Slack introduces simplified interface as usage moves deeper into companies

When Slack first launched in 2013, the product was quickly embraced by developers, and the early product reflected that. To get at advanced tools, you used a slash (/) command, but the company recognizes that as it moves deeper into the enterprise, it needed to simplify the interface.
Today, the company introduced a newly designed interface aimed at easing the user experience, making Slack more of an accessible enterprise communications hub.
Jaime DeLanghe, director of product management at Slack, says that the messaging application has become a central place for people to communicate about work, which has grown even more important as many of us have begun working from home as a result of COVID-19.
But DeLanghe says usage was up even before the recent work from home trend began taking off. “People are connected to Slack, on average, about nine hours a day and they’re using Slack actively for almost 90 minutes,”


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Google hits pause on Chrome and Chrome OS releases

Google today announced that it is pausing upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS releases “due to adjusted work schedules.”
The company confirmed that we will still see security updates, though, which will get merged into version 80, the browser’s current stable release version. “We’ll continue to prioritize any updates related to security, which will be included in Chrome 80,” the team writes in today’s brief announcement.
Don’t expect any new feature updates anytime soon, though. Chrome version 81 is currently in beta testing and will likely remain in this channel for now. Like so much in this current situation, it’s unclear when Google plans to resume regular updates.
Earlier this week, Google also noted that Android app reviews will likely now take longer as the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced in-office staffing levels. The same holds true for YouTube. As YouTube is taking measures to protect its staff, it says it’ll rely more on its


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Google Cloud launches new tools for deploying ML pipelines

Google Cloud today announced the beta launch of Cloud AI Platform Pipelines, a new enterprise-grade service that is meant to give developers a single tool to deploy their machine learning pipelines, together with tools for monitoring and auditing them.
“When you’re just prototyping a machine learning (ML) model in a notebook, it can seem fairly straightforward,” Google notes in today’s announcement. “But when you need to start paying attention to the other pieces required to make an ML workflow sustainable and scalable, things become more complex.” And as complexity grows, building a repeatable and auditable process becomes harder.

That, of course, is where Pipelines comes in. It gives developers the ability to build these repeatable processes. As Google notes, there are two parts to the service: the infrastructure for deploying and running those workflows, and the tools for building and debugging the pipelines. The service automates processes like setting up Kubernetes Engine


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GitHub launches new tools for teachers, including autograding

GitHub today announced new features for GitHub Classroom, its collection of tools for helping computer science teachers assign and evaluate coding exercises, as well as a new set of free tools for teachers.
The first of these is autograding, which does exactly what the name promises. Teachers can now add tests to their workflows that automatically test assignments and grade them accordingly. These tests then run automatically on every student repository. More importantly, though, teachers can also provide specific feedback with in-line feedback and automatic pull requests.
Autograding, of course, will save teachers quite a bit of time. At the same time, GitHub is also launching the Teacher Toolbox, a set of free tools for teachers that includes access to a number of development tools, tutorials, domain names and more. Among these free services are .TECH domain names, access to BrowserStack for on-device testing and the Termius SSH client. They also get


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Edtech startups prepare to become ‘not just a teaching tool but a necessity’

As Stanford, Princeton, Columbia and others shutter classrooms to limit the coronavirus outbreak, college educators around the country are clambering to move their classes online. 
At the same time, tech companies that enable remote learning are finding a surge in usage and signups. Zoom Video Communications, a videoconferencing company, has been crushing it in the stock market, and Duolingo, a language teaching app, has had 100% user growth in the past month in China, citing school closures as one factor. 
But Kristin Lynn Sainani, an associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Stanford, has a fair warning to those making the shift: Scrappiness has its setbacks. 
“[The transition to online] is not going to be well-planned when you’re doing it to get your class done tomorrow,” said Sainani, who has been teaching online classes since 2013. “At this point, professors are going to scramble to do the best they can.”
As the outbreak


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Google cancels its 2020 I/O developer conference

After Facebook canceled its F8 developer conference and Google itself moved its Cloud Next event in April to a digital-only conference, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that Google is canceling its I/O developer conference in Mountain View for 2020 as well. The company has sent an email to attendees informing them of the cancellation.  The event was originally scheduled to run from May 12 to 14 but because of concerns around the coronavirus, it is now canceling the show.
“Due to concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in accordance with health guidance from the CDC, WHO, and other health authorities, we have decided to cancel the physical Google I/O event at Shoreline Amphitheatre,” Google said in a statement. “Over the coming weeks, we will explore other ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with and continue to build our developer community. We’ll continue to update the Google I/O


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Clayton Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” has passed away at age 67

Clayton Christensen, a longtime professor at Harvard Business School who became famous worldwide after authoring the best-selling business book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail,” passed away last night.
The Desert News reported earlier today that the cause tied to complications from leukemia treatments that Christensen was receiving in Boston. He was 67 years old.
Clayton had suffered from ill health for years, always battling his way back. By the age of 58, Clayton — who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 30 — had already suffered a heart attack, cancer, and a stroke, telling Forbes in 2011 that he tried to view such setbacks as opportunities, even, apparently, when they involved intensive speech therapy, which he was undergoing at the time.
Indeed, the entire business world came to know Christensen after Intel cofounder Andy Grove brought him into the company as an advisor, then announced


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Dfinity launches an open source platform aimed at the social networking giants

When Dfinity raised $102 million in funding in 2018 at a $2 billion valuation in a round jointly led by Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital, it was thought of as a step change in the world of blockchain technology. In an area that was  synonymous generating a lot of headlines around cryptocurrency speculation, this was a shift in focus, looking instead at the architecture behind Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the rest, and how it could be used for more than just “mining”, distributing and using new financial instruments — with a major, mainstream VC backing the idea, no less.
Dfinity launched with a very lofty goal: to build what it called the “Internet Computer”: a decentralized and non-proprietary network to run the next generation of mega-applications. It dubbed this public network “Cloud 3.0”.
Now, looks like this is Cloud is now about to break.
In Davos this week, Dfinity launched the Bronze edition of


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Here is the first stable release of Microsoft’s new Edge browser

Right on schedule, Microsoft today released the first stable version of its new Chromium-based Edge browser, just over a year after it first announced that it would stop developing its own browser engine and go with what has, for better or worse, become the industry standard.
You can now download the stable version for Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as macOS, directly. If you are on Windows 10, you can also wait for the automatic update to kick in, but that may take a while.
Since all of the development has happened in the open, with various pre-release channels, there are no surprises in this release. Some of the most interesting forward-looking features like Collections, Microsoft’s new take on bookmarking, are still only available in the more experimental pre-release channels. That will quickly change, though, since Edge is now on a six-week release cycle.
As I’ve said throughout the development cycle,


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