Google Apologizes for Hurting White Peoples’ Feelings

Google Apologizes for Hurting White Peoples’ Feelings

Google apologized on Friday saying its team “got it wrong” with a new image generation feature for its Gemini AI chatbot after various images it created that were devoid of white people went viral. A company exec firmly denied that it purposefully wanted Gemini to refuse to create images of any particular group of people.

“This wasn’t what we intended. We did not want Gemini to refuse to create images of any particular group. And we did not want it to create inaccurate historical—or any other—images,” Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said.

In a blog post, Raghavan—who oversees the areas of the company that bring in most of its money, including Google Search and its ads business—plainly admitted that Gemini’s image generator “got it wrong” and that the company would try to do better. Many people were outraged over Gemini’s historically inaccurate images of Black Nazi soldiers and Black Vikings as well as its apparent refusal to generate images of white people, which some considered racist.

According to Raghavan, this all happened because Google didn’t want Gemini to make the same mistakes that other image generators had made in the past, such as creating violent images, sexually explicit images, and depictions of real people.

“So what went wrong? In short, two things. First, our tuning to ensure that Gemini showed a range of people failed to account for cases that should clearly not show a range,” Raghavan wrote, emphasis his. “And second, over time, the model became way more cautious than we intended and refused to answer certain prompts entirely—wrongly interpreting some very anodyne prompts as sensitive.”

The Google vice president went on to say that these two factors made Gemini overcompensate in some cases and be over-conservative in others. Overall, it led to the creation of images that were “embarrassing and wrong.”

Google turned off Gemini’s ability to generate images of people on Thursday and said it would release an improved version soon. However, Raghavan seemed to cast doubt on the “soon” part, saying that the company would work on improving the feature significantly through extensive testing before turning it back on.

Raghavan stated that he couldn’t promise Gemini wouldn’t produce more embarrassing, inaccurate, or offensive results in the future, but added that Google would continue to step in to fix it.

“One thing to bear in mind: Gemini is built as a creativity and productivity tool, and it may not always be reliable, especially when it comes to generating images or text about current events, evolving news or hot-button topics. It will make mistakes,” Raghavan said.

Google Tests Killing the News

Google Tests Killing the News

The “News” tab has been a staple of Google Search for over 20 years, so when it disappeared on Wednesday, you can imagine how confused some users were. It turns out, Google is testing a new version of Search, and it does not include a “News” filter. The unannounced test caught many by surprise.

“We’re testing different ways to show filters on Search and as a result, a small subset of users were temporarily unable to access some of them,” a Google Spokesperson told Nieman Lab. Google confirmed these were part of ongoing tests.

However, the “News” tab was the only filter missing for most Google Search users. In one case, Google offered a user “an AI-powered overview for this search,” instead of a news filter. This small test could signal where Google Search is headed, as the company shoves Gemini into more of its staple products. Google broadly released Gemini earlier this month, announcing its premiere generative AI would slowly be integrated into “Gmail, Docs, and more.” Maybe “more” means replacing Google’s news filter with AI-generated content.

Google did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Google is at an inflection point as a search company. Screenshots of Google Search in the year 2001 show how the “News” filter has always been a staple feature. Now, the company is putting all its marbles behind generative AI, but it’s having a hard time figuring it out. After turning the dial on its diversity safeguards a little too high, the company paused its newly released Gemini model this week.

Meanwhile, Google announced a $60 million deal with Reddit to scrape its online communities for AI training data. The partnership will also result in “more content-forward displays of Reddit information.” This could mean more visibility for Reddit posts in places like Google Search, which may already be starting.

When you search for “Google is killing independent sites,” Google displays Reddit discussions above an actual article from HouseFresh with a nearly identical headline. This could be another indicator of what Google Search has in store in the future.

Google’s toggling of news in search results comes at a dire time for the digital media industry. On Thursday, Vice News announced it would shut down its website, lay off hundreds of staff, and transition into a “studio model.”

Google is floundering on its generative AI push, and it’s putting Google Search on the line to do so. Search is Google’s main source of revenue, but you can see with Search Generative Experience how the company wants to inject it with AI. Google could be risking everything for the sake of AI.

Best Motorola Phone deals: Get Foldable Phone from $500 | Digital Trends

Best Motorola Phone deals: Get Foldable Phone from $500 | Digital Trends

Motorola, a tried-and-tested name in the smartphone industry, is making a comeback with a refreshed lineup that includes budget-friendly devices and foldable phones. If you want to try one of the brand’s products, you’re in luck because there are Motorola phone deals that you can shop right now. There’s something for everyone in the offers that we’ve rounded up below, but you’re going to have to hurry in deciding what to buy because there’s no telling how much time is remaining before these bargains expire.

Motorola Moto G Play — $100, was $170

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

The Motorola Moto G Play is an Android smartphone for those who are on a tight budget. Despite its cheap price, it offers good build quality and a very long battery life of up to three days on a single charge. At the front is a 6.5-inch HD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate, and at the back is a 16MP triple camera system that’s powered by AI for excellent photos in any situation. The Motorola Moto G Play is powered by 3GB of RAM, offers internal storage of 32GB that may be expanded by up to 512MB through a microSD card, and ships with Android 12 but you’ll be able to upgrade to Android 14.

Motorola Moto G 5G — $170, was $250

Someone holding the Moto G 5G (2023) with the display turned on.
Peter Hunt Szpytek/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

For an affordable smartphone that works with 5G technology for fantastic connectivity, go for the Motorola Moto G 5G. The smartphone takes advantage of the smoother streaming and faster downloads with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 480+ 5G processor and 4GB of RAM, as well as its 6.5-inch touchscreen with HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Motorola Moto G 5G also comes with a 48MP camera system, a battery that can last up to two days from a full charge, 128GB of internal storage that may be expanded by up to 1TB through a microSD card, and Android 13 that you’ll be able to upgrade to Android 14.

Motorola Edge — $240, was $550

The Motorola Edge (2023) standing against a light pole, with its screen turned on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Edge offers amazing value with its gorgeous 6.6-inch OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, solid performance with its MediaTek Dimensity 1050 chipset and 6GB of RAM, and great battery life that can last up to two days. The smartphone, which features a 50MP camera system with optical image stabilization, and Android 12 that you’ll be able to upgrade to Android 14, was tagged in our review as a worthy challenger to the Google Pixel 8.

Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G — $250, was $400

Moto G Stylus 5G 2023 with stylus popped out.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends / Digital Trends

As a more affordable alternative to Samsung’s flagship smartphones that come with a stylus, the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G doesn’t disappoint. The device’s stylus is responsive and fluid when used on its 6.6-inch touchscreen with Full HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, with overall performance going smooth because of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor and 6GB of RAM. The 50MP camera system uses Ultra Pixel technology to gather more light for photos, and you’ll have enough space for your photos and videos in its 256GB of internal storage that you can expand by up to 2TB. The Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G ships with Android 13, but you’ll be able to upgrade its operating system to Android 14.

Motorola Razr — $500, was $700

A video playing on the Motorola Razr 40's half open screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr is in our roundup of the best phones and the best folding phones as the best cheap folding phone. Despite its relatively more affordable price compared to most of the other foldable phones in the market, the Motorola Razr still provides everything that you’d expect from a folding phone, including a 1.5-inch OLED external display and a 6.9-inch Full HD+ pOLED main display with a 144Hz refresh rate. You can view notifications, play music, record videos with its 64MP main camera, and so much more through the external display so you won’t have to open the Motorola Razr for these functions. The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor and 8GB of RAM, plus Android 13 that you’ll be able to upgrade to Android 14.

Motorola Razr Plus — $700, was $1,000

The Motorola Razr Plus, half folded with its cover screen on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Motorola Razr Plus further amplifies the features of the Motorola Razr, starting with the much larger and more useful 3.6-inch pOLED external display where you can run any Android app, though it maintains the 6.9-inch Full HD+ pOLED main display but with a faster refresh rate at 165Hz. Performance is fast and smooth with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and 8GB of RAM, and its Android 13 operating system may be upgraded to Android 14.

More Unmissable Deals






Snag yourself a 5G Android phone with 48MP camera for $170 | Digital Trends

Snag yourself a 5G Android phone with 48MP camera for $170 | Digital Trends

Peter Hunt Szpytek/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

If you’re planning to buy a new Android smartphone but you don’t want to spend several hundreds of dollars, the good news is that there are phone deals that you can shop for huge discounts on already affordable prices. Here’s a great example — the Motorola Moto G 5G 2023, which is already pretty cheap for its sticker price of $250, is down to just $170 following an $80 discount from Motorola. You’re going to have to be quick with your purchase though, as there’s no telling how much time is left before the offer ends.

Why you should buy the Motorola Moto G 5G 2023

The Motorola Moto G 5G 2023, as its name implies, supports 5G technology, so it will be able to take advantage of networks’ improved connectivity. The smoother streaming and faster downloading is further enhanced by the smartphone’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 480+ 5G processor and 4GB of RAM. While the Motorola Moto G 5G 2023 won’t be able to challenge the performance of the best Android phones with these specifications, they’re more than enough for the average user.

The 6.5-inch touchscreen of the Motorola Moto G 5G 2023 offers HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, for sharp visuals and seamless movements, and the smartphone is also equipped with a pair of large stereo speakers for high-quality audio output. It’s pre-installed with Android 13, which you’ll be able to upgrade to the latest Android 14, and its internal storage of 128GB may be expanded by up to 1TB through a microSD card. The Motorola Moto G 5G 2023 also features a 48MP camera system with Quad Pixel technology for better light sensitivity and Macro Vision to see your subjects up close.

The Motorola Moto G 5G 2023, which is already relatively affordable to start with at $250, is even cheaper in an ongoing offer from Motorola. The Android smartphone is down to only $170 for $80 in savings, but we don’t think this price is going to last long. If you think the Motorola Moto G 5G 2023 will suit your needs and it fits your budget, then don’t hesitate — proceed with the transaction immediately before you miss out on the discount. Keep delaying, and you may find the smartphone back to its normal price.

Editors’ Recommendations






Motorola’s Razr foldable phone is discounted to $500 today | Digital Trends

Motorola’s Razr foldable phone is discounted to $500 today | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’re planning to buy a foldable smartphone, here’s an offer from Motorola that may be hard to refuse — the Motorola Razr 2023 for a discounted price of $500, for savings of $200 on its original price of $700. Folding phones rarely appear in phone deals, and they get sold out quickly when they do. We expect the same thing to happen with this bargain, so if you’re interested in taking advantage of it, you should proceed with completing your purchase as soon as you can.

Why you should buy the Motorola Razr 2023

The Motorola Razr 2023 is in our roundup of the best folding phones as the top option if you want to get one for cheap — it’s our recommendation if you’re one of those people who doesn’t need to have everything you can possibly get on a foldable phone. It’s a lightweight and compact device that features a 1.5-inch OLED external display with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 6.9-inch Full HD+ pOLED main display with a 144H refresh rate. You can view notifications, check the weather, play music, record videos and many more through the external display, without having to flip the phone open.

In terms of performance, the Motorola Razr 2023 runs pretty quick with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor and 8GB of RAM. It ships with Android 13 pre-installed, but you’ll be able to upgrade the smartphone to the latest Android 14. Its camera system is headline by a 64MP camera with optical image stabilization, and its 4,200mAh battery can last you the whole day.

The Motorola Razr 2023 is an excellent choice if you want a folding phone, and it’s currently an even better option due to a $200 discount from Motorola. From its sticker price of $700, it’s down to a more affordable $500, but only if you hurry because there’s no telling when the offer will end. If you want a similar smartphone from Motorola with a faster refresh rate, a larger outer display, and an updated processor, the Motorola Razr+ also has its

from $1,000 for savings of $300. You can’t go wrong with the Motorola Razr 2023 though, so buy it now if it’s the phone that you prefer.

Editors’ Recommendations






How to reset default apps on an Android phone or tablet | Digital Trends

How to reset default apps on an Android phone or tablet | Digital Trends

One of the best things about owning an Android phone is being able to change your default apps. If you’ve ever opened a file or an internet link with a certain app, and you chose Always when prompted, then that type of file will be opened with that app every time, saving you from tapping that app every time, and reclaiming some precious time. But what happens if you’re the indecisive type or if you suddenly find a better app you’d like to use as your default? It’s easy enough to go change.

Stock Android

“Stock Android” refers to any basic Android device that is similar to Google’s version. If you’re the owner of a phone running Stock Android — like the Google Pixel 5, the Xiaomi Mi A3, or the Motorola One Vision, here’s how to reset your app preferences.

Resetting preferences for a single app

  1. Search for Settings in the App Drawer.
  2. Once there, select Apps and Notifications > See All Apps and choose the app you want to reset.
  3. Once selected, go to Advanced then tap Open By Default.
  4. Tap Clear Defaults.

Reset all app preferences at once

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Tap the More menu () in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select Reset App Preferences.

Read through the warning — it will tell you everything that will be reset. Then, tap Reset Apps to confirm your decision.

Samsung smartphones

You’ll need to follow different steps to make the same changes on a Samsung device because they have their own layout to find certain changes. For those with a Samsung phone, these are the steps you need to follow to reset your app preferences.

Resetting preferences for a single app

  1. Go to Settings > Apps and tap the three dots in the top right corner.
  2. From the pop-up menu, tap Default Apps.
  3. Choose the app you want to reset.
  4. Select the alternative app you’d like to use.

Reset all app preferences at once

  1. Go to Settings > Apps.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select Reset App Preferences.
  4. Read through the warning — it will tell you everything that will be reset. This usually includes disabled apps, notification restrictions for apps, background data restrictions for apps, and permission restrictions, as well as default apps.
  5. Tap Reset Apps to confirm your decision.

When you make changes to your settings using these steps, you’ll restore everything to defaults, so any app you’d previously disabled will have to be manually disabled when you complete the process.

Editors’ Recommendations






Android 15 release date: When will my phone get the update? | Digital Trends

Android 15 release date: When will my phone get the update? | Digital Trends

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Google has announced Android 15, the next major evolution for its mobile operating system. As usual, the development and release cycle will follow a three-phase strategy. February 16, 2024, marks the start of the first phase, which squarely targets developers and phone makers, providing them a look at the changes so that they can get familiar with the new software.

The first build of Android 15 is marked as Developer Preview 1, and it is going to be followed by a Beta release. This is the release that can be downloaded over the air without any special tactics. Once the beta testing phase is done, the final stable version is released. This usually happens toward the end of the year.

All the phones that can download Android 15

The Google Pixel 8 Pro and Google Pixel 7 Pro being held next to each other.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Just like the previous versions released over the past few years, the first Developer Preview of Android 15 is also limited to Google’s Pixel smartphones. Following is the complete list of phones compatible with Android 15:

Android 15 will come to more phones from other manufacturers over time, but at least during the Developer Preview stage, only the above Pixels can join the Android 15 fun.

Android 15 Developer Preview release date

Android 15 splash screen
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

As of Friday, February 16, the first Developer Preview of Android 15 is available to download via the official Android resource page. Developers can now flash the Android 15 system image on a compatible smartphone.

For those without a compatible device in their hands, they can still experience Android 15 and build their apps atop the update code based on the official Android emulator that is bundled as part of the Android studio kit.

Google will release two Developer Preview versions of Android 15 in total, with the second one scheduled to arrive in March.

Android 15 Beta release date

Android 15 render.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Android 15 will continue to be tested among the developer community for the next few weeks. According to the official road map provided by Google, the first beta build of Android 15 will be released in April.

As mentioned above, beta testing is a public process and doesn’t require any special invites or privileges. All you need to do is enroll your device for the public beta testing batch. But most importantly, it is a lot less buggy compared to the development builds, and this is the only one we recommend an average enthusiast to even think of experimenting with.

A total of four beta updates will be released over the course of the next few months. The fourth one, which Google says means that it is “near-final” in terms of public readiness, is scheduled for the July-August window.

Android 15 final release date

A timeline of the Android 15 release date, showing its developer previews, betas, and final release date.
Google

The beta testing phase of a next-generation Android iteration lasts the longest and involves multiple beta update releases. In the case of Android 15, the beta builds will first drop in April, with plans to reach platform stability around June.

Now, Google hasn’t said when exactly Android 15 will be released for the masses as a stable update, but it will most likely happen toward the end of 2024’s third quarter. Android 14, for example, was released in October last year, while Android 13 made it out in the month of August.

As far as Android 15 goes, the best bet would be somewhere between September and October. However, depending on how deep the changelog is — and the magnitude of software optimization required — the release window could very well shift on either end of the estimated slot.

Editors’ Recommendations






New Google Feature Will Wait on Hold for You

New Google Feature Will Wait on Hold for You

Photo: charles taylor / Shutterstock.com (Shutterstock)

Google’s testing a new feature called “Talk to a Live Representative” that will contact businesses for you, navigate their phone trees, wait on hold, and then call you when a real human being is ready to chat. It could solve one of the more frustrating parts of dealing with corporations, and it brings us one step closer to a world where we all have our own weird little personal robots that to talk each other on our behalf.

The feature, first spotted by a user on X/Twitter, is an experimental tool rolling out to users on iOS and Android. Google Pixel phones already have a similar feature called “Hold For Me,” but the new option expands it to all phones and adds greater functionality. Hold For Me requires users to place the calls themselves and sort through the company’s phone systems until they get to the point where they’re on hold, but Talk to a Live Representative does that legwork for you.

For now, it’s only available to certain businesses. According to 9to5Google, that includes:

  • Airlines: Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United
  • Phone Providers: Assurance Wireless, Boost Mobile, Charter Communications, Cricket Wireless, Samsung, Sprint (presumably T-Mobile)
  • Retail: Best Buy, Costco, Gamestop, The Home Depot, Walmart, Services
  • Shipping and Delivery Services: ADT, DHL, Fedex, Grubhub, Instacart, Securus Technologies, Stubhub, UPS, Zelle
  • Insurance: Esurance, State Farm

When the option is enabled you first hit the “Talk to a Live Representative” button, and then select the reason for your call.

The feature is available to certain users who opt-in through Google’s Search Labs on Chrome and the Google app. For more instructions on how to turn on Search Labs experiments, check out Google’s help page.

University of Michigan Says It’s Not Selling Student Data to AI Companies

University of Michigan Says It’s Not Selling Student Data to AI Companies

On Thursday morning, news broke that someone was going around selling student data from the University of Michigan to tech workers that build AI chatbot tech. An employee at Google DeepMind, the company’s AI research hub, said they’d gotten an offer for recordings of lectures, student discussions, and office hours, as well as essays written by seniors and grad students all available for a paltry licensing fee. Now, the University says it was all a misunderstanding, that students gave their consent, and there’s nothing to worry about.

Susan Zhang, an engineer at DeepMind, said that she’d received a sponsored LinkedIn message hawking the information, and offering a free sample of the University of Michigan data to prove its worth.

“I’m reaching out because, based on your profile, you may be working with Large Language models (LLM’s) or natural language processing,” the sales message said. “I wanted to let you know that the University of Michigan is licensing academic speech data and student papers that could be very useful for training or tuning LLM’s.”

The message offers data from 85 hours worth of lectures, discussion sections, and interviews for $15,595, a second set of 829 papers written by University of Michigan students across various disciplines for $12,595, or a discount package for both data sets at $25,000.

However, the message “was sent out by a new third-party vendor that shared inaccurate information and has since been asked to halt their work,” Colleen Mastony a University of Michigan spokesperson, said in an email. “No transactions or sharing of content occurred by the vendor. Student data was not and has never been for sale by the University of Michigan.” Mastony didn’t share details about who this vendor was, or what, exactly, was inaccurate about the information they offered.

The University may not be selling the data directly, but it is (or was) being offered for sale by an organization called Catalyst Research Alliance, which claims to partner the University of Michigan as well as North Carolina State University. The website offers a sample of the data set, which comes with an essay titled “The Democratic Inadequacies of the European Union,” and what appears to be a recording of a class discussion section.

Catalyst Research Alliance and North Carolina State University did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to Mastony, the recordings and the papers were contributed by student volunteers who participated in two decades-old research studies, and none of the data included students’ names or any other personally identifiable information “These particular papers and recordings have long been available for free to academics – again without any identifying information – and have been used as a tool to improve writing and articulation in education,” Mastony said.

“I think it’s worth pursuing which universities are selling student data and what the terms are,” Zhang told Gizmodo in a message on X. “Licensing is better than scraping data without attribution but the attribution pipelines here are likely only built halfway (aka original creators won’t see a dime, whereas the reseller who stores data will capture all the profits).”

Training large language models like the software that runs chatbots such as ChatGPT and Bard requires massive, clearly labeled data sets across various subjects and disciplines. While the University of Michigan data set is small, well-organized content on a narrow swath of subjects could be useful for tuning certain models, particularly tools designed for specific purposes related to academia, formal communication, or for training more general AIs to improve their performance on individual areas of subject matter expertise.

Update 02/15/2024, 5:45 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with comments from the University of Michigan.

Google Pixel 8 is even cheaper than it was on Black Friday | Digital Trends

Google Pixel 8 is even cheaper than it was on Black Friday | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy offered the unlocked Google Pixel 8 with 128GB of storage capacity for only $550 instead of its sticker price of $700 in last Black Friday’s phone deals, but in case you missed it, you’ve got an even better chance right now. Amazon’s Woot is offering the same smartphone for only $540, for savings of $160 and $10 cheaper than its price for the shopping holiday. You’re going to have to hurry with your purchase if you’re interested though — there’s still a few days left in the bargain, but we’re not sure if stocks will last that long.

Why you should buy the Google Pixel 8

The Google Pixel 8 is featured in our roundup of the best Android phones as the one with the best value, so it’s an even better purchase for a discounted price. It’s equipped with a 6.2-inch Pixel 8 Actua display that’s super sharp and vividly colorful, and with the Google Tensor G3 chip, it’s extremely fast and smooth even when you’re multitasking between apps. The processor also provides powerful protection to keep your information safe, alongside the Titan M2 security chip and VPN by Google One.

In our Google Pixel 8 versus Samsung Galaxy S24 comparison, which pits two base model flagship Android smartphones against one another, the Google Pixel 8 comes away with several victories.  These include a more rounded profile for those who prefer this design, an unadulterated Android 14 experience with the fastest updates and regular feature additions, effortless taking of pictures headlined by its 50MP main camera and AI editing features, a bigger 4,575 mAh battery with faster charging, and lower price.

Whenever there are Pixel deals, you can be sure that there’s going to be a lot of interest in discounts for the Google Pixel 8. We don’t expect it to be any different for this $160 discount from Amazon’s Woot for the smartphone’s 128GB model, especially since it’s unlocked. The savings of $160 that you can get on the Google Pixel 8’s original price of $700 is even larger than what you could have gotten during the last Black Friday, so don’t wait for the sale’s last minute before completing the transaction because we’re pretty sure that stocks are already running low.

Editors’ Recommendations