Six reasons why Google’s autonomous car director thinks public sale is still five years away

Google_Car

Google’s self-driving cars may have notched up 700,000 accident-free miles without anyone needing to press the big red Stop button, but project director Chris Urmson’s personal deadline to have the cars on sale to the public is still five years away, reports the MIT’s Technology Review.

Most tech-heads know that the cars rely on inch-perfect modelling of the specific streets they will use, the cars unable to drive anywhere else, but the piece revealed that this is just one of the challenges ahead …  Read more

A week after Apple launches iPhone 6, ZTE has a NYC launch event

Probably ill-advised timing but why not?

HERE offline map app arrives on Android for the first time, initially on Samsung Galaxy phones only

here

HERE, the competitor to Google Maps initially available only on Windows Phone, has arrived on Android for the first time. Initially, the beta version of the Android app will be limited to Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

The main claim to fame of the app is that it offers the ability to download entire regions or countries for offline use, in contrast to Google Maps which only allows you to cache areas you have viewed while online. HERE maps currently cover around 200 countries, though turn-by-turn directions are so far limited to about half of these …  Read more

Project Wing is Google X’s attempt at a drone-based delivery program

Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled its plans for using drones to deliver products to customers, and now Google has revealed that it is working on something similar. According to two separate reports from The Atlantic and BBC, the secretive Google X team has been hard at work on Project Wing, a drone-based delivery system, for more than two years.

The idea of Google using drones to deliver goods is something that 9to5Google has reported on for some time now, including as far back as October of 2012, and again a few months later. Google said the following in a statement regarding Project Wing:

Project Wing is a Google[x] project that is developing a delivery system that uses self-flying vehicles. As part of our research, we built a vehicle and traveled to Queensland, Australia for some test flights. There, we successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers.

We’re only just beginning to develop the technology to make a safe delivery system possible, but we think that there’s tremendous potential to transport goods more quickly, safely and efficiently.

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Pandora Internet Radio lands on Google Glass

Pandora Internet Radio Google Glass

Pandora Internet Radio is the latest service to bring its product over to the Google Glass world. The music streaming service’s Glassware app came out of their Hack-a-thon from earlier in the spring, Pandora says, and was good enough to share with Google and ship.

The Pandora Radio app for Google Glass gives users access to stations with the ability to control them with voice commands or the touchpad. Pandora says the voice commands allow you to select existing stations or even create new stations. Actions including music controls like play and pause require using the touchpad; favoriting and dismissing a track also requires using the touchpad for now.

Users can find the Pandora Internet Radio app on the Google’s Glassware section, and Pandora has more instructions below: Read more

Google opens registration for ‘Right to be Forgotten’ public meetings in Madrid and Rome

googlel right to be forgotten

Just under a month ago Google shared a list of cities where it would host public meetings for the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten following the European Union Court of Justice decision in May that individuals have the right to request Google remove information from its search results. With the first of those public meetings scheduled for September 9th in Madrid, Google is today starting free online registration to attend the meeting.

A limited number of seats will be available for members of the public at each Council meeting. We’re opening up the online registration process today — and you can sign up for the Madrid meeting and the Rome meeting. Registration will remain open until five days before the event. There is no charge to attend.

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Rdio and Songza join T-Mobile’s Music Freedom program, Google Play Music coming soon

T-Mobile Music Freedom

T-Mobile announced a new initiative in June to offer unlimited streaming of variety of music streaming services on its mobile network without counting against customer data caps. The program, dubbed Music Freedom, supports streaming iHeartRadio, iTunesRadio, Pandora, Rhapsody, Samsung Milk, Slacker, and Spotify over T-Mobile’s network without counting towards a data cap, and today the carrier is doubling the number of supported services.

Today T-Mobile is announcing the addition of AccuRadio, Black Planet, Grooveshark, Radio Paradise, Rdio and Songza to its Music Freedom program. You may recall Google purchased Songza (for what is believed to be $15 million) in July. In addition to introducing the six new music services to the program, T-Mobile has also shared that it will be adding Google Play Music later this year after the service was voted on the most to be included. Full press release follows…
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Talking Schmidt: Know your competition, but don’t copy it

talking schmidt how google works

“Know your competition, but don’t copy it.” Those words of wisdom come from the image above accompanying a message put on the entirely original – not a copy of Facebook – Google+ by Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is promoting his new book with Jonathan Rosenberg called How Google Works due out next month where the billionaire lays out the principles that made Google what it is today.

Included with the lemonade stand image and ‘don’t copy’ caption is another Schmidt line on originality and competition. “Playing catch-up with the competition will never help you get ahead by creating something new,” Schmidt says. Google would be the “hard” boozy lemonade to the competitions’ fresh lemonade. In the case of Google Plus, the booze could be the hangouts or perhaps the photo editing features or integration with other Google products.

Now picture this tidbit from Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

It’s hard to deny that Android started looking a lot more like iOS after the iPhone’s introduction, and iOS has clearly borrowed its fair share of features from Google’s mobile operating system, but there’s no denying that Schmidt’s message could be challenged. File this one with the rest under Talking Schmidt.

Google reportedly considering former Hughes Aircraft hangar for new office space

Image via WSJ

Image via WSJ

Google is considering the possibility of opening up a new office space in a Los Angeles airplane hangar owned by Howard Hughes in the 1940s, according to the Wall Street Journal. The building was once used for airplane construction, but was later used as a filming location for movies such as Michael Bay’s recent Transformers and Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day.

Aside from film production crews, the 300,000 square-foot building, which is located north of LAX, has been mostly vacant since the 80s. The real estate development firm that currently owns the property has been searching for a company to use it for offices for about four years now, and the unconventional design seems to fit right in with Google’s tastes.

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Google acquires cloud-based visual effects company Zync to join Cloud Platform team

Zync logoGoogle announced on Tuesday that it has acquired cloud-based visual effects company Zync, which provided the rendering technology behind the movies Star Trek Into Darkness and Looper. Zync will be joining the Google Cloud Platform team, bolstering the company’s cloud-based offerings for creative professionals.

Zync Render is an in-house tool that provides integrated image rendering for visual effects professionals, offering users flexible solutions and greater creative freedoms with decreased longterm overhead and startup costs. The rendering tool has been used by over a dozen feature films and hundreds of commercials.  Read more

Developers once again gain root access on Google Chromecast

chromecast

When Google’s $35 Chromecast was originally released, obtaining root access was incredibly easy. So easy that some users believed that it had been intentional on Google’s part, as to allow curious developers to explore the inner workings of the device a bit. Nevertheless, the vulnerability used in that root method was eventually closed. Now, however, developers once again have discovered another exploit that allows root access on the Chromecast.

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Nexus 6 rumored to be launched as Nexus X to avoid Blade Runner trademark, expected quiet launch around Halloween

nexus

We heard last month that there was a new Nexus phablet on the way, code-named Shamu. The device is said to have a 5.9-inch 1440×2560 screen and a fingerprint sensor, and to be made by Motorola rather than LG – and seemed a good candidate for the Nexus 6.

PhoneArena is now citing anonymous Motorola sources as saying that the device will instead be launched as the Nexus X, to avoid trademark issues over the Nexus-6 androids in the Philip K Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - later turned into the cult movie Blade Runner …  Read more