Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Waymo: Uber stole our self-driving car tech

Waymo logo

Waymo was launched by Google last year.


Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

Waymo, a self-driving car company owned by Google parent Alphabet, dropped a lawsuit on Uber on Thursday, alleging the ride-hailing company stole trade secrets to bolster its own autonomous car efforts.

The 28-page lawsuit focuses on Otto, a self-driving trucking company that Uber acquired last year. The suit charges that Anthony Levandowski, a former Google employee, downloaded 14,000 “highly confidential” files describing self-driving technology research and brought them to Otto, which he co-founded.

Parts of the lawsuit read like a spy novel. Waymo alleges Levandowski, who now works at Uber, used special software to access the files and reformatted his computer to cover his tracks. It says Uber used the information after it acquired Otto.

The lawsuit complicates the already-difficult relationship between the two companies. GV, Alphabet’s venture capital arm, invested in Uber in 2013. It was one of the firm’s most high-profile deals.

“Our parent company Alphabet has long worked with Uber in many areas, and we didn’t make this decision lightly,” Waymo said in a blog post. “However, given the overwhelming facts that our technology has been stolen, we have no choice but to defend our investment and development of this unique technology.”

“We take the allegations made against Otto and Uber employees seriously,” an Uber spokeswoman said. “We will review this matter carefully.”

Self-driving cars are a red-hot area of research in the automotive industry. Autonomous vehicles show the potential to greatly reduce or even eliminate the tens of thousands of deaths that occur on US roads every year. The technology may also reduce traffic jams, a major fuel and time waster in US cities. Equipment suppliers, start-ups and big tech companies, in addition to automakers, are all developing self-driving car technology.

Uber has been pursuing its own self-driving car research and pilot programs. Last year, it attempted to use self-driving cars to pick up passengers on San Francisco streets. The program was halted because the company didn’t have a permit to operate self-driving cars in California.

Waymo’s suit specifically calls out trade secrets related to “lidar” technology, laser arrays used in self-driving car research to detect objects in a car’s environment.

Waymo said it learned of the alleged theft after a vendor accidentally emailed a Waymo employee, with an attached diagram of an Uber lidar circuit board.

“This circuit board bears a striking resemblance to Waymo’s own highly confidential and proprietary design and reflects Waymo trade secrets,” the lawsuit said.

The suit charges that Levandowski went to great lengths to get the files then cover his tracks.

Levandowski downloaded “specialized software” to access the files, downloaded 9.7 gigabytes of confidential information, then transferred the data to an external hard drive.

After that, he installed a new operating system, “attempting to erase any forensic fingerprints,” the lawsuit said.

Read the rest of the lawsuit below. It’s a page turner.

First published Feb. 23, 3:25 p.m. PT.

Update, 5:54 p.m.: Adds background, material from the lawsuit.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/google-spin-off-waymo-accuses-uber-of-stealing-self-driving-tech/#ftag=CAD590a51e

How to watch LG’s G6 unveiling live

LG is stepping into the world’s biggest phone show with a new flagship handset, the LG G6.

The event, which takes place this Sunday, February 26 in Barcelona, will kick off the press day of Mobile World Congress. The fun begins at 12:00 noon Spanish time from the Sant Jordi Club, just next to the city’s Olympic Stadium. That’s 11 a.m. if you’re in the UK, but it’s more than a little early on a Sunday morning for US residents at 6:00 a.m. ET and 3:00 a.m. PT.

If you’re up and about, you can watch it on LG’s live stream above. And if you live elsewhere, here’s the start time for your place on the planet.

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LG

Though the official details of the G6 are still under wraps, LG has been releasing choice morsels about the phone over the past few weeks. CNET’s Lynn La expects it to have a bezel-less display with rounder edges, a waterproof design and Google Assistant AI software built in. But unlike the previous phone in the LG G family, the G5, the G6 won’t have a modular design.

CNET will be on the ground in Barcelona to bring you full coverage of the G6 in words, pictures and video so check back with us then.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/lg-l6-reveal-mobile-world-congress-event/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Google Doodle celebrates Trappist-1 planetary discovery

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Google

Dwarf star Trappist-1 is tiny, just a little bigger than Jupiter, but it’s making huge news today. As you’ve probably heard, it’s not home to just three Earth-like exoplanets, but a massive seven, three of which could have oceans of water, just like Earth. And it’s only 39 light-years away, which means the planets are close enough that we could find out.

Usually Google Doodles are planned in advance, and celebrate anniversaries and other occasions, but today, the web giant is pulling out all the stops to help commemorate this discovery with an animated Doodle.

Telescopes are already turning their attentions to the system, homing in on the planets’ atmospheres. As they pass in front of the star, the atmospheres are back-lit, which allows spectroscopic analysis of their chemical composition, which will help determine whether there is liquid water. This may be a bit difficult, as the star is very faint, but with a new generation of telescopes seeing first light in the near future, Trappist-1’s secrets might not be so far away either.

In the meantime, you can play with an interactive model of the system on NASA’s website.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/google-doodle-celebrates-trappist-1-planetary-discovery/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Futuristic Apple Park headquarters opens in April

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Apple CEO Tim Cook with an image of company’s new campus.


Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Apple’s futuristic new headquarters will open in April. The first employees will move into the 175-acre Apple Park campus while building work continues across the large parkland site.

It’ll take six months for Apple’s 12,000 staff to move from the existing Cupertino HQ into the new campus in the Santa Clara valley, which has at its heart a ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building clad in curved glass.

Also in the campus is the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs theatre, entered through a 20-foot-tall glass tube measuring 165 feet in diameter.

Despite Apple’s infamous secrecy, the site will be open to the public with a visitor centre, cafe and Apple Store.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/futuristic-apple-park-headquarters-open-in-april/#ftag=CAD590a51e

These trending YouTube videos make a slam dunk

Every week, I try to stay on top of what is trending on YouTube because I always find new music videos from top artists, sports replays that people watch over and over, and tons of videos of whatever is the big news of the day. But there are also hidden gems that I might miss if I didn’t jump in to see why they’re so popular right now.

This week I found a collection of cool videos you should definitely check out. They don’t follow any specific theme, but I’m sharing them here because I found them either funny or interesting.

To start, YouTuber IISuperwomanII makes tons of funny videos, but this one that conveys what people are really thinking at work got me laughing. It’s over-exaggerated, I think (I hope), but I’m betting you’ll see some similarities with your workplace.

Next, from the YouTube channel called List25, you get to see a list of things you learned when you were young that turned out to be wrong. Wait, you CAN start a sentence with because?

I don’t usually do sports replays in these posts, but when YouTuber The Shimmy Master posted this Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk from the NBA All Star game this weekend, I had to share. You’re not going to get a dunk photo with Steph Curry in it, apparently.

Finally, this last one is so good it’s almost worthy of an article on its own. Popular stunt and action video guys Dude Perfect bring in a billiards trick-shot master to demonstrate his best tricks. Seriously, can these even be real?

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/these-lateset-trending-youtube-videos-hit-a-slam-dunk/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Verizon and Yahoo agree to cut $4.83 billion deal by $350 million

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Verizon has reworked its deal to buy Yahoo.


Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Verizon is getting a discount for damaged goods.

The telecommunications giant and internet pioneer Yahoo have signed an agreement that drops the original $4.83 billion acquisition price by $350 million, the companies said Tuesday. This comes months after Yahoo’s public image has tumbled downhill with one hacking scandal after another.

In the seven months since Verizon announced it was buying Yahoo’s operating business, Yahoo has revealed it suffered the worst hack in history — twice. Yahoo first set the record in September with 500 million accounts breached. It then broke its own record in December with the revelation that 1 billion accounts were hacked in a separate breach. The company has also faced backlash for reportedly building tools that help the government spy on citizen emails.

The $4.83 billion deal had been on shaky ground since the massive breaches, but Verizon apparently has not lost faith in Yahoo’s 1 billion user base.

“We have always believed this acquisition makes strategic sense. We look forward to moving ahead expeditiously so that we can quickly welcome Yahoo’s tremendous talent and assets into our expanding portfolio in the digital advertising space,” Marni Walden, Verizon’s executive vice president, said in a statement.

As part of the price drop, Verizon and Yahoo have agreed to share the legal and regulatory burdens that will come from the billions of hacks the website suffered in 2013 and 2014. Yahoo is reportedly under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for potentially taking too long to inform investors about the breaches.

Under the terms of the revised deal, Yahoo will pay half the bill for any non-SEC government investigations and lawsuits related to the hack. Any shareholder lawsuits over the hacks will also be Yahoo’s responsibility.

The acquisition is part of Verizon’s strategy to boost its digital advertising arsenal as it gears up to compete with Google and Facebook. The telecommunications giant is looking to combine Yahoo with AOL, which Verizon bought for $4.4 billion in 2015. Yahoo’s popular assets such as fantasy sports and Yahoo Mail still manage to pull in profits despite the hacks. Verizon’s push to purchase Yahoo’s operating business had been delayed from the breaches but apparently is moving along steadily now.

“It is an important step to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo, and we can now move forward with confidence and certainty,” Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in a statement.

The deal is still open to adjustments, the companies said. It’s expected to close during the second quarter.

Update, 5:52 a.m. PT: Adds more details from the revised agreement.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-and-yahoo-agree-to-cut-4-billion-deal-by-350-million/#ftag=CAD590a51e