MICROSOFT’S NADELLA SAYS AI CAN MAKE THE WORLD MORE INCLUSIVE

MICROSOFT NADELLA

MICROSOFT NADELLA

MICROSOFT NADELLA- TALK OF ARTIFICIAL intelligence often leads to speculation about how machines may displace workers. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thinks we should talk more about how AI algorithms can expand the workforce now—by helping people with disabilities.

“There are a billion people in the world who don’t fully participate in our economies or societies,” Nadella said, at the WIRED25 Summit in San Francisco. “Technology can allow them to fully participate.”

Nadella, a WIRED25 Icon, nominated Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s chief accessibility officer, as someone who will shape the next 25 years of technology.

Lay-Flurrie was born hearing-impaired, and is now profoundly deaf. She described a Microsoft research project that created a plugin for PowerPoint that can automatically add closed captions during a presentation, by transcribing a speaker’s words. People in the audience can choose to see those captions in their language of choice, thanks to Microsoft’s automated translation technology.

“Artificial intelligence is going to just open up so many doors to us all,” said Lay-Flurrie. She was accompanied by a sign language translator who helps her understand what people around her are saying, so that Lay-Flurrie can respond with her own voice. She said automatic captioning is one example of how AI technology could help more people into the workforce. Another is software that can translate sign language to help hearing and non-hearing people communicate more naturally, she said. The unemployment rate of people with disabilities is roughly twice that for the rest of the population, Lay-Flurrie said.

But if hearing-impaired people are going to rely on speech recognition and translation algorithms, those technologies had better be trustworthy. Any bias or limitations in their ability to perceive the world could distort a person’s own perception of reality, and how others perceive them.

Nadella said that making AI systems trustworthy was a “foundational challenge” of the technology. Because algorithms that transcribe speech and parse language are trained on giant stores of past data, they can too easily learn to reproduce or even accentuate historical societal biases, such as stereotyping women. Microsoft researchers are trying to build tools that can be used to spot bias in data before it is used to train AI systems, and to correct biases when they are discovered in AI systems, he said.

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Article Credit: Wired

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MICROSOFT SURFACE LAPTOP 2 REVIEW: IF IT AIN’T BROKE

Microsoft opts for internal upgrades over external changes for its second laptop

MICROSOFT SURFACE LAPTOP 2 REVIEW

MICROSOFT SURFACE LAPTOP 2 REVIEW

MICROSOFT SURFACE LAPTOP 2 REVIEW- Last year, Microsoft finally did the thing that everyone was waiting for it to do: it produced a laptop. Not a tablet that can be a laptop if you attach a keyboard, not a 2-in-1 device that you can tear the screen away from the keyboard to use as a tablet, but a straightforward, honest-to-god clamshell laptop. The Surface Laptop was also a very good laptop — Microsoft did almost everything right with it and as a result, it was one of the best laptops of the year.

So, for this year’s Surface Laptop 2, Microsoft changed… basically nothing. The Surface Laptop 2 is very much the same computer as the first Surface Laptop, just with updated internals and a couple of extra color options. The pricing is even the same: the Laptop 2 starts at $999 and can be configured to well over $2,000. Most people will be content with the $1,299 option, which provides a comfortable amount of local storage and unlocks the options for new colors.

Is all of this a bad thing? I don’t think so, the Surface Laptop 2 is just as good a computer as last year’s model, and it does a lot of things that matter with a laptop correctly. As the adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and so on. But since the Surface Laptop’s release last year, there have been several interesting laptops from makers like Huawei and HP that feature some more modern options, more modern designs, or more powerful components. The Surface Laptop 2 is playing the same ball that the Surface Laptop did last year, but this time around, the game’s changed a little.

GOOD STUFF

  • Sleek, well-made design
  • Comfortable keyboard and excellent trackpad
  • Bright, pixel-dense touchscreen
  • Snappy performance and quiet fans

BAD STUFF

  • No USB-C ports
  • No SD card slot
  • Just one USB-A port
  • Just average battery life

There isn’t much to say about the Surface Laptop 2’s design and hardware that wasn’t covered in our review of the first model. It’s still a sleek, but not too sleek; light, but not too light; well-made, but not flawless laptop that’s easy to carry around, easy to use on a lap, and easy to look at for hours at a time. All of the Surface Laptop hallmarks have carried over: an aluminum finish, Alcantara fabric on the keyboard deck, a 3:2 aspect ratio touchscreen display, and a Windows Hello IR camera for hands-free logins.

Microsoft says it did redesign the Laptop 2’s keyboard to be a little quieter than before, and sure enough, it’s a little quieter than last year’s model. But the keyboard on the first Laptop wasn’t very loud to begin with, so I’m not sure most people will notice a difference without comparing them side by side. Either way, the keyboard is backlit, very comfortable to type on, and has all of the expected function keys to control media, volume, or your cursor.

Likewise, the Laptop 2’s trackpad is glass-covered, very slick, and very comfortable to use. It registers multitouch gestures without issue, and although it’s not as spacious as the gargantuan trackpads on the MacBook Pro line, it’s still plenty large.

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Article Credit: The Verge

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen helped change the world

A legacy that will live on

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen- It’s easy to think of Microsoft and immediately think of Bill Gates. While Gates led Microsoft to where it stands today, co-founder Paul Allen played an early instrumental role in creating the software giant. Originally named “Micro-soft,” Gates and Allen founded their software company in 1976 after meeting as students at Lakeside School in Seattle. It was this unique friendship at the right time and the right place that ultimately changed the world of computing.

Gates and Allen had been buddies in school and were part of the Lakeside Programmers Group that traded computer programs for free time on the school’s computers. Funded by the Lakeside Mothers’ Club, the school installed a computer terminal in 1968, and it was the students that figured out how to use it before the teachers. Gates and Allen saw the potential of using computers to process local car traffic data, and they created a business partnership named “Traf-O-Data” to read data from traffic counters on roads and create reports for engineers. It was the early steps of what would ultimately become Microsoft.

“Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later,” explained Allen in a 1995 interview withFortune magazine. “We taught ourselves to simulate how microprocessors work using DEC computers, so we could develop software even before our machine was built.”

It was an issue of Popular Electronics magazine in early 1975 that excited both Allen and Gates, avid BASIC programmers. It featured the Altair 8800 microcomputer with an Intel 8080 CPU (a variant of the 8008 design) and an 8-inch floppy disk drive. This computer was designed to appeal to hobbyists who wanted a machine of their own, instead of big businesses which were the only organizations that could afford most computers at the time.

Gates and Allen were excited by the Altair 8800 because it was clear computing was in the very early stages of becoming more accessible to consumers. The pair saw the early potential of software and wanted to improve the performance of the Altair 8800 by creating a BASIC interpreter to make it more appealing to hobbyists. Allen famously convinced Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard to start Microsoft, after Allen dropped out of Washington State to take a job at Honeywell in 1974.

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Article Credit: The Verge

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Pupils interview manufacturers at flagship Bradford Manufacturing Week event

Representatives from four major West Yorkshire manufacturers were ‘grilled’ by local school pupils in an event held to mark Bradford Manufacturing Week.

More than 30 pupils from across Bradford came face to face with representatives from refrigeration specialists Epta George Barker, metal heat treatment specialists Keighley Laboratories, Seabrook Crisps, international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns UK and manufacturing specialist recruiters The Works at the Bradford Manufacturing LIVE event on Thursday 11 October.

Covering issues such as finding the best route into manufacturing, rates of pay and the future of manufacturing during the 40-minute question and answer session, dialogue was initiated from the teenagers in the room and through real-time posts on Twitter.

Nick Garthwaite, managing director of Christeyns UK, president of Bradford Chamber and creator of Bradford Manufacturing Week, said he was ’blown away’ by the enthusiasm, the interest and the engagement from the students.

“Bradford Manufacturing LIVE was a real high point in our event line up for the Week because it really got the pupils thinking, talking and asking the questions that were important to them,” he said.

“The students had really done their research, and many addressed the big issues in manufacturing such as employing women, attracting young people to the sector and whether apprenticeships are the right route to take. Utilising Twitter also meant we could engage with an even wider audience of young people on a platform they are familiar and comfortable with. Between social media and the interactions in the room, we answered around 20 questions put to us – we were euphoric by the end of the session and agreed, it’s certainly an event to be repeated during Bradford Manufacturing Week 2019.”

Geoff Mills, commercial director for Epta George Barker, agreed that the event was pivotal in introducing young people to the personalities behind Bradford’s manufacturing scene.

“We were delighted to play our part in Bradford Manufacturing Week, with Martin Peel and I representing Epta on the expert panel for Bradford Manufacturing LIVE as well as welcoming pupils to our refrigerated display cabinet manufacturing facility throughout the week.

Geoff added: “The live event showed how important manufacturing is to the region and demonstrated just how much enthusiasm there is for it. I was particularly impressed with some of the questions posed by the students and look forward to supporting similar events and initiatives in the future.”

Craig Burton, managing director of The Works Recruitment, who helped organise the event, added that he was impressed by how all the students had prepared questions and how they addressed the big issues in manufacturing.

“Questions included whether there were enough women in manufacturing, attracting young people to the sector and the value of a degree in a manufacturing career,” Craig explained. “Engagement from the pupils was exceptional and many stayed to ask more questions after the session had finished. It inspired all of us and really showed that manufacturing is alive and present in the minds of young people.”

Bradford Manufacturing Week is a West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce initiative delivered in conjunction with Bradford-based Aspire-igen and sponsored by Barclays Bank, Naylor Wintersgill, Mitton Group, Gordons LLP, the University of Bradford, and Leeds Bradford Airport. From 8-12 October, the Week offered events, work placements, and company visits to inspire, engage and attract students aged 14-18 to the sector.

More than 40 manufacturers offered over 3,000 manufacturing experiences to over half of the district’s secondary schools. During the week, Prime Minister Theresa May backed the initiative, approving of the efforts to enable future generations to see the potential of a career in the manufacturing industry.

Bradford Manufacturing LIVE panellists were Debbie Mellor, managing director of Keighley Laboratories, Matt Darlington, head of grocery multiples at Seabrook Crisps, Nick Garthwaite, managing director of Christeyns UK, Jordan Smith, Christeyns UK apprentice and Geoff Mills and Martin Peel from Epta George Barker. The event was organised and supported by The Works Recruitment and Approach PR.

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Advanced signs four new partners to TruePartner programme

Increasing demand for Cloud-based services has seen a further four resellers join Advanced’s partner programme TruePartner, since its launch in February this year. Minerva UK, Deans Computer Services, HBP and BME Solutions have all demonstrated their commitment to helping SME customers transition to the Cloud.

Rewarding resellers for their Cloud-first strategy, TruePartner provides disruptive yet focused Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions the channel can use to engage new customers. It also offers a compelling Cloud-based alternative journey for existing clients to ensure ongoing retention. By offering training, skills transfer and ongoing support, the partner programme empowers resellers to drive joint success with its SME clients.

Dean McGlone, Channel Director at Advanced, said: “Resellers are starting to see the breadth of opportunities the Cloud can deliver, and this is exemplified by the four new partners that have joined our TruePartner programme. We’ve found that an overwhelming number of SMEs across the country want to embrace the Cloud, but many lack the knowledge and experience to confidently make the transition. In fact, according to our research, just 33% admit to being experienced in the Cloud.

“As part of TruePartner, each reseller is supported in delivering genuine Cloud solutions to their customers, while harnessing the benefits of a Cloud subscription service, from recurring revenue to client retention and acquisition. We’re continuing to see a need for Financial Management Solutions (FMS) but SMEs are increasingly demanding Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which can be delivered with our Business Cloud Essentials solution*.”

The latest announcement from Advanced comes at a time when the SME community is vocal about the need for better support when it comes to transitioning to the Cloud. New research from Advanced has highlighted that a massive 88% of business leaders believe Cloud providers need to do more to build confidence in the Cloud.

Comments from partners:

Jo Dixon, Managing Director at HBP, said: “We recognise that moving to the Cloud is not only right for our customers, it’s right for us and we’re looking to adapt quickly. Advanced is fully supporting the traditional reseller channel in its transformation to adopt the Cloud, proving to be the right partner for us.”

Patrick Clayton, Managing Director at Deans Computer Services PLC, stated “There’s a growing pace of shift to the Cloud, based on the huge benefits to end users. Our new partnership with Advanced gives us the opportunity to support businesses with their transformation, giving them a fully integrated, true Cloud ERP solution with all the advantages that offers.”

John Chadwick, Managing Director at Minerva, commented “Minerva have been in business for 35 years. Over that period, we have cultivated a portfolio of “best of breed” applications which were designed primarily for on premise situations and we have serviced that requirement from both our Applications software and our Networking teams.

The market is moving, be it conservatively, towards Cloud alternatives and we have been searching for some time for a suitable Cloud partnership. We are confident Business Cloud Essentials now fills that void and we intend to embrace the opportunity.”

Steve Sapseid, Chief Executive at BME Solutions Limited commented “Advanced provides the support and training to ensure we can deliver Business Cloud Essentials to our customers and prospects.”

Some of the key features provided as part of the TruePartner programme include:

  • Close collaboration and support with resellers to develop market and sector insight
  • Onboarding, training and marketing support for partners
  • Comprehensive accreditation and generous financial rewards, at every level
  • Confidence that resellers will be providing SMEs with genuine cloud solutions

The TruePartner programme has five levels of partnership engagement: Reseller, Service, Alliance, Advisor and Software.

*Advanced Business Cloud Essentials is a cloud-based ERP system which delivers a single, fully-integrated platform for businesses to use financials, CRM, stock control, supplier and logistics management, payroll and dashboard reporting. The platform is delivered as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) so it is easily accessible through any web browser and the pricing model allows businesses to scale their usage as required. 

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Is ERP Technology Ready For The Blockchain Revolution?

Driven by internal demand for real-time data across apps and systems, corporate finance is opening its doors to ERP — and is poised to engage with the potential offered by blockchain.

blockchain_ERP

Blockchain provides companies in several industries with a shared data ledger, including other parties to a transaction.

Blockchain has evolved to give companies a high degree of security in the way they process their data. Companies also prize visibility and the ability to view transactions in real time.

According to a recent Oracle report on new technology trends, blockchain is among the leading technologies set to transform supply chains, reporting, and the ways that businesses work. Blockchain has initially been built for financial tasks but could potentially end up automating routine transaction processing, eliminating manual tasks and the likelihood of errors.

Oracle estimates that roughly 40 percent of leaders are already exploring blockchain and other technologies set to revolutionize the way businesses work in the 21st century.

“Transactions recorded via blockchain are designed to be secure, trusted, immutable and completely transparent to all stakeholders worldwide,” explains Sarosh Khan, Associate Partner at IBM. “These attributes help you streamline the expensive, inefficient processes currently found in your ERP environment with a new approach that can save time for all parties involved, lower costs throughout your business network, and significantly reduce risk.”

IBM is working with Oracle to integrate its blockchain solutions with the Oracle ERP cloud and take advantage of the open network that it provides. Its blockchain for ERP solutions are built around a company’s network of suppliers, the digitization of critical business processes, and a single shared ledger that can be accessed securely by all parties in a network.

SAP has also been investing in blockchain applications for ERP. The company believes blockchain is perfect for manufacturing as it allows companies to have various types of information present within the same chain, from the specifications and the history of iterations to data about the exact machine that made a product.

SAP says it has been experimenting with blockchain in if/then operational threads, 3D printing, and digital manufacturing. Many of the SAP trials are currently focused on supply chain management and provenance checking.

Some key US industries, including pharmaceuticals and food, demand high levels of data transparency to meet demanding regulatory criteria. Both sectors are already major users of ERP platforms.

Regulators may even force blockchain adoption on some companies — for example, real time oversight solutions are being sought for the financial services market. It may still take other industries longer to adopt the technology, but when they do, we will frequently see this happening within their ERP systems.

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HOW HOTMAIL CHANGED MICROSOFT (AND EMAIL) FOREVER?

December 29, 1997, shall be remembered as the revolutionary date in the history of modern emails. On this day, the CEO of the tech-giant, Bill Gates sealed a deal of $400 million to buy up the only free email service back then, known as Hotmail. From this day till present, the web-based email service has seen a glorious development.

Now, let’s look back into ex-Apple the origin of the world’s first web-based email service. You might have guessed the situation of people without a free email service. Imagine the hefty expenses they had to bear to send a message over the internet! On the day of July 4, two ex-Apple employees, Jack Smith, and Sabeer Bhatia launched the first ever web-based email service, Hotmail. This symbolized “freedom” from ISP-based email and the opportunity for a user to access one’s inbox from anywhere in this world. The name was originally ‘HoTMaiL’ to emphasize the markup language used to create web pages, HTML. Initially, the free storage limit was only 2 MB! Microsoft had Hotmail integrated into its online service, MSN. Too many security issues, hefty sums paid for modifications and even changes in the brand name were done!

Even in its initial days, Hotmail registered over 8.5 million users. As years passed, the number rose exponentially! Basically, Hotmail was the stepping stone that laid the foundation to the era of free email services for the mass. Marco DeMello, currently the CEO of PSafe Technology, was then in charge of managing the integration of Hotmail with the online service of Microsoft, MSN. He was basically hired to creating a free web-based email service that could be easily accessed and utilized by everyone around the world!

The Beginning:

Considering the scenario way back in 1996, Web was still under development mode! If there were any personal Internet access, they were limited to dial services mainly such as AOL, MSN, etc. Only the rich had early access to ISDN connections for high-speed internet. But, there were competitors to Hotmail, who offered web-based email offerings based on ISP, namely Lotus and RocketMail (now Yahoo! Mail ). All these free email service providers were backed by advertising companies. By the end of the year 1997, Hotmail was successful in attraction over 8.5 million active users!

DeMello was the person of the executive body of Microsoft to recommend Bill Gates to buy an existing email service rather than building on its own, given the limited time within which they had to conquer the email world. DeMello recalls Bill signing off a check of $450 million at the end of the meeting and allotting him the responsibility of bringing Hotmail to the service of Microsoft.

Developing Hotmail:

The task wasn’t easy and alluring! The task needed an integration of Unix on the front-end along with Sun Solaris on the back-end on to the Windows servers. At that time, Windows servers weren’t fully developed for this kind of task. DeMello remembers the stuff that needed monitoring ranging from security to memory management and at any point, they weren’t confident enough to migrate the code to Windows. Another trouble was Sun CEO Scott McNealy trolling Microsoft’s server operating system!

The decision to develop on Windows 2000 server took almost 3 years of time! DeMello teamed up with Dave Cutler (Windows NT architect Dave) to work initially upon the scalability piece, that comprised of the networking and TCP stack and memory management, Internet Information Server, and also the execution process of accessing local folders. Gradually, the work got smooth and accomplish able!

As per the agreement, the Hotmail team continued helping the Microsoft server-development team until the complete development of IIS, Windows’ Web and Internet services. The bet was if they could pass the Hotmail test successfully. This situation of Hotmail taught Microsoft that it’s always better to build your own stuff in order to avoid such future troubles!

Even after they could successfully migrate to Windows Web servers, the back end database servers and storage of Hotmail couldn’t be migrated to Windows Server and SQL server respectively until the year 2004. The migration process slowed down as there was a limit on the speed at which accounts could be moved across data centers.

The first new version of Hotmail was released weeks within the acquisition and the next ‘98 Hotmail needed some moderation due to some trouble in protocols. The reason for this trouble was that Hotmail was based on the default exchange interface protocol named MAPI which used to be the heaviest TCP/IP protocol. To avoid issues, they had to migrate straight to WebDAV.

Experience Matters!

Needless to say, you all know the value experience holds! As for the case of Microsoft, it took almost 3 years to migrate from Solaris to Windows but the process wasn’t completely hassle-free. Serving so many active users (in millions) meant developing data servers that could handle such high amounts of storage and user commands! And the era was 1990s when you needed to pay a hefty sum for a few GB of memory. So, the cost of hard drives added quite much to the infrastructure cost.

All the trouble didn’t just end here! The biggest security break occurred to Windows in 1999. Over 50 million Hotmail accounts were under the grave threat of hack where any Hotmail account could easily be accessed just by entering the password: ‘eh’ ! Imagine the heat of the situation! Hackers claimed to have access to accounts via the bug for nearly two months! It was believed to be some backdoor left by Hotmail developers.

After this case, Hotmail confronted its users and made them believe they ensure security and privacy first of all. After the security breach of 1999, Microsoft tried its best to protect its user account credentials and enforced strict password policies. Additionally, they instructed its users to protect their passwords and not to share confidential and security info over the email. Hotmail implemented Secure HTTP (HTTPS) along with SSL encryption in order to protect its users’ data and set the algorithm of password setting to complex. The CPUs running the servers were also upgraded.

Competition:

Now every new idea tends to face stiff competition. Hotmail faced competition from Gmail and Yahoo together. To stand the competition, Hotmail introduced some new but weird ideas which didn’t go well with its users. In 2005, Microsoft renamed Hotmail as renamed Windows Live Mail. But, this left users more at a confusion rather than a surface causing Microsoft to revert back to originality. The front-end systems for Hotmail were rewritten in C# and ASP.NET code, making Hotmail more of a Microsoft product inclined towards the Office 365 platform.

Conclusion:

Now that Hotmail is officially done with, and we have the better and updated version of it, Outlook.com; the entire web mail service has become quite a lot easier. Do you have an Outlook.com account? Hope you liked the article! Feel free to comment your views below!

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Google AI can spot advanced breast cancer more effectively than humans

LYNA was even more effective when serving as a companion — pathologists performing simulated diagnoses found that the deep learning tech made their work easier. It not only reduced the rate of missed micro-metastases by a “factor of two,” it cut the inspection time in half to a single minute.

This immediate approach would only have so much effectiveness in the field, since it would be looking for late-stage breast cancer where there’s no known solution. It also has yet to be used in real-life clinical situations. However, the scientists note that metastasis is a common factor in most forms of cancer. It wouldn’t take much to adapt the system to look for other tumors. If and when it’s ready for practical use, though, it could both lead to extremely reliable diagnoses and free doctors to focus more of their time on caring for their patients.

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GOOGLE CLOUD BACKUPS ON ANDROID PIE ARE ENCRYPTED WITH YOUR LOCK SCREEN PASSWORD

GOOGLE LOCK SCREEN

GOOGLE LOCK SCREEN

GOOGLE LOCK SCREEN- Google automatically backs up a lot of essential app data and other things like call history to Google Drive. This is to ensure that switching between phones don’t become too cumbersome. However, Android Pie changes a few things with backups and how they are stored.

The changes announced by Google in an online security blog reveal that the company is now implementing measures that ensure that even Google can no longer read your data.

Troy Kensinger, Technical Program Manager of Android Security and Privacy at Google writes that “devices can take advantage of a new capability where backed-up application data can only be decrypted by a key that is randomly generated at the client.” This key is based on the user’s lock screen password, which isn’t revealed to Google.

That’s not all. This passcode-protected key is then encrypted to a Titan security chip on Google’s servers. “The Titan chip is configured to only release the backup decryption key when presented with a correct claim derived from the user’s passcode,” writes Kensinger. In short, the Titan security key will not decrypt any of your information unless it detects that you have used your passcode to request for a decryption.

As noted in a report by Android Police, Google also hired a security firm, NCC Group to ensure there were no loopholes here. NCC Group did come across a few issues and they were duly fixed by Google.

The only thing we are not very sure about is that which phones are actually capable of backing up data using this new method. Having Android Pie installed is definitely one of the crucial prerequisites but Google has not revealed any other requirements so far.

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Article Credit: T2

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Political ads study finds the right favors Google, the left Facebook and Twitter

An analysis found Donald Trump had the largest number of ads while Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke was the largest spender

Political ads google

Political ads google

Political ads google- Left-leaning organizations are dominating political ads on Facebook and Twitter while rightwing advertisers are outspending liberal groups on Google, according to new research.

Computer scientists at the New York University (NYU) Tandon School of Engineering analyzed more than 884,000 recent political ads on the three social media sites. They found that Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again political action committee had the largest number of ads of any candidate while a Republican group called the Senate Leadership Fund spent the most on ads.

Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Senate candidate fighting to unseat Ted Cruz in Texas, was the largest spender on Facebook and Twitter, with a focus on ads seeking small donations from outside of his state, the researchers found. In total, ads with political content generated at least 5.9bn “impressions”, meaning the number of times the ads were seen, and cost the sponsors between $116m and $403m.

The report released on Monday is part of NYU’s ongoing ads transparency project and offered a look at social media strategies and priorities of different political groups. The research followed Facebook, Twitter and Google implementing policies and portals this year designed to provide the public insight into political ads.

The Silicon Valley companies have faced mounting pressure surrounding election interference and propaganda polluting the platforms.

The NYU group, which earlier this year found that Trump was the biggest spender of political ads on Facebook, wrote that he remained the “most prolific” political advertiser on the site, in large part because of his tactic of “micro-targeting”, meaning ads aimed at small groups of people. The researchers reviewed nearly 10,000 ads linked to his official Facebook page during a two-week period in September. All of them sought donations, with some promoting rallies or fundraising dinners.

More than 8,000 of Trump’s ads, or 85% of his total, were micro-targeted, meaning they had fewer than 1,000 impressions. This marks a shift away from the traditional model of political ads on television, for example, where large groups of targeted viewers would see the same messaging, the researchers said.

“Depending on who you are, the ads you’re going to see are going to be wildly different,” Damon McCoy, assistant professor and co-author, said in an interview.

“If you see a political ad on Facebook, someone really wanted you to specifically see that ad,” continued Laura Edelson, NYU doctoral student and co-author. With Trump’s high rate of micro-targeting, she added, “That really shows a lot of knowledge about who you are trying to reach.”

The Trump campaign has said that its use of Facebook in the 2016 race helped him beat Hillary Clinton.

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Article Credit: The Guardian

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