Despite the investigations and scandals currently surrounding Meta – formerly known as Facebook – the social networking giant shared more details of its metaverse or metauniverse, a virtual space in which users (through digital avatars) can walk around and interact with each other in real-time.

During the annual virtual and augmented reality conference, Facebook Connect, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Meta, announced the company’s name change as well as a series of new concept videos highlighting his vision of what the metaverse would look like in the future.

“We’re at the beginning of the next chapter for the Internet, and it’s also the next chapter for our company,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter from the founder published at the end of Thursday’s event.

According to Zuckerberg’s vision, the next social platform would be even more immersive. One where you’re no longer just looking at the experience, but “you’re in the experience.”

“Isn’t that the ultimate promise of technology to be together with anyone to be able to teleport anywhere and create an experience of anything?” said Zuckerberg to then express his distaste for the centralization of technology on the technology itself, rather than on people.

“The metaverse gives us the opportunity to change that if we build it right,” said Zuckerberg who previously expressed that being able to offer a sense of presence was “the holy grail of online social experiences” and indicated that this is what he has wanted to create, even before he started Facebook.

But what is the metaverse as envisioned by Meta’s CEO? According to what was shown during Facebook Connect, the metaverse is a virtual experience well exemplified in the fictional movie “Ready Player One” by Steven Spielberg, where users enter a virtual reality universe and find in it everything they could wish for in real life.

For example, you could send your holographic image to a concert to meet up with a friend who attended in real life, sit at a table during a virtual meeting with your colleagues who are physically in other parts of the world, and play immersive video games with your friends.

In the metaverse, according to Meta, users could do “almost anything you can imagine,” whether it’s meeting friends, playing games, working, exercising, creating, and shopping. “If you’re in the metaverse every day, you’ll need digital clothes and tools and different experiences,” explained Zuckerberg, who indicated that the metaverse will offer not only a social experience but also provide opportunities for commerce.

While Zuckerberg is aware that the metaverse as he envisions it is far from a palpable reality, the company has been laying the groundwork for some time. For example, Facebook recently announced an investment in Horizon, a virtual social world that remains in a private beta testing stage. On the hardware side, the company has its Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality goggles and “Ray-Ban Stories” smart glasses.

During Thursday’s event, Zuckerberg also announced that virtual reality will be coming to Messenger calls this year, talked about his plans to operate a virtual marketplace where developers can sell virtual goods and indicated that a new home screen would be coming to Oculus Quest to make chatting and gaming in the virtual world more social. Next year the company will also release an updated version of its virtual reality goggles, Oculus Quest 2, under the name Project Cambria.

“There’s a whole ecosystem. We’re building several generations of our virtual reality and augmented reality products at the same time, as well as a new operating system and development model, a digital commerce platform, content studios and, of course, a social platform,” Zuckerberg said when talking about the metaverse, prior to the Connect event.

Will the metaverse have the same problems as the Internet?

Proponents of the metaverse say that eventually there could be enormous commercial potential. A whole new platform on which to sell digital goods and services. It could also have benefits on how humans interact using technology.

“What we’re really doing is figuring out ways to add technology to our lives to enhance them and improve our communication with other people,” said Avi Bar-Zeev, founder of virtual reality and augmented reality consultancy RealityPrime and a former employee of Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, where he worked on HoloLens. “It’s not just about conquering a whole new world.”

But there are also a number of concerns about how the metaverse could be used or exploited. Some in the space worry that an ad-based business model will create, on the one hand, people who have and can afford to pay for an ad-free headset or metaverse experience, replicating the inequalities present in the real world.

“I don’t want to see a world where we segregate people between those who can afford to get a better experience and those who can’t,” Bar-Zeev said. He added that online harassment could become more intense when users are able to assault each other’s virtual bodies, rather than simply exchanging nasty words on a screen.

Data privacy and security could also become major concerns when “more of our lives, our data, our work, our investments now exist purely virtually,” Ball said. And other problems, such as misinformation and radicalization, could also worsen in the metaverse.

“If you can now replace someone’s entire reality with an alternate reality, it can make them believe almost anything,” Bar-Zeev said. “The responsibility of everyone in the field is to prevent bad things as much as possible and encourage good things.”

Facebook is changing its corporate name to Meta as it faces widespread scrutiny over real-world damage allegedly caused by its various platforms after a whistleblower leaked hundreds of internal documents.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that Facebook will change its corporate name to Meta, effectively demoting Facebook’s eponymous service to being just one of the company’s subsidiaries, along with Instagram and WhatsApp, rather than the overall brand.

The company formerly known as Facebook also said in a press release that it plans to begin trading under the stock symbol “MVRS” on Dec. 1.

A rebranding could be part of an effort to repair Facebook’s reputation and turn the page after a series of public relations nightmares, including misinformation on its platforms, content moderation failures, and revelations about the negative effect its products have on some users’ mental health.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity as we begin this next chapter. Facebook is one of the most widely used products in the history of the world,” Zuckerberg said on Thursday. “It’s an iconic social networking brand, but increasingly, it just doesn’t encompass everything we do.”

“Today we’re seen as a social networking company,” he added, “but in our DNA, we’re a company that creates technology to connect people. And the metaverse is the next frontier, just like social networking was when we started.”

Zuckerberg, who said he loved studying classics in school, said the name was inspired by the Greek word meta, meaning “beyond.” “To me, it symbolizes that there’s always more to build.”

Facebook did not announce any executive changes Thursday. But on Zuckerberg’s personal Facebook page, his job title was changed to, “Founder and CEO of Meta.”

Zuckerberg kicked off the event the line by introducing a series of new social, gaming, and workplace concepts for the metaverse, acknowledging how focusing on such products might be perceived amid the company’s newfound crisis.

“I know some people will say this is not the time to focus on the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to work on in the present. There always will be,” Zuckerberg said in a video presentation. before his keynote. “So for many people, I’m not sure there’s ever a good time to focus on the future. But I also know there are many of you who feel the same way I do.”

“We live for what we’re building,” Zuckerberg added. “And while we make mistakes, we continue to learn, build and move forward.”

Facebook showed a series of concept videos that highlighted its vision of the metaverse, showing how you could, for example, send your holographic image to a concert to meet your friend attending in real life, sit around a table during a virtual meeting with remote colleagues or play immersive games with friends. Facebook recently said it would hire 10,000 people in Europe to develop the concept.

Zuckerberg also announced Messenger calls coming to virtual reality, his plans to operate a virtual marketplace where developers can sell virtual goods and a new home screen in Oculus Quest to make chatting and gaming in the virtual world more social.

“Your devices will no longer be the focal point of your attention,” he said. “We’re starting to see a lot of these technologies materialize in the next five to 10 years. A lot of this will be mainstream and many of us will create and inhabit worlds that are as detailed and compelling as this on a daily basis.”

Several major companies have changed their established brands over the years. Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, the Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan. Some high-profile name changes have followed scandals or controversies. Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, changed its name to Altria, for example, and ValuJet became AirTran after one of its planes crashed in 1996.

Other name changes are meant to reflect broader company ambitions. Snapchat changed its name to Snap in 2016 to reflect its foray into hardware, and Google restructured the company with a new name, Alphabet, and plans to grow a variety of business divisions.

Spring is in full bloom and so is the tech industry: sprouting innovations, branching into new markets, and as per usual dealing with some bugs and worms here and there. This month we saw Google and Shopify turn a new leaf with a partnership to enable global growth, important security articles, and how AI and automation can help in new ways.

We’ve done all the reading for you, so here’s the May Tech News Roundup!

Every fifth corporate network faced a crypto mining malware attack in 2020 

Cryptocurrency mining is a whole deal on its own and many attackers are now increasingly taking advantage of emerging malware like crypto mining to target and attack corporates. According to this blog by the fine people of Crypto Parrot, mining malware “accounted for the second-largest corporate network attacks at 21% between January 1, 2020, and December 31” read the full story here

Google Cloud Launches Datashare for Financial Services, helping the Capital Markets Industry Share Market Data More Securely and Easily

This launch builds on Google Cloud’s recent momentum in working with exchanges and market data aggregators to make it easier to access and share their data with investment banks, asset managers, hedge funds, and other data consumers. With Datashare, data publishers can onboard their licensed datasets to Google Cloud securely, quickly, and easily, while data consumers can access that data in tools like BigQuery.

Shopify Expands Partnership with Google Cloud to Enable Global Growth

Google announced it’s partnering with Shopify, and even though the company didn’t offer many details about the integration when it was announced during Google’s I/O Developer event, the news follows a series of updates to Google Shopping resulting from Amazon’s increased investment in its own advertising business.

The integration will allow merchants to sign up in just a few clicks to have their products appear across Google’s 1 billion “shopping journeys” that take place every day through Search, Maps, Images, Lens and YouTube.

Top GitHub Project Home Assistant Builds on CodeNotary to Secure Software Supply Chain at Scale

Home Assistant is the world’s largest home automation platform controlling over 1,700 different devices and services without storing any data in the cloud. With CodeNotary, it is now for the first time possible for Home Assistant to ensure that only approved code runs on the hundred of thousands of homes using their project and to fulfill its mission to put local control and privacy first.

Altair Future.AI Global Event to Demonstrate How Artificial Intelligence and Analytics Accelerate Digital Transformation

Altair is a global technology company that provides software and cloud solutions in the areas of simulation, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence (AI). Their global event will connect scientists, engineers, business teams, and creative thinkers who are harnessing the power of data analytics and AI to gain competitive advantages and drive better business results.

March left us many surprises, like the Apple event, where new devices were announced.

SpaceX Ordered to Stop Work on NASA’s Moon-Lander Project Pending Review

State-backed Cyber Attacks Pose Dangerous Threat to Business 

XR Technologies and Immersive Experience Trends Amid the Pandemic 

Techcrunch – Europe charges Apple with antitrust breach, citing Spotify App Store complaint 

Every fifth corporate network faced a cryptomining malware attack in 2020 

Here’s everything Apple announced at its ‘Spring Loaded’ event 

IPad Pro 2021 Vs. IPad Pro 2020 Comparison: Which Is Better 

We finally reached the last quarter of 2020, as the tech industry keeps moving forward and making headlines. Giants like Google and Facebook are jumping into new projects to connect the world in better ways, Nvidia is acquiring Ai company Arm while they also prepare to launch new products, and Amazon is offering safer ways to get your groceries home. Read all about it in this month’s news roundup!

This year’s been, to put it gently, full of surprises, but the tech industry stops for nothing! Here are a few of May’s industry highlights to keep you up to date:

Google Cloud and Coviant Software Work Together for Automating Healthcare Data Transfer and Processing

This move follows quickly after the announcement by Google that the Cloud Healthcare API is now generally available, making Coviant Software the first and only MFT vendor to fully support Google Cloud Healthcare API for data exchange.

“Now healthcare customers can leverage the cost savings and security of Google Cloud storage and easily take advantage of the power and flexibility of Google Cloud Healthcare API.” says Greg Hoffer, CEO of Coviant Software.

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Pure Storage Expands FlashBlade, the Industry’s First Native Unified, Fast File and Object Platform

FlashBlade is unique in its ability to accelerate applications and enable data to be shared across applications and workloads. The latest updates to FlashBlade enable real-time performance that allow application workflows to take center stage – resulting in a Modern Data Experience that replaces complexities and antiquated systems with fast, flexible and agile solutions built to fit modern needs.

Architected to help customers achieve better resource utilization for compute and storage, FlashBlade reduces the complexity that arises from data silos. FlashBlade extends this approach to key enterprise features such as replication for file and object and file system rollback, and allows data scientists and data architects to realize the potential of the models they design and create, faster.

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IBM and Red Hat Launch New Edge Computing Solutions for the 5G Era

For organizations worldwide, the rollout of wireless 5G telecommunications networks, which bring blazing speed and extremely low latency—and minimal transmission delays—to mobile data, is designed to accelerate the utility of edge computing. 

With new edge services, IBM Business Partners and open multicloud solutions from IBM, enterprises will be able to tap into the potential of 5G to support crucial uses like emergency response, robotic surgery or connected-vehicle safety features that benefit from the few milliseconds latency saved by not having to send workloads to a centralized cloud.

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GoDaddy Confirms Data Breach: What Customers Need To Know

With more than 19 million customers, 77 million domains managed, and millions of websites hosted, most everyone has heard of GoDaddy. According to Bleeping Computer, which broke the news yesterday evening, an as yet unknown number of customers have been informed that their web hosting account credentials had been compromised.

The breach itself appears to have occurred on October 19, 2019, according to the State of California Department of Justice, with which the disclosure notification email sample was filed.

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New OutSystems Capabilities Give Enterprises the Dev Tools They Need to Meet the Strategic Mandate on Digital Accessibility

The COVID-19 crisis has forced people to shift most of their work, education, and purchasing online, and that move has put the more than 1.3 billion people living with disabilities worldwide at risk.

As companies look to respond to these new demands, OutSystems is unique in enabling organizations to use their existing skills to quickly build accessible applications, while maintaining complete control over the user experience, and meeting the most demanding scalability and security requirements.

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Dell teams up with Google Cloud to simplify massive data migrations

Dell Technologies and Google Cloud Platform have partnered up to launch OneFS for Google Cloud to allow customers to keep massive amounts of data flowing between private clouds and Google Cloud.

Dell OneFS for Google Cloud offers customers a hybrid cloud storage system that can see up to 50 petabytes of data move seamlessly between cloud environments without needing to make adjustments to their applications.

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