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Whisper is walking away from gossip and towards a new way to advertise

(TECH NEWS) Whisper App has created a new widget that will allow businesses to automate article creation.

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A new leaf

Whisper, the anonymous messaging app, is rebranding itself into a digital media publisher that helps other big brands enhance their own content.

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In a blogpost, Whisper announced the launch of “Perspective”, which marks the company’s definitive departure from the bad rapport associated with being a “dark” site to the highly exposed world of publishers.

Whisper makes a widget

Perspective is designed as a simple widget that would provide readers with easy access to additional articles or videos that are of unique relevance.

The AI technology that powers Perspectives is called Eliot.

It works something like this: the widget scans a web story (of a client) for key topics, places and people. The data is relayed to Eliot, which then auto-generates relevant Whisper content that immediately displays on the client’s story page, thereby increasing “access point” for the reader.

Helping people broaden their horizons

“Our goal with Perspectives is to expose people to unique points of view that they would not otherwise be exposed to”, announced the blog post, which will be rolled out in the coming months.

Whisper has been quite vocal about its focus on AI technology for several years now.

This long-term strategy was meant to do two things: respond to criticisms of lax moderation of its site for toxic content and generate revenue for sustainability and growth.

Whisper’s AI pals

With moderating its online content, Whisper has already had success with its AI technology “Arbiter”.

Arbiter works swiftly, effectively, and with little human guidance.

Therefore, Whisper has been able to increasingly focus on revenue generation by moving into publishing.

A tangible example

A very good example is the recent tie-up with HBO. A new show called “Big Little Lies” is about to release on the network. Because of their joint promo, whenever Whisper users engage in threads about lies and secrets, images from “Big Little Lies” will be displayed on their screen.

But the Perspective feature goes a step further.

It can now display Whisper content on third-party websites. This marks Whisper’s move from dependence on its own apps and websites for revenue generation to direct digital distribution.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Gaining steady access to big advertising dollars proved impossible for anonymous apps like YikYak and the short-lived Secret because big brands are hesitant to associate with controversial platforms.

However, Whisper has already found success.

The Los Angeles-based startup has collaborated with companies like Coca-Cola and Hulu. It even ventured with Coke’s anti-cyber bullying initiative, perhaps to atone for its own troubled legacy.

Whisper’s extensive reach

In Florida, Whisper is partnering with the Orlando Police Department on the “It Gets Better Project” in commemoration of the Pulse Nightclub Tragedy and for the upcoming pride parade.

Today, Whisper is used by 30 million people a month, has 3 million followers on Facebook, and boasts 20% click through rate on posts.

There is no doubt that the success of the company stems from its machine-learning technology and the algorithms that help it to generate trends on social media. From all indications, it is only about to grow bigger.

The irony of this Perspective

However, the implications for success or failure of this company can have deep consequences for our society. Whisper notes on its blog post, “we live in an age where the first word is often the last word, and the loudest voices in the room often drain out everyone else’s”.

To counter such an environment, Whisper offers a solution whose end-goal is necessarily just that.

Blindly turn to our AI for an “eye-opening perspective”—surely there’s an ironic contradiction in there.Click To Tweet

True perspectives are internally realized by humans, not externally fed by widgets. But for ad revenue, Perspectives may prove to be an attractive opportunity for businesses.

#ALoudWhisper

Barnil is a Staff Writer at The American Genius. With a Master's Degree in International Relations, Barnil is a Research Assistant at UT, Austin. When he hikes, he falls. When he swims, he sinks. When he drives, others honk. But when he writes, people read.

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Tech News

Google chrome: The anti-cookie monster in 2022

(TECH NEWS) If you are tired of third party cookies trying to grab every bit of data about you, google has heard and responded with their new updates.

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3rd party cookies

Google has announced the end of third-party tracking cookies on its Chrome browser within the next two years in an effort to grant users better means of security and privacy. With third-party cookies having been relied upon by advertising and social media networks, this move will undoubtedly have ramifications on the digital ad sector.

Google’s announcement was made in a blog post by Chrome engineering director, Justin Schuh. This follows Google’s Privacy Sandbox launch back in August, an initiative meant to brainstorm ideas concerning behavioral advertising online without using third-party cookies.

Chrome is currently the most popular browser, comprising of 64% of the global browser market. Additionally, Google has staked out its role as the world’s largest online ad company with countless partners and intermediaries. This change and any others made by Google will affect this army of partnerships.

This comes in the wake of rising popularity for anti-tracking features on web browsers across the board. Safari and Firefox have both launched updates (Intelligent Tracking Prevention for Safari and the Enhanced Tracking Prevention for Firefox) with Microsoft having recently released the new Edge browser which automatically utilizes tracking prevention. These changes have rocked share prices for ad tech companies since last year.

The two-year grace period before Chrome goes cookie-less has given the ad and media industries time to absorb the shock and develop plans of action. The transition has soften the blow, demonstrating Google’s willingness to keep positive working relations with ad partnerships. Although users can look forward to better privacy protection and choice over how their data is used, Google has made it clear it’s trying to keep balance in the web ecosystems which will likely mean compromises for everyone involved.

Chrome’s SameSite cookie update will launch in February, requiring publishers and ad tech vendors to label third-party cookies that can be used elsewhere on the web.

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Tech News

Computer vision helps AI create a recipe from just a photo

(TECH NEWS) It’s so hard to find the right recipe for that beautiful meal you saw on tv or online. Well computer vision helps AI recreate it from a picture!

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computer vision recreates recipe

Ever seen at a photo of a delicious looking meal on Instagram and wondered how the heck to make that? Now there’s an AI for that, kind of.

Facebook’s AI research lab has been developing a system that can analyze a photo of food and then create a recipe. So, is Facebook trying to take on all the food bloggers of the world now too?

Well, not exactly, the AI is part of an ongoing effort to teach AI how to see and then understand the visual world. Food is just a fun and challenging training exercise. They have been referring to it as “inverse cooking.”

According to Facebook, “The “inverse cooking” system uses computer vision, technology that extracts information from digital images and videos to give computers a high level of understanding of the visual world,”

The concept of computer vision isn’t new. Computer vision is the guiding force behind mobile apps that can identify something just by snapping a picture. If you’ve ever taken a photo of your credit card on an app instead of typing out all the numbers, then you’ve seen computer vision in action.

Facebook researchers insist that this is no ordinary computer vision because their system uses two networks to arrive at the solution, therefore increasing accuracy. According to Facebook research scientist Michal Drozdzal, the system works by dividing the problem into two parts. A neutral network works to identify ingredients that are visible in the image, while the second network pulls a recipe from a kind of database.

These two networks have been the key to researcher’s success with more complicated dishes where you can’t necessarily see every ingredient. Of course, the tech team hasn’t stepped foot in the kitchen yet, so the jury is still out.

This sounds neat and all, but why should you care if the computer is learning how to cook?

Research projects like this one carry AI technology a long way. As the AI gets smarter and expands its limits, researchers are able to conceptualize new ways to put the technology to use in our everyday lives. For now, AI like this is saving you the trouble of typing out your entire credit card number, but someday it could analyze images on a much grander scale.

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Tech News

Xiaomi accidentally sent security video from one home to another

(TECH NEWS) Xiaomi finds out that while modern smart and security devices have helped us all, but there are still plenty of flaws and openings for security breeches.

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Xiaomi home device

The reason for setting up security cameras around your home is so the photos can get streamed to your neighbor’s device, right?

Okay, that’s obviously not why most (if any) of us get security cameras, but unfortunately, that scenario of the leaked images isn’t a hypothetical. Xiaomi cameras have been streaming photos to the wrong Google Home devices. This was first reported on Reddit, with user Dio-V posting a video of it happening on their device.

Xiaomi is a Chinese electronics company that has only recently started to gain traction in the U.S. markets. While their smartphones still remain abroad, two of Xiaomi’s security cameras are sold through mainstream companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon for as low as $40. Their affordable prices have made the products even more popular and Xiaomi’s presence has grown, both nationally and abroad.

To be fair, when the leaked photos surfaced, both Google and Xiaomi responded quickly. Google cut off access to Xiaomi devices until the problem was resolved to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. Meanwhile, Xiaomi worked to identify and fix the issue, which was caused by a cache update, and has since been fixed.

But the incident still raises questions about smart security devices in the first place.

Any smart device is going to be inherently vulnerable due to the internet connection. Whether it’s hackers, governments, or the tech companies themselves, there are plenty of people who can fairly easily gain access to the very things that are supposed to keep your home secure.

Of course, unlike these risks, which involve people actively trying to access your data, this most recent incident with Xiaomi and Google shows that your intimate details might even be shared to strangers who aren’t even trying to break into your system. Unfortunately, bugs are inevitable when it comes to keeping technology up to date, so it’s fairly likely something like this could happen again in the future.

That’s right, your child’s room might be streamed to a total stranger by complete accident.

Granted, Xiaomi’s integration mistake only affected a fraction of their users and many risks are likely to decrease as time goes on. Still, as it stands now, your smart security devices might provide a facade of safety, but there are plenty of risks involved.

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