Author: Frederic Lardinois

In the AI wars, Microsoft now has the clearer vision

TECHCRUNCH A week ago, Microsoft held its Build developer conference in its backyard in Seattle. This week, Google did the same in an amphitheater right next to its Mountain View campus. While Microsoft’s event felt like it embodied the resurgence of the company under the leadership of Satya Nadella, Google I/O — and especially its various, somewhat scattershot keynotes — fell flat this year. The two companies have long been rivals, of course, but now — maybe more than ever — they are on a collision course that has them compete in cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence,...

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ATAP goes AWOL at Google I/O

TECHCRUNCH For the last few years, Google’s skunkworks ATAP unit always held its own keynote at I/O, Google’s flagship developer conference. Often, this was where Google would show off its most experimental and interesting projects — and sometimes, this ATAP keynote was actually more fun than the larger, flashier I/O keynotes. This year, however, ATAP is nowhere to be found on the I/O schedule. According to a report from Business Insider earlier this week, the ATAP team’s mission changed after its former lead Regina Dugan decamped to Facebook, where she held court at that company’s F8 conference only a...

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Microsoft will soon open its first two data centers in Africa

TECHCRUNCH Microsoft today announced that it will soon open two data center regions for its cloud-based services in Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa. This marks Microsoft’s first data center expansion into Africa, and the plan is to get these new regions online in 2018. Like most of its other data centers around the world, these new regions will offer both Azure’s suite of cloud computing tools for developers as well as productivity tools like Office 365 and Dynamics 365. With no data centers in the regions, developers and other Microsoft customers currently have to connect to data centers in Europe and accept the increased latency...

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Watch Google’s I/O 2017 VR keynote right here

TECHCRUNCH [embedded content] Google’s main keynote for its I/O developer conference happened yesterday, but the event isn’t over yet. Far from it. Today, the company is hosting its first keynote solely focused on virtual and augmented reality. The VR keynote starts at 9:30am Pacific Time, 12:30pm on the East Coast, 6pm in London and 7pm in Central Europe — and you can watch it right here. You can also follow along with our live commentary here. The company already made a few VR-related announcements yesterday, but we expect to hear quite a bit more today — especially around its new...

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Duolingo adds support for Japanese

TECHCRUNCH Duolingo, the popular language learning service, today added support for learning Japanese to its iOS and Android apps. “This is by far the most requested and highly-anticipated course launch in Duolingo’s five-year history,” said Duolingo co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn in today’s announcement. “No matter what we’d share on social media, tons of people would respond with, ‘that’s nice, but when are you launching Japanese?’” While the team had long been looking at adding Japanese, the language’s various writing systems and structure made this a relatively hard project. Duolingo could’ve dumbed down its course by simply using Romaji, which represents Japanese sounds in the western alphabet. That, however, isn’t likely to be all that useful when you travel to Japan, so the team decided to also add about 100 Kanji and all the Hiragana characters. In today’s announcement, Duolingo also stresses that its course focuses on real-life situation (think ordering food, navigating a city, etc.), as well as phrases that should turn out to be useful if you’re planning on travelling to Japan in 2020 for the Olympics (in which case, you at least have a few more years to practice). 1FB04535-E796-4425-A644-285B4F1608D0 IMG_3074...

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Google announces the first preview of Android Studio 3.0, puts emphasis on speed and smarts

TECHCRUNCH The vast majority of Android developers use Google’s own Android Studio integrated development environment (IDE). Google offered a first look at what Android Studio 3.0 will look like. Most of these upcoming features are now available in the Android Studio early release channel. As Google director of product management Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson told me, the company has only been increasing its investment in Android Studio since its launch four years ago. The theme of this release is “speed and smarts,” Cuthbertson noted. That means the IDE itself now allows developers to write their applications faster and it helps developers to better...

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Google’s Instant Apps are now generally available to all Android developers

TECHCRUNCH With Instant Apps, Google is trying to bridge the worlds of web and native apps by making native apps — even those you haven’t installed on your phone — load as fast as a web page. The company first announced this project at its Google I/O developer conference last year and at this year’s event but only made it available to a select number of developers until now. Today, the company announced Instant Apps are now in general availability and that all developer can develop them — and users will then be able to access them right from...

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Google Firebase gets Fabric integration, better analytics and an alpha program

TECHCRUNCH Google today announced a slew of updates to its Firebase app platform that touch many of the service’s core features (or will do so in the near future). More than a million developers have now created projects with Firebase (though not all of these are active, of course), Google said today, and that number is growing rapidly. A few months ago, Google acquired the Fabric developer platform (and its team) from Twitter. With this update, the company is starting to integrate some of Fabric’s core features into Firebase. Crashlytics, which was Fabric’s flagship service, will soon become the main crash reporting product for Firebase. It’s unclear when exactly this will happen, though. One Fabric feature developers will be able to use right away, though, is phone authentication. This is based on the existing Fabric Digits authentication service, but Google is retiring this name in favor of Firebase Authentication. With this, Firebase now offers a comprehensive authentication service for developers. Like many of Google’s other updates today, the updated Firebase also offers new analytics and monitoring features. Google’s director of product management for its developer products group Ben Galbraith tells me that the company is rebranding Firebase Analytics as “Google Analytics for Firebase” and, as that name implies, the team actually worked closely with the Google Analytics team to make reports available in both Firebase and Google Analytics, for example. Similarly,...

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