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Everything Globe announced at WWGX

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Okay, real talk: We didn’t expect to hear about a lot of exciting stuff when Globe held its first Wonderful Wold with Globe event for the year, for reasons that would probably resonate with local tech insiders.

Fortunately, we were wrong. It turned out that Wonderful World with Globe 10, abbreviated as WWGX, was an eventful affair that featured a Tony Robbins quote about us living in an “entertainment age” and announcements that kept us from dozing off or standing idly on the sidelines while conducting mini-interviews with company executives. (Full disclosure: We did conduct interviews, but only after the show.)

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Globe made a lot of noise and a lot more sense the other night, and we were all ears. Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s highlights.

WWGX 2016 (1)

Globe kicked off WWGX by reminding the audience of its ambitious broadband goal for 2020: 20 million households and 20,000 barangays — nearly half the number of barangays in the Philippines — connected through fiber. That’s a rather tall order considering the few fiber-ready areas Globe currently has in place. Still, it was good to hear that more people in the part of the world where fast internet is an exception to the norm would eventually have access to fiber-optic speeds sooner rather than later.

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Speaking of fast internet, Globe gushed about its subscribers getting double-digit download speeds on LTE networks using the 700MHz spectrum it acquired from San Miguel Corporation. The telecommunications company also announced a part of the Philippines’ capital city that now enjoys a high-speed internet experience with its fiber plans.

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Globe got the audience up to speed with its recent deal with Disney Southeast Asia, which brings Watch Disney Channel apps for mobile devices to paying customers. The app themselves live up to their names, offering live and video-on-demand content from one of the largest and most enduring media companies in the world.

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In keeping with its continuing transition to an entertainment company, Globe announced a partnership with U.S. media conglomerate Turner Broadcasting, whose IPs include CNN, TNT, and Cartoon Network. We’re told the latter will benefit most from the deal, meaning more Cartoon Network shows will be available for those who pay a monthly fee.

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It also took to the stage to announce a new partner in Smule, a San Francisco-based startup whose claim to fame is a karaoke app for Android and iOS. The app has seen 50 million downloads on Android’s Play Store since launching in October last year.

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Also joining the fold is eGG, a dedicated eSports channel that brings coverage of the world’s biggest video-game events and more. For Globe subscribers, eGG will be available via the Astro app.

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Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, will offer news, event coverage, and live sports programming, as well as original content from SI sites FanSided and SI Kids.

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The last but certainly not the least addition to Globe’s expanded portfolio is Netflix. We’re unsure what the agreement entails, and whether Netflix’s “first partner in the Philippines” has indeed something delightful to offer, but in an interview with GadgetMatch, Globe senior advisor Dan Horan revealed it has something to do with exclusive offerings, possibly tied to new or existing data and broadband packages.

One of the biggest announcements at WWGX was the unveiling of the second phase of Globe’s modern retail push. Central to this effort is the Tim Kobe-designed Globe Iconic Store that will soon open its doors at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, alongside two giant high-res outdoor screens hanging from the store’s glass bridge. It’s unlike anything we’ve seen from a telco player — or any retailer, for that matter — and true to the hype, the Iconic Store may be the most memorable retail location in the Philippines for years to come.

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At WWGX, Globe retail boss Joe Caliro announced Globe Live (which he also now heads). “We’re not going down the path of sponsoring anymore,” he said, before detailing Globe’s commitment to collaborating with artists and creative professionals to produce quality musicals and live performances. The company’s first production is “Green Day’s American Idiot,” a musical based on the punk-rock band’s album of the same name.

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Globe has looked to expand its footprint in the entertainment space and recently launched its own production house, Globe Studios. The company has already begun the early stages of developing shows and films top-billed by a talented bunch of contemporary directors.

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To close the show, Globe unveiled new broadband bundles that include a TV, a peripheral, or a video game console, depending on the subscription.

[irp posts=”9513″ name=”Globe Prepaid Home WiFi review”]

Apps

Google’s Hold for Me feature will kill annoying delivery jingles

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If you were like us during this tempestuous lockdown season, you love (and still love) getting stuff delivered, whether it’s food or something new for the house. Unfortunately, despite our love for new things, one thing we still hate is an unending delivery hotline call. Yes, we mean those annoying-but-needlessly-catchy marketing jingles. (In fact, Sarah Geronimo’s Jollibee jingle is still ringing in my ears as I write this.)

Finally, Google has a solution for this work-from-home nightmare. Announced earlier today, the company is introducing a new functionality for calls on hold. The new Hold for Me feature will place Google Assistant in line for you whenever a hotline places you on hold. You don’t need to listen through 40 loops of hold music anymore.

Using Google’s Duplex AI, the Hold for Me feature will alert you — through a sound, a vibration, or a notification — when the call is ready for you. According to Google, Duplex technology can accurately detect if the hotline finally responds with either a recorded message or a human representative. Despite the need for AI processing, Google assures users that the company isn’t storing call data. All call data will remain inside the phone.

The feature is launching inside Google’s Phone app. Users can toggle the feature on or off through the Settings and activate it manually during calls.

For now, Google is launching the feature through an early preview in the new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G. Both smartphones will launch sometime in October and November.

SEE ALSO: Google is officially launching Android 11 today

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How to get NBA League Pass with your telco provider

There are two package options

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NBA action is in full swing. In fact, it has been since August when the season restarted following a shut down that was caused by the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic. As of writing, we’re in the thick of the Conference Finals series. If you want to catch all the action, here’s how you can get NBA League Pass through different telecomm providers in the Philippines.

It’s now easier than ever to get access to the games legally. All of Smart, PLDT, and Globe are offering the same price packages.

PhP 85 — Watch any three games of your choice
PhP 485 — 30-day pass for all games including live and on-demand

Here’s how to get the subscription for each provider.

Smart Postpaid and Prepaid
(Also works with TNT and SUN Postpaid)

  • Download the NBA app (iOS / Android /APKPure)
  • On the app, click on the icon at the top-right corner
  • Click sign-in
  • A banner on top of the page will appear for Smart, Sun and TNT subscribers
  • Click ‘Get Started’
  • Enter mobile number for verification and a one-time PIN which will be sent to your mobile number
  • Choose your provider: Smart, TNT or Sun.
  • Choose your NBA League Pass Package (3-game or 30-days) and enter mobile number
  • Confirm your payment by entering the one-time PIN sent to your mobile number
  • Click NBA logo and start watching

PLDT Home

  • Go to pldthome.com/nbaleaguepass
  • Select your preferred package
  • The amount will be added to your next bill
  • PLDT will give a voucher
  • Download and sign-in to the NBA app
  • Enter the voucher in the promotion code field
  • Click NBA logo and start watching

Globe

  • Open the GCash app
  • Go to Buy Load
  • Look for the PayTV tab
  • Choose your preferred package. (Note: The chosen package is valid for 90 days).
  • Confirm payment
  • Open the NBA app and enjoy!

As mentioned earlier, we’re no in the Conference Finals with four teams remaining. Dueling in the West are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile in the East, it’s a battle between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.

A new NBA champion will likely be crowned in the next 30 days so now is the best time to subscribe!

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Twitter is probing its AI’s racial bias in picture previews

They’re working on improving it

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Twitter uses a neural network to show you relevant previews of all the pictures that are posted on the microblogging platform. If the image contains text, the area is prioritized for a preview. Similarly, human faces are also given preference.

The preview makes it easier for the viewer to get a gist of the tweet without the compulsion of opening the entire picture. Although, the feature isn’t up-to mark since a lot of users have complained about the AI’s racial bias.

Several users posted a picture that has both, a white man and a black man’s face. But the preview often shows the white man’s face only. Users noticed the difference after a similar anomaly was observed on Zoom, where the facial recognition technology failed to identify a black man’s face, but had no trouble when the skin tone was changed.

 

Liz Kelley from Twitter’s communication team said they had tested the neural system for bias, but didn’t come across gender or racial bias during testing. She also confirmed that they’ve got more analysis to do and shall be open-sourcing all the work for others to review and replicate.

Twitter’s Chief Design Officer Dantley Davis and Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal were quick to acknowledge the shortcoming and said they’re “investigating” the neural network.

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