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Google Announces ‘Journalism AI’ Project

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

To help news industry use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in more innovative ways, Google has announced a partnership with Polis, the international journalism think-tank at London School of Economics and Political Science, to create “Journalism AI”.

Part of the Google News Initiative (GNI), the “Journalism AI” project will focus on research and training for newsrooms on the intersection of AI and journalism.

“As part of ‘Journalism AI’, next year, we’ll publish a global survey about how the media is currently using — and could further benefit from — this technology,” Google said in a statement on Friday as it organised GNI Innovation Forum here.

“We’ll also collaborate with newsrooms and academic institutions to create a best practices handbook and produce free online training on how to use AI in the newsroom for journalists worldwide,” informed Matt Cooke, Head of Partnerships and Training, Google News Lab.

After testing with partners over the last two years, Google also introduced a new tool called Google Earth Studio which is an animation tool for Google Earth’s satellite and 3D imagery.

The tool empowers graphics specialists with new ways to leverage Google Earth imagery for storytelling.

“We’re inviting newsrooms around the world to start using the product for the first time,” said Google.

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Google on a smartphone device. Pixabay

According to the company, it has provided free training to journalists on a range of tools reaching more than 140,000 people in-person.

“Our training on Google tools for journalists are now available in 16 languages — including Indonesian Bahasa, Thai and Turkish,” said Cooke.

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.

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The Asia-Pacific Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge will fund selected projects up to $300,000 and finance up to 70 per cent of the total project cost, that inject new ideas into the news industry.

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

“From Yangon to Manila, Sydney to New Delhi, they are experimenting with fresh approaches to reporting and new business models,” said the company. (IANS)

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Google’s Wing Aviation Receives Approval from FAA to Operate Drone for Deliveries

It's the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries

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A man using a mobile phone walks past Google offices in New York, Dec. 17, 2018. VOA

Google affiliate Wing Aviation has received federal approval allowing it to make commercial deliveries by drone.

It’s the first time a company has gotten a federal air carrier certification for drone deliveries. The approval from the Federal Aviation Administration means that Wing can operate commercial drone flights in part of Virginia, which it plans to begin later this year.

The FAA said Tuesday that the company met the agency’s safety requirements by participating in a pilot program in Virginia with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and Virginia Tech, and by conducting thousands of flights in Australia over the past several years.

“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement.

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“This is an important step forward for the safe testing and integration of drones into our economy,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement. Wikimedia

Wing said the approval “means that we can begin a commercial service delivering goods from local businesses to homes in the United States.”

The company didn’t name any businesses that would take part in commercial deliveries. It said it plans to spend the next several months demonstrating its technology and answering questions from people and businesses in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia.

Wing said it will “solicit feedback with the goal of launching a delivery trial later this year.”

Wing said that to win FAA certification it had to show that one of its drone deliveries would pose less risk to pedestrians than the same trip made in a car. The company said its drones have flown more than 70,000 test flights and made more than 3,000 deliveries to customers in Australia.

The company is touting many benefits from deliveries by electric drones. It says medicine and food can be delivered faster, that drones will be especially helpful to consumers who need help getting around, and that they can reduce traffic and emissions.

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FILE – A drone demonstrates delivery capabilities from the top of a UPS truck during testing in Lithia, Florida, Feb. 20, 2017. VOA

Drone usage in the U.S. has grown rapidly in some industries such as utilities, pipelines and agriculture. But drones have faced more obstacles in delivering retail packages and food because of federal regulations that bar most flights over crowds of people and beyond sight of the operator without a waiver from the FAA.

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The federal government recently estimated that about 110,000 commercial drones were operating in the U.S., and that number is expected to zoom to about 450,000 in 2022.

Amazon is working on drone delivery, a topic keen to CEO Jeff Bezos. Delivery companies including UPS and DHL have also conducted tests. (VOA)