Google Fiber coming to Kansas City on July 26

Google announced on the Google Fiber blog today that it will launch the “100 times faster than broadband” Internet service on July 26 in Kansas City. We do not know a lot about what to expect, but a Google Fiber-branded set-top box of sorts did make its way through the Federal Communications Commission in June. We will keep you posted later this month when Google reveals more about its Google Fiber plans for Kansas. Until then, you can sign up to get the latest announcements:

Google Fiber is coming to to Kansas City on July 26. We appreciate your help and support, and we feel privileged to be part of the Kansas City community. For updates on our project, please sign up for our mailing list and look out for an announcement on July 26 at http://google.com/fiber.

Read more

Sony tackles iPod touch with new ICS-powered Walkman with 3.5-inch LCD

Yes, the Walkman still exists, and right now Samsung Galaxy Player is the only iPod touch-comparable Android MP3 player, but maybe (…maybe?) the latest Walkman series by Sony will finally give Apple and its iconic music player a run for its money.

The F800 Series sports a 3.5-inch multi-touch LCD screen, 4.5-hour battery life for video and 20 hours for audio, and it comes in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB flavors. The most notable feature, however, is that it runs Android 4.0 with Google Play access. The F800 also touts an S-Master MX Digital Amplifier and five Clear Audio technologies with a built-in xLOUD speaker system.

“Powered by Android 4.0, the web-enabled Walkman F800 Series lets you enjoy a generous range of pre-installed apps, from email to maps and media gallery. Connect wirelessly via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and download more from an ever-growing choice on Google Play,” announced Sony. “Interacting with your media collection, apps and games is a pleasure, thanks to the large, highly-responsive 8.9cm/3.5” multi-touch screen, plus plenty of processing power for smooth, speedy responses.

Read more

Watch Peter Thiel tell Eric Schmidt that Google doesn’t Innovate

Thiel is probably a bit of an outlier (understatement), but, from a philosophical standpoint, Google could technically be investing more in R&D.

The problem is, to invest responsibly, there has to be a certain level of confidence that the projects will pay off. If anything, Google has become more responsible and focused on R&D.

Thiel is an avowed libertarian, and he has spoken about the importance of beating inflation (not that Google’s money is under some monster mattress somewhere in Mountain View) before.

Read more

Man assaulted over augmented reality glasses, as Google patents security features for Google Glass

Although we have not seen that much about how Google’s augmented reality glasses will actually work (apart from a few photos and video at the Google I/O skydiver demo), the company plans to get the $1,500 Explorer Edition into hands of I/O attendees who preordered the device by next year. Google appears to already be thinking about security features for Project Glass with a patent published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (via Engadget) that details various ways of locking the device or sounding an alarm when detecting unnatural movements. It would also be capable of alerting authorities that the glasses have been stolen or unintentionally removed.

These features would have certainly been useful to University of Toronto professor Dr. Steve Mann (pictured above), who recently was physically assaulted for wearing his EyeTap Digital Eye Glass system. Mann described the experience of having his vision system, which he explained could only be removed with special tools, ripped off his head by a McDonalds employee:

Read more

Motorola Xoom does not violate iPad design patent, rules German court

A German court ruled this morning that the Android-powered tablet does not violate the patented look of Apple’s tablet. The Duesseldorf court discarded one claim by the Google-owned manufacturer, however, about the iPad’s design patent being inapplicable.

FoxBusiness explained:

  • Apple initially sued Motorola for allegedly infringing three iPad designs with the Xoom. It sought to have the device banned across Europe.
  • Although the judges ruled Motorola’s Xoom doesn’t infringe on the iPad, the court rejected a counterclaim brought by Motorola alleging the iPad’s design patent is invalid, a spokesman for the court said.
  • As the court ultimately rejected both parties’ claims, it ordered Apple to pay two-thirds of costs and Motorola to pay a third, the spokesman added.
  • […] During two hearings prior to the ruling, the presiding judge had indicated the court was leaning in Motorola’s favor. Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann said in March that the court considered the evenly bent back and shaped edges on the front of the Xoom tablet sufficient to give the product individual character.

Apple is also suing Motorola in a Mannheim court for allegedly breaching a patent on multi-touch enabled devices.

Get the full report at FoxBusiness.

Read more

Google Ideas announces the INFO summit as a way to expose violent illicit networks

In a blog post today, Google Ideas head Jared Cohen described a new initiative to expose violent illicit networks.

  • Violent illicit networks represent a trillion-dollar problem that affects every society in the world and claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year. For example, more than 50,000 people have died in the past five years as a result of the ongoing war in Mexico between rival drug cartels. And although data on this subject is scarce and often unreliable, in 2003 the UN estimated the value of the illicit drug market to be nearly $320 billion, greater than the gross domestic product of 88 percent of countries in the world—and that was almost 10 years ago. It’s clear that illicit networks—particularly those that are violent and coercive like drug smugglers, arms dealers and human traffickers—have a devastating human and financial impact on every nation.
  • We think Google can help. Eighteen months ago we launched Google Ideas with the belief that Google is in the unique position to explore the role that technology can play in tackling some of the toughest human challenges in the world. Our first area of focus was counter-radicalization; last year we convened the Summit Against Violent Extremism with former gang members, right-wing extremists, jihadists and militants as well as survivors of violent extremism. Among the many outcomes of the summit was a platform that we established as a one-stop shop for tackling violent extremism through formers and survivors.

Google will upload videos from the summit to the YouTube channel and on Twitter via @googleideas and #infosummit2012.

This is an interesting wing of Google, where former CEO Eric Schmidt plays a big role (Cohen and Schmidt are co-authoring a book). Ideas has not yet bore any fruits other than goodwill, but it has some potential to create some real change.

For a profile on Cohen, check out a Fortune post I wrote a few years ago. Read more

Street View gets historical with 360-imagery of the Antarctic’s famous explorer locations [Video]

Almost two years after launching Street View imagery of the Antarctic, Google is now adding breathtaking, panoramic views of historic locations.

According to the official Google Blog:

  • In the winter of 1913, a British newspaper ran an advertisement to promote the latest imperial expedition to Antarctica, apparently placed by polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. It read, “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.” While the ad appears apocryphal, the dangerous nature of the journey to the South Pole is certainly not—as explorers like Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott and Shackleton himself discovered as they tried to become the first men to reach it.

Google joined forces with the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota and the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust to capture 360-imagery—including interior, exterior, and landscape shots—of the explorers’ preserved camp sites.

The South Pole TelescopeShackleton’s hutScott’s hut, Cape Royds Adélie Penguin Rookery, and the Ceremonial South Pole are now on Google Maps in stunning, high-resolution photography.

Check out a few screenshots below. 

Read more

Google’s big Marissa Mayer problem: Talent retention

The big news this week at Google is that one of its highest profile and longest reigning employees left to go lead a competitor, Yahoo!. While Yahoo is ostensibly gone from Search, it is still playing in the Maps, Location, Email/Calendar, news aggregation, Mobile, and many others in the same fields as Google. Make no mistake…Yahoo and Google are competitors.

The choice of candidate for Yahoo is as good as it could have gotten (and much better than most envisioned in Ross Levensohn), and it seems like a stellar selection considering the Yahoo Board’s last few choices.

As Mayer told Charlie Rose in 2009, she puts an extremely high price on the value of the people at a company and after having been at Google for 12+ years, that is where most of the good people she knows now work. Google’s employees are also aware that Yahoo is going to be spend a lot of money on talent changes as Mayer starts her tenure tomorrow, so those not happy at their current situation know where to call.

Google has been in a fight over recent years to retain talent from employees that head to Apple, Facebook, or Twitter. But, I think this is a different league of problem that will reach high into Google’s Org chart.

I also think Yahoo is still screwed.

Google’s Marissa Mayer named President & CEO of Yahoo

The NYTimes has the story:

  • The appointment of Ms. Mayer, who was employee No. 20 at Google and was one of the few public faces of the company, is considered a surprising coup for Yahoo, which has struggled in recent years to attract top flight talent in its battle with competitors like Google and Facebook.
  • Ms. Mayer, 37, had for years been responsible for the look and feel of Google’s most popular products: the famously unadorned white search homepage, Gmail, Google News and Google Images. More recently, Ms. Mayer, an engineer by training whose first job at Google included computer programming, was put in charge of the company’s location and local services, including Google Maps, overseeing more than 1,000 product managers. She also sat on Google’s operating committee, part of a small circle of senior executives who had the ear of Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Mayer has been on the outs for some time at Google, and she did not show for Google I/O this year. She moved up the food chain from being Google employee No. 20 and first female engineer. Mayer’s rise took her from engineer to project manager to Director of Consumer Web Services to VP of Search Products and User Experience, and finally to Location in a broad shift. She was also on the very influential “Operating Committee” of high ranking officers.

However, she was not promoted as one of Larry Page’s seven business heads when he re-took over the company last year.

Mayer is on Walmart’s board of directors, and she briefly dated Google CEO Page who said:

“Since arriving at Google just over 13 years ago as employee #20, Marissa has been a tireless champion of our users. She contributed to the development of our Search, Geo, and Local products. We will miss her talents at Google.”

Mayer said,

“I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users.  I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”

The press release is below. 

Read more

WSJ profiles how Google Docs costs one-tenth of Microsoft [Video]

Microsoft is slated to unveil its next iteration of Office today, and The Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide is prepping the announcement with some comparison data about the productivity suite and its direct cloud-based rival Google Apps.

According to the WSJ’s video above, Dominion Enterprises held a $2 million annual contract with Microsoft, but it recently decided to switch to Google Apps. The company now pays $200,000 for Google’s services.

Despite the loss, the Office sodtware remains a hugely successful product for Microsoft. It is one of the company’s most profitable goods, and it continues to maintain a stronghold in the desktop productivity market. Google Apps, on the other hand, is still in its infancy, but it is rapidly gaining steam and attention.

Today’s announcement from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will surely set the pace for the company’s future against the ever-growing Google Apps.

Read more

Google patent details hybrid notebook/tablet with virtual keyboard

Today, Patent Bolt covered a newly published Google patent application that details what appears to be a hybrid notebook/tablet design. We noted recently it would not be too shocking to see more Google-made hardware following the company jumping into end-to-end manufacturing of its new U.S.-made Nexus Q hardware. With that in mind, it is certainly interesting to see innovative notebook designs are at least being conceptualized at Google.

As noted in the report, aspects of the patent application cover a notebook device with virtual keyboard and trackpad in place of a traditional physical keyboard. While the patent covers a wide variety of possible configurations, some highlights include:
Read more

NBC Olympics to live stream games on mobile devices with two Adobe-powered apps [Video]

NBC just unveiled two Adobe-powered mobile apps for its 2012 London Olympics coverage.

The NBC Olympics Live Companion app will act as a second display for stats and other details so users have a full bevy of data to compliment their television-watching experience. Meanwhile, the NBC Olympics Live Extra app will pipe live-streaming video to on-the-go users. It can handle multiple camera angles, social features, and the ability to seamlessly switch between both Olympics apps.

The free apps will launch today on both Apple’s App Store for iOS devices and the Google Play Store for Android smartphone and tablets. They will also support “TV Everywhere” authentication with cable providers for unlimited access to all the premium content. Users simply need to login to their pay-TV subscription to tap into 3,500 hours of Olympic events.

“To make it as easy as possible, you only need to go through the sign-in once and won’t have to “re-authenticate” every time you want to watch a live event,” explained Adobe on its Digital Media Blog. “For the first time in Olympics history, mobile apps will give you the opportunity to view live broadcasts of all Olympic events in the palm of your hand.”

NBC Olympics is also using Adobe technologies to serve ads, measure and monetize content, and provide digital analytics in both apps.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

The press release is below.

Read more