Google X old hat, thinks Larry Page – proposes Google Y for even bigger challenges

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You might think Google’s ‘moonshot’ lab, Google X, is pretty out there, with autonomous cars, smart contact lenses and balloon-served Internet. But co-founder Larry Page seemingly thinks the company needs to look even further ahead: The Information (paywall) reports that he has proposed a second lab, Google Y, to look at even bigger issues.

The idea came out out of an initiative Page created called Google 2.0, designed to create a new set of goals for the company, an approach similar to that taken by the late Steve Jobs at Apple in 2010, where he created an off-site strategy-planning meeting for the top 100 people in the company.

A little over a year ago, Google CEO Larry Page convened his direct reports, the company’s dozen or so senior vice presidents, for a project that would take up two days a week for a couple of months. About 100 other employees below the SVP rank also participated in the effort, dubbed Google 2.0 …

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Amazon announces massive Kindle refresh including new ‘Kindle Voyage’ and $99 Kindle Fire HD tablet

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Following a big day of Apple news, Kindle has unleashed a massive refresh of its Kindle lines, including three refreshed Kindles and—interestingly—one completely new Kindle model. The lineup includes the company’s new flagship e-reader dubbed Kindle Voyage, a new entry-level Kindle that now packs a touch screen, an updated Kindle Fire HDX, and a new Kindle Fire HD, which is starting at just $99. Read more

T-Mobile working to get its CellSpot Wifi handoff/calling working on next generation ‘Nexus 6′

T-Mobile Android devices have had Wifi calling for some time so I’m not posting my whole review of the new $25 CellSpot here (tl;dr: Get it, no brainer). But I did use a LG Flex to test out the handoffs and it it did work well. So there’s that.

More importantly, I was grilling T-Mobile on if the Nexus 4 (which I have) or Nexus 5 (which they sell) would be supported for Wifi calling. The bad news is that neither phone is currently supported. That goes against their “Wifi calling works on every smartphone they sell” policy but the Nexus is a special case with software controlled by Google so there is at least an excuse.

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Qualcomm exec named new head of Google Fiber

3eafe52The Wall Street Journal reports that Google’s ultrafast Internet service Fiber has a new leader running the show, and not just any new leader. Dennis Kish, a former executive at semiconductor company Qualcomm, is replacing Milo Medin to head Google Fiber going forward. The Journal reports that Medlin will remain “an adviser to the Google Fiber team,” but the Google vice president will begin work on other unspecified projects.

Kish was brought in for his operational expertise and will lead Google Fiber as the high-speed Internet and television service expands to new cities.

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Android Head Sundar Pichai interviewed about Android One launch in home country

Google releases updated Transparency Report, government demands for user info increase

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Google today announced it’s releasing an updated Transparency Report with the tenth release including updated numbers on government requests for user information during the first half of this year. Google also noted that the report includes updated data on demands under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and through National Security Letters (NSLs). Google said today that apart from FISA and NSL requests, demands from government for user info continued to rise: Read more

Google almost created a company in 2003 to deter an employee’s balloon popping habits (video)

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Who wants to take a trip down memory lane? Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt does! The one time company CEO recently took to Google+ to do a little reminiscing. The year was 2003 and Google had been going strong for about five years. In its earlier days, the lighthearted tech company would welcome new employees to the fold by presenting them with a smiley helium balloon to float around their office space. A kind gesture, the balloon was also an easy way for seasoned employees to spot a “Noogler” (new Google employee).

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60 percent of apps fail basic privacy tests, finds international cross-governmental study

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A review of 1,211 apps carried out by a coalition of privacy officials across 19 countries found that 60 percent of them failed at least one basic privacy test, reports the WSJ.

The officials found that 60% of apps raised privacy concerns, based on three criteria: They did not disclose how they used personal information; they required that the user give up an excessive amount of personal data as a condition of downloading the app; and their privacy policies were rendered in type too small to be read on a phone’s screen …

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Google: ‘Less than 2%’ of login credentials leaked today were valid

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Earlier today, a huge number of Google account usernames and passwords were leaked onto the internet via a Russian Bitcoin security forum. This afternoon, Google has officially responded to concerns about the more than 4 million supposed login credentials, saying that none of the company’s systems were breached in order to obtain the data. Furthermore, the company says that it found that “less than 2% of the username and password combinations might have worked,” and that those who were affected have been notified. Read more

Google buys Lift Labs, maker of Parkinson’s Disease fighting smart spoon

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Google has acquired Lift Labs, a San Francisco company that has developed eating utensils that provide “proactive care” for people with essential tremor and Parkinson’s Disease. A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal with The New York Times, saying that the company will be rolled into the search giant’s Life Sciences unit, which is part of its super secret Google X lab.

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