Daily Tech Headlines – February 28, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – February 28, 2018
Number 448
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 28, 2018
Episode Length 4:24
Hosts Sarah Lane

Fitbit watch for women on the horizon, Ford is launching autonomous car feet in Miami, New Orleans secret partnership with Palantir revealed.

Headlines

Ashwin Ram, senior manager and lead for Alexa AI at Amazon, has left the company for Google where he'll be technical director of AI for Google Cloud. This is according to a post on LinkedIn, where he said that "Google arguably has the best AI on the planet." Ram’s biggest influence at Amazon was the creation of the Alexa Prize, a competition to get users to talk to Alexa as long as possible, with the goal of 20 minutes.
Apple Watch ski and snowboard apps Snoww, Slopes, Squaw Alpine, Snocru, and Ski Tracks have all been updated with custom workout APIs released in watchOS 4.2 that allow tracking of specialized metrics such as: total vertical descent and horizontal distance, number of runs, and average and maximum speeds. The ski and snowboard tracking is limited to Apple Watch Series 3 models. They're the only ones with a built-in altimeter to track elevation.
Amazon is acquiring Ring, makers of the Ring doorbell as well as solar security cameras and alarms. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Reuters puts the deal at more than $1 billion. Amazon also bought the doorbell and camera company Blink in December.
The Verge reports that one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs came from the Silicon Valley data mining company Palantir, which provided software to a NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, criminal histories, social media activity, and predictions of when individuals might commit crimes or be victims of crimes. A source says the government turned over more than 60,000 pages of documents detailing evidence gathered against an individual from confidential informants, ballistics, and other sources — but never mentioned NOPD’s partnership with Palantir, which began in 2012. City council members and attorneys contacted by The Verge say that they had no idea that the city had any sort of relationship with Palantir.
Ford is prepping its autonomous vehicle business in Miami, Florida, which includes a delivery pilot in partnership with Dominos and Postmates, testing self-driving cars around the city and setting up a fleet-management center. Ford announced the partnerships at CES in January, but at the time didn't name the partnership city. It's Miami! Ford will begin testing its self-driving cars on public roads, and the company says it's also operating in a closed loop in autonomous mode.
Square's fourth quarter earnings report showed the company beating analysts' expectations in earnings, revenue, and forecast for Q1. Square's Cash App also has 7 million monthly active customers, with users spending around $90 million on its Cash card in December.
The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Venmo over allegations from 2016 that the app misled customers through lax security practices that resulted in account hacks and other transaction fraud. Venmo is required to make specific disclosures about its transaction and privacy practices, and will be subject to third-party compliance assessments for the next 10 years. This settlement doesn't include monetary damages, but State Attorney Generals have used similar settlements to launch separate lawsuits for monetary damages in the past.
Hangouts Chat is out of preview and now available to the general public as a core part of G Suite, rolling Chat out to all G Suite users over the course of the next seven days. Hangouts Chat was first announced at Google Cloud Next 2017 along with Hangouts Meet. Hangouts Chat competes with Slack, Microsoft Teams and similar projects. Hangouts Chat is available on iOS, Android and the web.
Fitbit teased a new smartwatch on its latest investors call, and Wareable has obtained photos of what it says could be a new Fitbit Blaze 2. A source tells Wareable that Fitbit wanted a watch that appeals more to the female market, unlike its large Ionic model, and with a lower price point. The watch will be water resistant to 50m and will come in four colors: black, silver, rose gold, and charcoal, with a range of straps.

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Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 27, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – February 28, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – March 1, 2018"