Thursday January 17, 2019
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Google Acquires Start-up to Boost Answering Abilities of Google Assistant

In the 2018 edition of "Smart Speaker IQ Test" by research-driven venture capital firm Loup Ventures, Google Assistant (tested on Google Home smart speaker) managed to answer 87.9 per cent of the questions correctly -- up from 81.1 per cent in 2017, The Street.com reported last month

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- The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google has acquired a start-up named Superpod that built an app allowing users to post questions and receive answers from experts quickly — a move that will help boost Google Assistant’s ability to accurately answer users’ questions.

According to a report in Axios late Thursday, Google paid nearly $60 million to “acqui-hire” the founders and purchase some of Superpod’s assets.

Google later confirmed the acquisition to Fortune but declined to disclose financial details.

Superpod shut down its Q&A app in September last year.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

“We can’t share any details at this time, but we’re trekking onwards toward the same north star and are very excited about the future,” Superpod founders wrote in a message.

Google is constantly working on to improve its Assistant’s capabilities to take on similar voice-based services like Amazon Alexa.

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Despite Amazon Alexa being more popular globally, Google Assistant recently outperformed her — and other voice assistants like Apple Siri — in a test meant to understand the effectiveness of smart speakers.

In the 2018 edition of “Smart Speaker IQ Test” by research-driven venture capital firm Loup Ventures, Google Assistant (tested on Google Home smart speaker) managed to answer 87.9 per cent of the questions correctly — up from 81.1 per cent in 2017, The Street.com reported last month. (IANS)

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Google Planning to Develop a New Publishing Platform For Local News Publishers

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age

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Google creating publishing platform for local news publishers. Pixabay

To help small newsrooms overcome challenges in their strive to go digital, Google is creating a new publishing platform for local news publishers.

Google News Initiative has partnered with web development company, Automattic and WordPress.com — home to 30 per cent of the world’s websites — and has invested $1.2 million in its effort to create “Newspack”.

“Newspack” is a fast, secure, low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms, Google said in a statement on Monday.

The new publishing tool will be made available to publishers globally later in the year.

“Newspapers with long histories have had to cut back on staff and reduce coverage and reporters who try to start new digital publications face an interminable struggle with technical and business problems,” said Jim Albrecht, Product Management Director, Google Search.

“Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems.”

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The Google name is displayed outside the company’s office in London, Britain. VOA

While “Newspack” publishers will have access to all the plugins created by the WordPress developer community, the core product is not trying to be all things to all publishers.

“It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources. We like to call it aan opinionated CMS — it knows the right thing to do, even when you don’t,” explained Albrecht.

Google said it will also advise on the “Newspack” feature set, based on feedback from its extensive contact with local publishers, and provide technical support on the integration of Google products.

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Google News in November launched a new innovation challenge to help scribes and publishers in the Asia-Pacific region produce quality journalism in the digital age.

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age. (IANS)