Google changes its mind and signs student privacy pledge, says reaffirms existing promises

pledge

Google has changed its mind and signed the student privacy pledge endorsed by President Obama last week, reports the WSJ. The pledge commits companies not to sell student data or use targeted ads on education products.

A total of 75 companies signed the pledge last week, including other tech giants like Apple and Microsoft, but Google declined, saying that it already had these commitments in place. Google’s change of heart may have been influenced by Obama’s statement that he would ensure parents were aware of companies that had not signed-up …  Read more

SpaceX officially announces Google investment leading billion dollar financing round

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After reports this week that Google was close to making an investment in SpaceX, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s privately funded company working to make advancements in space travel, the companies today have made an official announcement.

Google is leading a billion dollar financing round with Fidelity giving the two companies collectively almost 10% of SpaceX: Read more

Google reportedly plans SpaceX investment for high-speed Internet satellites

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According to a new report from The Information, Google is currently considering investing in SpaceX, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s privately funded company working to make advancements in space travel. Rather than SpaceX projects looking to enable low-cost space travel, Google’s potential investment, according to the report, would be to help “support the development of SpaceX satellites that could beam low-cost Internet around the globe to billions who don’t have it.”

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Google now offering fast access to ticket purchases when searching bands and venues

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Performer search left, venue search right

 

If you search for a band or live venue, there’s a high chance it’s because you want to buy tickets for an upcoming show. Google is now making that easier by displaying upcoming events in the search results, with a direct link to purchase tickets.

It may take a few days to start seeing these results, as Google has just explained to webmasters for bands and venues the steps they need to take to ensure the information shows up in searches. They can either add a little HTML to their webpages, or install a widget that does it for them …  Read more

Google relaunches ‘City Experts’ program as ‘Local Guides,’ makes it more community friendly

ggllcl0114-groupSparklers

Google has today relaunched its review program previously called City Experts as Local Guides, and hopes to engage the community and get more people involved through what looks to be some much more friendly branding and fun new features. While Google previously touted the “exclusive benefits” you could receive through the program and required “50 high-quality reviews” for entry, the new program instead suggests that you “help others and support businesses” and encourages you to “be yourself.”

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Google ending its Glass Explorer program ahead of new version under Tony Fadell’s leadership

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Update: Google has made an official blog post detailing the changes to the Glass project. More information below.

It looks like Google may finally be preparing Glass for primetime as a number of changes around the company’s heads-up display product were revealed today. Most notably, the Glass project will be moving from the experimental Google X group to its own unit under the leadership of Tony Fadell, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Next of note, Google will end the current run of its Glass Explorers program on January 19th, removing the current version of Glass from sale to individuals; however, the WSJ includes that businesses and developers interested in purchasing Glass can still do so through an application process. The Glass at Work program, which has continued to grow, will live on beyond the Explorer Program’s imminent demise. Read more

Google and PwC are teaming up to help reinvent healthcare for the US military

PwC | Google for Work 2015-01-15 09-00-35

PwC—short for PricewaterhouseCoopers—is a large multinational professional services network, and the company announced in October of last year that it would begin working with Google to bring “a variety of new and innovative technologies to companies around the world.” Reading that sounds unspecific and, frankly, because Google is always working on new technology, these kinds of announcements don’t really catch the eye of the public.

Today, though, PwC has announced a specific venture that Google is joining, and this one intends to reimagine the military health system in the United States…

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Google partners with auto suppliers, enters talks with GM, Ford, Volkswagen and Daimler over self-driving cars

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Google is getting serious about its self-driving car initiative.

Reuters reports on Wednesday that Google has entered discussions with several top automative manufacturers about self-driving cars, including General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen and Daimler, the German company behind Mercedes-Benz. The company has also partnered with a number of auto suppliers to develop and refine self-driving systems and components, such as Continental AG, Robert Bosch, LG Electronics and Nvidia. Read more

Kevin Rose moves from partner to advisor at Google Ventures as North raises $5 million

Kevin Rose Kevin Systrom

Digg founder Kevin Rose was first hired by Google as a partner at Google Ventures in early 2012, and today we learned Rose is shaking up his involvement at the search company’s investment arm. As Fortune notes, Kevin Rose decided several months back to move from general partner to venture partner at Google Ventures, and today Rose shared that his role will shift to an advisory one. Read more

Google reaches deal with employees in lawsuit over anti-poaching policies

Google

Update: According to Reuters, the settlement is $415 million, a big improvement over the previous $380 million offer.

Apple has reached a deal with its employees over do-not-hire policies that workers claim prevented them from getting higher-paying jobs at competing companies. Judge Lucy Koh previously rejected an offer to the tune of $324 million that the plaintiff in the case said was too low.

Today’s settlement is presumably for much more money than the original, since the plaintiff has accepted it, but the details of the deal have not yet been disclosed. Judge Koh said that the prior offer should have been closer to $380 million.

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Google launches 100% electric, WiFi-powered Mountain View Community Shuttle program

Motiv Power Systems Shuttle Buses

First announced in July of 2014, Google has this week launched—in partnership with Motiv and the city of Mountain View—a free shuttle service to help residents of the Santa Clara city get around town. Besides being completely free to the public, the service touts the fact that its first four shuttles are completely electric, can seat up to 16 passengers, have free WiFi for all riders, and have bike racks as well as wheelchair access.

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