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Toyota partners with AI startup Preferred Networks on building helper robots for humans

August 7, 2019 No Comments

Toyota is enlisting the help of startup Preferred Networks, a Japanese company founded in 2014 with a focus on artificial intelligence and deep learning, to help move forward its goal of developing useful service robots that can assist people in everyday life.

The two companies announced a partnership today to collaborate on research and development that will use Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) robotics platform. The platform, which Toyota originally created in 2012 and has been developing since, is a basic robot designed to be able to work alongside people in everyday settings. Its primary uses involve offering basic car and support assistance in nursing and long-term care applications. Equipped with one arm, a display, cameras and a wheeled base, it can collect and retrieve items, and provide remote control and communication capabilities.

Preferred Networks already has some experience with Toyota’s HSR – it demonstrated one-such robot programmed to clean a room fully autonomously at Japan’s CEATEC robotics conference in 2018. The system could identify objects, responsd to specific human instructions and, importably pick up and put down objects it couldn’t define from its database in a safe manner.vision predict 01Toyota will be providing “several dozen” HSR units to Preferred Networks for the startup to work on, and then over the next three years, the two will collaborate on R&D, sharing the results of their work and the resulting intellectual property, with no restrictions on how either party uses the results of the joint work.

One of Toyota’s guiding goals as a company is to develop commercial home robotics that can work with people where they live. The automaker has a number of different projects in the works to make this happen, including through research at its Toyota Research Institute (TRI) subsidiary which works with a number of academic institutions. Toyota also recently revealed a number of robotics projects its bringing to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will help it field test a number of its projects.


Startups – TechCrunch


New Open Jobs at Savings.Com, Hanapin Marketing, Lewis Media Partners and ArcBest

June 22, 2019 No Comments

New jobs have been posted to PPC Hero’s Job Board, including new positions open at ArcBest, Savings.com, Hanapin Marketing, and Lewis Media Partners. Here’s a brief look at some of the positions available: Savings.com Santa Monica, CA Role: Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Analyst Are you a passionate marketer looking for a rewarding role in Digital […]

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Facebook plans voter drive, partners with Democratic/Republican Institutes

September 19, 2018 No Comments

Facebook will push users to register to vote through a partnership with TurboVote, has partnered with the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute nonprofits to monitor foreign election interference and will publish a weekly report of trends and issues emerging from its new political ads archive. Facebook has also confirmed that its election integrity war room is up and running and the team is now “red teaming” how it would react to problem scenarios such as a spike in voter suppression content.

These were the major announcements from today’s briefing call between Facebook’s election integrity team and reporters.

Facebook’s voter registration drive will also partner with TurboVote, which Instagram announced yesterday will assist it with a similar initiative

Much of the call reviewed Facebook’s past efforts, but also took time to focus on the upcoming Brazilian election. There, Facebook has engaged with over 1,000 prosecutors, judges and clerks to establish a dialog with election authorities. It’s partnered with three fact-checkers in the country and worked with them on Messenger bots like “Fátima” and “Projeto Lupe” that can help people spot fake news.

The voter registration drive mirrors Instagram’s plan announced yesterday to work with TurboVote to push users to registration info via ads. Facebook says it also will remind people to vote on election day and let them share with friends that “I voted.” One concern is that voter registration and voting efforts by Facebook could unevenly advantage one political party, for instance those with a base of middle-aged constituents who might be young enough to use Facebook but not so young that they’ve abandoned it for YouTube and Snapchat. If Facebook can’t prove the efforts are fair, the drive could turn into a talking point for congressional members eager to paint the social network as biased against their party.

The partnerships with the Institutes that don’t operate domestically are designed “to understand what they’re seeing on the ground in elections” around the world so Facebook can move faster to safeguard its systems, says Facebook’s director of Global Politics and Government Outreach Team Katie Harbath. Here, Facebook is admitting this problem is too big to tackle on its own. Beyond working with independent fact-checkers and government election commissions, it’s tasking nonprofits to help be its eyes and ears on the ground.

The war room isn’t finished yet, according to a story from The New York Times published in the middle of the press call. Still under construction in a central hallway between two of Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ buildings, it will fit about 20 of Facebook’s 300 staffers working on election integrity. It will feature screens showing dashboards about information flowing through Facebook to help the team quickly identify and respond to surges in false news or fake accounts.

Overall, Facebook is trying to do its homework so it’s ready for a “heat of the moment, last day before the election scenario” and won’t get caught flat-footed, says Facebook’s director of Product Management for News Feed Greg Marra. He says Facebook is “being a lot more proactive and building systems to look for problems so they don’t become big problems on our platform.” Facebook’s director of Product Management for Elections and Civic Engagement Samidh Chakrabarti noted, this is “one of the biggest cross-team efforts we’ve seen.”


Social – TechCrunch


Sonos releases new speaker Amp, partners with Sonance for in-wall speakers

August 30, 2018 No Comments

Sonos is doubling down on the custom in-home audio market with new products and partnerships. The company today announced a new version of the Sonos Amp and a partnership with Sonance that will result in three architectural speakers — in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor — that Sonos says will gain additional functionality when paired with a Sonos system.

Sonos is also announcing upcoming Control APIs that the company says will make it easier to integrate Sonos into the ever-evolving smart home. This jibes with Sonos’ long-standing approach of working with other platforms to offer its customers as many services as possible.


The new Amp allows owners to use traditional home audio speakers with a Sonos system. Connect a turntable or stream media with just the Amp and power a set of bookshelf speakers. According to the spec sheet, the Amp has enough power to push most high-end bookshelf speakers.

The Amp replaces the Connect:Amp. The new version is more powerful, works with more platforms and is more expensive at $ 599 rather than $ 499. This new version outputs 125 watts per channel at 8 ohms; it can power four speakers instead of two. The additional power makes the Amp more versatile than its predecessor, too. Sonos says the Amp can be used to add stereo sound to a TV (thanks in part to HDMI Arc support) or add wireless rears to a Sonos theater setup. Or, two Amps can be used to add a complete surround sound system. Multiple Amp units can be stacked or mounted in a rack.

The Amp works with AirPlay 2 and with Alexa when used in conjunction with an Amazon Alexa-enabled Sonos device like a Sonos One or Beam.

With a product like the Amp, Sonos has a new offering for those customers looking to integrate the convenient Sonos line into their high-end home theater setup. That’s a serious market, too, and the company’s new partnership with Sonance shows Sonos is committed to addressing the home audio enthusiast while building products to compete with Apple and Amazon.

Together, they will produce in-wall speakers that when used with a Sonos Amp will offer additional functionality. The company stopped short of detailing the added functionality. These speakers are set for an early 2019 release.

This is Sonos’ first large announcement after going public on August 2.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Google Measurement Partners: Trusted measurement solutions for the entire customer journey

July 14, 2018 No Comments
We believe that measurement you can trust is critical for brands trying to understand the impact of their marketing. But as the customer journey has become more complex, measurement has become increasingly challenging. And while Google strives to build great solutions, some marketers prefer to rely on third-party measurement solutions.

That’s why we’re announcing Google Measurement Partners, a program that brings together new and existing partnerships to offer brands a variety of options to measure their advertising media.

The program is launching with 20+ verified partners across seven specializations: viewability, reach, brand safety, brand lift, sales lift, app attribution, and marketing mix modeling. Partners offer various solutions that work across Google advertising products, including Google Marketing Platform (including Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360), Google Ads, YouTube, and more. Existing partner programs like App Attribution and Marketing Mix Modeling are now included in Google Measurement Partners.

Our launch partners are recognized leaders within their focus areas and provide solutions widely used by the industry. They meet rigorous standards for accuracy and use reliable methodologies to measure KPIs that matter for marketers. And we work closely with them to ensure the solutions respect user privacy.

With trust and transparency at its foundation, Measurement Partners continues our commitment to providing both quality and choice when it comes to measuring performance and helping marketers better understand their customers. Alongside our partners, we’ll keep working to establish commonly accepted standards and advanced measurement solutions that help raise the bar for the industry.


Google Analytics Blog


From basecamp to summit: Achieving new heights with Google Marketing Platform Partners

July 3, 2018 No Comments

Earlier this week we announced Google Marketing Platform, which brings together DoubleClick Digital Marketing and the Google Analytics 360 Suite into a single solution to plan, buy, measure and optimize customer experiences across channels and devices. But we all know having great technology is only part of the solution. You also need people with the expertise and knowledge to fully take advantage of everything the technology enables. It’s not unlike relying on Sherpas to help guide you from basecamp to the summit. You may be able to make the ascent on your own, but engaging a team of experts with a track record of success greatly improves your chances of making the summit. That’s why we’re excited to announce Google Marketing Platform Partners, a new program designed to ensure you have access to all the resources you need to get the most value from Google Marketing Platform.

A robust ecosystem of skilled practitioners and companies

More than just a replacement for the existing programs, Google Analytics Certified Partners and the DoubleClick Certified Marketing Partners, the new program is designed to provide a robust ecosystem of resources, no matter your needs. The foundation of the program is scaled training and capability-building across all the Google Marketing Platform products. Whether you’re looking to build skills in-house or partner with a service provider, the program helps ensure the needed skills and resources are readily available. With more than 500 companies in the program at launch, including leading interactive agencies, system integrators, and top technology, data and media companies, you’ll be able to find a partner to support multiple facets of your business.

Three unique designations

From skill-building to broader, strategic partnerships and technology reselling, the program is designed to deliver the range and quality of expertise you expect:

Certified Individuals: To help increase the talent pool available supporting the Google Marketing Platform, individuals will be able to access a growing library of self-study materials and complete individual product certifications. Successful completion signals an individual’s expertise with specific Google Marketing Platform products.
Certified Companies: Certified Companies provide consulting, training, implementation, operations and technical support services for Google Marketing Platform. These companies not only have individuals certified in one or more products, but they have a high level of knowledge, practical and industry experience, as well as stellar customer references. These strict requirements ensure they have both the expertise and a proven ability to deliver results.
Sales Partners: Sales Partners are Google Marketing Platform experts, just like Certified Companies, but partner more closely with Google in providing consulting and support services, in addition to selling the technology on our behalf.

Get started today

Whether you’re looking to add talent to your team, up-level your current talent, or complement your team with a partner company, Platform Partners offers a trusted source to help close the gaps. And we’ll continue to build out additional skill-building resources, refine our certifications and add new partners covering more countries and languages. To get started on taking your marketing to even greater heights, browse our current Partners to find a partner equipped to help you get the most from your investment in Google Marketing Platform.


Google Analytics Blog


Accela gets acquired by Berkshire Partners as it looks to move govtech services to the cloud

October 1, 2017 No Comments

 Boston-based private equity shop Berkshire Partners announced this afternoon that it is acquiring Accela — a nearly 20 year old startup that sells regulatory management solutions to government clients. Accela has gone through a troika of CEOs in the last year. Previously acting CEO Mark Jung replaced Maury Blackman last October who had managed the company for about a decade. We… Read More
Enterprise – TechCrunch


Facebook partners with ZipRecruiter and more aggregators as it ramps up in jobs

September 29, 2017 No Comments

job listing Facebook has made no secret of its wish to do more in the online recruitment market — encroaching on territory today dominated by LinkedIn, the leader in tapping social networking graphs to boost job-hunting. Today, Facebook is taking the next step in that process. Facebook will now integrate with ZipRecruiter — an aggregator that allows those looking to fill jobs to post ads to… Read More
Social – TechCrunch


Snapchat seduces advertisers with new self-serve tools and certified partners

June 12, 2017 No Comments

 To beat Facebook and Google’s duopoly, Snapchat needs advertisers to build and buy campaigns with confidence. So today it’s announcing the Snap Publisher tool for building vertical video creative, it’s rolling out its self-serve Ad Manager, and its launching a Snapchat Certified Partners program to connect advertisers to trained third-party ad tech tool providers. Together,… Read More
Social – TechCrunch


Introducing Marketing Mix Model Partners: Helping brands better understand the impact of their marketing

April 7, 2017 No Comments
The following was originally posted on the Google Agency Blog.

CMOs and marketing executives use marketing mix models to understand how their marketing investments are driving sales and how to optimize their spend across multiple brands, channels, and regions. With rising investment in digital and mobile advertising, marketers want to be sure the models they use correctly value the impact of these channels.

Today we’re excited to announce a program to help marketing mix model providers better incorporate Google media data into their services. The Marketing Mix Model Partners program is designed to ensure advertisers can accurately measure the ROI of their digital investments and confidently understand the digital drivers of ROI to improve returns year-over-year.

The Marketing Mix Model Partners program offers:

  • Data Access: Partners get access to accurate, granular campaign data across all relevant Google video, display, and search media in a standardized format. We’re also making the data easier to access by providing data from multiple properties, like Search and YouTube, in one centralized location. 
  • Expertise: Partners also get dedicated training, resources, and specialists to better understand Google advertising products and practices and incorporate digital data into their model methodologies. 
  • Actionability: We provide Google account and technical teams to help advise on results and strategies designed to understand the drivers of ROI and improve returns over time. 

Our partners

We’re excited to be working with the initial participants in the program, Marketing Management Analytics, Neustar MarketShare, and Nielsen. Google customers can talk with their Google representatives about working with one of these partners on using Google data in their marketing mix model engagements.

Here’s what our partners have to say about the program:

“The ability to collect and analyze digital data at extremely granular levels enables both marketers and their advertising partners to more successfully measure, predict and action the most effective and profitable means of optimizing each digital channel to achieve their business objectives. We are excited that Google has taken such a proactive approach in working with MMA and analytic companies within the marketplace in providing such a high level of objectivity and transparency.”
— Patrick Cummings, CEO of Marketing Management Analytics 

“Today’s measurement solutions need to be connected, always on and incorporate the myriad of channels, as well as critical econometric externalities in order for marketers to truly get an accurate view of marketing’s impact. We are thrilled to be a Google launch partner as this signals our commitment to helping brands understand how their marketing investments are driving business results. Through this partnership our advanced analytics models will incorporate more accurate, granular data, giving marketers a more complete understanding of the effectiveness of their marketing and how best to optimize their spend to improve future outcomes.”
— Julie Fleischer, Vice President, Product Marketing, Marketing Solutions, Neustar 

“As the marketing landscape rapidly evolves, it is critical to use the most robust data-streams in our Marketing Mix models to ensure the highest standard of insight quality. Working with Google, we will have better input and better consultative output so that our advertiser clients can best understand what is driving their performance today and make informed decisions for tomorrow.”
 ‒ Jason Tate, VP of Global Analytics at Nielsen 

As part of our commitment to providing the industry with trusted, transparent, and independent third-party metrics, we’ll be expanding the program over the coming months. If your company provides marketing mix model services and you’re interested in learning more about the partner program, please sign up here.


Google Analytics Blog