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Google is combining its Android software and Pixel hardware divisions to more broadly integrate AI

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Google is combining its Android software and Pixel hardware divisions to more broadly integrate AI
News

News

Google is combining its Android software and Pixel hardware divisions to more broadly integrate AI

2024-04-19 10:07 Last Updated At:10:10

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google will combine the software division responsible for Android mobile software and the Chrome browser with the hardware division known for Pixel smartphones and Fitbit wearables, the company said Thursday. It's part of a broader plan to integrate artificial intelligence more widely throughout the company.

In a letter to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the changes will “turbocharge the Android and Chrome ecosystems” while helping to spur innovation.

The decision will place both operations under the oversight of Rick Osterloh, a Google executive who previously oversaw the company's hardware group. Not long ago, Google insulated Android development from the hardware division, saying it wanted to avoid giving its phone designers an unfair advantage over the other major smartphone makers who used Android — including Samsung and Motorola, as well as Chinese companies such as Oppo and Xiaomi.

Then a few years ago, Google started to position the Pixel as a flagship for demonstrating what AI could accomplish and leaned heavily into developing features that could demonstrate its potential. That meant more integration of AI hardware and software to power those features on mobile devices.

In an interview with The Verge, a tech publication, Osterloh noted that AI is the primary reason for bringing together Google's consumer hardware and software engineers. He argued that phone technology is already growing more dependent on AI, citing the development of the Pixel camera, which among other things uses the technology for features that enhance nighttime photos or automatically choose the best of several closely timed shots.

Combining the teams, Osterloh added, is a way for Google to move even faster on infusing AI into its features. Designing the Pixel camera several years ago, he said in the interview, required deep knowledge of not just the complex hardware and software systems involved, but also the then-early AI models used for image processing.

“That hardware-software-AI integration really showed how AI could totally transform a user experience,” Osterloh said. “That was important. And it’s even more true today.”

“What you’re now starting to see Google do is flex its core AI innovation engines,” said Chirag Dekate, an analyst with Gartner. “Google wants to dominate the AI, the commanding heights of the emerging AI economy, both on the consumer side as well as on the enterprise side, essentially by infusing AI everywhere and by connecting it.”

Meanwhile, the chief of Google's software division, Hiroshi Lockheimer, is left without a title and, according to Pichai's letter, will be starting some other unnamed projects. Lockheimer did join Osterloh for the Verge interview, though, and the two men insisted the changes weren't the result of a power struggle.

Google is also reorganizing its AI research and responsibility groups, although those changes mostly won’t directly affect consumer products — at least not for now.

FILE - Google logos are displayed when searched for Google in New York, Sept. 11, 2023. Google said it will combine the software division responsible for Android mobile software and the Chrome browser with the hardware division known for Pixel smartphones and Fitbit wearables. It is part of a broader push to integrate artificial intelligence more broadly throughout the company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

FILE - Google logos are displayed when searched for Google in New York, Sept. 11, 2023. Google said it will combine the software division responsible for Android mobile software and the Chrome browser with the hardware division known for Pixel smartphones and Fitbit wearables. It is part of a broader push to integrate artificial intelligence more broadly throughout the company. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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Donald Trump’s defense rests in the former president’s New York hush money trial

2024-05-21 22:19 Last Updated At:22:20

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s lawyers rested their defense Monday in the former president’s New York hush money trial, bringing the case one step closer to final arguments.

The prosecution will get a chance to call rebuttal witnesses now that the defense witnesses have had their turn on the stand. The judge has said he expects closing arguments to happen on May 28, the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

After more than four weeks of testimony, jurors could begin deliberating as soon as next week to decide whether Trump is guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Prosecutors have accused Trump of a scheme to bury negative stories to fend off damage to his 2016 presidential campaign and then falsifying internal business records to cover it up.

Trump, the first former American president to be tried criminally, has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing in the case, which he has slammed as politically motivated.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) — A defense witness in Donald Trump's hush money case whom the judge threatened to remove from the trial over his behavior returned to the stand Tuesday as the trial nears its end.

Trump's lawyers hope Robert Costello's testimony will help undermine the credibility of a key prosecution witness, Trump fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen.

Costello turned to Judge Juan M. Merchan before the jurors arrived to the court, speaking quietly. The judge acknowledged him and nodded, a much more cordial scene than the drama that unfolded during Monday's proceedings, when Costello made comments under his breath during testimony, rolled his eyes and called the whole exercise “ridiculous." The antics angered Merchan, and the judge briefly kicked reporters out of the courtroom to admonish him.

The judge told Costello, a former federal prosecutor, he was being “contemptuous," adding, “If you try to stare me down one more time, I will remove you from the stand," according to a court transcript.

The defense was expected to rest its case later Tuesday, clearing the way for the trial to move on to decisions about how to instruct the jury on deliberations. Prosecutors on Monday rested their case accusing Trump of falsifying business records as part of a scheme to bury stories that he feared could hurt his 2016 campaign. The criminal trial, the first of a former U.S. president, is in the final stretch, with closing arguments expected the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

The charges stem from internal Trump Organization records in which payments to Cohen were marked as legal expenses. Prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for a $130,000 hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public before the 2016 election with claims of a sexual encounter with Trump. Trump says nothing sexual happened between them.

Trump, a Republican, has said he did nothing illegal and has slammed the case as an effort to hinder his 2024 bid to reclaim the White House.

“They have no case,” Trump said outside the courtroom Tuesday. “There’s no crime.”

After jurors left for the day Monday, defense attorneys pressed the judge to throw out the charges before jurors even begin deliberating, arguing prosecutors have failed to prove their case. The defense has suggested that Trump was trying to protect his family, not his campaign, by squelching what he says were false, scurrilous claims.

Defense attorney Todd Blanche argued that there was nothing illegal about soliciting a tabloid's help to run positive stories about Trump, run negative stories about his opponents and identify potentially damaging stories before they were published. No one involved “had any criminal intent,” Blanche said.

"How is keeping a false story from the voters criminal?” Blanche asked.

Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo shot back that “the trial evidence overwhelmingly supports each element” of the alleged offenses and said the case should proceed to the jury.

The judge didn't immediately rule on the defense's request. Such long-shot requests are often made in criminal cases but are rarely granted.

The defense called Costello because of his role as an antagonist to Cohen since their professional relationship splintered in spectacular fashion. Costello had offered to represent Cohen soon after the lawyer’s hotel room, office and home were raided and as Cohen faced a decision about whether to remain defiant in the face of a criminal investigation or to cooperate with authorities in hopes of securing more lenient treatment.

Costello in the years since has repeatedly maligned Cohen’s credibility and was even a witness before last year’s grand jury that indicted Trump, offering testimony designed to undermine Cohen's account. In a Fox News Channel interview last week, Costello accused Cohen of lying to the jury and using the case to “monetize” himself.

Costello contradicted Cohen's testimony describing Trump as intimately involved in all aspects of the hush money scheme. Costello told jurors Monday that Cohen told him Trump “knew nothing” about the hush money payment to Daniels.

“Michael Cohen said numerous times that President Trump knew nothing about those payments, that he did this on his own, and he repeated that numerous times,” Costello testified.

Cohen, however, testified earlier Monday that he has “no doubt” that Trump gave him a final sign-off to make the payments to Daniels. In total, he said he spoke with Trump more than 20 times about the matter in October 2016.

Trump lawyer Emil Bove told the judge that the defense does not plan to call any other witnesses after Costello, though it may still call campaign-finance expert Bradley A. Smith for limited testimony. It has not said definitively that Trump won’t testify, but that’s the clearest indication yet that he will waive his right to take the stand in his own defense.

Long reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Michelle Price in New York; Meg Kinnard in Columbia, S.C.; and Eric Tucker and Alanna Durkin Richer in Washington contributed to this report.

Former president Donald Trump waves while leaving Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Former president Donald Trump waves while leaving Trump Tower on his way to Manhattan criminal court, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Members of the press and public stand outside the courtroom after being asked to leave by Judge Juan Merchan during former President Donald Trump's hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, Monday, May 20, 2024 in New York. Judge Juan Merchan briefly kicked reporters out of the courtroom after admonishing defense witness Robert Costello for his behavior on the stand. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Members of the press and public stand outside the courtroom after being asked to leave by Judge Juan Merchan during former President Donald Trump's hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, Monday, May 20, 2024 in New York. Judge Juan Merchan briefly kicked reporters out of the courtroom after admonishing defense witness Robert Costello for his behavior on the stand. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Judge Juan Merchan, left, castigates witness Robert Costello about his "decorum" in the courtroom in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Judge Juan Merchan, left, castigates witness Robert Costello about his "decorum" in the courtroom in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court during his ongoing hush money trial, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Mark Peterson/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan Criminal Court during his ongoing hush money trial, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Mark Peterson/Pool Photo via AP)

Donald Trump, far left, watches as defense attorney Emil Bove questions Robert Costello, right, with Judge Juan Merchan presiding in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Donald Trump, far left, watches as defense attorney Emil Bove questions Robert Costello, right, with Judge Juan Merchan presiding in Manhattan criminal court, Monday, May 20, 2024, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

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