Google’s Nest Hub Scans for Faces
Google Home and Nest Hub gadgets already feature microphones that are always listening for the words that wake up the Assistant (“OK, Google” or “Hey, Google”). Now, the search giant’s newest gadget for your home, the Nest Hub Max smart display, adds in a camera that’s always watching for a familiar face.
Google calls the feature Face Match, and it uses facial recognition technology to remember what you look like. Upon recognition, you can tap on the screen to see personalized bits of data like calendar appointments. The Nest Hub Max isn’t the first product to bring facial recognition technology — and the legal and ethical considerations that come with it — into people’s homes. Smart phones have been using this technology to let us unlock our devices and authorize purchases for years, and a growing number of smart home gadgets that use cameras are putting it to use, too.
Still, it’s a product that seeks to give Google a wider window into our lives at a time when the company is already facing questions about the way it handles our personal data.
IBM Serves Up an Ace With AI at the US Open
IBM, which helps the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) power the website and mobile experience for the US Open, brought back its Fan Experience for the second year, giving attendees a peek into how it uses AI to help both the USTA and its broadcast partners.
“It gives fans a fun way to see what’s going on behind the scenes and explore how the fan experience is enhanced by AI technology,” said Kristi Kolski, sports and entertainment program director at IBM. Fans can look through various highlights from the matches—including live ones—powered by AI, and even create their own.
Currently, IBM uses AI to process live video and find noteworthy moments throughout different matches in order to deliver them to broadcast networks more quickly, making it easier on the USTA to edit videos. This year, the company is employing IBM Watson OpenScale, which lets AI also see how fans are reacting, giving additional character to the videos beyond players getting overly excited or emotional on the court. Kolski said the AI highlights are vital for a two-week tournament with so many games taking place across 17 courts.
“It’s the ability to identify those great moments and help the editors get it out on digital platforms,” she said. “It’s really helping to scale the expertise.”
Russia Accuses Google of Election Interference
A new country says Google and Facebook may have interfered in its elections — just maybe not the one you’d expect.
Officials in Russia have said that Google and Facebook published election-related ads in violation of the country’s laws, Reuters reported.
At issue are laws that prohibit political ads “during elections on Sunday and on the preceding day,” according to Reuters. Russia’s Roskomnadzor, the government body that oversees the country’s media laws, has said Facebook and Google both ran ads during Sunday elections.
“These actions can be considered as interference in the sovereign affairs of Russia and obstructing the holding of democratic elections in the Russian Federation,” according to a translated version of a message that appeared on Roskomnadzor’s website.