Amazon refusing to hand over data on whether Alexa overheard a murder

Amazon is balking at a search warrant seeking cloud-stored data from its Alexa Voice Service. Arkansas authorities want to examine the recorded voice and transcription data as part of a murder investigation. Among other things, the Seattle company claims that the recorded data from an Amazon Echo near a murder scene is protected by the First Amendment, as are the responses from the voice assistant itself.

Amazon said that the Bentonville Police Department is essentially going on a fishing expedition with a warrant that could chill speech and even the market for Echo devices and competing products. In a motion to quash the subpoena, the company said that because of the constitutional concerns at issue, the authorities need to demonstrate a “compelling need” for the information and must exhaust other avenues to acquire that data.

The motion says:

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Security researchers announce “first practical” SHA-1 collision attack

shattered Security researchers at the CWI institute in Amsterdam working with a team from Google Research say they have found a faster way to compromise the SHA-1 hash algorithm — announcing what they describe as “the first practical technique for generating a SHA-1 collision” in a blog post today. Read More

Google’s latest space-themed Doodle is exceptionally clever

On Wednesday, a team of astronomers revealed the discovery of a planetary system less than 40 light years away containing seven Earth-sized planets. The system’s star is an ultracool dwarf, TRAPPIST-1, which is nothing to write home about—but astronomers gradually realized that the system has a plethora of planets, and three of them could support water oceans on their surface.

Google, as it often does, commemorated the discovery with a Doodle:

Google Doodles have been around nearly as long as the search engine itself, with the first one commemorating Burning Man back in 1998:

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Gboard Update Brings Google Doodle, Voice Typing, iOS 10 Emoji, and Additional Language Support

Google has announced a significant update for Gboard, bringing new emoji, Google Doodles, voice typing, and additional language support to the iOS keyboard app.

Gboard integrates the company’s search capabilities into an iPhone or iPad’s keyboard. Using the Google button in Gboard, users can search for information, send what they find, discover GIFs, emojis, and more, without having to exit a messenger app to visit Safari or Chrome.

The update means Gboard now supports all of the latest emoji from iOS 10. Additionally, Google has added subtle alerts about Google Doodles, which frequently animate the Google logo to honor holidays, anniversaries and notable people. Whenever a new Google Doodle goes live, the “G” button animates, prompting users to find out more about it.

Elsewhere, today’s update adds voice typing, which allows users to dictate messages directly to Gboard. To start a new text, users can now long-press the mic button on the space bar and talk.

The update also brings 15 additional languages to Gboard, including Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Catalan, Hungarian, Malay, Russian, Latin American Spanish and Turkish.

Gboard is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Google

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Latest Chrome Canary Build Includes Support for MacBook Pro Touch Bar

The newest build (58.0.3020.0) of Chrome Canary, Google’s experimental browser, includes support for the Touch Bar built into the 2016 MacBook Pro, indicating Touch Bar support will soon be added to the Chrome browser.

On the Touch Bar, the current Chrome Canary build offers a search/URL bar, forward and back buttons, a refresh/stop option, a button for opening a new tab, and a button for adding a new bookmark.

It’s much a simpler implementation than Touch Bar support in Safari, which includes preview tabs for quickly switching between windows. There are also no controls available for video or music playback in the browser.

Features are tested in Canary before being added release builds of the Google Chrome browser, so Touch Bar support is expected in Chrome 58, set to be released during the week of April 25th.

Those who want to give Touch Bar support a try ahead of the release of Chrome 58 can download Chrome Canary from Google.

Tags: Google, Chrome

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Google launches GPU support for its Cloud Platform

tesla-m40-header Three months ago, Google announced that it would launch support for high-end graphics processing units (GPUs) for machine learning and other specialized workloads in early 2017. It’s now early 2017 and, true to its word, Google today officially made GPUs on the Google Cloud Platform available to developers. As expected, these are NVIDIA Tesla K80 GPUs and developers will be able to… Read More

Google’s Project Fi starts testing Voice over LTE support

projectfi Google’s own wireless service called Project Fi has rolled out Voice over LTE service for a subset of its users, the company confirmed this week via an announcement in Google’s product forums. Users will be able to tell that they’ve been added to this lucky group of testers because their signal indicator will continue to display LTE when they’re making or receiving… Read More

Google and Microsoft agree to demote piracy search results in the UK

Google and Microsoft’s Bing have agreed to crack down on piracy sites in the UK, after years of wrangling with film and music rights holders.

The tech giants have inked a voluntary code of practice with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Motion Picture Association, following a series of talks overseen by the UK’s copyright watchdog and steered by the department for culture, media, and sport.

On Monday, the Intellectual Property Office described it as a “landmark agreement” in which Google and Bing have vowed to reduce “the visibility of infringing content in search results by 1 June 2017.” It means that repeat offenders who post pirated material online will see their sites drop off the first page of Google and Bing, when film and music fans search for content. Instead, they will apparently be shepherded towards legit sites.

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