Without context Google’s billion device “Assistant” claim is B.S.

ReBlogged from om.coNick Bilton photo

Google says its “Assistant” (the voice-based query service) is soon going to be on a billion devices –primarily phones, and a majority of them being on the Android phones. There are some obvious questions that the report should have covered. For instance:

  • Are these pre-installed on the OS as part of deals with handset makers or phone companies?
  • What some money involved to get these pre-installed if they were pre-installed?
  • What percentage of these were downloaded by end customers?
  • How many Google Assistant speaker-type devices has the company sold and not just given away as part of some promotion?
  • What is the number of daily active users of the Google Assistant?
  • How is the daily usage trending? Any data? Claiming global active users have grown four times over past one year is utterly meaningless!
  • What countries is the Assitant popular in?
  • And is it GDPR compliant?
  • How does it correlate with Google’s current business model of placing advertising against search results?

In other words, without the relevant context, Google’s claim is no better than old fashion bullshit. For whatever its worth, I find Google Assistant is very good at understanding my accent than Alexa and Siri. They are also much more accurate than those two. Unfortunately, I don’t trust Google to let them into my apartment on a device.

Ditto! I agree.

Dumb crook of the day


Texas police said they were holding a suspect who allegedly tried to withdraw money from a bank in Bryan while claiming to be Michelle Obama’s adopted son.

Johnnie Gooden, 29, College Station, told a bank teller he had been adopted recently by the first lady, whom he claimed he had met on Facebook and had asked him to take some money out of her account at the Chase Bank branch.

Bank employees said Gooden refused to leave after being told the first lady did not have an account at the bank, so they contacted the authorities.

The Houston Chronicle said police found a bag of marijuana in Gooden’s pocket and learned he had a rap sheet and outstanding warrants for resisting arrest and assaulting a public servant. He was taken away on the warrants and a new arrest for pot possession.

Dude has got to quit smoking the seeds.

The Dutch prepare to claim more land from the sea

Artist’s rendition added to satellite photo
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Today, just as they have for centuries, the Dutch need more land to house an expanding population. They also need to confront a new threat to their lands, roughly two-thirds of which lie below sea level: the specter of rising ocean levels associated with global warming.

So a government commission recently proposed pushing out the Netherlands’ shoreline to meet the challenge of an increase in the ocean’s levels; another commission proposed the construction of islands off the Dutch coast, like barrier reefs in the North Sea.

One such commission, inspired by Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which built several islands off its coast to form giant palm trees as part of a major urban development plan, suggested a bit whimsically that the Dutch islands be given the shape of plants, specifically tulips. One waggish blogger, alluding to the Netherlands’ traditional tolerance of marijuana, suggested cannabis leaves instead…

Dutch companies have gained renown in recent years by helping other countries reclaim lands from the sea. In addition to Dubai’s islands, the island for Hong Kong’s international airport was built by Van Oord, the dredging company. So, the Dutch government is asking its engineers and builders to come home and help battle the sea.

It is better and more economical to extend the coast one kilometer,” or 0.6 of a mile, “into the sea and strengthen the dunes along the seashore by dumping in a lot of sand,” he said.

“In the old days,” he mused, “the dikes were rigid, of concrete, but now we favor a soft coastline, in harmony with nature. It’s a return to the 17th century.”

I have to agree with the folks wanting to extend out from the shoreline. I’ve witnessed a couple of major dredging projects, especially as a lad in New England. They can be a boon to so many aspects of coastal life.