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Smile Innovation’s watch #24

Smile Innovation’s watch #24

Here we are, edition 24. And this is a solid one. So long that when we sent it out, it was too big for Gmail displaying it entirely, and we had to add a disclaimer to inform people they may need to click on “open in a new window” to see all the content 😅.

In this edition, you’ll find your bi-weekly dose of curated content, from drones to the latest privacy leak drama (Hi Facebook! 👋), the constant new area explored by 🤖 A.I. to the creation of 🚧 living concrete that is able to reproduce, and, of course, our selection of open-source projects and tools, as well as the latest merge/revenues from the Internet bubble.

That’s Smile’s Innovation watch.

*This content was sent on Feb. 21st in our Tech Watch Newsletter*

💡 Innovation

Facebook is maybe building an entire mobile OS

Facebook, well known for its very intrusive apps that read all your texts, call logs, store your location, know who you meet (if they have the FB app too) and who shares pictures with you (by tracking lens defect in photos). Well, Facebook seems to be building an entire mobile OS to avoid having to rely on Google for their products such as Oculus or Portal.

Xenobots made by an evolutionary algorithm

They are made from heart and skin cells, and their “design” is the result of simulating evolutions and trying millions of combinations using an evolutionary algorithm. Those microscopic robots are made of living tissues and have a lifespan of 10 days to decay afterward finally. One day they will be used to clean microplastics, digest toxic materials, or even deliver drugs inside our bodies (robots you can eat has been a small trend since CES2019).

Data extraction using AI

Rossum is a company focusing on data extraction made by AI, and they started to work with but a very, very, very common problem known to all businesses on earth: invoices classification. They let you send them all your invoices, they extract the data and feed your systems: SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Odoo, Sage, Quickbook … you name it. Without a template to train. Impressive, isn’t it? Well, we are working on similar topics at Smile, just come and let’s chat 🙃.

🗽 Privacy & Freedom

Private Equity is going to run .org registrar

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the registrar of .org domain, announced it would be selling to private equity firm Ethos Capital. Of course, PIR is trying to make it sound like a great opportunity. Still, the entire Internet and the open-source world are afraid that the renewal price of .org domain names (which was created for non-profit organizations) will rise. A lot of non-profit org, with an already established online presence, won’t have a choice but to keep up and pay more or face being deleted from the web.

Google wants to kill third-party cookies in Chrome withing two years

A cookie is a small file a website can put in your computer browser to store data, likely a unique ID, to track you. A 3rd party cookie is the same, but by someone other than the website you’re visiting, let say the ad network or Youtube (because there’s a video embedded in the page). That’s the most common way of tracking people across multiple websites, and it became the most targeted technique for ad blockers for years. Some browsers like Firefox or Brave are even blocking them by default now. But that’s not without consequences for the ad industry. Google, which is a significant ad network player, is trying a different approach and invite all the ad players to sit together and rethink the way they are targeting people for ad personalization during the next two years before 3rd party cookies will be blocked by default also on Google chrome.

Facebook Dating blocked in Europe before its launch

The good old time when you can launch anything and apologize later is over, and Facebook just learned it the hard way. The launch of their dating services inside Facebook ecosystem has been canceled when EU data regulator said Facebook didn’t comply with the mandatory (by law) privacy risk assessment (which they didn’t make) and didn’t give the legal time to the regulator to inspect the service before its launch. Adding to that, when the services were launched in the US, they were fined by the USA regulator $5billions for privacy issues in the service. A good reminder that GDPR is made mandatory for everyone to create a privacy-by-design system.

💰 Acquisition

Youtube reveals revenues for the first time: $15.1 Bn in 2019

For the 1st time, Google published a detailed revenue report. That’s how we can all see Youtube made $15.1 Bn in 2019, with a solid $3Bn just with Youtube subscription. In 2017, Google CEO told Youtube generated $8.15 billion in ad revenue ($11.15 Bn in 2018). Founded in 2005 and sold to Google in 2006 for $1.65Bn became a gigantic cash machine. Netflix, for comparison, made $20.1 billion in revenue in 2019. Google Cloud generated $8.9 billion in 2019.

Sprint & T-Mobile going to merge

Despite a claim by a group of states that said the merger would violate antitrust laws and raise prices, the U.S. federal court said they were right to proceed. The goal of this transaction is the hope to better compete with Verizon and AT&T as the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier. Shares of T-Mobile rose 11% and Sprint 74%. Softbank, the controlling shareholder of Sprint, can finally relax since they are getting rid of a troubled asset that was losing subscribers at a fast rate.

🔓 OpenSource

Github Archive program will safely store every public Github repo for 1000 years in the Arctic World Archive in Svalbard, Norway

GitHub is partnering with the Long Now Foundation, the Internet Archive, the Software Heritage Foundation, Arctic World Archive, Microsoft Research, the Bodleian Library, and Stanford Libraries to ensure the long-term preservation of the world’s open-source software. They will protect this priceless knowledge by storing multiple copies, on an ongoing basis, across various data formats and locations, including a very-long-term archive designed to last at least 1,000 years.


An Open-Source Collection of +200 Algorithmic Flash Cards to Help you Preparing your Algorithm & Data Structure Interview.

Bing loser out to DuckDuckGo in Android search engine ballot

As enforced by EU regulation, Google is required to let its customers choose when setting up an Android device from March. A choice between several options as the default search engine, including Google. The “choice screen” is being introduced by an antitrust ruling where the EU fined Google $5 Bn. So Google made a public fourth-price auction where every company tells how much they are willing to pay when a user chooses them as a default search engine per country. DuckDuckGo won almost all countries, but it appears that Microsoft’s Bing won the UK.

🌱 Sustainability & Society

Bartender robotic arm cheering with human

Robot Bartending company is giving cash to people replaced by their robots

Automation is something all financing and society publication tell you will change the world forever. The possible impact of automation, by robots or AI, will have a significant effect on the economic fabric of our society. The company behind Toni, “the world’s leading robotic bartending system” is handing $1000 per month to an employee replaced by their system. It’s still unclear how long it will be paid, but the first beneficiaries of this stipend are already getting money from the company. The company wants to encourage people they are “replacing” to find a better, more sustainable income for them. It’s kind of like basic income meeting social responsibility.

Field sensor

Affordable and accurate grower insights

Precise information about crops and your fields are essential. But IoT systems could be expensive and complex to deploy. Farm21 developed a sensor that costs only 79€ and covers 1.5ha (and LoRa indoor/outdoor gateways). It gives you access to a web platform where you’ll get all the pieces of information about your soils (moisture at a different depth, air & soil temperature, air humidity levels). And it’s made in 🇳🇱the Netherlands.

Gamesnacks are bite-sized html5 games

Content, videos, webpages, and apps are becoming bigger and bigger as our bandwidth increased, and the power of our gadgets rises. But that’s not a reason to stop making an effort to pursue code simplicity and lightness. That’s the idea behind game snacks: games which load quickly, even on slow network conditions and on low-memory devices. They should also easy to play to be more accessible to people with cognitive, visual, or muscular disabilities and run everywhere: phones, tablets, desktops, web, or natives.

😁 Fun & WTF

China is using drones to harass people on the street

⚠️ Global Times is the Republic of China’s state propaganda media.

With the epidemic spreading in China, the government is using more and more drones to “interact” with people. From making them pay at the toll to spreading antibacterial over the street and also harassing people to force them to stay at home and to shame them.

A first try of using Living concrete to create something solid.

Living Concrete

Scientists created living concrete that can heal itself and even reproduce. Each piece of concrete is drying out when exposed to regular air but can be reactivated with warmth and humidity to “grow” again. Each piece of concrete can grow three times its size. And the fascinating property of this concrete isn’t just it’s alive, but it can be made from waste material like ground glass or recycled concrete. In contrast, “regular” concrete needs virgin sand that comes from rivers, lakes, and oceans.

🛠 Tools

Android phone number library ported in JS

Google Android’s libphonenumber has been rewritten in a more straightforward and smaller form in javascript. This rewrite tries to focus on being a pure JS framework while the official Google port is tied to closure. It has a smaller footprint too (130kb vs. 530kb), can extract numbers from a string (which Google’s version can’t) but don’t support alphabetic numbers like 1–800-GOT-MILK nor short number (used for special number or text message services).

Resources for Beginner Bug Bounty Hunter

Many new hackers are joining the community regularly, and more than often, the first thing they ask is, “How do I get started and what are some good resources?”. As a hacker, there a ton of techniques, terminologies, and topics you need to familiarize yourself with to understand how an application works. Cody Brocious (@daeken), @0xAshFox, and @nahamsec put these resources together to help new hackers with resources to learn the basics of Web Application Security.

Github command line is here

For the command line lovers who don’t already use hub wrapper, Github released their official CLI. You can check PR status or create one, list all the issues, and dig into the details, checkout a PR, create an issue …It’s far from all the things possible with the hub wrapper, but it’s an excellent start.

📊 Trends

Cyborg artistic view.

The U.S.A. Pentagon is working on Cyborg Supersoldiers

Determining the potential of machines that are physically integrated within the human body to augment and enhance the performances of the human beings over the next 30 years is the following big field of research for the Department of Defense. We know that DARPA was working for long on the topic of how to “repair” biological loss for soldiers after deployment on the war zone. Still, now it seems to get a different pace and focus on how to augment human soldiers to get “strategic advantage.”

Some 3D printed implant to make bones growing support.

Using 3D printing to help your bones grow like coral

(Reads in 🇫🇷) FossiLabs is a young U.S.A. startup focusing on FDM 3D printing based on PEEK. The idea is to operate like we do when we want to help coral to develop somewhere by providing a better environment for growing. By providing a porous structure to foster bone regeneration.

Face shape analysis by an algorithm.

Using A.I. to swipe on Tinder is just that easy

Creating “TinderBot” isn’t complicated anymore. Tinder, while they are not providing an API explicitly to developers, is facing more and more people guessing and documenting the way their app is interacting with their servers. More and more developers are maintaining this documentation up-to-date. Some even creating code to interact within a higher level (so they have to update a dependency if the API change). Some have focussed on how to extract pictures of women and train A.I. to swipe and even start a conversation the same wat they will do. Is it creepy? Of course. But it’s “to show Tinder how we did it so they can improve their security.” 🙄

That’s all folks!

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