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Amazon Shareholders: Stop Selling Facial Recognition to Governments

A group of Amazon shareholders, organized by a non-profit called Open Mic, are demanding that Amazon cease sales of its Rekognition software to government agencies. Open Mic bills itself as “a non-profit that fosters shareholder engagement at leading tech and media companies.” The facial recognition suite has been proven in independent tests to be inaccurate, The post Amazon Shareholders: Stop Selling Facial Recognition to Governments appeared first on CCN
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Why Amazon and Google Are Fighting to Lead the Voice-First Economy

To no one’s surprise, the story of CES 2019 was the battle between Amazon and Google to lead the emerging voice-first world.CES was awash with announcements about products such as alarm clocks and thermostats powered by Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant and Google Assistant, prompting coverage such as CNET’s “Who Won CES 2019: Amazon or Google?” and USA Today’s “CES 2019: Google vs. Amazon, Who Won?”In the aftermath of CES, though, one question looms: What exactly do Amazon and Google get out of winning this battle?Numbers GaloreBoth Amazon and Google used CES to state the case for their leadership of voice (Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, while certainly players, are not the leaders in voice although Apple is a strong challenger). Google announced that Google Assistant is on one billion devices, up from 500 million in May 2018 (a figure boosted by the sale of Android phones that contain Google Assistant by default). Amazon disclosed that it has sold more than 100 million devices that rely on its Alexa virtual assistant. In addition, the number of people who use Alexa every day — and who own more than one Amazon Echo smart speaker — doubled in 2018.Meanwhile, during CES, more telling numbers were disclosed. According to research conducted by Edison Research and NPR, 53 million adults in the United States (or two out of 10 Americans) own at least one voice-activated smart speaker. The number of smart speakers in homes has increased 78 percent year over year. And on January 8, Accenture reported that half of online consumers globally use digital voice assistants, up from 42 percent one year ago.These figures don’t mean that people are actually using their voices to buy things from businesses. In fact, most people use voice assistants to perform everyday tasks such as listening to music and getting weather information. But the usage data is important nevertheless. It shows that even if we’re not exactly living in a voice-first world, we’re getting there — and doing so quickly considering that the Amazon Echo didn’t exist until 2014, and Google Home just two years later. In addition, by 2016, 20 percent of all Google mobile queries were voice searches.The rise of voice also helps explains why so many companies continue to launch products fueled by voice at CES, and 2019 was no exception.Gadgets and Software IntegrationsCES unleashed a dizzying array of products powered by voice, usually through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. These products typically focus on making it easier for people to use their voices to live in their homes and navigate their cars. For instance:In the HomeLenovo announced an alarm clock powered by Google Assistant. KitchenAid and GE rolled out smart displays that rely on Google Assistant to help you get recipes, watch videos, and do anything else to keep you occupied and entertained in the kitchen. Currant’s new smart wall outlet, which can be controlled by Alexa and Google Assistant, monitors energy usage and suggests which products to automatically turn off to conserve power. The Dalkin smart thermostat works with Alexa and Google Assistant to control the climate in your home.You can learn more about major product announcements here and here. (For those of you keeping score, in November 2018, Recode reported that Google Assistant works with 10,000 smart home devices versus 20,000 for Alexa.) But the most intriguing products, such as the Currant smart wall outlet, use artificial intelligence to not only act on your voice commands but also give you information and manage your home without your intervention.On the GoBoth Amazon and Google showed that Alexa and Google Assistant are powering our lives on the go, too. Google formally integrated Google Maps with Google Assistant, which is important because of Google Maps’s popularity for mobile wayfinding. As Mashable noted, “Google envisions users asking it for directions home, or to nearby restaurants and saved locations. You can ask the assistant to search for places along your route (like gas stations) or add a stop — all things that used to require some button pushing.”Amazon announced a stronger push into voice-powered automobiles. CES was barely under way when Amazon and Telenav, a provider of connected car and location-based services, announced a relationship that makes it possible for drivers to use the Telenav Alexa-powered navigation system to do the same kinds of functional tasks that they can do with Google Maps. And then Amazon formally launched Amazon Echo smart speaker for the car. Google announced a similar product through a relationship with Anker’s Roav automotive accessory, which is essentially a Google Home for the car.These announcements continued a battle for on-the-go voice experiences that has been going on for some with Google, Apple, and Amazon all rapidly launching products and software designed to be the de facto infotainment systems for different car manufacturers. The irony is that major auto makers have been announcing dips in sales for 2018. But overall, automotive has been a strong industry over the past several years. And now cars are getting smarter.What Do They Want?No wonder so many “Google versus Amazon” stories have proliferated throughout January. But the more important question than who “won” CES is what do Amazon and Google get out of all these voice-powered products? The answer is simple:The company that owns the ecosystem monetizes the voice-first world.Owning the ecosystem yields practical benefits, such as revenue gained from the sale of smart speakers. Amazon commands a strong leadership of smart speakers, but Google is catching up. As of 2019, Amazon is capturing 63.3 percent of the smart speaker market, with Google Home accounting for 31 percent. The numbers matter for another reason besides revenue: smart speakers connect people with other smart devices, thus acting as a gateway for product integrations. As Accenture noted in its survey of global smart assistant users, “[n]inety-three percent of consumers globally expect their home device purchases, such as smart TVs or computers, to be based on ease of integration with their standalone smart speaker.”Google’s MotivationFor Google, being the backbone of voice protects the company’s online advertising business, which accounts for more than 70 percent of Google’s revenue. Google needs to keep giving people reasons to keep using products such as the Google search engine, Google Maps, and the Google Chrome web browser. As people stay on Google, Google can continue to deliver audiences to advertisers and learn from audience behavior. As people use voice, Google can keep them on Google by incorporating voice into its products, launching new products such as Google Home, and making Google Assistant part of other companies’ products, which is the alarm clocks, thermostats, and cars using Google Assistant come into play.But it’s not all about advertising for Google. Google also wants intelligent voice assistants to make Google software and hardware (such as Pixel phones) more useful and popular, a dramatic example being Google’s Duplex software, which can make convincing phone calls on behalf of human beings.What Amazon WantsAmazon has its own motivations. Amazon is already a popular search engine for product searches, with half of online shoppers starting their searches on Amazon. Amazon also needs to incorporate voice to keep those shoppers using Amazon as they become more comfortable using voice — not just because Amazon wants them to buy things from Amazon with their voices, but also because Amazon is building an online advertising business that is already the third largest in the industry, behind Google and Facebook.As Amazon creates its own advertising business, it, too, needs to show potential advertisers that it can deliver an audience to them — in the home and on the go, whether they use their voices or text to get what they need. In 2018, it was reported that Amazon was in talks with advertising giants such as Procter & Gamble to permit them to advertise on Amazon Echo speakers. Amazon has denied that it’s going to permit advertising through Alexa. But even if Amazon does not offer ads, per se, it can use voice to mine valuable data about its customers that would be useful to its advertisers, such as Google can.Amazon is already working with businesses to monetize skills. Through premium content known as in-skill products that reside within Alexa skills, businesses can sell premium content such as in-game currency. For example, Stoked Skill offers free games such as Escape the Room and Escape the Airplane. The games are set up as Alexa skills. Players use Alexa skills to find clues that will help them escape spaces such as jell cells and cars. Customers can pay for optional “hint” packs (in in-skill product) that make it easier for them to escape.I could see Amazon also offering branded content and products to Prime customers who use Echo, such as discounts at local restaurants unlocked exclusively through Amazon Echo Auto. Doing so would monetize voice without more intrusive advertising that lack any useful offers.Finally, Amazon has other plans to monetize voice in the enterprise, such as Alexa for Business to help enterprises use Alexa to improve workforce productivity. As these examples show, companies are using Alexa for Business to book conference rooms, manage the connection status of shared devices, and other workplace tasks. But Amazon has competition in the enterprise most notably fromApple and Microsoft.What Business Should DoBrands have a clear mandate: prepare for a voice-first world, and one where Amazon and Google call the shots for now. When consumers start really buying products and services via voice assistants, brands will need to play ball with the companies that control the voice ecosystem. Here is how Recode envisions one way that world will play out:How it works now: If you ask Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant to buy, say, shampoo, they’ll surface what they think you’ll want. Alexa uses several criteria to suggest a purchase option: Your order history, whether a product is eligible for free Prime shipping and whether the product has the “Amazon’s Choice” seal of approval — “highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately.”Google picks products from merchants thatare most relevant to the query. It also considers purchase history and information about user preferences, as well as an item’s availability and proximity.Both companies say there is no favoring of specific retailers — or their own products.Brands also can’t pay for visibility — yet. For now, Amazon and Google are trying to build trust among new — few — voice buyers by making their search results as relevant as possible. It doesn’t, however, take much imagination to see a future in which Amazon or Google merchants could pay to have their products suggested by their smart assistants — like sponsored ads that crowd their websites — as a way to generate more ad dollars.Today, businesses are participating by creating sometimes clever and inventive voice-based brand building experiences, such as HBO’s voice-activated Westworld game, in which people use Alexa to explore the mythical Westworld. Other businesses have created their own branded Alexa skills. With Tide’s Stain Remover skill, you can get stain removal instructions shared with you through Alexa. Campbell’s offers recipes through Campbell’s Kitchen. Presumably, these businesses could offer in-skill products if they wanted to, an example being HBO offering a premium-tier Westworld game for purchase. And businesses are optimizing their content to be found through voice search.Amazon and Google are not the only companies doing the heavy lifting, but they are leading the way to a voice-first world. Smart companies are going with them.Why Amazon and Google Are Fighting to Lead the Voice-First Economy was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Amazon and Walmart Stock in Danger? India Tightens E-Commerce Rules

Last month, India implemented new regulations for foreign e-commerce firms including Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, placing pressure on the two conglomerates. According to Mukesh Aghi, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum president, the abrupt change in e-commerce regulations can pose a severely negative impact on the growth of U.S. companies in India. Are Amazon and Walmart … Continued The post Amazon and Walmart Stock in Danger? India Tightens E-Commerce Rules appeared first on CCN
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“Jeff Bozo”: Trump Seizes Long Awaited Opportunity To Blast Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos

U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a broadside at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, describing him as “Jeff Bozo” in a tweet posted late Sunday night. Referencing the ongoing coverage of Bezos’ divorce, Trump sarcastically offered his sympathy to Bezos for being taken down by a rival publication. The tweet marks the latest in a long The post “Jeff Bozo”: Trump Seizes Long Awaited Opportunity To Blast Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos appeared first on CCN
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Why Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Could be Bullish for Amazon Shares

News of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie Bezos divorcing sparked questions about how the split could affect the world’s most valuable company’s stock. While there were questions, there wasn’t panic. Investors are in wait-and-see mode. The news, which came Wednesday via a tweet from Jeff Bezos, barely moved Amazon’s share price. It closed … Continued The post Why Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Could be Bullish for Amazon Shares appeared first on CCN
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What Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Means for Amazon Investors

As CCN has reported, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are officially divorcing. Whether or not the divorce is the result of a months-long affair with Lauren Sanchez has not been confirmed. What we do know is that unless they change their minds, Amazon shareholders have cause for concern. MacKenzie Bezos Likely to Have Restrictions on AMZN The post What Jeff Bezos’ Divorce Means for Amazon Investors appeared first on CCN
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Grayscale Adds Stellar as Latest Cryptocurrency Investment Trust

Grayscale Adds Stellar as Latest Cryptocurrency Investment Trust Digital currency investment group Grayscale confirmed it had successfully launched its latest fund, dedicated to Stellar’s Lumens (XLM) token, in a tweet Jan. 17. Grayscale, which now operates nine cryptocurrency funds, timed the move to coincide with a change of image for its products, renaming all its […] Cet article Grayscale Adds Stellar as Latest Cryptocurrency Investment Trust est apparu en premier sur Bitcoin Central.
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Researches from MIT, Stanford Set to Replace Bitcoin with Their Groundbreaking Crypto Project

CoinSpeaker Researches from MIT, Stanford Set to Replace Bitcoin with Their Groundbreaking Crypto Project Until now, everybody has been talking about Bitcoin, the most popular and widely used digital currency. However, Bitcoin is unable to process thousands of transactions a second. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), UC-Berkeley, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Southern California, and the University of Washington have decided to fix such a weakness and develop a crypto asset better than Bitcoin. The researchers are working together as Distributed Technology Research (DTR), a non-profit organization based in Switzerland and backed by hedge fund Pantera Capital. The first initiative of Distributed Technology Research is the Unit-e, a virtual coin that is expected to solve bitcoin’s scalability issues while holding true to a decentralized model and process transactions faster than even Visa or Mastercard. Babak Dastmaltschi, Chairman of the DTR Foundation Council, said: “The blockchain and digital currency markets are at an interesting crossroads, reminiscent of the inflection points reached when industries such as telecom and the internet were coming of age. These are transformative times. We are nearing the point where every person in the world is connected together. Advancements in distributed technologies will enable open networks, avoiding the need for centralized authorities. DTR was formed with the goal of enabling and supporting this revolution, and it is in this vein that we unveil Unit-e.” According to the press release, Unit-e will be able to process 10,000 transactions per second. That’s worlds away from the current average of between 3.3 and 7 transactions per second for Bitcoin and 10 to 30 transactions for Ethereum. Joey Krug, a member of the DTR Foundation Council and Co-Chief Investment Officer at Pantera Capital, believes that a lack of scalability is holding back cryptocurrency mass adoption. He said: “We are on the cusp of something where if this doesn’t scale relatively soon, it may be relegated to ideas that were nice but didn’t work in practice: more like 3D printing than the internet.” The project’s ideology is firmly rooted in transparency, with a belief in open-source, decentralized software developed in the public interest with inclusive decision-making. The core team of the project is based in Berlin. To solve the scalability problem, DTR has decided to develop the Unit-e with parameters very close to Bitcoin’s design, but many things will be improved. Gulia Fanti, DTR lead researcher and Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, commented: “In the 10 years since Bitcoin first emerged, blockchains have developed from a novel idea to a field of academic research. Our approach is to first understand fundamental limits on blockchain performance, then to develop solutions that operate as close to these limits as possible, with results that are provable within a rigorous theoretical framework.” The launch of the Unit-e is planned for the second half of 2019. Researches from MIT, Stanford Set to Replace Bitcoin with Their Groundbreaking Crypto Project
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BitPay CEO Says Bitcoin Is Solving Real Problems Around the World

BitPay co-founder and CEO, Stephen Pair, has recently commented that Bitcoin (BTC) is solving several issues around the world. He said that in a press release uploaded a […] The post BitPay CEO Says Bitcoin Is Solving Real Problems Around the World appeared first on UseTheBitcoin.
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Trillion Dollar Market Cap, Ethereum Chain Splits & Stellar Lumens Fund - Crypto News

In this video, Mattie gives you the latest bitcoin and crypto news. He talks about the ethereum chain splitting, BitGo CEO Says Institutional Money in Crypto Can ‘Easily’ Reach Trillions of Dollars, and a new Stellar Lumens fund. This is a daily segment! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHECK OUT OUR PODCAST: https://bit.ly/2sZCAiF New episode every Monday and Friday! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Check out Altcoin Buzz Ladies! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxulvI2C9wUvvDDNS7S35fA/videos ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connect with us on Social Media: Twitter: https://bit.ly/2GDAoCp Facebook: https://bit.ly/2wYksLB Telegram: https://bit.ly/2IAqDuI ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Looking for the best cryptocurrency wallets? Check these out: BitLox: https://bit.ly/2rWQnHa CoolWallet S: https://bit.ly/2Liy5bv Trezor: https://bit.ly/2IXrZic Ledger Nano S: https://bit.ly/2IyE3al KeepKey: https://bit.ly/2x5TlhM Read about them here: https://bit.ly/2rTdthZ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- References: Leading Crypto Asset Manager Grayscale Launches Stellar Lumens Trust https://www.altcoinbuzz.io/crypto-news/finance-and-funding/leading-crypto-asset-manager-grayscale-launches-stellar-lumens-trust/?fbclid=IwAR2AlAU_C_8Mm9CUm2hDci0pmdW3pvLzphS-BSy888SzDptaXMeifxZgJ1I Crypto Investment Firm Grayscale Launches Fund Dedicated to Stellar Lumens (XLM) https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/01/crypto-investment-firm-grayscale-launches-fund-dedicated-to-stellar-lumens-xlm/ Grayscale Tweet https://twitter.com/GrayscaleInvest/status/1085904356635959297?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1085904356635959297&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.altcoinbuzz.io%2Fcrypto-news%2Ffinance-and-funding%2Fleading-crypto-asset-manager-grayscale-launches-stellar-lumens-trust%2F Grayscale https://grayscale.co/stellar-lumens-trust/ BitGo CEO Says Institutional Money in Crypto Can ‘Easily’ Reach Trillions of Dollars As Company Launches Cold Storage Trading https://dailyhodl.com/2019/01/17/bitgo-ceo-says-institutional-money-in-crypto-can-easily-reach-trillions-of-dollars-as-company-launches-cold-storage-trading/ Crypto’s Billion-Dollar Theft Problem Prompts Safer Way to Trade https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-16/crypto-s-billion-dollar-theft-problem-prompts-safer-way-to-trade Ethereum Chain Splits, An Estimated 10% of Miners Stay on Constantinople https://www.trustnodes.com/2019/01/17/ethereum-chain-splits-an-estimated-10-of-miners-stay-on-constantinople Ethereum Upgrade – Constantinople Hard Fork Delayed https://www.altcoinbuzz.io/crypto-news/product-release/ethereum-upgrade-constantinople-hard-fork-delayed/ VanEck to Nasdaq: Bitcoin Market Structure Expected to Improve in 2019 https://www.newsbtc.com/2019/01/17/vaneck-to-nasdaq-bitcoin-market-structure-expected-to-improve-in-2019/ Nasdaq Tweet https://twitter.com/Nasdaq/status/1085522054559031296?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1085522054559031296&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsbtc.com%2F2019%2F01%2F17%2Fvaneck-to-nasdaq-bitcoin-market-structure-expected-to-improve-in-2019%2F -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DISCLAIMER The information discussed on the Altcoin Buzz YouTube, Altcoin Buzz Ladies YouTube, Altcoin Buzz Podcast or other social media channels including but not limited to Twitter, Telegram chats, Instagram, facebook, website etc is not financial advice. This information is for educational, informational and entertainment purposes only. Any information and advice or investment strategies are thoughts and opinions only, relevant to accepted levels of risk tolerance of the writer, reviewer or narrator and their risk tolerance maybe different than yours. We are not responsible for your losses. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are high-risk investments so please do your due diligence and consult the financial advisor before acting on any information provided. Copyright Altcoin Buzz Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.
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