Enterprise

Google is listening to your private conversations

They admit to the leak

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Have you ever worried about voice assistants listening in on your private conversations? Apparently, your paranoia was right. Straight from the horse’s mouth, Google has admitted to the unsolicited voyeurism of its consumers’ voice recordings.

Like most voice assistants, Google Assistant records and analyzes its owner’s voice for intelligible commands. Consequently, Google Home responds with the adequate function requested by the user.

Unfortunately, artificial intelligence is still an imperfect art, dependent on human intervention. Currently, Google employs a team of analysts to improve their speech recognition technology. These experts contribute to the voice assistant’s efficiency. Whenever a user says “Hey, Google,” the device sends the conversation to Google’s servers, allowing experts to listen in. Thankfully, Google’s team listens to only “around 0.2 percent of all audio snippets.” Further, these snippets shouldn’t contain any sensitive user information.

Sadly, humanity isn’t perfect. “We just learned that one of these reviewers has violated our data security policies by leaking confidential Dutch audio data,” Google said in a statement. As a rule, Google’s experts can’t transcribe or transfer conversations. The Dutch leak is a clear violation of Google’s policies.

In response, Google’s security team is already on the case. The company has already found the leak. In addition, they are also reviewing their safeguard policies to prevent future mishaps from happening again.

Regardless, the company’s blunder is a huge dent on voice recognition technology. Previously, Amazon also committed the same mistake with its Alexa technology.

SEE ALSO: Google provides official preview of Pixel 4

Enterprise

Lazada’s 11.11 concludes with record-breaking sales

E-commerce is growing in the Philippines

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Lazada just had a blast with its 11.11 sale. This year’s sale sets new records for the online store company, with over 11 million deals from local and international brands sold to customers in the Philippines.

Lazada tallied one million sold items within the first hour of the 11.11 sale. One million users also shopped for various items on the website. By the end of the sale event, Lazada shoppers spent a total of 205 million minutes shopping on Lazada. That’s equivalent to watching a marathon of harry Potter for 187,000 times. Filipinos also proved to be shopping-savvy, collecting up to PhP 170 million worth of vouchers during the sale. One person’s shopping cart even amounted to a whopping PhP 1.2 million.

Bigger league of millionaire sellers

Dealers and sellers also set a record for increasing the membership of Lazada’s millionaire-seller league. The league, where sellers past a million peso sale mark earn membership, gained 1,140 new sellers because of the 11.11 sale.

Top brands in the 11.11 sale include Xiaomi for mobile category; CooCaa for home appliance; Pampers for mother’s care; Hydro Flask for general merchandise; Maybelline for health and beauty; and American Tourister for fashion.

This year’s 11.11 sale proves that e-commerce is booming the country. Globally, e-commerce is growing steadily, with China’s Singles’ Day event this year crossing the US$ 38 billion mark for total sales.

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Enterprise

Huawei might get a third extension in the US

Despite US promises to stop extensions

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When will Trump’s obsession with Huawei end? For more than two years, the US government has wandered into an on-and-off relationship with Chinese companies, especially Huawei and ZTE. Currently, the Chinese corporate world is suffering a massive ban on American soil.

Huawei, the ban’s main target, operates purely through a temporary extension granted by the US government. Unfortunately, the license runs out in a few days on November 18, US time. Even then, the current one is already the second extension since May’s definitive ban. In fact, the government already talked about ceasing the extensions altogether.

However, if their previous “promises” are anything to go by, even this particular promise was made on shaky ground. First reported by Politico, the government is expected to extend Huawei’s extension a third time. Unlike the previous 90-day extensions, however, the upcoming one will extend the company’s license by six months.

Though surprising, a third extension likely stems from the government’s recent headway with a more permanent deal. As such, the Trump administration will gain much more by keeping Huawei as a bargaining chip during the deal’s negotiations.

Still, this is getting tedious. For months, both the US and China have been in a relentless tug-of-war for Huawei’s right to operate. However, despite all the news, the issue hasn’t seen a definitive conclusion. Huawei is still in the same mire that it’s been in since May. Who knows when it will end?

SEE ALSO: Taiwan suspends sale of three Huawei phones

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Enterprise

Apple: Students with Chromebooks ‘are not going to succeed’

Wants you to buy the MacBook Pro instead

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Are you buying the new MacBook Pro? Apple’s new 16-inch notebook is a powerful device built for heavy-duty use. If you’re a student today, a new MacBook is surely an asset, especially if you do heavy design work. In fact, Apple itself is advertising the device as the best option for academic life.

In a recent interview with Cnet, Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller waxed poetic about the company’s continued dominance in academic institutions and creative industries. “College students’ [use] is dominated by Macs,” Schiller said. “In the majority of creative fields — writers, video editors, music creators and programmers — I think that’s an area that’s super strong.”

In fact, a quick trip to the nearest private college confirms this fact. Macs are super popular. “We just have great customers who love the Mac,” Schiller said.

Of course, the computing world isn’t populated by just Apple. Windows is still a capable alternative for a huge chunk of the world. Apple isn’t happy with Windows’ continued presence.

“The PC world is a world of sameness,” said Schiller. “You have commodity hardware [and] a generic operating system that has to work on a lot of stuff, so it doesn’t work great on any one thing.”

True enough, Apple’s devices are catered more for creative purposes. However, Schiller’s rant goes further. The marketing boss goes off against Google’s Chromebooks, lambasting them as the poorest option for students.

“You need to have these cutting-edge learning tools to help kids really achieve their best results,” Schiller said. “Yet Chromebooks don’t do that. Chromebooks have gotten to the classroom because, frankly, they’re cheap testing tools for required testing. If all you want to do is test kids, well, maybe a cheap notebook will do that. But they’re not going to succeed.”

Schiller’s follow-up tweet doesn’t do much to save face. “We discussed giving kids and teachers the content, curriculum and tools they need to learn, explore and grow. Not just to take a test,” he tweeted. Like the original interview, the tweet touts Apple’s superiority in bringing out success, despite their astronomical prices. To Apple, owning a MacBook is a requirement to be successful.

Schiller’s opinion is a strong statement against Google’s popular notebook. The Chromebook is still a massively affordable and massively flexible option for markets of all sizes. Despite the division losing strength, Schiller’s statement goes against all PCs, as well.

SEE ALSO: Apple sets another record this year

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