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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Excel is getting smarter

Excel is the workhorse of many industries and if you love your spreadsheets, the following news will likely make you unreasonably happy: Excel is getting smarter, thanks to a fresh infusion of artificial intelligence. As we previously reported, the Excel team has spent the last few months adding new machine learning-powered features to the application and starting today, Office 365 users who opt in to the Office Insiders program will get to experience the first crop of these new features.

The general idea here is to make Excel smart enough to understand some of your entries and offer you additional information. For now, this applies to geographical data like the names of cities, states and countries (but also Zip codes), as well as stocks.

Say you have a list of towns in Oregon. Excel will recognize that these are towns in what is objectively the best state in the U.S. and then allows you to pull additional data from Microsoft’s Bing knowledge graph to work with (think population and other demographic data). Similarly, for stocks and index funds, Excel can now automatically pull in financial data about a company.

Rob Howard, Microsoft director for Office 365, told me that the team decided to start with these two features because Excel users already tend to work with a lot of this data. “The really powerful thing about these new data types is that they are fundamentally new building blocks that we are introducing,” he said. “It’s another example of the places where we are taking AI and AI services to tools that people are already familiar with.”

The new feature sits in the Excel ‘Data’ tab, which now includes a new feature for transforming cells into these new data types. If Excel doesn’t quite know what to make of your data (Portland, ME or Portland, OR, for example), it’ll ask you to choose.

Howard wasn’t quite ready to talk about what data types the team is working on now, but he did say that one area the team is working on is integrations with internal data in a company. Every business has plenty of proprietary data that is typically hard to find and hard to use (and often sits in Excel sheets). The Microsoft Graph is the company’s effort to break this data out if its silos and the Excel team is looking for ways to bring it into spreadsheets, too.

The new version of Excel with support for these new data types is now available as a preview in Office 365 Insiders in English. It’ll roll out to all office 365 subscribers at some point in the future.


Source: TechCrunch

Amazon may launch a bank account aimed at teens, says report

Amazon has been in discussions with banks to create a product aimed at teens and other younger users who don’t have their own credit cards, or an interest in applying for one, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The company reportedly has held early stage talks with banks including JP Morgan Chase and Capital One, with the goal of creating some sort of checking account-type service that would make it easier for Gen Z customers to shop Amazon’s site.

This is not the first time Amazon has been said to be talking to banks about establishing some sort of banking product of its own.

Earlier this month, The WSJ reported Amazon was talking to big banks, including JPMorgan Chase, about building a checking account product. Bloomberg essentially confirms this earlier reporting, with the additional emphasis on the product’s youth appeal, and why it matters.

Most notably, it has to do with the younger generation’s approach to credit – or rather, how they’re not all that interested in obtaining a credit card. In fact, those ages 18 to 24 prefer using debit to credit, noted Bloomberg.

In addition, many young users don’t qualify for credit, and younger teenagers couldn’t even apply. Teens under 18 also can’t set up their own bank accounts, without parents’ consent.

Amazon had previously addressed the teen market with its Amazon Cash cards that let anyone add cash to an Amazon account by purchasing a card at a local retailer and giving the cashier the amount they want loaded into their Amazon account.

The company also last year launched a way for teens to shop the site independently of their parents – creating their own lists, and making purchases via parents’ accounts, while abiding by pre-set spending limits parents set or by getting purchases approved after parents’ review the requests.

But more recently, a number of alternative banking products have arrived for teenaged users, like Current, which ties into a chore-and-allowance system parents set up in an app, and Greenlight, whose “kids” debit card works both inside and outside the U.S. There’s also a host of millennial-flavored investing products on the market that help younger users learn to save, tuck away their digital loose change by rounding up purchases, or teach users how to invest.

Amazon may see the potential then, in going a similar route. Meanwhile, the banks may be interested in working with the retailer, given their need to find new ways to appeal to millennial shoppers wary of signing up for credit cards.

Bloomberg noted Amazon’s banking product could also entice users by reducing or eliminating traditional fees, or by taking advantage of Alexa in some fashion.

We’ve asked Amazon if it’s commenting on the report, and will update if the company has more to share.


Source: TechCrunch

Essentia Concept is Genesis' vision of an electric grand tourer – Roadshow

The company’s 2+2 concept has carbon fiber body panels and, of course, billionaire doors.
Source: CNET

April Fools' Day 2018: Web pranks already off and running – CNET

Your eyes and ears will deceive you this week as April Fools’ Day jokes roll out across the internet. Keep up with the best hoaxes, fakes and pranks of 2018.
Source: CNET

New 'Westworld' trailer shows off creepiest Dolores yet – CNET

The stunning new trailer for “Westworld” will give you chills. “It’s us, or them.”
Source: CNET

Best horror movies on Netflix for April 2018 ? – CNET

All the best the screaming — er, streaming — service has to offer through April.
Source: CNET

Dating app Bumble sues Match Group for $400 million – CNET

Following Match Group’s lawsuit against Bumble for patent infringement, Bumble files a suit of its own.
Source: CNET

Pinterest Adds New 'People You Follow' Tab to Your Feed

The new “following” tab shows you pins from people you follow in reverse-chronological order.
Source: Wired

Photographing a Robot Isn't Just Point and Shoot

Photographer Giulio di Sturco’s latest subject is a humanoid named Sophia—and capturing her essence took time.
Source: Wired

GoPro Hero: Specs, Price, Release Date

The new camera, called simply GoPro Hero, can’t do 4K, but it’s a great value at $1`99.
Source: Wired

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