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This AI Software Nearly Predicted Omicron’s Tricky Structure

By Tom Simonite
New algorithms that decipher complex sequences of amino acids offered an early view of the coronavirus variant. They could point the way to future drugs.

Shazam launches Chrome Extension to identify what’s playing in any tab, but it’s broken for some [U]

Apple-owned Shazam has just released a Chrome Extension that works to identify what’s playing in your “Netflix or YouTube video, that Soundcloud mix or in a Twitch streamed video game,” but it doesn’t work for all users just yet. 

After installation, Shazam exists in the Chrome Extensions drop-down menu to the right of the address bar and can be pinned like the others to always be handy.
Tap the blue icon to open a rectangular pop-up asking for another "Click Shazam". While listening, you are told "do not update or close this tab". Once recognized, there is a shortcut to play the entire song in Apple Music (login required), while you can “get lyrics, music videos and more with just one click”. The plugin's main page  has a drop-down menu to view your “Shazam Browser Song History”.
It is not possible to log into your Shazam account and sync the songs you previously identified on your phone. It would be very useful. The extension, according to reviews from the Chrome Web Store, was released in late 2021.

Shazam appears to have only announced its existence on the Android app update website and list.One reason why it could be that it does not work anyway for all users.

The Shazam extension, after testing on macOS and Chrome OS today, fails to find a match even after a minute. (No fail state is shown.) The same songs on YouTube and Soundcloud are quickly identified using the mobile application. That said, some users in the reviews say they have gotten it to work.

This extension compliments the Shazam Mac App, which was last updated in February of 2020. The Chrome offering might be the new desktop strategy moving forward as it offers wider reach.

Sonos wins Google import ban ruling in U.S. patent fight

The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A US commercial court has banned Google  from importing products that infringe the smart speaker patents of the home audio company Sonos.

The US International Trade Commission upheld a ruling in August  that Google's audio products infringe five Sonos patents and have banned Google from importing "network speaker devices" and devices that can control them, such as cell phones and laptops.
The ruling says it won't stop Google  from importing products that it has redesigned to avoid patent infringement. A Google spokesman said he didn't expect the decision to affect his ability to import or sell its products.
"We will  continue to investigate and defend ourselves against the frivolous claims by Sonos regarding our association and our intellectual property," said the company.
Eddie Lazarus, Sonos' chief legal officer, called the verdict a "crusader" victory. Google's products still infringe  patents even though they tried to develop them.

Sonos' stock was up 1.5% in late morning trading on Friday, having earlier risen more than 3%.

The parties have been embroiled in a global patent war over multi-room audio technology since 2020 that includes court cases in California, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, according to a Sonos regulatory filing.

Sonos first sued Google in Los Angeles, alleging the company misused its technology in "more than a dozen different infringing products", including Google Home speakers and Pixel phones, tablets, and laptops.

Google reacted with its own lawsuit in San Francisco, creating Sonos "substantial quantities" of its technology without permission for multiple products, including controller applications and radio Sonos service.

At the ITC, Sonos had been trying to block Google from importing Home speakers, Pixel phones and other products from China.

India's antitrust body orders Google inquiry after news publishers complain

The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain
The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

India's competition regulator on Friday ordered an investigation into Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Google following allegations by news publishers, saying its initial view was that the tech giant had violated certain antitrust laws.

In its order, the Competition Commission of India (ICC) said Google dominates some online search services in the country and may have imposed unfair conditions on news publishers.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The complainant, the Digital News Publishers Association, which includes the digital weapons of some of India's largest media companies, said Google denies its members fair advertising revenue.
“In a well-functioning democracy, the essential role played by the media cannot be compromised,” the ICC order said.
"It appears that Google is using its dominant position in the relevant markets to enter / protect its position in the market for information aggregation services.

News organisations, which have been losing advertising revenue to online aggregators such as Google, have complained for years about tech companies using stories in search results or other features without payment.

The CCI order also mentioned new rules in France and Australia - fuelled by media lobbying and public pressure - that have led to licensing deals around the world collectively worth billions of dollars.

Google launches Ripple, an open standard that could bring tiny radars to Ford cars and more

Google soli radar project
İmage Credit: Google

Google has been publicly building tiny radar chips since 2015. They can tell you how well you sleep, control a smartwatch, count sheets of paper, and have you play the world's smallest violin. But the company's Soli radar hasn't necessarily seen commercial success, primarily in an ill-fated Pixel phone. Now Google has launched an open source API standard called Ripple that could theoretically bring the technology to additional devices outside of Google, possibly even a car, as Ford is one of the participants in the new standard.

Technically, Ripple is under the auspices of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the same industry body that hosts the CES show in Las Vegas each January, but there's no doubt who is actually behind the project. "Ripple will unlock useful innovations for the benefit of all. General Purpose Radar is a key emerging technology for solving critical use cases while respecting privacy," read a quote from Ivan Poupyrev, The man who led the team through G oogle's ATAP skunkworks. who invented Soli in the first place.

"Standard Radar Api" seems to be the original Name.

Adritionally, the Github ripple project  is filled with  references to Google, including different instances of "Copyright 2021 Google LLC" and contributors must sign a Google Open Source license agreement to participate. (One commit points out that the project was updated “to include CTA.”) Ripple appears to be a rebranding of Google’s “Standard Radar API,” which it quietly proposed one year ago (PDF).

None of that makes it any less exciting that Soli might find new life, though, and there may be something to the idea that radar has privacy benefits. It’s a technology that can easily detect whether someone’s present, nearby, and/or telling their device to do something without requiring a microphone or camera.

Ford, for its part, tells The Verge that indoor radar might become part of its driver-assistance technologies. Right now, the automaker says it’s using “advanced exterior radars” to research those features instead (which sounds expensive to me). Here’s a statement from Ford’s Jim Buczkowski, who’s currently heading up the company’s Research and Advanced Engineering team:

We are investigating how to use indoor radar as a  source of sensors to improve various customer experiences in addition to our  Ford CoPilot360 driver assistance technologies which now use advanced exterior radars. A standard API, with input from the semiconductor industry, will allow us to develop hardware-independent software purchases and give  software teams the freedom to innovate across multiple radar platforms.

Other companies are also exploring radar: Amazon is also investigating whether radar could help it track your sleep patterns; This smart dog collar uses miniature radar to monitor vital signs, even if your dog is very hairy or furry, and this  bulb does the same  for humans.
But most of the participants listed in Google's initiatives so far are chip and sensor vendors, with only Ford and Blumio, which have a development kit for a radar-based blood pressure sensor, stand out.

This Group Pushed More AI in US Security—and Boosted Big Tech

By Tom Simonite
The National Security Commission on AI included members from Oracle, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Some of its recommendations are already federal law.