole his idea for an innovative building design method – and now he wants to prove that it does the same thing frequently.

Attia’s suit was originally filed in 2014, four years after he began discussions with Google (prior to its reorganization as Alphabet) about developing software based on a set of concepts he called Engineered Architecture. Attia has said Engineered Architecture, broadly described as a modular approach to building, would revolutionize the design and construction of large buildings. Attia developed the concepts based on insights gleaned from his high-profile architecture career, and has called them his life’s work.

Google executives including Google X cofounder Astro Teller came to share his enthusiasm, and championed developing software based on Engineered Architecture as one of the company’s “moonshots.” But Attia claims the company later used his ideas without fulfilling an agreement to pay to license them.

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Attia’s suit names not just Google, but individual executives including founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It also names Flux Factory, the unit Attia’s suit alleges was spun off specifically to capitalize on his ideas.

Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News, Attia’s lawyer claims Google told Attia his project had been cancelled, “when in fact they were going full blast on it.” Flux Factory is now known as Flux, and touts itself as “the first company launched by Google X.”

Attia’s suit will now also seek to prove that his case is representative of a much broader pattern of behavior by Alphabet. According to court documents, the motion to add racketeering charges hinged on six similar incidents. Those incidents aren’t specified in the latest court proceedings, but Alphabet has faced a similar trade-secrets battle this summer over X’s Project Loon, which has already led to Loon being stripped of some patents.

The idea of racketeering charges entering the picture will surprise many who associate them with violent organized criminals. But under RICO statutes, civil racketeering suits can be brought by private litigants against organizations and individuals alleged to have engaged in ongoing misdeeds. The broader use of racketeering charges has slowly gained ground since the introduction of RICO laws in the 1960s, with some famous instances including suits against Major League Baseball and even the Los Angeles Police Department.

Tech

Google Celebrates 19 Years With 19 Memorable Doodles

Happy birthday, Google.

The search giant is celebrating 19 years on Wednesday with a special interactive doodle.

Users who visit Google.com and click on a whirling spinner will get transported back to one of Google’s 18 most memorable doodle games or to a brand new search Easter egg Snake game. Don’t like the result? Simply spin again. Other games include Pac Man, virtual turntables, a pinata, and a Beethoven puzzle.

Read: Google and Levi’s Have a New High-Tech Jacket Up Their Sleeves

“They say life is full of surprises, and Google’s history is chock-full of them. In fact, we wouldn’t be here without them,” the company said in a statement.

Since its creation in a garage in 1998, Google has become one of the world’s largest tech companies, currently serving more than 4.5 billion users in 160 countries speaking 123 languages. Google’s first doodle was designed by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It was intended to serve as an out-of-office message in case the server crashed while the two were at the Burning Man festival.

Read: Facebook’s 21-Year-Old Wunderkind Leaves for Google

In 2000, Page and Brin asked then-intern Dennis Hwang to create a doodle for Bastille Day. The doodle was reportedly so well received that Hwang was appointed chief doodler, and the doodles began to appear more frequently on the site. Since then, the doodle team has created more than 2,000 doodles.

Tech

Uber vs Google: And now, the self-driving car war gets nasty

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Even the biggest, most powerful companies in the world are at the mercy of a grade-school concept: supply and demand.

That’s how a person like Anthony Levandowski can get paid $ 120 million by Google, leave to start his own company, watch that company get acquired by Uber just months later, and then find himself barred from working on self-driving car technology by a U.S. court.

That goes to show just how important Levandowski—and other engineers like him—truly are to the arms race around self-driving cars. 

“It’s not like [you] can hire any one of the thousands or tens of thousands of people who have a particular certification,” said Nidhi Kalra, who heads the RAND Corporation’s self-driving car policy work. “They’re looking for people who are innovators in the fields of machine learning, deep learning, LIDAR design—and there aren’t a lot of those people out there.” Read more…

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This week in apps: Instagram face filters, Medium audio stories, Google Assistant on iOS and more

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Reading all the news from Google I/O may have kept you too busy to keep up with this week’s app news. We’ve kept up for you.

Each week we round up the most important app news along with some of the coolest new and updated apps to help you stay in the loop with everything you need on your phone.Here’s what caught our eye this week. If you’re looking for more, make sure to check out last week’s roundup of top apps.

Google Assistant comes to iOS

Starting today, we’re bringing the #GoogleAssistant to iPhones. Whether at home or on the go, your Assistant is here to help#io17 pic.twitter.com/a6T20HwnU9

— Google (@Google) May 17, 2017 Read more…

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How to post Google Photos’ awesome animations to Instagram

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If you use Google Photos, you know the service is so much more than just the best way to store and back up all your photos and videos into the cloud.

Using advanced machine learning, Google Photos can intelligently identify people, places, and things — and it’s all easily searchable. One of the cooler things in Google Photos is the Assistant (not to be confused with Google’s other Assistant on Android and Google Home).

In the Google Photos app on iOS and Android, the Assistant is a card-based panel that does three things:

  1. Shows you the status of your backup.

  2. Automatically creates “movies” based on related video clips.

  3. Creates “animations” using batches of bursted photos. (You can also create your own animations by manually selecting between 2-50 photos, but the end result is the same — you still get a GIF file.) Read more…

More about Iphone, Android, Instagram, Ios, and Gifs


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8 new Google Assistant features that make it much more powerful


The Google Assistant was the star of Google I/O for the second year in a row. Now that the technology has been available for well over a year, Google is adding numerous features that will expand the AI’s reach in Google’s quest to dominate your home. In other words, expect to be talking to your phone a lot more in the coming years. Visual responses with Chromecast Getting voice answers Google Home or your phone is fine and all, but sometimes it helps to have a visual aid. Google is leveraging Chromecast to do just that. Now if you ask the…

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Google opens up Classroom so anyone can now become a teacher


Google is opening up its Classroom educational service to allow anyone to create and teach a class on its platform. The web-based tool works across devices and Google says it can be used to help manage classes for adult education, hobbies, and after school programs. Classroom should come in handy for people who want to do more than just post tutorials on their blogs and YouTube channels; they can add resources, post tasks and assignments and interact with students as they progress through lessons. This is the second major update to Classroom in 2017: last month, Google expanded the service…

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Google finds bug in antivirus app specifically built to protect your Mac


In an oddly ironic turn of events, security researchers from Google have uncovered a vulnerability in Mac antivirus software that – contrary to its purpose – exposed your system to malicious interceptions. Curiously, the app was developed by the same company that discovered this cheeky Pornhub malware. Googlers Jason Geffner and Jan Bee found the flaw in ESET’s Endpoint Antivirus 6 for macOS built specifically to “eliminate all types of threats, including viruses, rootkits, worms and spyware” as per the the company’s own description. As it turns out though, the protective software was riddled with kinks that made users susceptible to hackings. According to…

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Google patented a mysterious camera hat

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Google’s latest patent suggests the tech giant might be developing something to give Spectacles a run for their money. 

Granted Tuesday, the patent describes “a hat and a camera system for the hat that can be used for an interactive session with a remote user.” Basically, it sounds like a cap with an embedded camera that lets the wearer take photos and videos, including live streams, and upload them to social networks via a mobile app. 

The patent also describes a built-in speaker, which is “configured to create audio waves through the hat by bone conduction in the skull.” The hat also comes with a microphone for users to record audio.  Read more…

More about Spectacles, Videos, Photos, Social Media, and Hat


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Battle of the clouds: Amazon Web Services vs. Microsoft Azure vs. Google Cloud Platform

Amazon Web Services is the consensus leader of the IaaS public cloud computing market according to industry watchers, but they credit Microsoft for closing the gap with Azure and say Google with its Cloud Platform has made considerable strides as well.

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Google Station is coming to an Indian city before anywhere else in the world

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Moving beyond railway stations in India, Google will soon begin working on its Station project to bring fast Wi-Fi at other public places.

About 150km south-east of Mumbai, the city of Pune will soon become the first place in the world to see Google deploy fast-internet hotspots at public places as part of its Station project, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move comes as IT giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T), in association with Google, state-run internet service provider RailTel, and IBM form a consortium to bag a Rs 1,500 million ($ 22.2 million) with local authority Pune Smart City Development Corporation to turn Pune into a smart city.  Read more…

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Google takes on the iPhone ahead of hardware event

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Google is gearing up for the upcoming Oct. 4 hardware event with grand ads, building projections and even a statue showing its willingness to take on the iPhone 7 after this month’s Apple event

Earlier this week, the company announced that it would launch some “made by Google” hardware, hinting at the arrival of new smartphones. In a video posted on YouTube, Google showed its familiar horizontal search bar morphing into the outline of a phone. 

The same outline was used for installations in Australia (Sydney and Melbourne): Read more…

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Report: Google to unveil smaller, linkable Wi-Fi router at Pixel event


Google’s OnHub router was met with decent reception (heh), but a new report by Android Police indicates the company is looking to announce a new router alongside its upcoming probably-called-Pixel phones on October 4. It will simply be called Google Wi-Fi. The router will almost certainly include some of the OnhHub’s ‘smart’ features for simplifying connections and optimizing reception (although whether the OnHub really performed any better than similarly prices routers is questionable). But one big advantage over OnHub is that you will be able link multiple routers to create a larger, stronger Wi-Fi network. Android Police also suggests it will…

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Here’s Why Google Is Focusing on Travel

Recently, Alphabet Inc.’s subsidiary Google introduced “Google Trips” – a mobile app intended to reduce travel related hassles by aggregating all trip information relating to day plans, reservations, things to do, etc., bundles within the app. The company has also ensured that the “download” button for each trip can save this information on the users phone offline. This launch comes nearly six years after Google acquired flight information firm ITA software and indicates the Google is finally ready to foray into the travel segment. In 2015, direct leisure travel spending by domestic and international travelers in the U.S. was more than $ 650 billion and nearly four out of five domestic trips were taken for leisure purpose. This indicates the strong potential of the market for leisure travel – the segment which Google Trips targets. We believe the company can generate significant revenues from this segment, given that its Maps app is already a hugely popular product among travelers, with more than a billion active users globally. The potential power of the platform is considerable. Google Trips leverages both Gmail and Google Maps to combine information relating to flight information and hotel reservations (via Gmail); and it additionally generates customized itineraries, based on a desired locations pinned on Google Maps via the address and location information therein. Given these breadth of these offerings, Google Trips has huge potential to capture a significant share in the online travel market.


Cloud Computing

Google Drive Search Gets a Natural Language Boost, More News

Google is bringing the powerful natural language processing (NLP) technology that underlies its search engine to Google Drive. In a blog post announcing the move  this week, Josh Smith, product manager at Google Drive, described NLP as a fancy way of saying “search like you talk.

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Cloud Computing

Google Drive Search Gets a Natural Language Boost, More News

Google is bringing the powerful natural language processing (NLP) technology that underlies its search engine to Google Drive. In a blog post announcing the move  this week, Josh Smith, product manager at Google Drive, described NLP as a fancy way of saying “search like you talk.

Continue reading…
Cloud Computing

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Google Drive Search Gets a Natural Language Boost, More News

Google is bringing the powerful natural language processing (NLP) technology that underlies its search engine to Google Drive. In a blog post announcing the move  this week, Josh Smith, product manager at Google Drive, described NLP as a fancy way of saying “search like you talk.

Continue reading…
Cloud Computing


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AWS buys Cloud9 IDE in snub to Google

Amazon Web Services has bought Cloud9, a popular web-based developer environment that recently aligned itself with the Google Cloud Platform.

Cloud9 is a browser-based IDE (integrated development environment) with a fairly rich feature set for building and deploying applications. Because it runs in a browser, developers can pick up their work from any machine, and Cloud9 has tools that let developers collaborate on projects.

Along with Codenvy, it was one of the few remaining popular, independent cloud IDEs.

“While the cloud IDE space is hot, as a market, IDEs are not an easy way to make money,” said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. “The technology is better used as a sweetener to make broader platforms more attractive to developers.”

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India’s Supreme Court tells Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to stop hosting sex selection ads

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India’s Supreme Court has reprimanded Google, Microsoft and Yahoo for displaying advertisements related to pre-natal sex selection tests on their search engines, in violation of the country’s laws. 

Prenatal gender testing and sex selective abortion is banned in India due to a skewed child sex ratio, but around 500,000 female foetuses continue to be aborted in the country every year according to UNICEF.

“They are patently violating the law and saying that that they cannot do anything to block such advertisements. It is not acceptable and the government must devise a mechanism to block advertisements,” the judges saidRead more…

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Google Doodle features eminent Australian indigenous rights leader

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On what would have been Eddie Mabo’s 80th birthday, Google Australia has featured the Australian indigenous rights campaigner as Wednesday’s Google Doodle.

Born in the Torres Strait Islands in northern Australia, Mabo’s name is synonymous with the native title movement, which saw some indigenous Australians regain control of their ancestral lands.

In 1992, a legal suit, now known as the “Mabo Case,” officially overturned the concept of terra nullius in the High Court of Australia. The idea that Australia was empty and belonged to no one when the British discovered it in 1770, terra nullius allowed European settlers to take the land with no regard for its original inhabitants. Read more…

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Here’s what team TNW hopes to see at Google I/O 2016


Google I/O is two days away, but there have been very few rumors about what we may get from this year’s event. Nobody seems to have much of a clue as to what will happen, which is either Google playing its cards close to the chest, or having a bad hand. Still, we’re hopeful that Google will somehow delight us. Here’s what team TNW is looking for. Project Tango Bryan Clark: At CES, Google and Lenovo teamed up to announce its first consumer device with Project Tango, a smartphone. Project Tango, if you’re unfamiliar is next-gen 3D mapping technology that…

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