Google releases Chrome 25 Beta with Web Speech API

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 1.51.06 PMbrowser-mac

Google launched Chrome 24 for Windows, Mac, and Linux just last week, and now it has already released Chrome 25 Beta with a Web Speech API.

The Web Speech API will let users have “new, interactive experiences with web apps,” according to the official Google Chrome blog. The JavaScript API will further allow developers to “integrate speech recognition into their web apps.”

Google has pushed voice recognition and dictation on Android devices as of late and is clearly trying to bring desktop capabilities up to speed with today’s Chrome Beta release.

Chrome 25 Beta will also auto-disable some silently added, third-party extensions on Windows, but a notification will allow users to re-enable such extensions.

Read more

FTC’s Jon Leibowitz says antitrust settlement with Google was about ‘doing the right thing’

ftc-chairman-jon-leibowitz-sees-no-misuse-of-the-search-domain

FTC’s Jon Leibowitz

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission ended its probe against Google last week, and now the agency’s chairperson, Jon Leibowitz, is discussing the controversial decision with TPM.

“We did what were paid to do and what the law requires,” Leibowitz told TPM. “We went after a company [Google] where the law required us to do so, and forwent bringing a case where the law required us not to bring one.”

The FTC investigated claims as to whether Google gave itself an unfair advantage in search results and blocked sales in America of competing mobile devices. Leibowitz said all five commissioners, from both ends of the political spectrum, agreed that the evidence “militated” against an antitrust case.

Read more

Google’s Eric Schmidt encourages North Korea to end Internet-access barriers (Video)

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt encouraged North Korean officials to let go of Internet-access barriers if they wish to continue developing their country, he told reporters today in Beijing after concluding his three-day trip to North Korea.

“As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world,” Schmidt said, according to The Wall Street Journal. He also noted it would “make it harder for them to catch up economically. We made that alternative very, very clear.”

Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson led a nine-person American delegation in North Korea this week. Their group included Jared Cohen, a former State Department official who founded Google Ideas, and Tony Namkung, an adviser to Richardson.

Schmidt called the trip “a private visit to North Korea to talk about the free and open Internet,” but the U.S. State Department said earlier on that the timing of their visit was “unhelpful.”

Richardson announced when leaving for Pyongyang on Tuesday that the delegation trip was not a Google trip, but rather a “humanitarian private visit.” He told reporters today that talks with officials on technology were “the most productive talks of the trip.”

Read more

CES 2013: Hands-on with the Android-powered Archos GamePad (Video)

In August, Archos unveiled its Android 4.1-powered handheld gaming device dubbed the “GamePad.” Today, 9to5Google got a little of hands-on time with 7-inch slate equipped with physical, traditional game controls on the CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The $149 unit is currently selling in the European Union (Archos said response has been very positive) and will be making its way to the United States in the next couple of months. In the demo video above, Archos walked us through its built-in software for mapping virtual, on-screen controls to the GamePad’s hardware buttons, and it even works with Android apps that weren’t built to recognize hardware controllers.

Google invests $200M in renewable energy with 161-megawatt Texas wind farm

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 4.05.53 PM

Google just announced a $200 million equity investment in a west Texas wind farm that produces enough renewable energy to power roughly 60,000 average U.S. homes.

According to a post on the official Google Blog, Spinning Spur Wind Project will join Google’s 10 other renewable energy investments made since 2010:

Spinning Spur Wind Project is located in Oldham County, a wide open, windy section of the Texas Panhandle located about 35 miles from Amarillo. The 161 megawatt facility was built by renewable energy developer EDF Renewable Energy, a veteran in the industry that has overseen more than 50 other clean energy projects. Spinning Spur’s 70 2.3 MW Siemens turbines started spinning full time just before the end of the year, and the energy they create has been contracted to SPS, a utility that primarily serves Texas and New Mexico.

Read more

Google’s Eric Schmidt visits computer Lab in North Korea (Video)

Google chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson visited a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang today as part of their four-day visit.

According to Bloomberg, Schmidt and Richardson left Beijing on Jan. 7 for Pyongyang to lead a nine-person American delegation. The group includes Jared Cohen, a former State Department official who founded Google Ideas, and Tony Namkung, an adviser to Richardson.

Richardson announced when leaving for Pyongyang yesterday that the delegation trip was not a Google trip: “We are going to ask about the American who’s been detained,” he said. “A humanitarian private visit.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. State Department called the timing of their visit “unhelpful.” There’s no additional information about what they plan to do in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, otherwise known as North Korea, but the above video and subsequent report by the Associated Press gives an inside look:

Read more