Google Cast for audio brings music streaming from Android, iOS & web to third-party speakers

Google today announced Google Cast for audio, which the company says takes advantage of Chromecast tech to send audio to third-party hardware like speakers, A/V receivers, and sound bars. The feature will allow users to tap a “cast” button from within music and radio apps on Android, iOS and the web to stream audio to Google Cast enabled speakers. Read more

What we expect to see from Google in 2015

google2015

It has been a pretty exciting year for Google in a lot of ways. Android Wear has started to ignite excitement behind the future of wearable technology, the best version of Android ever—dubbed Lollipop—was released, a couple of brand new Nexus devices (one of which we leaked) came to fruition, and the Mountain View corporation’s new Material Design language has taken the Play Store by storm. Everything that was already great was made better in 2014, and the company has been sprinkling a bunch of exciting innovations in along the way to keep things interesting—like the self-driving car, for example.

In 2015, Google is probably going to do much the same. Android “M” (milkshake, maybe?) will likely be unveiled at Google I/O this upcoming summer, we’ll probably see a round of new Nexus hardware come later in the year, Google will likely keep pushing Chromebooks in the affordable segment of the PC market, and Android Wear devices from countless manufacturers will continue to get thinner and have better and better battery life. But Google surely has some drastic innovation planned in a variety of areas, as well, with the potential return of Google Glass on the horizon and the second spiral of Project Ara to be unveiled in a couple of weeks.

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China tightens blockade on Google, blocking email app access to Gmail [Update: restored for now]

china

Update: The FT reports that access has been restored for now at least, with a slight pickup in Google’s stats appearing to confirm.

China has tightened its firewall blockade of Google services, reports Re/code and the WSJ, with email apps no longer able to access Gmail via IMAP, POP3 or SMTP. While web access to Gmail has been blocked since June – believed related to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre – users had remained able to access mail using email apps like Apple Mail and Outlook until Friday …  Read more

Report: Google agrees to stream ‘The Interview’ on YouTube and Play Store (update: confirmed)

the-interview

Update: Sony and Google have officially announced that “The Interview” will be available on YouTube, Google Play, and Xbox Video today, December 24th, at 1PM Eastern. The film will cost $5.99 to rent or $14.99 to own.

Google had the following to say in a statement:

Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we’d be able to make their movie, “The Interview,” available online. We’d had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds.

Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be).

So starting at 10 a.m. PST in the U.S., you can rent or buy “The Interview” on Google Play and YouTube Movies. It will also be available to Xbox Video customers and via http://www.seetheinterview.com.

Original report below:

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The Oatmeal goes for a ride in a ‘real-build’ Google self-driving car, here’s the resulting cartoon

prototype

Matthew Inman writes the popular Web cartoon strip The Oatmeal and in a brilliant strategic PR move, Google gave him a ride in “the first real build” of its self-driving car.

The result is a well written piece on the optimism and pitfalls of this brave new technology. Spoiler:

The unfortunate part of something this transformative is the inevitable, ardent stupidity which is going to erupt from the general public. Even if in a few years self-driving cars are proven to be ten times safer than human-operated cars, all it’s going to take is one tragic accident and the public is going to lose their minds. There will be outrage. There will be politicizing. There will be hashtags.
It’s going to suck.

But I say to hell with the public. Let them spend their waking lives putt-putting around on a crowded interstate with all the other half-lucid orangutans on their cell phones.

I say look at the bigger picture. All the self-driving cars currently on the road learn from one another, and each car now collectively possesses 40 years of driving experience. And this technology is still in its infancy.

I say ignore the anecdotes, embrace the data.

I’m ready for our army of Skynet Marshmallow Bumper Bots.

I’m ready for the future. I’m ready for the marshmallows.

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Google adds song lyrics to Knowledge Graph search results

magic lyrics - Google Search 2014-12-22 11-30-32

Every once in a while, we get a new feature added to Google’s Knowledge Graph (the smart results that appear at the top of the search page). Today, Google has added the handy ability to see results for song lyrics right on the search page (via TechCrunch), meaning that websites focusing solely on providing lyrics and fighting for the top of Google’s results in this category might see a bit of a downturn in traffic…

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Google adds new stats, examples of government requests in latest Transparency Report

google

Google released the latest version of its Transparency Report today, revealing data about government requests the company received between June and December of 2013. According to the report, Google received 3,105 requests to remove 14,637 pieces of content within that time period, which brings the total number of requests received by the Mountain View corporation up to 6,591 for the entirety of 2013, a figure that’s about 60% higher than the previous calendar year.

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Google announces Tegra K1 processor will be among those available for Project Ara

Project_Ara_scattered_parts

Google today announced a few new details about the progress on its Project Ara smartphone, which will feature interchangeable internal components designed to allow consumers to build exactly the phone they want and upgrade individual parts as necessary.

The latest update on the project includes some information about what types of processors are expected to be available for the device. Previously Google had announced a partnership with Rockchip to create a custom system-on-a-chip that would power the Ara. The company revealed today that Marvell’s PXA1928 will also be available in the lineup.

However, the bigger news is that the NVIDIA Tegra K1…

Google goes on offense, takes Project Goliath main player Jim Hood to court

Project Goliath Mississippi Google lawsuit

The story of Goliath continues today, and this time it looks like Google is going on the offensive. The Verge is reporting that Google has today filed a lawsuit against one Mississippi State Attorney General Jim Hood, who has largely been at the center of the Goliath controversy. He has recently been facing scrutiny over his deep involvement with the MPAA’s efforts to take a stand against Google, and now Google is taking a stand of its own.

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Google.org giving over $15 million in grants to groups including Feeding America, Nexleaf Analytics, & Malaria No More

Google.org

Google is highlighting some of its philanthropic efforts going into the holidays as it promotes the season of giving. Through Google.org, the charitable arm of the company, Google is donating more than $15 million in grants to three specific groups: Feeding America, Nexleaf Analytics, and Malaria No More. Read more