Welcome to this week's tech news roundup, where we bring you the latest and most exciting developments in the world of technology. In this edition, we cover Google Bard's global expansion and upgrades, IBM's innovative Watsonx AI platform, and much more.
Google Bard Goes Global and Gets an Upgrade
Google has officially announced the expansion of its AI language model, Google Bard, making it available to over 180 countries and ending the waitlist. The announcement, made during Google I/O 2023, included a showcase of new features and enhancements coming to Gmail, such as an AI-powered tool that assists users in crafting emails based on specific prompts.
Bard is set to become even more inclusive, with support for additional languages such as Japanese and Korean, along with 40 others. The user interface will also receive a "more visual" update, enabling users to easily ask the AI for information on must-see sights in a region and receive results complete with images.
Google Lens, a tool that allows users to search for objects within images, is also getting a boost. With the new upgrade, users can upload an image to Lens and request a "funny caption" generated by the AI. Google Bard will also offer more accurate citations to help users find the correct source of information, and an "export" option will be introduced, allowing users to directly upload generated text to Gmail or Google Docs.
In an exciting collaboration with Adobe, Google is working to empower creators with the ability to generate original images using simple text prompts. This will enable users to create high-quality images with ease. Additionally, Google Bard will soon offer a Dark Mode feature.
As of now, Google Bard is not yet fully open to everyone, with users in India still required to join the waitlist. Meanwhile, Gmail's smart reply feature, known as 'help me write,' will enable users to compose intelligent emails with autocomplete assistance.
IBM Introduces Watsonx: A Game Changer for AI Implementation
Not to be outdone by Google, IBM this week also announced a groundbreaking new platform at its annual Think conference – IBM Watsonx. This innovative platform is designed to tackle the ongoing challenges businesses face when attempting to deploy AI within their operations. Watsonx provides a comprehensive solution by granting customers access to essential toolsets, infrastructure, and consulting resources, making it easier for them to create AI models or modify existing ones using their own data.
Watsonx.ai, a key component of the platform, offers seven pretrained models to businesses, some of which are open source. Furthermore, IBM has partnered with AI startup Hugging Face, incorporating thousands of models, datasets, and libraries developed by the company. This collaboration greatly expands the capabilities of the Watsonx.ai platform, further streamlining AI integration for businesses.
In addition to Watsonx.ai, IBM has also introduced Watsonx.data, a "fit-for-purpose" data store specifically designed to accommodate both governed data and AI workloads. To ensure the utmost privacy and ethical standards, Watsonx.governance offers a toolkit that enables organizations to protect customer privacy, detect model bias and drift, and adhere to ethics guidelines.
IBM projects that AI could potentially contribute a staggering $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030. They also estimate that within the next five years, 30% of back-office tasks will be automated. With the launch of the Watsonx platform, IBM is poised to play a pivotal role in the AI-driven transformation of businesses and industries worldwide.
New CEO Announced for Twitter by Elon Musk
Elon Musk has recently made public his decision to appoint a new CEO for Twitter, with the successor taking up the mantle in just six weeks. This announcement follows Musk's acquisition of the social media platform last October, when he purchased Twitter for a staggering $44 billion. Since then, he has overseen the dismissal of Twitter's former CEO Parag Agrawal, as well as other high-ranking executives. Additionally, he implemented a significant reduction in the company's workforce, laying off half of Twitter's staff in November.
Twitter has seen numerous changes under Musk's leadership, including a complete overhaul of policies and features. This has led to several major advertisers putting their spending on hold. With Musk transitioning to the role of executive chair and chief technology officer, Tesla investors can breathe a sigh of relief, as they have been concerned that his involvement with Twitter was detracting from his responsibilities as Tesla's CEO. Upon hearing the news of a new CEO for Twitter, Tesla shares experienced a notable surge.
Despite relinquishing the CEO position, Musk continues to own Twitter, having recently rebranded the company as X Corp. He envisions creating "X, the everything app," which he has aspired to develop for quite some time. With a new CEO at the helm of Twitter, it remains to be seen how the platform will evolve and what new developments lie ahead for both Twitter and Musk's ambitious vision for X Corp.
LinkedIn Axes Jobs, Ends InCareer App in China
LinkedIn is cutting 716 jobs and bidding farewell to its local job-seeking app in China, InCareer, as it grapples with cutthroat competition and a tough macroeconomic landscape. However, the company aims to create approximately 250 new positions across various segments, including new business and accounting management teams, starting May 15th.
This move makes LinkedIn the latest tech giant to resort to layoffs, following in the footsteps of its parent company, Microsoft, which slashed 10,000 jobs back in January. InCareer was introduced in December 2021 after LinkedIn decided to close its primary service in China, citing a more demanding operational environment and stricter compliance requirements.
Intended to aid professionals in China with networking, job hunting, and application processes, InCareer found itself overshadowed by Maimai – China's leading professional networking platform boasting over 120 million users. LinkedIn is set to phase out InCareer entirely by August 9th, pivoting its China strategy towards helping companies based in the country hire, market, and train internationally.
Employees affected by the layoffs can expect severance pay, ongoing health coverage, and career transition support. These changes are part of LinkedIn's ongoing alterations to its Global Business Organization (GBO) and overall strategy in China.
LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky anticipates a challenging fiscal year 2024 but asserts that the company will persistently adapt and operate with both ambition and pragmatism.
Bird's Bumpy Ride: Earnings Plummet and Shares Tumble
Bird, the e-scooter giant, has hit a rough patch as its first-quarter earnings reveal a company grappling with maintaining ridership and revenue. After releasing the dismal earnings report, Bird's shares took a nosedive, plummeting by nearly 19% and now trading at just $0.12.
As one of the few publicly traded e-scooter companies, Bird's struggles could be a warning sign for the entire shared micromobility market. The company's downturn in crucial performance metrics may indicate more significant problems brewing within the industry. With Bird's precarious position, attracting investors to privately-held micromobility firms could become increasingly challenging.
Take Tier Mobility as an example. The company was once the largest shared micromobility operator globally after acquiring Spin from Ford a year ago. However, it now faces difficulties raising funds and is reportedly considering a merger or sale with a competitor.
Bird has had a rough go since going public via a special purpose acquisition merger (SPAC) in November 2021. The trend of underperforming SPACs is sweeping across the mobility sector, with very few showing positive results. This lackluster performance is primarily due to many companies going public before they established a sustainable business model, and Bird is no exception to this trend.
As the market keeps a close eye on Bird's next moves, the entire shared micromobility industry may feel the ripple effects of Bird's challenges. The question remains: can Bird soar once more, or will it continue to flounder, signaling a broader industry shake-up?
Bridging the Gender Gap in Tech Startups
The ongoing gender disparity within the tech industry has come to the forefront again thanks to a recent study by PwC. A startling 15% of tech startup founders are women, and only 22% of students surveyed can name a well-known female figure in tech. This disparity stems from a variety of factors, such as girls being discouraged from pursuing STEM subjects, the underestimation of their mathematical abilities, and the prevalence of a male-dominated culture in the industry that can deter women.
Moreover, women holding entry-level positions are less likely to receive promotions to managerial roles, and mothers often face challenges staying active in the workplace. To combat this issue, companies must prioritize increasing female representation in leadership positions and retaining their talent. This can be achieved by setting specific representation goals, investing in coaching and sponsorship, and experimenting with hybrid working models that effectively accommodate diverse needs.
For women aspiring to climb the corporate ladder in tech, it is crucial to align themselves with companies actively addressing the gender gap. This can be done by researching a company's website, LinkedIn profile, and examining their DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policies. The article also recommends utilizing the VentureBeat Job Board as a resource to find roles in progressive tech companies that champion gender balance in the workplace.
By addressing these challenges head-on and fostering an inclusive environment, the tech industry can tap into the vast potential of a diverse and talented workforce.
TikTok Unveils World Hub for Brands
TikTok recently introduced the "TikTok World Hub," a one-stop destination for brands to learn how to engage with audiences and increase their discoverability on the popular platform. The hub provides an in-depth look at TikTok's various advertising tools and shares the best practices for marketing on the platform.
The TikTok World Hub is organized into four key topics: branding, commerce, performance, and creative. Each of these sections contains videos featuring TikTok product leaders, as well as product roadmaps to guide brands in their advertising journey on the platform. TikTok has also gathered its entire suite of advertising products in the hub, enabling marketers to quickly find the tools necessary to optimize their content and ad campaigns.
In addition to the World Hub, TikTok has introduced "TikTok Fundamentals," a framework designed to help brands maximize the impact of their advertising campaigns on the platform. This new resource aims to provide brands with a solid foundation for developing successful marketing strategies on TikTok.
The launch of the TikTok World Hub comes at a time when the platform has been expanding its advertising offerings, with the rollout of new commerce ad suites and advertising products. By providing brands with comprehensive resources and educational materials, TikTok is positioning itself as a significant player in the digital marketing space, enabling brands to better connect with the platform's vast and diverse user base.
That wraps up our weekly tech news roundup, delivering the most recent advancements and stories shaping the technology landscape. If you found this roundup informative and engaging, consider signing up for our newsletter to receive these insights straight to your inbox. Stay tuned for next week's edition, where we'll continue to bring you the top tech news from around the globe.
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