Connect with us

NEWS

Rocket.Chat raises $19M for its open-source approach to integrated enterprise messaging

Published

on

Chat platforms like Slack have been game-changers when it comes to what business users want and expect out of their work communications. Today, a company that’s aiming to move the goalpost again with an integrated, open-source alternative is announcing some funding to fuel its growth.

Rocket.Chat, a startup and open-source-based platform of the same name used by banks, the U.S. Navy, NGOs and other organizations big and small to set up and run any variety of secure virtual communications services from one place — they can include not just team chat, but also customer service, collaboration platforms covering your staff and outside partners, school classrooms, conferences and more — has raised $19 million.

The company plans to use the funding both to continue adding more customers, but also expanding the platform’s functionality, including more security features, a way to use the service over federated blockchain architecture, apps for marketplaces, options for bots, and more social media and omnichannel customer service integrations, and potentially facilities for virtual events.

As more business interactions have gone virtual, it has essentially opened the door for companies like Rocket.Chat building virtual communications platforms to build in an increasing number of features into what it does.

The Series A round of funding was led by Valor Capital Group, with Greycroft, Monashees and NEA giving strong backing and e.ventures, Graphene Ventures, ONEVC and DGF also participating. The Porto Alegre, Brazil-based startup (which is incorporated in Delaware) has now raised $27 million to date.

“We’ve known Gabriel and Rocket.Chat for several years now and have been very impressed by their open-source platform, which allows any organization to securely manage its own chat tool with customized look-and-feel,” said Antoine Colaço, Partner at Valor Capital Group, in a statement. “They have proven the value of their platform through an international customer base, which includes some of the largest global corporations and government agencies as clients. We’re excited for the company to continue its strong customer and developer growth around the world after this round.”

Rocket.Chat is not disclosing its valuation with this round, but it indeed comes on the back of some significant growth in the last year. The startup now has 16 million registered users across 150 countries, with eight million of them monthly active users. Of that 16 million, 11.3 million users registered for the service in the past six months. It’s currently installed on some 845,000 servers, the company said, and has over 1,500 developers building on its platform.

Rocket.Chat’s funding and expanding business comes as part of a bigger focus overall for open-source platforms.

The promise of open source in the world of enterprise IT has been that it provides a platform to customise a service to fit with how the organization in question wants to use it, while at the same time providing tools to make sure it is robust enough in terms of security, extensibility and more for use in a business environment.

Over the years, it has become a big business opportunity, in line with organizations getting more sophisticated in terms of what they expect and need out of their IT services, where off-the-shelf apps may not always fit the bill.

Rocket.Chat positions itself as something of an all-in-one superstore for any and all communications needs, with organizations putting their own services together in whatever way works for their purposes.

It can either be hosted and managed by customers themselves, or used as a cloud-based SaaS, with its pricing ranging between free (for minimal, self-hosted services) to $4 per user per month, or higher, depending on which services customers want to have, whether its hosted and how much the platform is being used each month.

Image Credits: Rocket.Chat

As you can see in the mock-up here, its basic platform looks a little like Slack. But if you are using it for omnichannel communications for customer service, for example, you can build a platform within Rocket.Chat where you incorporate communications from any other platforms that might be used to communicate with customers.

Its work collaboration platform starts with Rocket.Chat’s basic chat interface, but also allows you to integrate alerts and links to other apps that you regularly use, as well as video calls and more. These and other functions built on Rocket.Chat can then be made to interact with each other — for example handing tickets off in customer service to internal tech support teams — or separately.

The idea is that by providing a version that can be hosted and managed by organizations themselves, it gives them more privacy and control over their electronic messaging.

Its thousands of customers reflect an interesting mix of the kinds of organizations that are looking for solutions that do just that.

Gabriel Engel, the CEO and founder, tells me the list includes several military and public sector organizations including the U.S. Navy, financial services companies like Credit Suisse, as well as the likes of Cornell,UC Irvine, Bielefeld University and other educational institutions, the Deutsche Bahn transport network and a number of private companies. Former customers have also included Citibank and Arizona State.

That flexibility does not always play to Rocket.Chat’s advantage, however. Controversially, it seems that the list also includes the other end of the spectrum of organizations that want to keep their messages limited to a very specific audience: Islamic State it turns out also hosts and runs a Rocket.Chat to disseminate messages.

Engel says that while this is not something that the company supports, and that it works with authorities to shut down users like these as much as it can, it’s a consequence of how the service was built:

“We are not able to track usage if they are running Rocket.Chat servers of their own,” he said. “There’s a reason why the U.S. Navy uses Rocket.Chat. And that’s because we cannot track and know what they’re doing. It’s isolated from any external influence, for better or worse.” He added that the company has policies so that if an illicit organization is using its SaaS version, these get taken down in cooperation with authorities. “But just as with Linux, if you download and run Rocket.Chat on your own computer, then obviously it’s out of our reach.”

Hearing about how a platform built with privacy by design can be abused, with seemingly little to be done about it, does seem to offset some of the benefits. The ethics of that predicament, and whether technology can ever solve it, or whether it will be up to government authorities to address, will continue to be a question not just for Rocket.Chat but for all of us.

In the meantime, investors are interested because of the alternative it provides to those groups that need it.

“In today’s environment, organizations must have a secure communication platform to engage teams internally, communicate with customers and partners externally, and connect with safe interest-based communities,” said Dylan Pearce, partner at Greycroft, in a statement. “Rocket.Chat’s world-class management team and open-source community lead the industry in innovation and provide a communications platform capable of serving every person on the planet.” 

TechCrunch

NEWS

OpenAI Introduces ChatGPT Plus with Monthly Subscription of $20

Published

on

Open AI - Chat GPT

OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence research laboratory, has launched a new product – ChatGPT Plus. The new product is an advanced version of its previous language model, ChatGPT, and is available for a monthly subscription of $20. The company aims to provide a more sophisticated and efficient conversational AI tool to its users through this new product.

ChatGPT Plus is a state-of-the-art language model that uses advanced deep learning algorithms to generate human-like responses to text inputs. The model has been trained on a massive corpus of text data, allowing it to generate coherent and contextually relevant responses. The model is designed to handle a wide range of conversational topics and can be integrated into various applications, such as chatbots, customer support systems, and virtual assistants.

One of the main advantages of ChatGPT Plus over its predecessor, ChatGPT, is its ability to generate responses in a more human-like manner. The model has been fine-tuned to incorporate more advanced language processing techniques, which enable it to better understand the context and tone of a conversation. This makes it possible for the model to generate more nuanced and appropriate responses, which can greatly improve the user experience.

In addition to its advanced language processing capabilities, ChatGPT Plus also offers improved performance in terms of response generation speed and efficiency. The model has been optimized to run on faster hardware and has been fine-tuned to generate responses more quickly. This makes it possible for the model to handle a larger volume of requests, making it an ideal solution for businesses with high traffic websites or customer support centers.

The monthly subscription fee of $20 for ChatGPT Plus makes it an affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. The company has designed the pricing model in such a way that it is accessible to businesses of all sizes, regardless of their budget. This makes it possible for small businesses to take advantage of advanced conversational AI technology, which can greatly improve their customer engagement and support.

OpenAI has also made it easy to integrate ChatGPT Plus into various applications. The company has provided a comprehensive API that allows developers to easily integrate the model into their applications. The API supports a wide range of programming languages, making it possible for developers to use the technology regardless of their preferred programming language. This makes it possible for businesses to quickly and easily incorporate conversational AI into their operations.

In conclusion, OpenAI’s launch of ChatGPT Plus is a significant development in the field of conversational AI. The new product offers advanced language processing capabilities and improved performance, making it an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes. The affordable pricing model and easy integration make it accessible to businesses of all sizes, and the advanced language processing capabilities make it possible for businesses to improve their customer engagement and support. OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus is set to revolutionize the conversational AI industry and bring advanced technology within the reach of businesses of all sizes.

Visit OpenAI.com to read more and to get the latest news about ChatGPT.

Continue Reading

NEWS

What can ChatGPT do?

Published

on

ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

Continue Reading

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

Published

on

Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

Advertisement

Continue Reading Below

But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]Searchenginejournal.com

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish