Category: General

Google Bard now has the capability to seamlessly access Gmail, Docs, Maps, and other services

Today, Google unveiled a significant upgrade to its Bard conversational AI system, broadening its functionality to seamlessly interact with Google’s most popular productivity apps and services. These improvements are designed to enhance Bard’s utility in daily tasks while also addressing concerns regarding its accuracy.

Effective immediately, Bard gains the ability to directly tap into information from apps such as Gmail, Docs, Maps, Flights, and YouTube. This empowers it to deliver more comprehensive and personalized responses during conversations. For instance, when planning a trip, Bard can now autonomously retrieve pertinent dates, flight details, directions, and sightseeing recommendations, all within a single conversation.

This upgrade follows Bard’s somewhat lackluster public debut in March, which exposed factual inaccuracies in many of its responses. Google aims to bolster Bard’s accuracy by integrating it with its search engine. Users now have the option to fact-check Bard’s responses against web information indexed by clicking a “Google it” button within the chat.

Google emphasizes its unwavering commitment to safeguarding users’ personal information with this update. Those who choose to utilize the Workspace extensions can rest assured that their content from Gmail, Docs, and Drive remains confidential, unseen by human reviewers, not utilized for ad targeting by Bard, nor employed in training the Bard model. Users retain full control over their privacy settings.

Additionally, Google has simplified the process of building upon others’ interactions with Bard. From today onwards, if someone shares a Bard chat via a public link, the recipient can continue the conversation, pose further inquiries to Bard about the topic, or use it as a starting point for their own discussions.

Furthermore, Google extends access to existing English language features, including the ability to upload images using Lens, receive Search images in responses, and adapt Bard’s responses to over 40 languages.

Although Bard’s capabilities are still somewhat limited, these new features hint at a future where AI assistants seamlessly combine conversational skills with email and document services to enhance productivity. As Bard continues to advance, it may integrate further with other Google offerings, such as calendar, photos, and analytics.

The rollout of these Bard upgrades begins today, with Google planning to introduce additional languages and integrations in the months ahead, all while upholding responsible technology refinement.

HiddenLayer secures $50 million in funding to strengthen the security of corporate AI models.

HiddenLayer, a cybersecurity startup based in Austin, Texas, emerged in response to a cyberattack that exploited machine learning code at the founders’ previous company. Today, HiddenLayer has announced a successful $50 million Series A funding round aimed at bolstering the defenses of the ever-expanding array of AI models adopted by enterprises.

This funding round was spearheaded by M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund, and Moore Strategic Ventures, with participation from Booz Allen Ventures, IBM Ventures, Capital One Ventures, and Ten Eleven Ventures.

HiddenLayer’s CEO and Co-Founder, Chris Sestito, expressed, “The rapid adoption of AI inspires us to accelerate our mission, ensuring that every security professional possesses the necessary tools and expertise to embrace AI securely.”

HiddenLayer already plays a crucial role in safeguarding AI/ML models for numerous Fortune 100 companies across various sectors, including finance, government, defense, and cybersecurity.

What HiddenLayer Offers:

Previously covered by VentureBeat, HiddenLayer has developed a suite of tools as part of its “MLSec” Platform, designed to safeguard enterprise machine learning (ML) and AI models. These tools do not directly access the models or compromise clients’ proprietary data and technology. Instead, they actively monitor the performance and operations of enterprise ML/AI models and associated applications in real-time. They scan for overarching vulnerabilities, provide recommendations for fortifying security, and detect the injection of malicious code/malware. Furthermore, they deploy defense mechanisms to thwart attackers and isolate intrusions.

HiddenLayer’s MLSec Platform includes an intuitive yet powerful dashboard, granting security managers immediate access to essential information about the security status of their enterprise ML/AI models. It automatically lists security issues and alerts in order of priority based on severity and stores data for compliance, auditing, and reporting purposes.

Additionally, HiddenLayer offers consulting services provided by their team of Adversarial Machine Learning (AML) experts, who remain up-to-date with the latest security trends and threats. These services encompass threat assessments, training for cybersecurity and DevOps personnel, and “red team” exercises to verify the effectiveness of clients’ defenses.

Key Partnership:

Earlier this year, HiddenLayer established a partnership with the prominent enterprise data lakehouse provider, Databricks. This collaboration enables Databricks enterprise customers to directly utilize HiddenLayer’s MLSec Platform for their models running on Databricks’ lakehouses. The integration is model-agnostic and covers model scanning, detection, and response. It empowers Data Scientists and ML Engineers to enhance their models’ security without altering their code or environment. As models are loaded, HiddenLayer’s model scanner ensures integrity and security. If an attack is detected, the integration responds automatically without human intervention.

Future Goals for Enterprise AI Security:

HiddenLayer’s inception traces back to an incident at its co-founders’ prior company, Cylance, where ML models fell victim to a cyberattack. Attackers exploited Cylance’s Windows executable ML model, revealing vulnerabilities and enabling the production of evasive binary files. While this event was concerning, it prompted the realization that attacks on ML/AI would escalate as more enterprises adopted generative AI to boost efficiency and performance.

Presently, HiddenLayer is experiencing rapid growth, having quadrupled its workforce in the past year. With the Series A funding secured, the company plans to hire an additional 40 personnel by year-end and continue expanding its client base.

Seattle: An Overlooked AI Hub in the New Tech Economy?

Seattle’s tech leaders claim their city is a hub for AI innovation, but recent assessments of promising AI startups paint a different picture:

  • Forbes’ AI 50 list did not feature any Seattle startups, leading to an Axios headline stating, “AI boom’s primary beneficiaries reside in just four states,” with Washington notably absent.
  • Bloomberg’s article highlighting “10 AI Companies to Watch Right Now” did not include any Seattle-based companies.
  • Insider’s “34 most promising AI startups of 2023” featured only one from Seattle.
  • In the latest Y Combinator cohort, only three out of 138 AI-related startups originated from Seattle.

While there were two Seattle companies on the IVP Enterprise AI 55 list, they were overshadowed by Bay Area competitors.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff proclaimed, “San Francisco & California serve as the headquarters for AI companies and the talent pool,” referencing the IVP list.

Seattle’s modest presence and limited recognition beyond its borders could hinder its ability to attract leading entrepreneurs and AI executives. This poses potential challenges as the AI industry, fueled by advancements in generative AI, is expected to yield trillions of dollars in economic impact.

Matt McIlwain, managing director at Seattle VC firm Madrona, emphasized that Seattle should be considered “one of the premier centers of excellence for AI.” However, he acknowledged, “sometimes we are too understated.”

Perhaps the city’s AI innovators are quietly at work in Seattle, a place not known for self-promotion.

Ultimately, the perception of Seattle as an AI hub could play a pivotal role in attracting AI talent and bolstering the city’s innovation ecosystem. As Kirby Winfield, founding general partner at Seattle venture firm, noted, “Perception certainly matters in attracting talent and other resources to a region.”

Heather Redman, managing partner at Seattle VC firm Flying Fish, urged the city to address its underselling of its AI capabilities and prioritize collaborations between the tech and non-tech sectors. She emphasized the transformative potential of AI across various industries and aspects of society.

Seattle’s AI clout

Many acknowledge that Silicon Valley serves as the focal point for AI startups.

According to PitchBook, AI and machine learning companies based in San Francisco raised an impressive $12.8 billion across 219 deals through August, putting their performance in a league of its own. In contrast, Seattle-based AI and machine learning firms secured a modest $170 million in funding across 24 deals during the same period.

Nevertheless, Seattle claims the second spot nationally in terms of AI talent density, a metric that gauges the number of professionals specializing in AI, according to data from SeekOut, a Seattle-based recruiting platform.

Vivek Ramaswami, a partner at Madrona in San Francisco, commented, “Ultimately, what matters most for these startups is the ability to attract exceptional talent and deliver outstanding products. I believe that Seattle stands out among most other cities outside of the Bay Area in this regard.”

Seattle boasts an impressive tech landscape, with cloud computing giants Microsoft and Amazon headquartered in the region, offering vital tools and services that drive AI and machine learning applications. Griffin noted, “The investments made by these two companies in AI are massive by any standard.”

In addition to Microsoft and Amazon, Meta, Google, and Apple maintain substantial engineering centers in the Seattle area, employing thousands of top AI researchers and engineers.

Seattle’s allure extends to academia, attracting prominent AI researchers to the University of Washington’s computer science school and the Allen Institute for AI (AI2). Notably, the AI2 Incubator, which recently secured $30 million for its latest fund, has spawned over 20 AI startups, some of which were later acquired by tech giants like Apple and Baidu.

Seattle’s AI community also received recognition on Time’s recent list of 100 leading AI influencers, with seven individuals linked to the city, including Microsoft’s Kalika Bali, Kate Crawford, Kevin Scott, and Jaime Teevan, sci-fi author Ted Chiang, and UW professors Emily Bender and Yejin Choi.

Ed Lazowska, a longtime computer science professor at the University of Washington, proudly declared, “We are unquestionably an AI hub, particularly if we define it by ‘AI expertise’ rather than just ‘buzzworthy startups’.”

Seattle boasts a thriving AI startup scene, with a multitude of rapidly expanding ventures making their mark. Notable inclusions in this burgeoning landscape, as highlighted in lists such as NFX’s AI Hot 75 and the IA40, encompass a diverse array of innovators:

  • Lexion, a legal tech startup.
  • WellSaid Labs, specializing in speech recognition technology.
  • Xembly, a company pioneering the concept of AI ‘chief of staff.’
  • Fixie, a trailblazing large language model startup.
  • OctoML, a forward-thinking machine learning enterprise.
  • CLIPr, a cutting-edge video analysis platform.

Moreover, Seattle’s AI-focused startups extend beyond these select few, with the GeekWire 200 ranking providing additional insights into the region’s vibrant private sector:

  • Icertis
  • Highspot
  • Textio
  • Defined.AI
  • WhyLabs

In the summer months, several Seattle-area AI startups, including A-Alpha Bio, DropZone AI, and Protect AI, secured substantial capital investments, further fueling the city’s AI innovation ecosystem.

Ramaswami, an advocate for Seattle’s AI prominence, emphasized that the city’s continued elevation as an ‘AI hub’ hinges on both startups and established companies expanding, making astute hires, and delivering top-tier AI products to the market.

McIlwain stressed the importance of effective storytelling for industry giants like Amazon, asserting that it’s crucial for everyone to actively share and amplify Seattle’s compelling AI narrative.

LSIGraph Launches New Contextual Terms Feature For Improved Content Optimization

With its latest update, LSIGraph encourages its users to add contextual terms for improved SEO content, allowing higher search engine rankings and traffic growth.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – November 16, 2022

In its determined effort to help its users climb search rankings and grow traffic, LSIGraph launches a new update on its flagship SEO keyword research tool. This update adds a new feature to its Content Writer tool called the “Contextual Terms”. 

This newly added feature to their Content Writer Tool suggests a list of Contextual Terms that its user can add to their content to increase its contextual relevance. It also tells them the optimal usage frequency of a contextual term to further optimize their content. Additionally, the innovational feature shows its users examples of use from other top-ranking pages for more insight into its usage.

The need for this new update arose from the team’s own research into Google’s never-ending ranking factors and what would help the most in creating the best SEO content. With their research showing better SERP ranking results by building content context, LSIGraph adds this feature to help its users better optimize their content.

In order to suggest contextual terms to its users, LSIGraph looks at top-ranking pages of a target keyword and extracts the commonly used and most impactful words. By using more contextual terms in their content, writers can build more context and attract more relevant traffic.

“Our studies show that producing contextually-sound content boosts a website’s ranking on search engines and drives relevant traffic,” says Andy, the founder of LSIGraph. “We will continuously perform research and hope to roll out more updates to help our users maximize their content’s ranking potential.”

For more information on LSIGraph’s current and future updates, readers can check out their announcement page here.

About LSIGraph

LSIGraph is an SEO tool with a mission to help its users climb search engine rankings and grow their traffic. This tool focuses on three areas of SEO success: keyword targeting, content writing and optimization, and content mapping. The three main tools guide a user throughout the whole process of producing highly-optimized content, from keyword research to content writing and content planning.

Today, LSIGraph continues to pave its way to the top of SEO tools, with more than 160,000 subscribers utilizing it for their SEO marketing strategies. With different subscription plans available, LSIGraph strives to match every marketer’s different needs. For more information, readers can take a look at their pricing plans.

Contact Info:

Name: Sara Saila


Organization: LSIGraph


EXA Global Unlocks New Hyper-Reality Experience in Malaysia at SetiaWalk Outpost

EXA Global, under the umbrella of digital entertainment and technology company Havson Group is unveiling Malaysia’s first ever Hyper Reality Experience at Setiawalk EXA Outpost.

Referred by EXA Global as South-East Asia’s first ever Hyper-Reality Family Entertainment Center, players will be able to experience a fully immersive, wireless, free-roaming gaming experience at EXA Outpost. This is made possible thanks to the combination of highly advanced virtual reality technologies like untethered backpack setup and multi-user motion capture system employed by EXA Global.

Richard Lee, the CEO of EXA Global explained that engagement is core to the project designed by the team. The focus is to get players involved in the technology to become part of the story.

“Getting the right module, enhancing the formula, experience and content are key components when creating and building an immersive advanced technology to have people sharing their hyper-reality experience with others,” said Lee.

Richard Lee, the CEO of EXA Global

Richard Lee, the CEO of EXA Global

Upon its launching, EXA Outpost will be featuring an exclusive VR multiplayer sci-fi shooter and space exploration mission, named EXA Dimension 12. Imagine role-playing Starship Troopers or Mass Effect in a fully immersive space dimension, that’s what the EXA Dimension 12 is all about. In the mission, players known as Troopers will first be transported to the Ingress room, where they will receive their EXA gears (guns, backpacks, and other wearables) for the upcoming exploration. Once geared up, players will then be dispatched and transported to the Dimension 12, it is here that the players will ride along a thrilling storyline, receive instructions to investigate unexplored regions, and fight off vicious extra-dimensional monsters with a diversified profile of advanced weaponries.

“Being that part of the story for our players is important to us, as we know experience is something valuable we at EXA Global can offer,” said Lee.

EXA Dimension 12, being fully developed in-house by EXA Global, is a respectable feat demonstrated by the talents of the team. For EXA Global, being able to develop content in-house also means they are not reliant on 3rd party developers for their future VR content. This opens a door to a promising future for EXA Global as they are free to develop any content that falls inline with their business strategy. In fact, this advantageous edge can already be observed as EXA Global has already started working on additional VR contents that revolve around horror and kids-friendly themes to expand their content portfolio.

EXA Outpost houses spacious room to allow a free roaming VR experience.

Moving forward, the company notes that it is planning to open future locations around the world, targeting North America, Europe, Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Australia, and the neighboring countries surrounding Malaysia. Bigger flagship centers ranging from 10,000 square feet to football size venue will also be opened in future to house a bigger crowd, according to Lee.

Other than looking for rapid market expansion, the company is also looking to upgrade its VR hardware to further improve its hyper-reality experience. In the upcoming future, EXA Global will be developing a full body suit with haptic feedback that is mapped according to traditional Chinese acupuncture points to improve the surrealism of the game. Other wearables like VR gloves and augmented reality (AR) wristband will also be developed alongside the full body suit.

EXA gears in action.

Another noteworthy future expansion for EXA Global is the development of VR eSport. With the rise of eSport in recent years, it is also part of EXA Global’s strategy to tap into this trend and pioneer the VR eSport scene. To achieve this, offering player-vs-player (PvP) experience at its VR centers will be one of the upcoming focuses for EXA Global. Seeing the success of eSports giants like Dota 2 (offering a prize pool of whopping $20,770,460 USD for its tournament) and League of Legend (having an active monthly user base of 100 millions players), the potential of VR as the future mainstream eSport is definitely a huge one.

“As part of the creative and innovative pioneer in digital entertainment and technology Havson Group, between ourselves we aim to create the ultimate immersive Hyper-Reality Studio experience within this region,” said Lee.

Located at SetiaWalk, Puchong, EXA Outpost consists of two rooms whereby one is dedicated to the games while the other is a Hyper Reality Arcade Entertainment Center where players can play VR arcade games. Open for public starting from 3rd of June, for those who wants to take a deep dive into the hyper-reality experience, players can now book for a pair of ticket at a promotional pricing of RM65 on their official website:

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