So, how’s the new year treatin’ ya? Pretty slow start for me, but it is starting to pick up. And so are the news. Let us dive into Sunday Rundown #102 🙂

Google adds new generative AI elements to Chrome, including a writing assistant

Google has announced some new generative AI elements for Chrome. These elements will provide automated assistance to improve your experience, along with artistic inspiration in its web browser app. First off, Google is expanding its generative AI wallpaper option to Chrome on desktop. This will enable users to create their own custom backgrounds.

“Last year, we introduced generative AI wallpapers with Android 14 and Pixel 8 devices. Now we are bringing that same text-to-image diffusion model to Chrome so you can personalise your browser even more. You will be able to quickly generate custom themes based on a subject, mood, visual style and color that you choose — no need to become an AI prompt expert!”

– As explained by Google

Google is also adding a writing assistant within Chrome, designed to help you come up with better queries and posts.

“Whether you want to leave a well-written review for a restaurant, craft a friendly RSVP for a party or make a formal inquiry about an apartment rental. To get started, right-click a text box or field on any site you visit in Chrome and select “Help me write.” Type in a few words and our AI will kickstart the writing process for you.”

– As explained by Google

That is a better use of generative AI than getting it to write out blog posts for you. But then again, having this tool so readily available also increases the risk of an AI bot flood. Such thing could eventually lead to much of the web being bots talking to other bots, with human puppet masters watching on.

Mark Zuckerberg’s new goal is to create artificial general intelligence

OpenAI’s stated mission is to create this artificial general intelligence or AGI. Demis Hassabis, the leader of Google’s AI efforts, has the same goal. Now, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is entering the race. While he does not have a timeline for when AGI will be reached or even an exact definition for it, he wants to build it. At the same time, he is shaking things up by moving Meta’s AI research group, FAIR, to the same part of the company as the team building generative AI products across Meta’s apps. The goal is for Meta’s AI breakthroughs to more directly reach its billions of users.

“We have come to this view that, in order to build the products that we want to build, we need to build for general intelligence. I think that is important to convey because a lot of the best researchers want to work on the more ambitious problems.”

– Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO

Apple excludes video and news partners from new App Store rules around external payments

Apple this week updated its App Store rules to comply with a court order after the Supreme Court declined to hear the Epic Games-initiated antitrust case against Apple over commissions. As a result, developers can now promote alternative means to pay for their in-app purchases and subscriptions via links or buttons inside their iOS apps. But Apple’s compliance comes with several caveats, including technical requirements, an application process, and even what sort of apps will be allowed to direct customers to their websites. In a court filing, Apple details its new rules for developers noting, among other things, that apps participating in its existing Video Partner and News Partner program are not eligible to use the Link Entitlement.

Bonus links

Thank you for taking the time to read our Sunday Rundown #102. If you have a story that you want to see in this series, reply to us below or contact us.