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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Google Duplex: What it is and what Google's doing next – CNET

How Google’s AI wants to make your life easier. Here’s what we know.
Source: CNET

HP Omen Photon wireless gaming mouse, Outpost pad promise lights, speed and Qi charging – CNET

Clear desk, full battery, can’t lose.
Source: CNET

Microsoft Wants to Protect Your Identity With Bitcoin

Microsoft announced plans to use the bitcoin blockchain to create a “digital identity” that could be used to access sites and apps across the internet.
Source: Wired

The Curious History of Crap—Human, Animal, and Chemical

We don’t think much about where our waste goes, but the history of what we do with poop is also the history of how we grow food.
Source: Wired

EV startup Rimac scores $90M investment from Hyundai and Kia

Rimac Automobili, the European EV startup that landed an investment from Porsche last year, has again gained the backing of traditional automakers after Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors jointly invested €80 million, or around $90 million.

Beyond the significant cash infusion, the three parties said the deal includes “a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles.” In other words, Hyundai and Kia — both of which fall under the ownership of Hyundai Motor Group — plan to work very closely with Rimac, which is based in Croatia, to bring electric vehicles to market under their brands.

Already we have an idea of what that will look like.

Today’s announcement teased an electric car within Hyundai’s N sports car division and a “high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle,” both of which will include collaboration between the Korean group and Rimac. (It’s worth noting that Rimac is already a supplier for Hyundai Motor Group so the two sides are well acquainted.)

Rimac’s back story is fascinating. The company was founded in 2009 by then-21-year-old Mate Rimac who developed an electric vehicle in his garage. Today, the company is 500 people strong and aside from supplying parts to manufacturers — specifically high-voltage battery technology and electric powertrains — it designs in-car digital interfaces, runs a subsidiary-focused on electrics, and develops impressive electric “hypercars.” Its vehicles include the C Two, pictured at the top of this post at the Geneva International Motor Show.

The startup’s own boilerplate explains neatly why it is teaming up with major names like Porsche and Hyundai.

“The next challenge ahead is to grow from a low volume manufacturer of complex high-end electrification components, to an established Tier-1 supplier for the industry,” it reads.

Decades of automotive know-how from its investors with experience is sure to help there.

[Left to right] Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, and Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, seal the deal

As for Hyundai Motor Group, the Korean firm has embarked on a series of deals as it looks to tap into tech to grow its business. That’s included investments in companies like Grab in Southeast Asia ($250 million), car infotainment startup Audioburst and, in India, car rental service Revv and Uber rival Ola, in a deal related to its EV unit.

On the partnership side, Hyundai is working with Russia’s Yandex on self-driving tech, Amazon on virtual showrooms and more.


Source: TechCrunch

Amazon rolls out Alexa Guard, to help protect your home while you’re out

Amazon announced this morning that it’s begun to roll out Alexa Guard to all Echo customers in the U.S. The feature lets the company’s line of smart home products double as home security devices while the user is out. Say “Alexa, I’m leaving” on your way out the door, and the Echo device will start listening.

The key feature here is something called “Smart Alerts,” which listen for key sounds, indulging breaking glass and smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If the Echo hears the noise, it will send you an alert, coupled with an audio recording of noise.

It’s an interesting new addition and one that leverages the sometimes controversial fact that the device’s mics are designed to always be listening. Amazon points out that it worked with licensed contractors to break hundreds of different glass windows with different instruments in order to create a wide range of different sounds for Alexa to listen for.

The new feature works with different smart home devices, as well. Users with Ring or ADT pro monitoring can set it up to forward alerts to their providers. Users with Away Lighting setup, meanwhile, can use the alert to flip on lights in order to make it look like you’re still around.

The app is rolling out as a free addition to all Echo owners in the U.S.


Source: TechCrunch

Tech That Makes Us Better Humans: JavaScript, Shudder, Chat Apps, Concordia, Signia

We reached out to a bunch of experts to ask them about the tools they love. Here’s what we heard back.
Source: Wired

Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense of a Difficult Industry

Technology is just another human creation—like religion or government or sports or money. It’s not perfect, and it never will be. But it’s still a miracle.
Source: Wired

India’s largest mobile wallet company Paytm now offers a credit card

Paytm, India’s largest mobile wallet app, has branched out to several businesses in recent years as threat from Google and Facebook grows. On Tuesday, it added another category to the list: credit cards.

The firm, operated by One97 Communications, today unveiled Paytm First Credit Card with lofty benefits as it races to bulk up its financial offerings. The cards, issued by Citi Bank, will be the first in the country to offer unlimited, one percent cashback on purchases, Paytm claimed in a statement. The company is hoping to rope in about 25 million credit card customers in the coming months.

The penetration of credit cards remains very low in India with under 50 million people possessing one. With people conducting most of their businesses through cash in the nation, banks have little understanding of a customer’s credit history and score. And it also doesn’t help that banks in India are still wary of issuing credit cards to those who don’t perfectly fit the traditional blue collar job.

But why is a company that made its name through a mobile payment wallet open to its customers engaging with credit card companies? Paytm itself is struggling to grow its business and retain existing customers. Some of its recent major bets haven’t exactly paid off. Its ecommerce business Paytm Mall remains tiny despite bleeding money.

But more importantly, payments itself has become a commoditized space. Users park their money in Paytm and do transactions from there. Paytm makes money from this accumulated sum. This business flourished for years, especially in the months after the Indian government invalidated much of the cash in the nation. But then the government launched its own payment infrastructure called UPI, which removes the need for a middleman.

This has made payments more convenient for users, who are increasingly jumping ship. UPI apps such as PhonePe that have emerged in the last two and a half years now see more transactions than wallet apps. To make matter worse for Paytm, Google and Facebook — two companies that have larger userbase in India — have entered the payments space. Google Pay reached 100 million installs on Google Play Store recently, and WhatsApp plans a nation-wide roll out of its payment feature in India later this year.

So Paytm is now expanding its financial offerings and credit card play fits well in it. With more than 200 million active users, Paytm rivals banks on both the number of customers and volume of transaction it processes.

“Our new offering is designed to bring utmost flexibility to our customers in their digital payment options and will help spur large-ticket cashless payments,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chairman and CEO of One97 Communications said in a statement.

Backed by SoftBank, Alibaba, and most recently Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Paytm has the capital to spur the adoption of its new credit card. As part of the package, Paytm’s credit card holders will be able to avail dining, shopping, travel and other offers that Citi Bank provides to its privilege customers. In the first four months of issuing a card, the company will offer its customers discounts worth Rs 10,000 ($142) on spending of Rs 10,000.

Paytm First Credit Card will work both in India and elsewhere and support contactless transactions. Like any other credit card, customers will be able to pay back a sum in multiple monthly instalments. Paytm First Credit Card will charge users a nominal fee of Rs 500 ($7.1) that will be waived off if their spendings through the card exceeds Rs 50,000 ($710) in a year.

If the gamble works, Paytm will be able to retain some customers and convince many to do big-ticket transactions. For Citi Bank, this partnership is just an easy ploy to acquire some customers.

In the meantime, Paytm continues to aggressively expand its financial offerings. In recent years, it has launched a digital payments bank, and has started to offer prepaid Forex cards for international purchases. It also lets customers buy gold, and employers issue food allowance wallets for their staff. Last year, the company announced Paytm Money to facilitate purchase of mutual funds.

Earlier this year, the company launched Paytm First, a subscription bundle that includes access to subscriptions from other services such as Zomato, Uber, Gaana, and Eros Now. In an interview with TechCrunch late last month, Paytm’s Sharma said payments is the moat around which you can build a number of services. “Now that’s a business model… payment itself can’t make you money.”


Source: TechCrunch

Google’s Street View cars are helping build a giant map of global air pollution

For the past several years, a growing number of Google’s Street View cars have been doing more than just taking photos. They’ve also been measuring air quality. Here’s why that’s so important.

The post Google’s Street View cars are helping build a giant map of global air pollution appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

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