Sedonah, 5, speaks Chinese fluently but her father doesn't know a lick of it. So when Sedonah saw a video of him singing a Chinese song, she lit up with amazement. Nikhil Jain didn't spend any time practicing to impress his daughter. But he did spend two years training a computer to sing in his likeness. A technologist's daughter isn't the ideal unbiased tester, but Sedonah's response to the singing routine is what's making her father bullish about the software he's developing.
The venue for this year's annual developer's conference, Shoreline Amphitheater, is not only bigger than past event spaces, it's also located smack-dab in the middle of the Silicon Valley, wedged right in between NASA Ames and Google's own headquarters in Mountain View. But it's not just the venue that's changed. At this year's I/O, Google will present itself as a branch of its parent company, Alphabet, rather than its own all-encompassing entity. And while there may be plenty of sessions devoted to Android development across phones, the living room, and auto, they'll sit alongside other workshops covering Google's peripheral projects. Indeed, the focus on virtual reality looks to be intense.
Tech CEOs have plenty of reasons to worry about public attention these days, but usually not during their big product events. Tim Cook tends to be giddy when he opens the Apple Event each September. Facebook still makes a big deal about F8, where Mark Zuckerberg once gave everyone in the audience an Oculus VR headset to wear as he walked past them unseen. These events are moments for celebration, not hyper-scrutiny: Tech writers who focus on gear scramble to keep up with all the exciting new announcements that gadget-buyers want to get the scoop on. But when Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella takes the stage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this weekend to unveil the new augmented reality headset HoloLens 2, he may have a worry on his mind: Many of his employees are outraged over a $479 million contract the company inked last November with the U.S. military to use the new HoloLens in a platform that "provides increased lethality, mobility, and situational awareness necessary to achieve overmatch against our current and future adversaries."
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus Rift VR, a virtual reality headset that was the hit of CES 2014. SAN FRANCISCO -- Palmer Luckey, the controversial co-founder of virtual-reality gear maker Oculus, is leaving parent Facebook. Luckey's role at Facebook has been in question since he was outed in September for secretly funding an Internet trolling group that supported Donald Trump and created anti-Hillary Clinton memes. Luckey said at the time he was "deeply sorry" his actions "are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners." His leadership developing the product was also questioned by observers such as veteran tech blogger Robert Scoble, who suggested rival headset HTC Vive was further advanced.