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Tech News Today for May 17, 2017

Tech News for Wednesday May 17, 2017

Last year, Google I/O's big theme was AI taking over nearly every aspect of Google -- and this year, that theme continued. One of the most exciting results of this push to imbibe AI in all things Google is Google Lens. It's not one app per se, instead, Google Lens is a camera that will be found in Google Photos, Allo, and various Google apps that will let the Google Assistant see what you're looking at and provide search results. It's a bit like the old Google Goggles mashed up with the Google Assistant to offer translations, extract Wi-Fi passwords, and recognize places and things to give you relevant info quick. Read more at theverge.com.

A few months ago, Google first hinted at a tool called Superchat that would let you pay YouTube creators to do certain things. An audience member has been able to pay a certain sum, determined by you, so their comments remain on the top of your list of comments, but the new API is a little different. Today Google announced that developers can soon program automated triggers for something to happen in real life during a live broadcast. To enable Superchat on your live stream, your channel has to be monetized. You must have over 1,000 subscribers, be in one of the countries where its available, and be over 18. Read more at cnet.com.

After months of rumors and leaks, Google confired today at I/O that it is indeed building a stand-alone VR headset. Unlike high-end VR goggles like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, this stand-alone rig won't need to be hooked into a PC, and it won't be powered by a phone as Daydream Vue and Samsung's Gear VR are. It's a fully self contained and wireless unit. Google hasn't said how much it will cost, but Lenovo and HTC are working on building headsets to Google's stand-alone VR headset standard and those options are set to go on sale later this year. Both will run on Android and both will have sensors in the head units that will use sensors to essentially map out the world around you to understand where you can and can't move in the real world, to help you play safely in the VR world. Read more at engadget.com.

Everyone wants to talk about their own machine learning, but Google is clearly winning this war. As Jeff Jarvis said on This Week in Google earlier, He or she who has the most data sets, wins this war. Right now that winner is Google and today CEO Sundar Pichai revealed a new machine learning chip and service called Cloud TPU, aimed at beating Amazon and Microsoft at the cloud computing game. And as the winner in this so-called war, Google is giving back. Today they said they would give a cluster of 1,000 Cloud TPUs to researchers for free. Researchers or students can use TPUs or TensorFlow Processor Unit (TPU) to train and inference tasks. Google's effort is intended to raise interest in machine learning and eventually to increase use of Google’s cloud services. If you're interested, you can fill out a questionnaire with some basic information about the size and types of of your training sets. The formal application process will begin soon, says TechCrunch. Read more at wired.com.

Jason Howell is on assignment at Google I/O, so Nathan Olivarez-Giles will be cohosting Tech News Today with Megan Morrone. The show streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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