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Google is firing up developers to catapult their AI assistant game

(TECH NEWS) Google recently tried to pump developers up with lofty dreams and goals with hopes of being the favorite AI Assistant.

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AI assistant wars

In the grim darkness of the AI Assistant Wars (I would totally read that YA fiction series) Amazon has built up a sizable lead. As noted in our December roundup, Amazon’s Alexa was the most fully developed and integrated among the big three of Amazon, Apple and Google. As yet, that hasn’t changed.

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But if last week’s Google I/O event was anything to go by, that may stop being the case, and soon.

Google stepping in

In the early days of the Magic Robot Helper race, Amazon had a massive advantage: it sells all the things. It may even be starting to sell its competitors’ things.

They’ve got supply chain-to-retail wired like nobody else.

That got Alexa on the market, in people’s houses, and most importantly in the hands of developers who could actually make Alexa, you know, do useful things, faster than Apple and Google could dream.

The question, and it’s a big question, is whether that’s enough.

At Google I/O, the House of Pichal made a powerful pitch grounded in the many reasons it might not be.

The pitch

The vital fact is none of these AI assistants have really integrated into a user experience yet. Amazon’s early lead only means a bunch of stuff is being sold that has Alexa functionality built into it. Whether the stuff works or people want it, which is kind of what matters when we’re talking market share, is an open question.

There hasn’t been a marketwide push to adopt the tech.

At I/O, Google made a serious case for resolving that issue. Fundamentally, Amazon is a retail company. Google is a tech company, above all an information retrieval and management company. That, it says, is the core of the AI assistant user experience.

It’s meant to be the ultimate interface, the way to get the Internet to answer your questions by just asking them out loud.

Google is the unquestioned leader in the tech that makes that possible: voice recognition, search algorithms, language parsing and so on. More importantly, Google has a relationship with the developer community that none of its competitors can match, which it showed at the I/O conference by giving 7,000 developers a free Google Home speaker and $700 of cloud computing credits.

Bark and bite

When it comes to AI, Google has quite literally put its money where its mouth is. Will that be enough to outstrip Amazon’s early lead and Apple’s hard core (see what I did there? Apple core? Never mind) of loyalists? We’ll keep you posted.

#Google

Matt Salter is a writer and former fundraising and communications officer for nonprofit organizations, including Volunteers of America and PICO National Network. He’s excited to put his knowledge of fundraising, marketing, and all things digital to work for your reading enjoyment. When not writing about himself in the third person, Matt enjoys horror movies and tabletop gaming, and can usually be found somewhere in the DFW Metroplex with WiFi and a good all-day breakfast.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jack Smith

    May 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Amazon is far MORE aggressive than Google or Apple for that matter by NOT allowing any competing Apple or Google hardware to be sold on Amazon.com.

    Hate to say it but if Amazon is going to play like this then both Apple and Google should consider removing Amazon from their platforms. Yes, I know they would never do it and we would all hate it.

    BTW, full disclosure my family is a HUGE Amazon customer and love Amazon. But this behavior does bother me.

    We have had the Echo since day 1 and now several Google Homes (GH). The GH and the Echo are really not in the same ball park. The GH is built on top of a smart foundation and the Echo is a computer interface with the intelligence. So the Echo you memorize commands and the Google Home you just talk like you would to a human.

    The GH knows who you are and uses your account and does what you are allowed to do. The Echo has to have account manually changed and then has passcodes to limit which is a complete joke as just overheard.

    But then Amazon owns ecommerce and we get back to not allowing competitors.

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Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.

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Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.

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Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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This note-taking app is perfect for the creative mind

(TECH NEWS) The newest app for note-taking could be a tremendous asset for a very specific type of creative that tools like trello and evernote fall short on… not all apps work for all people.

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If you’re like me, you’ve had many phases in your idea-having, note-taking life. There was the AP History period, where I decided the quality of my notes would be judged based on the tininess of my handwriting and the number of innovative abbreviations coined. There was the “song collection” period, in which I wrote down song and band names with reckless abandon, on any scrap of paper or non-paper within reach, and promptly scattered the scraps everywhere. There was the post-it era, in which every single idea was carefully documented on a “Sticky Note” that tiled over my Windows desktop and was impossible to find thereafter.

And then, there was Evernote, and Trello, and I thought my evolution was complete. I had neatly organized “Notebooks” and “Cards” and I felt very structured and efficient and spiritually done with my note-taking journey.

But a whisper of rebellion called out to me. It sounded musical, colorful, whimsical. It asked me whether I wouldn’t like to liberate myself from those neat lists and stacks, let my ideas flow, visualize my thoughts?

It introduced me to Milanote – the note-taking app truly made FOR images, not just tolerant of them.

Milanote markets itself toward creatives: “For the research, thinking and planning behind your next great piece of work.”

But the strengths of this app could benefit anyone who could use a more freeform space to collect their thoughts. A blank page resembles a peg board, and users can add images, notes, links, and more in any configuration their hearts desire. You can also link any elements together with a web of lines, or leave them on their own.

This could be a great app for early-stage brainstorming and planning, when you need to play around and be flexible.

Milanote can be collaborative, like Trello, or individual and personal, like my always-evolving grocery list in Evernote. Milanote currently works in any web browser, and iOs and Android apps are coming soon.

For up to 100 notes, Milanote can be yours free of charge. More than that, though, and you’ll have to pay $9.99 for the pro version.

Something tells me infinity should cost much more, but the organic, customizable concept is something to hold on to.

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