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Cryptobeer Vending Machine Promises Blockchain-enabled Benders

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Crypto Vending Machine

The blockchain is cool and all, but, and let’s be honest, it’s not like it’d ever get you totally buck wild drunk. Before today, that is.

Sure, the tech is poised to reshape the fundamental power structures of society and blah blah blah we get it; however, up until now, the supposed benefits have been more promised than delivered. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you those benefits have finally been realized — and they taste like Budweiser.

The first beautiful sip of our glorious future was poured this week at the Consensus blockchain conference in NYC, where aspiring influencers and likely scammers gathered together in a crowded hotel to herald the oncoming decentralized future. Oh, and to get “cryptobeer” out of a vending machine.

“[We’re] excited to invite you to try out the world’s first ever blockchain-enabled beer vending machine,” read an email from Civic, the company behind the contraption seemingly designed to ensure that you never have to talk to another human again.

The idea is straightforward on the face of it, if not on its back. To kick off your boozy adventure into anarcho-capitalism, first download the Civic app, then verify your age and identity, and then use the app at the cryptobeer vending machine to get your Bud. Simple! And if you happen to be at the Consensus conference, then your first beer is free.

I mean, just think of the possibilities: No pesky bartender asking for ID, and no corner store guy trying to make the thinnest of human connections with a clearly lost soul.

That is, assuming it all works. We hung around the machine for around ten minutes Tuesday and saw exactly one successful attempt (granted, it was before noon and the crowd didn’t appear in a drinking mood yet).

We did encounter, however, some frustration.

At least one person struggled to get his beer, even after confirming that he had uploaded his driver’s license to the system. Another scoffed at the app’s size (241.6MB), while others had complaints of a different nature.

But still, this is a day for celebration. The blockchain has been shown to actually be good for something — even if that thing is more complicated and time consuming than just handing over an ID and some cash.

So let’s welcome our boozy future, one blockchain-enabled beer at a time.

 

 

The idea is straightforward on the face of it, if not on its back. To kick off your boozy adventure into anarcho-capitalism, first download the Civic app, then verify your age and identity, and then use the app at the cryptobeer vending machine to get your Bud. Simple! And if you happen to be at the Consensus conference, then your first beer is free.

I mean, just think of the possibilities: No pesky bartender asking for ID, and no corner store guy trying to make the thinnest of human connections with a clearly lost soul.

That is, assuming it all works. We hung around the machine for around ten minutes Tuesday and saw exactly one successful attempt (granted, it was before noon and the crowd didn’t appear in a drinking mood yet).

We did encounter, however, some frustration.

 

 

 

 

Circle Invest Offer Service that Makes it Incredibly Easy to Invest in Cryptocurrencies

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Circle Crypto

 

Ever wanted to invest in cryptocurrencies, but unsure of how and which coins you should choose?

Circle Invest, a new product by peer-to-peer payments company Circle, makes it incredibly easy to do so.

Previously available as beta, Circle Invest lets you deposit money directly from your bank account and trade 7 cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Monero and Ethereum Classic — for as low as $1.

But a new feature called “Buy the Market” makes it even simpler. You type in the number of USD you’d like to invest, and with a tap Circle Invest automatically spreads that investment across those seven cryptocurrencies, based on each coin’s weighted market cap.

Circle claims it offers competitive fees for the service, averaging at 1% on each buy. So, to buy a $1,000 worth of crypto through Circle Invest, you’ll first have to pay a $10 fee.

“Buy the Market was built for the everyday person, the second wave of crypto investors. The goal was to develop an approachable way to invest in crypto assets for anyone, anywhere,” the CEO of Circle, Jeremy Allaire, told Mashable via email.

So why those seven currencies? According to Product Lead of Circle Invest, Rachel Mayer, the company has established a working group to choose the best assets for the customers, but ones that are also consistent with Circle’s regulatory licensure.

“This is only our first coin collection and consumers should expect to see us offer more curated sets of currencies focused on different aspects of blockchain,” she told Mashable via email.

Circle Invest is currently only available in the U.S., but Mayer says the company is looking to expand into other markets as well. It’s available in Apple’s App Store as well as Google Play.

Circle made headlines a few days ago when it announced it had raised $110 million to build a so-called stablecoin — a cryptocurrency whose value is pegged to that of another asset, in this case the U.S. dollar. This upcoming coin is not currently part of Circle Invest, but the company plans to make it a key part of its product portfolio.

“The USDC and other fiat coins Circle will roll out for other currencies will become the core infrastructure for all apps/services from Circle,” Allaire said.

 

 

 

 

New Laptop and Headset Released by HP that Cools Your Ears

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HP Headset

No matter how comfy the headset, after a long gaming session it’s bound to become uncomfortable — especially if your ears feel like they’re in an oven.

HP has an interesting solution for that problem. The company’s new Mindframe headset has an active cooling solution that keeps your ears cool.

 

Other than this innovation, the Mindframe headset boasts a suspension headband that makes it feel lighter on your head, noise cancellation, 3D audio with 7.1 virtual surround sound and DTS Headphone:X support, RGB lighting (also software-controlled) and a USB 2.0 Type-A connector.

HP also announced the new Omen 15, a new 15.6-inch gaming laptop. Unlike many of its predecessors, the Omen 15 actually boasts being portable and small. Of course, at 5.56 pounds it’s still way heavier than your typical business laptop, but it has noticeably thinner screen bezels and a smaller footprint than its predecessor.

The Omen 15 comes with Intel’s 8th gen i5 and i7 processors, up to 32GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, and a variety of storage options, including an SSD, an HDD, a combination of the two, or even a HDD enhanced with Intel’s Optane memory for faster performance. The screen is a 15.6-inch LCD with a variety of available resolutions, including 1080p at 144Hz or 4K at 60Hz, and the Bang & Olufsen-branded sound experience includes stereo speaker and a discrete audio amp.

HP says the new Omen 15 is especially good when it comes to cooling, with larger fans and vents on the back, bottom and rear corners of the laptop.

HP’s Mindframe headset will be available in the second half of 2018. The price has not been disclosed. The Omen 15 laptop will be available on July 29, starting at $979.99.

 

 

 

 

Xiaomi’s New Smartphone Release Looks Suspiciously Similar to the IphoneX

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Xiaomi

Xiaomi built its mobile empire with iPhone knockoffs, and it looks the company hasn’t outgrown the habit.

The Chinese tech titan announced a trio of new phones on Thursday, including the new Mi 8. And would you look at that — it has a notch, its own Animoji ripoffs, and a Face ID unlock clone.

In other words: It’s an iPhone X that runs Android.

The three phones announced are the Mi 8, Mi 8 Explorer Edition, and the Mi 8 SE. Casual observers will be most interested in the bold choice of the Explorer Edition having a transparent back that lets you see the phone’s guts, but eagle-eyed Xiaomi followers are probably wondering what happened to the Mi 7?

And there’s a perfectly logical answer for that: Xiaomi skipped the Mi 7 in order to have the Mi 8 coincide with the company’s eighth anniversary.

But enough about the names, let’s talk new phones.

Mi 8

The Mi 8 may be a blatant clone of the iPhone X, but that doesn’t mean it’s not respectable in its own right.

The Android is packing a 6.21-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution (2,248 x 1,080).

Inside, it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 846 chip, 6GB of RAM, 64/128/256 of storage, and a 3,400 mAh battery with support for Quick Charge 4.0.

For cameras, there’s a dual 12-megapixel system on the back. This one works just like the iPhone X’s dual cameras: a main 12-megapixel shooter with f/1.8 aperture and a secondary 2x optical zoom lens with f/2.4 aperture. Tucked in the notch is a 20-megapixel selfie camera with f/1.8 aperture.

And speaking of the notch, it appears to be pretty wide. For good reason, too: It’s got a bunch of special sensors, including an infrared sensor similar for more secure face unlock. Hmm… looks pretty similar to the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera sensor, TBH.

What's inside the Mi 8's notch.
What’s inside the Mi 8’s notch.

Image: xiaomi

Looks pretty similar to what's in the iPhone X's notch.
Looks pretty similar to what’s in the iPhone X’s notch.

Image: Apple

Xiaomi says the notch’s infrared sensor enables more secure face unlock and better usage in the dark. It also allows for another trick the iPhone X: animated emoji that are mapped to your face muscles.

Xiaomi also claims the phone is the first to have “dual GPS.” Xiaomi says the advanced GPS sensor combines your standard L1 frequency with L5 frequency to improve location accuracy by up to three times.

Headphone jack lovers should also the jack does not exist on the Mi 8. You’ll have to go wireless or live the #donglelife.

The Mi 8 will be available on June and start at 2,699 yuan (about $421) for the 6GB RAM + 128GB of storage. The 6GB RAM + 128 GB storage will sell for $2,999 yuan (about $467). And the 6GB RAM + 256GB storage will go for 3,299 yuan (about $514).

Mi 8 Explorer Edition

Think the Mi 8’s specs are impressive? Wait until you get a load of the Mi 8 Explorer Edition.

It’s virtually identical to the Mi 8, with a few notable exceptions. First, it only comes in an 8GB version with 128GB of storage. Second, it has an in-display fingerprint sensor. And third, it’s got a transparent design. You can see what’s inside of your phone. How sweet is that?

It's see-through!

It’s see-through!

Image: xiaomi

The Mi 8 Explorer Edition will cost 3,799 yuan (about $592).

Mi 8 SE

Rounding out the new phone lineup is the Mi 8 SE. It’s a midrange phone with a smaller 5.88-inch screen (2,444 x 1,080 resolution), a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 3,120 mAh battery.

The phone in the front is the Mi 8 SE. The phone in the back is the Mi 8.

The phone in the front is the Mi 8 SE. The phone in the back is the Mi 8.

Image: xiaomi

Like their siblings, the Mi 8 SE has a notch, dual cameras (12-megapixel + 5-megapixel) on the back, and a 20-megapixel selfie camera.

Xiaomi hasn’t announced a release date for the Mi 8 SE, but pricing is as follows: 1,799 yuan (about $281) for the 4GB of RAM model and 1,999 yuan (about $312) for the 6GB of RAM version.

 

 

 

Pair of Swimmers Saved by Drone on Australian Coast

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Drone

One day, they may yet turn against us, but for now, they’re still our allies: A drone rescued two teenage swimmers in distress off the coast of New South Wales in Australia, according to a new report. The drone spotted two teenagers in trouble around a half-a-mile out from shore, and then dropped a flotation device it carries for the purpose to give them something to hang on to (via Verge).

This drone was actually not supposed to be saving anyone just yet – it was engaged in a pilot project to test its viability. But the Sydney Morning Herald reports that when a call came through about the swimmers in trouble, the drone happened to be in the Ari and nearby, positioned well to respond.

The drone’s pilot, a decorated veteran lifeguard for New South Wales, was able to Gert out to the swimmers’ position, and drop the pod in a minute or two, which is at least a few minutes less than it would’ve taken to respond directly with actual flesh and blood lifeguards.

This training exercise was designed to get lifeguard staff familiar with the so-called “Little Ripper” drone, which is part of a government plan to help mitigate the risk of shark attacks. Its ability to save the swimmers was an accident, but a lucky accident that definitely helps prove its viability as part of the $16 million government program.

Also, it’s a reminder that sometimes, drones are actually good.

Watch Groundbreaking New Passenger Drone Take it’s First Flight

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Drone
EHANG 184 AAV Manned Flight Test by EHANG CEO Mr. Hu Huazhi (PRNewsfoto/EHang Holdings Limited)

Like many who attended CES 2016, we were take with the Ehang 184. If nothing else, the passenger drone was a nice break from all the smartphones and giant TVs. That said, the big quadcopter amounted to little more than a giant paper weight and some goofy composite videos.

Earlier today, however, the company showed off some pretty impressive video of the drone carrying actual humans. In a release tied to the field testing video, the company says it’s tested the drone with 40 passengers, including its CEO Huazhi Hu and Wang Dong, the deputy mayor of Guangzhou, China, where it performed the tests.

In all, the company has conducted “thousands of test flights” by its counts, in the four years or so it has been in existence — but this footage represents some of the first clear evidence of the craft in action.

No word on when the company will actually make the product available. That will likely depend to some degree on the regulation in the countries it plans to sell to. This time last year, Dubai announced plans to use to the craft as a taxi service in an effort to help reduce congestion. Back then, it was optimistically shooting for “as early as [last] summer” for a roll out.

Of course, maximum caution is a good thing when it comes to getting into a tiny craft high above a city. “Performing manned test flights enables us to demonstrate the safety and stability of our vehicles,” Hu says in the release. “What we’re doing isn’t an extreme sport, so the safety of each passenger always comes first.”

Fair enough.

UK Tightens Grip on Drone Flight Regulations

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Drone

The UK has announced new stop-gap laws for drone operators restricting how high they can fly their craft — 400ft — and prohibiting the devices from being flown within 1km of an airport boundary. The measures will come into effect on July 30.

The government says the new rules are intended to enhance safety, including the safety of passengers of aircraft — given a year-on-year increase in reports of drone incidents involving aircraft. It says there were 93 such incidents reported in the country last year, up from 71 the year before.

And while the UK’s existing Drone Code (which was issued in 2016) already warns operators to restrict drone flights to 400ft — and to stay “well away” from airports and aircraft — those measures are now being baked into law, via an amendment to the 2016 Air Navigation Order (ahead of a full drone bill which was promised for Spring but still hasn’t materialized yet).

UK drone users who flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions face being charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft — which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both.

Additional measures are also being legislated for, as announced last summer — with a requirement for owners of drones weighing 250 grams or more to register with the Civil Aviation Authority and for drone pilots to take an online safety test.

Users who fail to register or sit the competency tests could face fines of up to £1,000. Though those requirements will come into force later, on November 30 2019.

Commenting in a statement, aviation minister Baroness Sugg said: “We are seeing fast growth in the numbers of drones being used, both commercially and for fun. Whilst we want this industry to innovate and grow, we need to protect planes, helicopters and their passengers from the increasing numbers of drones in our skies. These new laws will help ensure drones are used safely and responsibly.”

In a supporting statement, Chris Woodroofe, Gatwick Airport’s COO, added: “We welcome the clarity that today’s announcement provides as it leaves no doubt that anyone flying a drone must stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields. Drones open up some exciting possibilities but must be used responsibly. These clear regulations, combined with new surveillance technology, will help the police apprehend and prosecute anyone endangering the traveling public.”

Drone maker DJI also welcomed what it couched as a measured approach to regulation. “The Department for Transport’s updates to the regulatory framework strike a sensible balance between protecting public safety and bringing the benefits of drone technology to British businesses and the public at large,” said Christian Struwe, head of public policy Europe at DJI.

“The vast majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, and governments, aviation authorities and drone manufacturers agree we need to work together to ensure all drone pilots know basic safety rules. We are therefore particularly pleased about the Department for Transport’s commitment to accessible online testing as a way of helping drone users to comply with the law.”

Last fall the UK government also announced it plans to legislate to give police more powers to ground drones to prevent unsafe or criminal usage — measures it also said it would include in the forthcoming drone bill.

Strix Leviathan wants to build a better enterprise platform for crypto trading

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Crypto

We are still in the early days of cryptocurrency — or at least that’s what all of the startups that are jumping into this space NOW hope. And when there’s a gold rush, there’s plenty of money to be made by selling shovels (or ASIC rigs) to miners. It’s no surprise, then, that we are now seeing the emergence of a new class of B2B startups in crypto, too (think Trading Technologies and TradeDesk).

Among the newest entries in this business is Seattle-based Strix Leviathan, which is building a crypto-trading platform for large entities like hedge funds, banks and traditional enterprise companies that don’t want to have to build their own trading infrastructure.

Strix Leviathan was founded by Jesse Proudman, who previously founded Blue Box in 2003, a cloud computing company that focused on private cloud deployment, which he then sold to IBM in 2015.

Proudman tells me he started tracking the cryptocurrency markets a while ago, but that it was only last summer, when he took an entrepreneur in residence position at IBM, that he started focusing on this. “This set of technologies reminds me of being at my startup in 1997 — at the start of the internet,” he told me. He argues that what we have today is a set of technologies that have been deployed in the real world and that provide a large enough ecosystem, yet there is a huge user experience problem because it takes months of learning to actually understand these systems.

The project started because Proudman wanted to build his own algorithmic trading platform for cryptocurrencies, something that looks like a timely idea, given that the days of simply hodling seem to be coming to an end. In this process, though, he also learned about the intricacies and oddities of many of the major exchanges. “We’re in an immature time in the marketplace where many of the exchanges have API issues,” he told me. That means an exchange may never confirm if a trade went through or if a request timed out, for example.

With Strix Leviathan, Proudman and his team are now building a trading engine that’s pluggable and that can handle both support for new exchanges as they come online and the idiosyncrasies of the platforms.

In its current incarnation, Strix Leviathan (that name doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?) consists of two parts: a data ingestion engine that pulls in historic data about the value of various cryptocurrencies and related data to allow the company to build its automatic trading algorithms, and a trade execution engine. The focus right now seems to be on the execution engine, which Proudman believes may even be of interest to existing crypto companies that aren’t satisfied with their current trading infrastructure. The platform currently supports all the major exchanges, including GDAX, Bitfinex, Binance, etc.

As for the automated trading side of the business, the team is still trying to determine how to proceed with that and how to bring it to market.

The project is currently self-funded, but given Proudman’s track record, we’ll likely see a funding round soon.

What Are Crypto Accelerators and Why Are They on the Rise?

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Crypto

As cryptocurrency fever grips the tech world, and blockchain technologies gradually become more viable, there is a new wave of accelerators and incubators appearing to service this growing ecosystem. Some are covering funding and services, some are about services only. It’s fair to assume, however, that some kinds of cryptocurrency will be changing hands, of course, not to mention the odd token here and there. The latest to join the throng is Waves which has a platform for blockchain-based token trading and raised $17m in their ICO. They aren’t the only ones, however, because the idea behind these incubators is to build out each protagonist’s ecosystem. As such, this going to be interesting to watch from the sidelines as each platform does its best to attract the best and brightest blockchain startups. This emerging world is not so much about old-fashioned “exits” as it is about creating a robust community in each case.

The Waves Lab will provide support for pre-ICO projects and teams which are creating solutions using the Waves Platform’s infrastructure. The startups selected will get tranches of early funding up to $300,000. In addition to seed funding, they’ll also get legal support and advice, tech resources and PR/Marketing. They are also aiming to get their charges fully up-to-date with compliance requirements, given the murky, unregulated world of ICOs these days. But Waves isn’t the only one playing in this new incubator arena for crypto/ blockchain startups.

Earlier this year Thomson Reuters, the news and information behemoth created a new startup incubator aimed at blockchain companies. Incubator Labs will offers startups in various fields access to free resources like office space, Amazon web services and mentorship at a number of locations. Two companies joined initially, Open Mineral and WealthArc

It was launched actually in Zug, a small canton (or municipality) that is part of Switzerland’s so-called Crypto Valley. Open Mineral has developed a multi-sided platform which will directly connect the mines and smelters of physical commodities such as copper, zinc and lead, aiming at increasing transparency and lowering fees. WealthArc is a SaaS platform for the $120 trillion investment management industry.

Meanwhile, the NEM Foundation, creators of the NEM blockchain platform, have launched a strategic alliance with Australia’s Blockchain Global to open a Blockchain Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to serve as an incubator, accelerator, and co-working space. Predictably, this will nurture startups interested in using the NEM platform. The NEM Foundation is expected to spend around $40 million in the next year to fund its global expansion programs and $5 million will be allocated towards supporting blockchain companies incubated in the Blockchain Center.

But the list does not end there.

Adel is a global cryptocurrency community that is self-regulated, self-sustained, and offers its own economic ecosystem with the Adelphoi token.

BitHub.Africa is a commercial blockchain accelerator that is driving the adoption of blockchain technology and solutions across Africa.

Block Chain Space is a multi-location 12-week acceleration program

Boost VC is an institutional fund to commit to funding blockchain companies. Boost VC runs two accelerator programs every year and invests up to $50k in exchange for 7% of the company.

Coin Apex is a New York-based incubator that builds products integrating cryptography, software, and technology. The company says it can offer a full scope of services from advising to implementation.

Outlier Ventures co-develops blockchain startups with entrepreneurs, corporate venturing partners, consortia, and accelerators because the company “believes blockchains are about networks, not platforms”. Outlier Ventures Ltd is the research and commercial arm to the venture platform which tracks over 30 blockchain use cases at any one time on behalf of Outlier Capital LLP.

Satoshi Studios is an incubator for blockchain startups in Southeast Asia. All the selected companies have to move to New Delhi, India, for a three-month intensive program where they get access to mentorship and hands-on sessions with blockchain experts. The incubator invests $50K in exchange for 8%–15% of equity.

As you can see this is just the tip of the iceberg that is the developing crypto accelerator world.

Google Creating a New Plan to Crack China

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China

Google is slowly piecing together a strategy for China to ensure that it doesn’t miss out on the growth of technology in the world’s largest country. It’s been months in the making through a series of gradual plays, but further evidence of those plans comes today via a product launch.

Files Go — a file manager for Android devices released last year — has made its way to China today. Not a huge launch, for sure, but the mechanisms behind it provide insight into how Google may be thinking about the country, where it has been absent since 2010 after redirecting its Chinese search service to Hong Kong in the face of government pressure.

For Files Go, Google is taking a partner-led approach to distribution because the Google Play Store does not operate in China. The company is working with Tencent, Huawei, Xiaomi  and Baidu,  each of which will stock the app in their independent app stores, which are among the country’s most prominent third-party stores.

Let that sink in a little: the creator of Android is using third-party Android app stores to distribute one of its products.

On the outside that’s quite the scenario, but in China it makes perfect sense.

There’s been regular media speculation about Google’s desire to return to China which, during its absence, has become the largest single market for smartphone users, and the country with the most app downloads and highest app revenue per year. Mostly the rumors have centered around audacious strategies such as the return of the Google Play Store or the restoration of Google’s Chinese search business, both of which would mean complying with demands from the Chinese government.

Then there’s the politics. The U.S. and China are currently in an ongoing trade standoff that has spilled into tech, impacting deals, while Chinese premier Xi Jinping has taken a protectionist approach to promoting local business and industries, in particular AI. Xi’s more controversial policies, including the banning of VPNs, have put heat on Apple, which stands accused of colluding with authorities and preventing free speech in China.

Political tension between the U.S. and China is affecting tech companies. [Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Even when you remove the political issues, a full return is a tough challenge. Google would be starting businesses almost from scratch in a highly competitive market where it has little brand recognition.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that it hasn’t made big moves… yet at least.

Instead, it appears that the company is exploring more nimble approaches. There have been opportunistic product launches using established platforms, and generally Google seems intent at building relationships and growing a local presence that allows its global business to tap into the talent and technology that China offers.

Files Go is the latest example, but already we’ve seen Google relaunch its Translate app in 2017 and more recently it brought its ARCore technology for augmented and virtual reality to China using partners, which include Xiaomi and Huawei.

Bouquets of flowers lie on the Google logo outside the company’s China head office in Beijing on March 23, 2010 after the US web giant said it would no longer filter results and was redirecting mainland Chinese users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong — effectively closing down the mainland site. Google’s decision to effectively shut down its Chinese-language search engine is likely to stunt the development of the Internet in China and isolate local web users, analysts say. (Photo credit: xin/AFP/Getty Images)

Beyond products, Google is cultivating relationships, too.

It inked a wide-ranging patent deal with Tencent, China’s $500 billion tech giant which operates WeChat and more, and has made strategic investments to back AI startup XtalPi (alongside Tencent), live-streaming platform Chushou, and AI and hardware company Mobvoi. There have been events, too, including AlphaGo’s three-game battle with Chinese grandmaster Ke Jie in Wuzhen, developer conferences in China and the forthcoming first Google Asia Demo Day, which takes places in Shanghai in September.

In addition to making friends in the right places, Google is also increasing its own presence on Chinese soil. The company opened an AI lab in Beijing to help access China-based talent, while it also unveiled a more modest presence in Shenzhen, China’s hardware capital, where it has a serviced office for staff. That hardware move ties into Google’s acquisition of a chunk of HTC’s smartphone division for $1.1 billion.

The strategy is no doubt in its early days, so now is a good time to keep a keen eye on Google’s moves in this part of the world.

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