Disappointing growth hits Google parent Alphabet shares

by Glenn CHAPMAN Agence France-Presse SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google parent Alphabet missed revenue expectations in the fourth quarter despite stellar growth at YouTube and in the cloud, earnings figures released Monday showed. Detailing its cloud computing and YouTube revenues for the first time, Alphabet reported that profits rose 19 percent from a year ago in the quarter to nearly $10.7 billion as revenues increased 17 percent to $46 billion. Alphabet and Google chief […]

Facebook’s settlement puts spotlight on ‘biometric privacy’

by Rob Lever Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, D.C., United States (AFP) — Facebook’s massive settlement in a class action case over violating a state law on how it uses facial recognition is being hailed as a watershed moment for “biometric privacy.” The leading social network said Wednesday it agreed to the $550 million payout after failing to win dismissal of the case alleging it illegally collected biometric information for “face tagging” in violation of a 2008 Illinois […]

Two defunct satellites speed toward possible collision

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Two decommissioned satellites sped towards each other Wednesday at a combined speed of almost 33,000 miles (53,000 kilometers) an hour, raising the risk of a collision that would send thousands of pieces of debris hurtling through space. The satellites — a pioneering international space telescope and an experimental US craft traveling in opposing orbits — are expected to pass within 100 meters (yards) of each other at 2339 GMT, according […]

“Game changer for diagnosis” – Australian scientists ‘first to grow’ new coronavirus outside China

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Scientists in Australia have successfully replicated the deadly Wuhan coronavirus, in what they said would be a “game changer” in the fight against a deadly epidemic which has stricken thousands. The Doherty Institute in Melbourne announced Wednesday that it had grown the novel coronavirus in cell culture from a patient sample, the first time the virus has been replicated outside China. “Having the real virus means we now have the […]

Facebook rolls out tool globally to clear third-party data

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Facebook said Tuesday a new tool allowing users of the social network to view and delete data it collects from third parties is rolling out to the estimated two billion members of the leading social network worldwide. The new feature, part of a stepped-up effort to improve privacy practices, allows users to see and clear “off Facebook activity” used for targeted advertising. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the tool […]

EU announces funding for Ariane 6 and other space-tech

PARIS, France (AFP) — The European Union on Tuesday announced 200 million euros ($222 million) of funding for the Ariane 6 rocket launcher and for small and medium-sized space technology companies. Half the money is in the form of a loan for the new Ariane 6 heavy launcher programme, a collaboration between the European Space Agency program  and the ArianeGroup. The other 100 million euros go towards a venture capital program to “support innovation and […]

“OBB Nightjet” takes its maiden voyage

VIENNA, Austria (AFP) – The first night train to set off for Belgium in 16 years departed from Vienna Sunday, carrying Austrian and European politicians who hope the new route can set an example as the continent tries to meet its climate targets. The carriages of the “OBB Nightjet” pulled out of Vienna’s main station punctually at 8:38 pm to the strains of a live band playing the EU anthem “Ode to Joy”, the slogan #loveyourplanet […]

Solar-powered barge a key ‘interceptor’ for plastic waste

KLANG, Malaysia (AFP) – Patrick Lee Scooping waste from a Malaysian river to stop it reaching the sea, a solar-powered barge named the “Interceptor” is the latest weapon in a global battle to rid the world’s waters of plastic. Trash is being dumped into seas and rivers in enormous quantities, polluting vital habitats, endangering a kaleidoscope of marine life and sullying once pristine tourist spots. Some eight million tons of plastics enter the world’s oceans […]

Hyundai to make flying cars for Uber air taxis

LAS Vegas, United States (AFP) — Hyundai announced Monday it would mass produce flying cars for Uber’s aerial ride share network set to deploy in 2023. The South Korean manufacturer said it would produce the four-passenger electric “vertical take-off and landing vehicles” at “automotive scale,” without offering details. The deal announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas could help Uber, which is working with other aircraft manufacturers, to achieve its goal of deploying air […]

SpaceX launches third batch of Starlink satellites

by Issam AHMED WASHINGTON, United States  (AFP) — SpaceX on Monday launched its third batch of 60 mini-satellites into orbit, part of its plans to build a giant constellation of thousands of spacecraft that will form a global broadband internet system. A live broadcast by SpaceX showed a Falcon 9 rocket taking off without incident from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9:19pm (0219 GMT Tuesday). The satellites are set to release about one hour after takeoff, bringing the […]

Superfast 5G on the slow road at gadget gala

by Julie JAMMOT Agence France-Presse LAS VEGAS, United States (AFP) — It will be revolutionary when superfast 5G mobile networks come to our gadgets, cars and digital lives. But the road to 5G remains agonizingly slow at the massive Consumer Electronics Show opening this week in Las Vegas, where ultrafast products are expected to be few and far between. Backers of 5G tout a cornucopia of potential applications, but networks are still nascent, as are the […]

Popular Mideast app accused of spying back on Google Play

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates  (AFP) — The popular UAE-developed mobile application ToTok has returned to the Google Play Store after it was removed on claims it was being used for government spying, the company said Saturday. Google and Apple removed the app from their online marketplaces last month after The New York Times reported ToTok allowed the UAE government to track the conversations, movements and other details of people who installed it on their phone. […]