Google is closing its Schaft robotics unit after failing to find a buyer

Sad news for anyone into giant robots: Google parent Alphabet is closing down Schaft, its secretive unit that develops bipedal robots aimed at helping out in disaster efforts and generally looking badass. The news was first reported by Nikkei, but Alphabet confirmed to TechCrunch that the business will be shuttered. It said it is helping staff find […]

Google My Business app revamp challenges Facebook Pages

Google is giving its business customers a new way to reach their customers. The company is today starting the rollout of a revamped Google My Business mobile application for iOS and Android that will offer new tools for viewing customer info — including followers, reviews and messages — as well as a way to quickly […]

Google Assistant picks up a few new tricks

Google Assistant, the voice-driven AI that sits inside Google Home (plus Android phones, newer Nest cameras and a bunch of other devices) and awaits your “Hey, Google” commands, is already pretty clever. That doesn’t mean it can’t learn a few new tricks. In a quick press briefing this week, Google told us a couple of […]

YouTube VR finally lands on the Oculus Go

Today, Google’s YouTube VR app arrives on the $199 Oculus Go, bringing to Facebook’s entry-level VR device the largest library of VR content on the web. YouTube brings plenty of content in conventional and more immersive video types. It’s undoubtedly the biggest single hub of 360 content and native formats like VR180, though offering access […]

Airbnb ends forced arbitration days after Google, Facebook did the same

The Google employee walkout on Nov. 1 is leaving a lasting impact on the tech industry. In the immediate aftermath of the walkout, which saw thousands of Googlers across the globe protest the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment and misconduct claims, the search giant said it would put an end to its policy of forced […]

Facebook Portal needs more. At least it just added YouTube

To offset the creepiness of having Facebook’s camera and microphone in your house, its new Portal video chat gadget needs best-in-class software.  Its hardware is remarkably well done, plus Messenger and the photo frame feature work great. But its third-party app platform was pretty skimpy when the device launched this week. Facebook is increasingly relying […]

Facebook’s GraphQL gets its own open-source foundation

GraphQL, the Facebook -incubated data query language, is moving into its own open-source foundation. Like so many other similar open-source foundations, the aptly named GraphQL Foundation will be hosted by the Linux Foundation. Facebook announced GraphQL back in 2012 and open sourced it in 2015. Today, it’s being used by companies that range from Airbnb […]

Korean AI startup Skelter Labs lands strategic investment to expand to Southeast Asia

Korean AI startup Skelter Labs is expanding to Southeast Asia after it pulled in undisclosed funding from Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures. Skelter Labs was founded in 2015 by founded by Ted Cho, the former engineering site director at Google Korea. It started out developing apps and services that made use of AI but then […]

Apple, Amazon, Google and others sign letter opposing Trump’s attempt to redefine gender

A list of 50-plus companies, including some of tech’s top names, joined forces this week to pen a letter calling out the Trump administration over a reported plan to narrow gender definitions. Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and more drafted the letter (full text below) in response to a recent New York Times story […]

Sonos delays Google Assistant integration until 2019, private beta to launch in 2018

Sonos today announced that Google Assistant will not be available on its products until at least 2019. The service was supposed to launch in 2018 but the company said in a blog posting it needs a bit more time. Additional information about timing will be released in early 2019, Sonos says. Eager customers can sign […]