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White House will host tech industry for AI summit on Thursday

Artificial intelligence has been a mainstay of the conversation in Silicon Valley these past few years, and now the technology is increasingly being discussed in policy circles in DC. Washington types see opportunities for AI to improve efficiency and increase economic growth, while at the same time, they have growing concerns around job automation and competitive threats from China and ... Read More »

How did Thumbtack win the on-demand services market?

Earlier today, the services marketplace Thumbtack held a small conference for 300 of its best gig economy workers at an event space in San Francisco. For the nearly ten-year-old company the event was designed to introduce some new features and a redesign of its brand that had softly launched earlier in the week. On hand, in addition to the services ... Read More »

Amazon opens up in-skill purchases to all Alexa developers

Amazon today launched in-skill purchasing to all Alexa developers, along with Amazon Pay for skills. That means developers have a way to generate revenue from their voice applications on Alexa-powered devices, like Amazon’s Echo speakers. For example, developers could charge for additional packs to go along with their voice-based games, or offer other premium content to expand their free voice ... Read More »

Amazon halts Seattle expansion over city tax proposal

Even as Amazon continues to grow at a staggering rate, it is pumping the brakes on its long-planned hometown expansion. The retail giant threw down the gauntlet this week when it announced that it would stop construction on a new building because of a proposed city tax. The new law is designed to address Seattle’s housing crunch, charging large companies ... Read More »

Alexa can remember birthdays and other things for you now

Last week at a conference in France, Amazon announced a new Alexa feature that makes it possible to use the smart assistant as a repository for small bits of information. That feature is starting to roll out today to users in the U.S. as “Remember This.” The skill goes like this: say, “Alexa, remember Brian’s birthday is May 11,” and Alexa ... Read More »

Yawn: Amazon cloud business just keeps rolling along

It’s almost becoming boring reporting that the Amazon cloud had a monster quarter. It’s not news at this point, because of course they did. Yesterday, it once again blew away analyst expectations with 49 percent revenue growth for the quarter. Oh ya, and that revenue? Well that was $5.44B for the quarter, a ways above the projected $5.26B. Ho hum. ... Read More »

There’s an Echo Dot for kids now

This was nothing if not inevitable. Alexa’s steady home takeover just found its way into your kids’ rooms — and it’s doing so with a brightly colored case. Amazon just unveiled the Echo Dot Kids Edition — the first time the company’s popular smart speaker line has targeted children directly. From a hardware perspective, there’s not really a lot different ... Read More »

Amazon isn’t to blame for the Postal Service’s woes, but it will need to innovate to survive

First of all, it’s true that the Postal Service is “losing billions of dollars a year” – $2.7 billion in 2017, to be more precise. In fact, the Postal Service has been losing money for over a decade. And the USPS does have a curious relationship with Amazon. While competitors UPS and FedEx charge the e-commerce giant $7-$8 per package, ... Read More »

Amazon isn’t to blame for the Postal Service’s woes, but it will need to innovate to survive

First of all, it’s true that the Postal Service is “losing billions of dollars a year” – $2.7 billion in 2017, to be more precise. In fact, the Postal Service has been losing money for over a decade. And the USPS does have a curious relationship with Amazon. While competitors UPS and FedEx charge the e-commerce giant $7-$8 per package, ... Read More »

Amazon isn’t to blame for the Postal Service’s woes, but it will need to innovate to survive

First of all, it’s true that the Postal Service is “losing billions of dollars a year” – $2.7 billion in 2017, to be more precise. In fact, the Postal Service has been losing money for over a decade. And the USPS does have a curious relationship with Amazon. While competitors UPS and FedEx charge the e-commerce giant $7-$8 per package, ... Read More »

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