Google’s Quantum Computer; Apple Pay Rises to Top; Amazon Joins Deepfakes Battle; Steer Clear of Celeb Selfie App

In a first, Apple Pay has captured the top spot of all mobile payment apps. According to, this is the first time the Starbucks mobile app has been knocked out of that top spot. Apple Pay was used by 27.7 million people last year, while Starbucks had 25.2 million users. In 2019, Apple Pay is on track to have 30.3 million users. Interestingly, adults 25 to 34 are the largest demographic group in terms of absolute size and penetration. 21.2 million mobile payment users are in that demo….about 50% of smartphone users. The fastest growth, however, is with Americans 55 to 64…but it is a smaller base of users!

Google has announced that it has been able to perform a target computation in 200 seconds. reports that the computation would take the world’s fastest compute 10,000 years to perform the same function. They have used their own quantum computing chip named Sycamore. Google released the results in the journal Nature today. They have been working on the project for more than 10 years. Quantum computing power may eventually revolutionize the world, but for now, it appears to be particularly well suited to optimizing investment portfolios, and developing new drugs at the molecular level. Google sees quantum computing eventually replacing many classical computers…although don’t expect to have one on your desk or lap….they have to be run at a tad above absolute zero. That might cause quite a freezer burn on your thighs!

It isn’t even known yet if the things can be stopped or slowed, but now Amazon has joined Facebook and Microsoft in fighting the so-called ‘deepfakes.’ says Amazon joined the DeepFake Detection Challenge. The consortium is working to identify manipulated content. Most notably, deep fakes use computing power to put celebrity faces into videos they wouldn’t remotely make. Especially troubling…and so far, this has mainly applied to actresses…is the use of software to put a famous actress into a porn movie. One on Facebook before it was axed put Jim Carrey into a video that had people asking ‘Is that really him?’ Google has released a slew of deepfake videos to researchers to help them develop ways to weed out the fake content. Twitter has now also announced it is asking for user help to build a policy around the phony videos.

A celeb look alike app shot to the top of the Apple App store after getting the blessing of several Kardashians. According to, you don’t want to download Gradient. The app has been popularized by its ‘celebrity look alike’ feature. Gradient has sketchy ownership, but the main issue is the 3 day ‘free trial.’ Apparently, lots of people haven’t realized that they are also opting in to an automatically renewing $19.99 a month subscription. The shadowy maker of Gradient, ‘Ticket to the Moon,’ has raked in $1.1 million via the App Store and Google Play in short order. The app actually does have a different $3.99 a month subscription, but that isn’t the default on the sign up page. Beware, don’t be so vain, and save yourself at least $20 by not downloading Gradient!


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