Instant Apps are a way for developers to provide a lightweight, modularized portion of their full app experience when a user opens specific search results. The user has to enable Instant Apps in the Settings menu before the feature will work, however. Announced at Google I/O 2016, the feature was made available to all developers after this year’s I/O.
Google has announced the feature is now available to 500 million users, so developers should feel encouraged to start building for the feature. Instant Apps are available for any user running Android 6.0 and later, or 45.8% of all Android users. While that’s not a majority, that’s still a very large number of users and will continue to grow in the future.
Google also shared that application developers are already seeing a return on their work for Instant Apps. Vimeo increased session duration by 130% following the integration of Instant Apps, while the real estate purchasing application dotloop saw a 62% increase in users using its service to sign documents after integrating Instant Apps into its platform.
Google also provides a list of best practices for developers interested in integrating Instant Apps into their service.
Have you stumbled across an Instant App you like yet? Let us know down below!
The United States Postal Service is not exactly bouncing back from oblivion these days, but it’s worth noting that there’s been a slight bump in one area.
For the low-margin Shipping and Packages division, there was an 11 percent increase in revenue over last quarter. In general, these items — small packages that come to your mailbox but not snail mail letters — have kept the USPS from sinking like a ship.
For the savvy readers out there, you might already know there is one company that is helping them rebound. Hint: It’s named after an area in South America.
As Tim O’Reilly wisely notes in a recent post, Amazon is really pumping life into the shipping and receiving industry. Bots suggest products when we shop, they improve fulfillment, and they could one day guide drones to your doorstep. These are technically “automations” and not AI, but to a consumer, that doesn’t matter as long as that beef jerky and USB-C cable arrives faster, at a decent price, and in one piece.
O’Reilly also notes that this is saving jobs, not replacing them. I remember talking to an Amazon Now delivery person once a few months ago. In my area, I was able to order a printer cable and have it arrive in about an hour. He told me he was out of work for a few years. He was happy to be working, and he whistled as he walked out the door. Does he care that bots are making his job easier? Sure. Does he think bots will replace his job? Probably not. If anything, he’s happy they exist.
Next time you hear someone says bots are causing problems, tell them about that USPS increase since last quarter. You can blame automation for a lot of things, but at least in this case, it might be the bots that are saving the postal service.
Alibaba is partnering with Chinese authorities to launch the country’s first application of Blockchain technology in the medical sector.
Taking place in the city of Changzhou, Ali Health will work with local government to use Blockchain to secure data in a pioneering approach.
“Ali Health’s Blockchain technology connects information by using our current equipment and systems,” Zhang Zhihong, director at Zhenglu Town Health Center in Changzhou told local news resource Yicai Global.
“It is cost effective and safe. With Blockchain, health centers and district hospitals are interconnected so that the people can enjoy convenient medical services.”
Full details of the scheme are still forthcoming, but will involve creation of “a number of data security nets” and storage of data in ciphertext with “strict access controls and operational privileges.”
The move is just the latest state-sanctioned Blockchain experiment to get the green light in China, this week also seeing tax processes begin working with the technology.
Worldwide, an increasing number of countries have turned to Blockchain for medical record security, including Estonia and most recently India.
The latter this month announced a joint partnership with City University London to create a consortium to study how the technology can protect healthcare and Internet of Things infrastructure in the wake of the WannaCry cyberattacks.
When ransomware attackers struck in May, the UK’s National Health Service was paralyzed due to insufficient security and extensive use of legacy hardware and software.
The world of cryptocurrency is not exactly a calm place. And for Coinbase, one of the hottest and most valuable startups in the sector, this week’s remarkable news around bitcoin put the company in the center of a raging storm.
The big offense for Coinbase, which operates a platform for buying and selling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, was its decision not to support bitcoin cash — the new cryptocurrency that was spun out of bitcoin this week.
Many Coinbase users unleashed their wrath, accusing the company of being everything from a scam to a tool for the National Security Agency. Some threatened to sue. The $1 billion startup also lost users in droves, with 12-hour wait times over the weekend as users scrambled to transfer their bitcoins to competitors that would support bitcoin cash.
The angry reaction, and the risk of a big loss of customers, raised questions about the future of what has been one of the crypto world’s biggest success stories.
For now, though, Coinbase’s backers aren’t sweating it. And they say they don’t anticipate the drama having much of an effect on the startup, which has been raising money on terms that would value it at roughly $1 billion.
“There’s no one on the board or any investor who doesn’t completely back the point of view that we should err on the side of safety and trust,” said Barry Schuler, a partner with DFJ, an investor in Coinbase.
“From an investor’s point of view, we invested in Coinbase because they have made a voluntary commitment to be regulated,” Schuler said, “and to focus on being trusted and safe — as safe as you can be in an experimental environment like this.”
Though Coinbase didn’t participate in Tuesday’s currency launch, Schuler said Coinbase could change its policy as early as next week, depending on how bitcoin cash matures.
Another Coinbase investor, Fueled founder Rameet Chawla, even suggested that Coinbase may increase the strength of the original bitcoin down the line by establishing faith in the legacy currency.
That’s because Coinbase’s conservative approach may make cryptocurrency more accessible to potential users who are afraid to dabble in technologically complex digital currencies.
“They’re a huge net positive on bitcoin, making it really easy on people who are not early adopters,” Chawla said.
Mass exodus of coinbase users
With 9 million users and $20 billion exchanged, Coinbase has its hands on a lot of the digital currency floating around. And while investors support Coinbase’s decision to sit out the initial bitcoin split, many customers felt betrayed by the company.
A scan of the Coinbase community forums shows a host of angry topics such as “What if Coinbase is NSA tool to destroy BTC (bitcoin cash)?” and “Dear Coinbase, if you not release my funds in 1h I am going to sue you.”
Coinbase wouldn’t disclose how many users withdrew bitcoins in anticipation of bitcoin cash’s arrival. But things looked rough. Coinbase users experienced delays of about 12 hours on withdrawals over the weekend because of the number of people moving bitcoins.
Despite this, sources close to the situation said the company expected to see many people return to Coinbase while simultaneously storing newly acquired bitcoin cash in a different digital wallet.
“Ultimately, Coinbase is an exchange for buying bitcoin, but people are free to use their own wallets and take control of their wallets anyway they want,” Chawla said.
The ‘hard fork’
The introduction Tuesday of bitcoin cash was known as the “hard fork.” It resulted in a cloned currency with different technological protocols from those of the original bitcoin. The fork was a means of dealing with disagreements in the bitcoin community over how to evolve the technology to handle increased demand.
The hard fork followed a process similar to cell division in biology, in that the two currencies were the same at the point of division but will pursue different paths moving forward.
Users storing their bitcoin in a digital wallet that accepts bitcoin cash on Tuesday found themselves with a bitcoin cash coin for every bitcoin they had at the time of duplication. Bitcoin and bitcoin cash do not have the same value, however, so duplication is not the same as a doubling in worth.
Why Coinbase sat out on bitcoin cash
In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote that the company was agnostic to which currencies its users trade and that it was not opposed to adding new assets in the future.
“Our goal is to be the safest, most trusted and compliant, and easiest to use,” Armstrong wrote. “Not the first to market with new assets. Especially at scale, it takes time to ensure any new asset we add is well tested and secure.”
Generally speaking, Coinbase isn’t quick to take on new currencies. Founded in 2012, the exchange still trades only bitcoin, ether, and litcoin — all digital currencies the team has deemed stable and technically secure enough for an amateur investor to put money into.
We have made this decision because it is hard to predict how long the alternative version of bitcoin will survive and if Bitcoin Cash will have future market value.
So it was of little surprise to those close to the company when it issued a statement last week advising that customers who want to access both bitcoin and bitcoin cash would need to withdrawal from Coinbase by this past Monday.
“We have no plans to support the Bitcoin Cash fork.” David Farmer, the director of business development at Coinbase, wrote. “We have made this decision because it is hard to predict how long the alternative version of bitcoin will survive and if Bitcoin Cash will have future market value.”
Users were irked because Coinbase’s decision not to accept bitcoin cash meant that anyone with bitcoin stored in Coinbase’s digital wallet would not receive what many saw as free bitcoin cash.
Others were concerned that Coinbase would secretly keep the bitcoin cash that was generated Tuesday. In a statement last Friday, however, the company denied that this would happen.
“Coinbase would not keep the bitcoin cash associated with customer bitcoin balances for ourselves,” the company posted on Twitter.
Investors like Schuler, however, saw the Coinbase’s trepidation as part of its core business strategy.
“The whole cryptocurrency-blockchain space is a bit like the Wild West right now — just like the beginning of the internet,” Schuler said. “But slowly and surely, it’s becoming institutionalized. Coinbase represents that — being legitimate and offering as much trust and safety as possible.”
As recommended in a lately-published article in Seeking Alpha – Litecoin or known as “the silver to Bitcoin Gold” could be one of the best digital currencies investment asset to look out for.
If you are keeping an eye out for the recent development of digital assets prices, almost everybody noticed how Bitcoin (BTC) surged with no stop against the US Dollar to not reached heights before. As rumors, theories and analysis spread around it is predicted by many that Bitcoin, the first very famous cryptocurrency is near of reachiing mainstream adoption.
But do not be confused that only Bitcoin is a good option to buy into. That shows just how promising digital currencies could be and one more reason why to spread your portfolio.
Following Bitcoin, as a Second-option many point their finger towards Ethereum which with a 3,000 percentage point growth this year climbed its way as the second-largest digital currency in the market. As a factor that hoisted up its fame is that it can run Smart Contracts allowing to create dApps and progress blockchain technology.
The Silver in the community – Litecoin, by Geoffrey Caveney writer in Seeking Alpha should be considered as the third in position following the big two. His comment relate with the topic that keeping in mind it is one of the only three (Litcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin) that is being supported to be traded in the could-be most famous exchange platform right now: Coinbase.
“There are at least a half dozen other digital currencies out there that are about as big and well-known as litecoin, including several that have larger total market caps at the moment, so it’s a big deal that only litecoin is supported by Coinbase along with bitcoin and ethereum,” Caveney writes. But Coinbase’s approval is not the only reason to consider buying Litecoin, he adds.
So now for some time, taking over the media and crypto community was the activation of the Bitcoin scaling upgrade known as “Segregated Witness or SegWit“. This subject was around in the crypto world for more than 2 years now and it did get quieter when the SegWit activation was ‘Locked-in’ as it was part of the proposed SegWit2x. But there were those that did not follow this event so a ‘hard-fork’ was chosen and it activated on August 1. It was when Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was created with the Split of Bitcoin Blockchain Network.
But even that it was a code written and meant for the Bitcoin Blockchain, the firs to try it and activate it was Litecoin in May. The best side was that there was no war between the community so no split was needed and everybody was behind 100% the upgrading change.
This as supported by Caveney shows that the following and smaller cryptocurrency is more adaptive to upgrades and improvements being the first one to do it than the Gold-counterpart at which the community had to be parted and the drama continued.
Analyzing its Roadmap, you will eventually see how clear Litecoin Future is and for what of an example it should be taken. It is on its way of adding Lightning network [which will improve the scalability of transactions] and investigating anonymous smart contracts.
So while Bitcoin is dominating the crypto space at the moment, Litecoin is also worth paying attention to.
“A small slice of litecoin, say half of 1% of your portfolio, is worth considering with the slice of profits you may be taking on your bitcoin right now,”
- In the last 24 hours Litecoin has increased 3.32 percentage points and it is being traded at the $44.69 level against the US Dollar with a $2,345 billion market cap. (from coinmarketcap)
Jeremy Gardner was returning from a safari in South Africa — where he flew out to attend AfrikaBurn, a regional Burning Man festival — when he came into cell service. He checked Twitter, where he follows other bitcoin watchers, to see how his investments were doing.
“I saw that bitcoin had broken like $2,500 — all the crypto assets had exploded in value,” Gardner told Business Insider. “And all of a sudden, my net worth in five days had doubled in value. That, to me, was nuts.”
Created in 2008, bitcoin is a new kind of payment system that allows people to buy things and send money with anonymity. There are no banks or middlemen. Transactions are recorded on a digital ledger called a blockchain.
Cryptocurrencies (of which bitcoin is the most popular) have been on a tear in 2017. Bitcoin surged in value from about $200 per coin in 2015 to above $4,000in August.
People like Gardner buys assets, called tokens, with the expectation that their value will go higher. At age 25, Gardner is a self-made millionaire.
“By dedicating my life to crypto assets and blockchain technology, I’ve made more money than I would have ever expected to make in my entire life — by a long shot,” he said.
He dropped out of college (twice), works part time at a venture-capital firm that invests in cryptocurrency-related companies (for a $0 salary), and travels the world evangelizing bitcoin.
In 2013, a friend offered to buy Gardner some bitcoin in exchange for cash. He’d been following the controversy around Silk Road, an online marketplace that allowed people to use bitcoin mostly for “buying drugs off the internet and speculation,” according to Gardner.
It piqued his curiosity, and he bought in, turning his gains back into cash as fast as he could.
“There was this realization that I could — with just an internet connection— exchange value with anyone in the world who also has an internet connection,” he said. “No longer did I have to rely on a centralized intermediary, a troll under the bridge, such as a bank or a government.”
He turned most of his savings and stock holdings into cryptocurrency investments. Over a few months, Gardner became a true believer, branding himself a “bitcoin booster” on Twitter. In 2014, he founded the Blockchain Education Network, a network of cryptocurrency clubs at universities around the world.
Over the past few years, Gardner has planted himself firmly at the center of the global cryptocurrency community. In 2013, he launched a startup, Augur, a market-forecasting tool that runs on blockchain. The company raised $5.3 million in a crowdfunding campaign in 2015.
Today, he works a “fairly full-time gig” at Blockchain Capital, helping the firm source new investments in cryptocurrency-related companies and then advising those companies. His role as an entrepreneur-in-residence does not pay, but he receives “carry,” a share of the profits that the firm makes on investments. He’s also working on another startup in stealth mode.
As the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies rises, Gardner’s net worth has climbed. He declined to share how much money he has made investing in digital currencies.
“For me, the price increases are kind of like ‘told you so’ moments. Like, I knew this was going to happen,” Gardner said. “It’s obviously cool when it happens very quickly, but every time it goes up really quickly, I expect it to go down very quickly … I’m in this for the long term.”
His investment gains subsidize his living in San Francisco, where he shares a three-story house with a half-dozen other tech entrepreneurs. The home, known among tenants as the Crypto Castle, is a landing pad for people working in cryptocurrency-related technologies.
“Over a half-dozen people in the time they’ve lived in my house have become millionaires as a result of crypto,” Gardner said.
He travels most weekends in a month to cities like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Hong Kong. When asked what his biggest living expense is, Gardner said, “Alcohol.”
“As I’ve seen my wealth grow, it’s important to me that I give back to this industry that’s given me so much,” he added. “So when we go to conferences, I’ll bring a bunch of people out and buy bottles at the club, pay for dinner and stuff.”
Gardner said coming into wealth had created a new set of challenges. His investments are split into several cryptocurrencies, so he has to pay closer attention to where his money is and how it’s managed, he said. He no longer attends networking events for cryptocurrency entrepreneurs because he will be bombarded with pitches and made uncomfortable.
There’s most likely a bubble in the market for cryptocurrencies, and some speculate it could burst. Gardner is stockpiling cash so he can buy up tokens when that happens.
Gardner believes mainstream adoption is only a matter of time. He expects bitcoin will reach a value of $10,000 per coin in the next five to 10 years.
“We’ve been told that it’s going to die so many times. And yet here it is, stronger than ever. I think there’s a certain sense of vindication if you were investing in this technology and people were calling you stupid for a long time,” Gardner said. “We’ve gone from a point where the success of blockchain was unlikely or infinitesimally small and is now guaranteed.”
Bitcoin cash’s surge above $500 today is changing more than just the the net worth of its investors and users.
The rising price is also creating the incentive for miners to dedicate computing power to the bitcoin cash blockchain, one that could find them moving away from bitcoin. With the new push, bitcoin cash miners are making around 2% more mining on bitcoin than they do on bitcoin cash.
And that spread could further increase with an upcoming adjustment on bitcoin cash that will make it even easier to mine.
Block 479,808 (set for this weekend) will likely trigger a difficulty adjustment downwards 50%, and if the prices of bitcoin and bitcoin cash stay the same, this means miners will make almost double on bitcoin cash what they would on bitcoin.
However, even with this threshold met, not all things are equal on both chains.
The bitcoin blockchain charges higher fees on transactions, so miners must take into account the extra 1.5 BTC per block on bitcoin (about $6,000 USD). By comparison, bitcoin cash has very low fees (typically under $50 USD).
Lastly, depending on the block times, bitcoin currently gets the 100 confirmations needed to spend the mining reward faster than bitcoin cash. (Currently, bitcoin takes about 17 hours and bitcoin cash takes about 34 hours).
Further, combined with the higher liquidity, bitcoin may still emerge as more attractive to mine at the moment.
With cyber attacks on 3D printers likely to threaten health and safety, a team of researchers has developed three novel methods to combat them.
“They will be attractive targets because 3D-printed objects and parts are used in critical infrastructures around the world, and cyber attacks may cause failures in health care, transportation, robotics, aviation and space,” said Saman Aliari Zonouz, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
He co-authored a peer-reviewed study entitled “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Feel No Evil, Print No Evil? Malicious Fill Pattern Detection in Additive Manufacturing” that was published at the 26th USENIX Security Symposium in Vancouver, Canada. It’s the security community’s flagship event, highlighting the latest advances in protecting computer systems and networks. Among several unique techniques, the research team from Rutgers and the Georgia Institute of Technology is using cancer imaging techniques to detect intrusions and hacking of 3D printer controllers.
“Imagine outsourcing the manufacturing of an object to a 3D printing facility and you have no access to their printers and no way of verifying whether small defects, invisible to the naked eye, have been inserted into your object,” said Mehdi Javanmard, study co-author and assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers. “The results could be devastating and you would have no way of tracing where the problem came from.”
3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, plays an increasingly important role in industrial manufacturing. But health- and safety-related products such as medical prostheses and aerospace parts are being printed with no standard way to verify them for accuracy, the study says.
Even houses and buildings are being manufactured by 3D printers, noted Javanmard.
Instead of spending up to $100,000 USD or more to buy a 3D printer, many companies and organizations send software-designed products to outside facilities for printing, Zonouz said. But the firmware in printers may be hacked.
For their study, the researchers bought several 3D printers and showed that it’s possible to hack into a computer’s firmware and print defective objects. The defects were undetectable on the outside but the objects had holes or fractures inside them.
Other researchers have shown in a YouTube video how hacking can lead to a defective propeller in a drone, causing it to crash, Zonouz noted.