BBC Stories June 3, 2020

[Update: Beta launch] BBC set to launch ‘Beeb’ voice assistant to rival Google, Alexa, Siri

The BBC is gearing up to launch its own voice assistant for the UK called ‘Beeb’ which is said to be able to recognize regional British accents much more effectively.

BBC Stories March 26, 2019

If Google Podcasts is already your go-to place for consuming podcasts, you might be running into trouble with BBC. For the past week, the British media giant has been blocking its content from Google Podcasts, and Assistant by extension.

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BBC Stories July 14, 2015

BBC iPlayer Radio app for iOS and Android gets offline listening at last

The BBC announced in a blog post this morning that mobile downloads are coming to its iPlayer Radio app just in time for the BBC Proms. For the first time – using the iPlayer Radio app – customers will be able to download radio shows (and the Proms) to listen offline and keep them for up to 30 days.  To make use of this new service, all you need to do is ensure you have the latest version of the BBC iPlayer Radio smartphone or tablet app for iOS, Android or Kindle.

BBC Stories April 8, 2015

LG giving out 4000 G4 Smartphones to consumers in 15 countries in social media push

LG would like you to get social with its upcoming G4 smartphone launch.

SEOUL, April 8, 2015 — As part of its most ambitious smartphone introduction yet, LG Electronics (LG) will select 4,000 consumers in 15 countries who will “test drive” the all new LG G4 smartphone weeks before its official launch. Kicking off today in Korea, the program will target consumers in the following 14 other markets in the days ahead: Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, United States, China, India, Brazil, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong.

Participants will be selected from applicants based on their entry responses (selection criteria may vary in each market). Individuals can increase their chances of being selected by sharing their application experience on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Weibo. Once selected, participants in each country will be given an LG G4 for up to 30 days to experience its unique design and features, including its personalized UX, high performance camera and impressive display for sharing online. Participants will be given various assignments to carry out over the course of their experience with prizes awarded.

“Customers are our best fans and we think this would be an exciting and unique way to get our most important mobile product of the year close to the public,” said Juno Cho, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “We’re putting the success of LG G4 in the hands of consumers before the launch because we believe they are the best judge of a great user experience, beyond just benchmarks and speed tests.”

Interested consumers in participating markets are encouraged to check the local LG web page and social media sites in the coming days for more details on how to participate.

“Customers are our best fans” indeed.

BBC Stories January 21, 2015

BBC updating Android news app with personalized feeds, most-read stories, local news & more

The British Broadcasting Corporation has announced that its BBC News Android app is being updated, with a lot more video, local news, ‘most popular’ links and–most interestingly of all–users able to add their own personalized news feeds.

In addition to pre-existing sections – including Top Stories, UK and Politics – users will be able to add specialised feeds of their choice, for example: Apps, Taylor Swift, Genetics, and Oban.

A new ‘My news’ section allows users to enter keywords which will be matched against tags entered by journalists to populate the personalized feed.

The BBC says that the UK version of both Android and iOS apps will be rolled out this week, with global editions to follow.

The Beeb and its fans tend to be somewhat conservative, with protests every time it changes something, so this time it’s taking a preemptive strike, aiming to soothe the likely objections.

“We know we have got a very large number of people who used the existing app and they really like it,” said Robin Pembrooke, general manager of news products at BBC Future Media.

“It will be a big change for a number of people, so we are trying to provide a warning up front. We’ve got easy guides on how to use the new app, and there’s in-app tips to help people use it.”

The current versions of the app is a free download from the Play store, then watch out for the updates.

BBC Stories December 3, 2014

The roof terrace of Google's London HQ

The roof terrace of Google’s London HQ

New corporate tax measures aimed at preventing multinational companies making profits in the UK and then shifting them overseas where they incur lower taxes could potentially impact a number of tech companies, including Google, Apple and Amazon.

Dubbed “the Google tax,” the British government announced a new 25% tax on profits generated in the UK and then “artificially shifted” overseas, reports the BBC …  expand full story

BBC Stories December 2, 2014

The MIT Technology Review does a profile on DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis who sold his company to Google for $600+M earlier this year. The guy is clearly a genius and has degrees in both neuroscience and computer science and typical Google acquihire. But what caught my attention after looking at what DeepMind does and what Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking worry about:

Hassabis’s reluctance to talk about applications might be coyness, or it could be that his researchers are still in the early stages of understanding how to advance the company’s AI software. One strong indicator that Hassabis believes progress toward a powerful new form of AI will be swift is that he is setting up an ethics board inside Google to consider the possible downsides of advanced artificial intelligence. “It’s something that we or other people at Google need to be cognizant of. We’re still playing Atari games currently,” he says, laughing. “But we are on the first rungs of the ladder.”

That all these smart people are afraid of what AI can do to humanity is chilling. It is slightly reassuring that Google is thinking seriously about the implications.

A video of Hassabis explaining his work follows: expand full story

BBC Stories August 20, 2014

bbcnews

People who have asked Google to remove links to news stories under the controversial European ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling are once again finding the move counter-productive. The BBC News site has posted links to stories removed from Google’s search, bringing back into the spotlight stories that are in some cases more than a decade old.

The BBC posted links to all 12 of the stories removed from Google’s search results. They range from the serious – three men accused of possessing bomb-making equipment in Ireland – to the ridiculous, a dispute over a lost dog …  expand full story

BBC Stories July 30, 2014

forgotten

And so the saga continues … In the short time since the EU ruled that individuals have the right to be forgotten when sensitive information found in search results is considered “outdated or irrelevant,” we’ve seen what is probably best described as the makings of a damn good sitcom. (Note to networks: if you make it, I want my ten percent.)

We first had the amusement of deleted links being reported by the media, bringing the stories back into the limelight. We then had Google describing the impossible position in which it has been placed, being asked to make “difficult and debatable judgements” based on “very vague and subjective tests.”

This was followed by the EU rapping Google’s knuckles for doing it wrong, and we now have a bipartisan British governmental committee disagreeing with the EU and agreeing with Google that it is being asked to “enforce the impossible” …  expand full story

BBC Stories July 3, 2014

Google sets up data removal webform

Well-known figures taking advantage of Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling, in which Google and other search engines are required to remove links to sensitive information deemed ‘out-dated or irrelevant’, are not quite getting the results they hoped for. Google is choosing to notify the media when links to stories are removed, and the British media is responding by running stories on the censorship – putting the subjects of the removed links back in the news once more …  expand full story

BBC Stories April 15, 2014

BBC iPlayer adds ability to download videos on any device running Android 4.0 or higher

The BBC iPlayer app on Android received a major update last September when it added the ability to download full episodes of shows and save them for up to 30 days. The downside to that feature, however, was that it was only supported on a mere 11 devices approved by the developers. This afternoon, the iPlayer app was finally updated with support for downloading videos on any device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher.

The functionality itself still works the same. The videos you save will automatically be deleted seven days after you first view it, or 30 days after the initial download. You can also only download content over WiFi and you have the ability to choose either high-quality video or standard.

The update is available on the Play Store now, but unfortunately, the BBC iPlayer app is still exclusive to UK users. Those of us in other countries will have to find another source for our British content.

BBC Stories April 1, 2014

chromecast

Just weeks after the device became available in the UK (among others), Google has already started rolling out more UK-centric channels to the Chromecast. Joining the BBC iPlayer app, BT Sport has just announced that it too is planning to add Chromecast support for its channels in the coming weeks, as well.

As you would expect, you’ll have to be a BT customer in order to access the sports coverage. BT Sport is one of the largest sports providers in the UK. It has exclusive live TV rights to the English Premier League, in addition to owning the UK ESPN channels and broadcasting a plethora of other sports.

There’s no official release date for the BT Sport rollout on the Chromecast, but it is certainly great to see Google working so diligently to bring UK content to the Chromecast. This news comes just days after Google also added Vudu, Crackle, and Rdio support to the Chromecast. The open SDK is certainly paying off.

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BBC Stories March 19, 2014

iplayer

Photo: http://thenextweb.com

If you’re in the UK and plan to finally get your hands on a Chromecast, the good news is that the existing BBC iPlayer Android app is already compatible with the device, reports iMore.

It may take a minute or so, or even a relaunch of the app to kick it into gear. When it’s ready to go you’ll see the standard Chromecast logo along top of the app. To cast your content you need to first connect the app by tapping on the Chromecast logo and selecting which you want to pair to. After that just go ahead and choose what you want to watch and let it do the rest …  expand full story

BBC Stories February 12, 2014

A behind the scenes look at building a Google Maps satellite

An interesting story from the BBC goes behind the scenes with the satellites that are used to take imagery of earth that eventually land in Google Maps and Google Earth.

Behind a long rectangular window, in a high white room tended by ghostly figures in masks and hats, a new satellite is taking shape. Once in orbit later this year, WorldView-3 will be one of the most powerful Earth observation satellites ever sent into space by a private company. Spinning around the planet some 600 kilometres (370 miles) above us, it will cover every part of the Earth’s surface every couple of days.

Google gets the majority of its imagery from DigitalGlobe and Ball Aerospace is currently constructing new satellites for the company, as highlighted in the BBC report. The new WorldView-3 satellite will be capable of capturing objects 25cm (10 inches) across, but the report notes Google and customers other than the government only get access to “images with a resolution of 50cm (20 inches).” It’s likely much of the updated imagery you see on Google Maps and Earth over the next year will come from the new satellite once in orbit. The whole article is worth a read if you’re interested in learning more about how the satellites are built and capture imagery once in space.

BBC Stories November 19, 2013

Samsung_Galaxy_S3

Samsung has announced that it has temporarily withdrawn the update to Android 4.3 for the Galaxy S3 after users complained about multiple problems, reports the BBC.

These included faster than normal battery drain, some apps refusing to work and alarms failing to trigger […]

“Samsung keep telling us that they will let us know as soon as they find a fix, but in the meantime I am left with a phone that is next to useless,” wrote one owner, Dylan Barlow …  expand full story

BBC Stories May 4, 2013

_67396923_googlepalestinecomposite

From the Beeb:

In a statement given to the BBC on Friday, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said: “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. “In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) welcomed Google’s decision.

“This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian territories,” Dr Sabri Saidam, advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC.”Most of the traffic that happens now happens in the virtual world and this means putting Palestine on the virtual map as well as on the geographic maps,” he added.

Agree this is a bigger deal than it would immediately appear…for Palestinians especially. The Google Maps folks aren’t yet on the same page:

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 7.35.26 AM

BBC Stories October 8, 2012

YouTube announced 100 original channels were coming to the video-sharing platform last fall, and now it is following up exactly one-year later with the launch of new channels coming from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“From local cuisine, health and wellness and parenting to sports, music, comedy, animation and news, this new lineup of original channels will have something for everyone,” revealed YouTube on its global blog. “They are backed by some of the biggest producers, well-known celebrities and emerging media companies from Europe and the U.S.”

Along with the news about upcoming channels, YouTube also revealed a few statistics on the success of its one-year-old initiative:

  • Our top 25 original channels are now averaging over a million views every week
  • 800 million of your are watching 4 billion hours every month, that’s up from 3 billion hours earlier this year
  • The number of people subscribing has doubled y/y
  • And partners this year are reaching the 100k subscriber mark 5x faster than they were just two years ago

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BBC Stories April 16, 2012

A 30-year-old man used Google Earth to literally move mountains and find his long-lost family after nearly three decades of separation.

Saroo Brierley, 5-years-old, boarded the wrong train in 1986 and accidentally arrived in Calcutta, India. The boy found himself adopted one month later and then grew up in Australia. Roughly 25 years flew by without any way of knowing where he came from or how he could find his family.

With time, came technology. Using Google Earth, coupled with basic math to find the radius of Calcutta and the length of that fateful train ride, Brierley pinpointed his birth city.

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BBC Stories December 5, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg gives us a look into what he really thinks about Google+ in a small clip from this one-hour special on Facebook’s creator aired by the BBC (via TNW). When asked if Google+ is a threat or if he ‘takes it seriously’, Zuckerberg responded (skip to 54:32):

Yeah Google’s a great company, and I think we want to look at and learn from everything that they do. But at the same time, people have shared a lot on Facebook and have already told a lot of their life story on Facebook. And we think that we have by far better tools for doing that.

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