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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Google’s Home Hub has a screen but no camera ‘so that it is comfortable in private spaces’

Is Google finally taking consumers’ privacy concerns to heart? Today, the search and Android giant took the wraps off its $149 Home Hub, a new screen-based smart home device that lets you interact with Google services like Google Photos and connected smart home devices. It’s Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo Show and Facebook’s new Portal. But in this age of privacy, the company made an interesting feature choice: it will be shipping the first version of the device without a camera built in.

“We also consciously did not put a camera on so that it was comfortable to us in the private spaces of your home like your bedroom,” noted Diya Jolly, VP of product management in the presentation today, while going through other features on the device.

The feature — or lack thereof, as the case may be — is notable. Just yesterday, Facebook unveiled its own connected home screen device, the Portal, and Amazon has been working hard to push and update its Echo Show, its Alexa-powered home hub with a screen. Both Amazon and Facebook are focused on just now how to show images, but how to capture them and to use visual cues to build more intelligent services.

Google, it would seem, is taking a different approach: tech companies have been under the spotlight for how they are handling privacy these days, and Google’s decision to leave a camera out of this device plays into the idea of how tech companies are trying to be more sensitive to what users want — and maybe need, since we already have so many other devices with cameras on them.

For Google specifically, the timing is especially important: just this week the company announced that it would be shutting down Google+, its ill-fated social network that had a bug in it that exposed the private information of users. The optics — pun intended — of pushing out a new device with a camera on it, at a time when many wonder just how much information these smart home speakers are picking up, would look very bad indeed.

On the other hand, leaving a camera out could serve other ends for Google.

It helps it keep the cost of the device down, with $149 a very competitive price point.

It also could help Google keep this device from competing with others that it is pushing to users — specifically its phones, its new Pixel Slate tablet, which has a front-facing camera for video chat; and the Pixel Stand, which — when combined with the new Pixel 3 smartphone — essentially turns that device into a screen-based home hub that does have a camera.

Lastly, it helps Google start to build a roadmap for features that it could add into the main Home Hub product in later iterations, if it finds that users are requesting it.

more Google Event 2018 coverage


Source: TechCrunch

The best Black Friday stores compared: Amazon, Walmart, and more

We’ve rounded up details about the best sales from today’s top retailers, with information about when to shop and what to look for at each. Whether you’re browsing in-store or online, we’ve got you covered.

The post The best Black Friday stores compared: Amazon, Walmart, and more appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Superpowered MSI Trident X packs RGB lighting, Intel 9900K, and a GTX 1080 Ti

The MSI Trident X might be small, but it is mighty. With an RTX 2080 Ti and up to a Core i9-9900K CPU in their own segregated cooling chambers, it’s one of the most powerful mini-desktops we’ve ever seen.

The post Superpowered MSI Trident X packs RGB lighting, Intel 9900K, and a GTX 1080 Ti appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Made by Google Pixel 3 event today: Watch it live here – CNET

Get ready for the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL — and other gadgets, too. Join CNET for a preshow starting at 7:30 a.m. PT/10:30 a.m. ET.
Source: CNET

SoundCloud widens monetization to let paying artists make money – CNET

If you pay for pro uploads to SoundCloud, now you can make money off your tracks.
Source: CNET

Midrange phones are boring, but here's why they're important, too – CNET

Mid-tier handsets account for one-third of the global smartphone market, according to one analyst firm.
Source: CNET

Self-Improvement in the Internet Age: A WIRED Investigation

The internet has made us a planet of autodidacts—but just how are we improving ourselves?
Source: Wired

The 'Fortnite' Twitch Streamers Teaching Gen Z About Climate Change

Hey, there are worse things to be learned from videogames.
Source: Wired

SoundCloud finally lets more musicians monetize four years later

SoundCloud moves painfully slow for a tech company, and no one feels that pain more than musicians who are popular on the site but don’t get paid. 10 years since SoundCloud first launched, and four years since it opened an invite-only program allowing just the very biggest artists to earn a cut of the ad and premium subscription revenue generated by their listeners, SoundCloud is rolling out monetization.

Now, musicians 18 and up who pay SoundCloud $8 to $16 per month for hosting, get over 5000 streams per month, and only publish original music with no copyright strikes against them can join the SoundCloud Premier program. They’ll get paid a revenue share directly each month that SoundCloud claims “meets or beats any other streaming service”. However, the company failed to respond to TechCrunch’s inquiries about how much artists would earn per 1000 ad-supported or premium subscription listener streams, or how many streams would earn them a dollar.

Beyond payouts, Premier members can post new tracks instantly without having to wait to be discoverable or monetizable, they’ll get real-time feedback from fans, and extra discovery opportunities from SoundCloud. The company hopes monetization will lure more creators to join the 20 million on the platform, get them to promote their presence to drive listens, and imbue the site with exclusive artist-uploaded content that attracts listeners.

It’s been a year since SoundCloud raised an $170 million emergency funding round to save itself from going under after it was forced to lay off 40 percent of its staff. That deal arranged by Kerry Trainor saw him become CEO and the previous co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung step aside. With underground rap that had percolated on SoundCloud for years suddenly reaching the mainstream, the startup seemed to have momentum.

The problem is the slow speed of progress at SoundCloud has allowed competitors with monetization baked in to catch up to its formerly unique offering. YouTube Music’s launch in June 2018 combined premium major label catalogues with user uploaded tracks in a cohesive streaming service. And last month, Spotify began allowing indie artists to upload their music directly to the platform. Meanwhile, licensing distribution services like Dubset are making it legal for big streaming apps to host remixes and DJ sets. Together, these make more of the rarities, live versions, and hour-long club gigs that used to only be on SoundCloud available elsewhere.

The delays seem in part related to the fact that SoundCloud wants to be Spotify as well as SoundCloud. It’s refused to back down from its late entry into the premium streaming market with its $9.99 per month SoundCloud Go+ subscription. As I previously recommended, “to fix SoundCloud, it must become the anti-Spotify” by ruthlessly focusing on its differentiated offering in artist-uploaded music. Instead, another year has passed with only a light revamping of SoundCloud’s homescreen and some more personalized playlists to show for it.

SoundCloud proudly announced it had reached $100 million in revenue in 2017, and exceeded its financial and user growth targets. But filings reveal it lost over $90 million in 2016 and it was previously projected to not become profitable until 2020. That begs the question of whether SoundCloud will have to raise again, or might once again open itself to acquisitions. With Apple, Google, Amazon, and Spotify all in fierce competition for the future of streaming, any of them might be willing to pay up for music that fans can’t easily find elsewhere.


Source: TechCrunch

Google+ shut down over data breach, Facebook unviels video chat devices video – CNET

The biggest stories in tech include Google+’s shutdown over a long data breach, Facebook’s unveiling of two new standable video chat products and Microsoft’s Project xCloud, a service that aims to bring Xbox streaming to mobile phones and tablets.
Source: CNET

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