Sunday February 17, 2019
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Google drafting ethical principles to guide the use of technology

The move comes after more than 3,000 employees of Google signed a letter to the company's CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that the company scrap the Defence Department project

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Google india launches 'Tz' to help people pay their utility bills. Wikimedia Commons
Google AI to identify speakers from crowd. Wikimedia Commons

 After facing employee fury over a US Defence Department project, Google is reportedly drafting new ethical standards to guide the company’s use of technology and products.

The move comes after more than 3,000 employees of Google signed a letter to the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai, demanding that the company scrap the Defence Department project for analysing drone footage using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques as they feared that the technology could plausibly help target people for death, Fortune.com reported on Friday. Citing a Defense One article, the report said that Google Cloud chief Diane Greene this week hosted a Town Hall at which she assured employees of new ethical standards for the company.

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Google took this decision after deliberation . VOA

Called Maven, the programme applies AI and machine learning to the job of classifying objects in surveillance footage, but Google responded to the employee petition saying that the technology was intended to save lives and save people from having to do highly tedious work.

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However, Greene promised employees that Google would not sign up for any further work on ‘Maven’ or similar projects without having new ethical principles in place, according to Defense One’s sources. But some Google employees came out of the town hall still concerned about the company angling for a big Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract that could relate to combat operations, the Fortune report said. IANS

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Google To Test Updating Pre-loaded Apps Without Signing Into Account

Google is advising developers to make sure that any updates to their app work properly in the absence of a Google account. 

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Google is advising developers to make sure that any updates to their app work properly in the absence of a Google account. Pixabay

Google is planning to roll-out a functionality that would auto-update pre-loaded apps via Google Play even when users are not signed into their Google accounts.

With this feature, the search engine giant aims to provide a more consistent app experience for users in the coming months, Android Police reported on Friday.

Previously, if users were not signed into their Google accounts, pre-installed apps on their devices, including the Play Store, were cut off from updates.

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Previously, if users were not signed into their Google accounts, pre-installed apps on their devices, including the Play Store, were cut off from updates. Pixabay

“In the coming months, Google Play will begin testing a new feature that will automatically allow Google Play to update pre-loaded apps and with users having an option to turn off this feature at any time if they wish. This should also help developers reduce overhead costs required to support obsolete app versions,” the report quoted Google as saying in a letter to the developers.

Google is advising developers to make sure that any updates to their app work properly in the absence of a Google account.
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The feature would only apply to devices shipped with Android Lollipop or newer OS versions, the report added.

It is yet not clear by when would the feature be officially released for all Android users. (IANS)