Google’s Tim Bray on three years at Google and the downside ‘if Google becomes evil’

Tim Bray turns 3 at Google this week. His post on his time is a thoughtful one.

On Google turning evil for real:

Being Evil · There’s no there there. Near as I can tell three years in, Google really wants you to be online all the time (signed in if possible) and put everything in the cloud and use our search engine and and enjoy those experiences and not get hacked, and that’s about it. The money we make falls out of those things.

The interesting question isn’t “Is Google evil?” (answer: not particularly) but “What’s the downside if Google suddenly becomes evil?” Because the chance is nonzero that when our founders die or get bored, MBAs with desiccated souls will be in command, and not really understand why it matters that people have decided, by and large, to trust us.

Fortunately, there’s a firewall: the Data Liberation Front, which strongly limits the evil that an evil Google could do. It’s simultaneously a useful utility and the canary in the coalmine. People should pay attention to it.

Bray’s one of those people I trust to fall outside of corporate-speak and tell it like it is. If I were Google, I’d open an office in Vancouver. Yesterday Read more

Google Maps adds live transit data for 7 NYC subway lines, Salt Lake City’s UTA, and Washington DC’s Metrorail

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Google Maps updated on Wednesday with live information for public transit systems in New York City, Salt Lake City, and Washington D.C.

The Google Lat Long blog announced the news, detailing how seven New York City MTA subway lines and Salt Lake City UTA buses and trains will now boast live departure times. The Metrorail in Washington, D.C. is also offering real-time service alerts for unplanned delays, scheduled track work, etc., via Metro’s Control Center on Google Maps.

“With these updates – part of the millions of live transit schedule updates we process every day – you get instant access to the latest information right on Google Maps, making trip planning a cinch,” Google Maps explained in its blog post.

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Humble Bundle for Android: Plants vs. Zombies, Contre Jour, Anomaly Korea and Bladeslinger

Pay what you want for the Android versions of Plants vs. Zombies, Contre Jour, Anomaly Korea, and Bladeslinger, and help charity (the Child’s Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation). Plus, if you beat the average, you’ll also get Android versions of The Room and Metal Slug 3. This promotion will only last 2 weeks, so get it now at: http://www.humblebundle.com


 

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T-Mobile to offer Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One for $99 starting May 1

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In conjunction with 4G LTE news, T-Mobile revealed on Tuesday that it would make many 4G LTE-capable devices available with its pricing models.

A few of the notable Android devices launching on T-Mobile’s latest 4G LTE deployment include the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy Note II.

T-Mobile said the HTC One is its first 4G LTE smartphone to feature HTC Sense, and it will launch later this spring “in all T-Mobile channels.” The Galaxy S 4 will apparently launch May 1, according to T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere at a press event in New York City. That’s the most specific news we’ve heard.

T-Mobile notably dropped its traditional two-year contract model today, so customers will now have to shell out $99.99 for a device and then pay the rest via $20 monthly installments added to their bill over the following two years. Once the phone is fully paid off, the bill’s total will reduce by $20 a month. Each of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE devices will use the same $99.99 upfront/$20 a month model.

T-Mobile will offer the BlackBerry Z10 and the iPhone for $99, as well. There is no mention of Windows devices.

Get more information about plan pricing in the press release below.

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Latest Motorola X Phone specs and render point to 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass 3 display

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Reports are swirling about the mysterious Motorola X Phone, such as this morning’s story by PhoneArena, but rumors that are more recent have added to the pool with new information on the display and software.

GSMArena claimed on Monday that the Motorola X Phone would allegedly have a 4.7-inch, 1,280-by-768-resolution display with Gorilla Glass 3, where as PhoneArena said it would sport a 4.8-inch display made of Sapphire glass. This latest report also said the device would offer Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with “very few customizations job by Motorola.”

GSMArena even obtained a new render of the X Phone (as seen above):

We were just sent a render of an yet unannounced Motorola Android smartphone. What you see pictured below is supposedly the Motorola X Phone, which might break cover at Google I/O starting on May 15. Along with the render came a short description of the specs, as reported by a person close to the team behind the X Phone. Since we got no proof of that information or the acual source of the tip, you’d do well to take this with more than a pinch of salt.

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Evernote updates to version 5.0, brings camera scanner and Shortcuts to an improved UI

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It’s been nearly four months since Evernote was updated to version 5.0 on iOS, and today Android will reap in the benefits of the update. Evernote 5.0 for Android brings a bunch of new productivity and utility features to the popular note-taking app.

One of the niftiest features of the update includes something new from Evernote called ‘Page Camera’. Page Camera allows the user to take a picture of a written (or typed) paper document and save the photo to Evernote. The camera automatically detects the text and enhances it to make reading it on a device easier. Another feature, which was released on OS X in January, titled ‘Shortcuts’, allows the user to access notes faster and easier than before. Finally, if you use Evernote to save pictures that you take, then ‘Multi-Shot Camera’ may be your new favorite feature. The camera update allows users to take multiple photos and save them in bulk, rather than the old method of taking shots individually.

The update is available today via the Play Store, or you can download Evernote right here.

Report: Motorola X to launch in Nov. with 4.8″ sapphire glass display, Snapdragon 800, 4000mAh battery

motorola-officeWe have been hearing a lot about the much rumored Motorola X phone. Motorola’s new advisor Guy Kawasaki has been hinting at some big customization options for upcoming Motorola devices, and previously Google CEO Larry Page said Motorola was working on some advanced new features for future smartphones. Some sketchy reports of specs first leaked earlier this month, but a new report today would seem to make sense given Page’s previous comments.

While they don’t exactly match the rumored specs from earlier this month, PhoneArena is reporting a tipster has provided some information on specs for the Motorola X device. Most notable is the mention of a 4.8-inch made of sapphire glass and a 4,000mAh battery, two things that would seem to line up with Page’s comments related to better batteries and impact-resistant designs.

Other specs in the report include corners “made with rubber bumpers”, a carbon fiber back case, and a quad-core 2Ghz Quallcomm Snapdragon 800. The rubber bumpers could also be related to Page’s comments about devices that are more resistant to impact. PhoneArena is also claiming that the device will be water resistant and launch in November in time for the holiday shopping season.

No word on potential hardware customization options as speculated by many following Kawasaki’s comments. Read more

FAA expected to allow tablet and laptop use during take-off & landing this year

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The Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation into whether airline passengers can be allowed to use tablets, eBook readers and laptops throughout a flight is apparently looking hopeful, as The New York Times cited an insider saying approval would likely be granted this year.

According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.

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HTC attempts turnaround after missing the boat on HTC One launch

OB-WU880_HTCBen_D_20130325053504After failing to get its new HTC One phone into the stores before the Samsung Galaxy 4, and seeing its sales fall 41 percent last year, HTC has told the Wall Street Journal that it will make big changes to its marketing approach.

HTC’s new chief marketing officer Benjamin Ho said the company would withdraw the ‘Quietly Brilliant’ tagline that was symptomatic of its whole approach to marketing: low-key, product-focused, and refraining from head-to-head challenges to its competitors.

The first evidence of this switch in strategy was seen in its response to Samsung’s launch of the Galaxy S4. HTC tweeted that it was #theNextBigFlop and did demos of the HTC One to journalists queuing to attend Samsung’s press launch … Read more

Mini Galaxy S IV specs and photos leak

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Samsung is not very good at keeping secrets it seems, as a new leak of yet another device has slipped into the wild. The Samsung Galaxy S IV hasn’t even launched yet, but its Mini counterpart is already prepared and presumably ready for an imminent launch.

The pictures, found by SamMobile, show the device to look just like a shrunken down version of its bigger brother, with the exception of some lower quality components. You will not find an 8-core Exynos processor inside the Mini but rather a dual-core 1.6GHz. Of course, the main difference between the S IV and the Mini is the screen size. You’ll find a 4.3-inch inch display at 256PPI on the Mini—much smaller than the 5-inch inch 1080P at 443PPI found on the S4.

The Mini is expected to launch sometime in June at an unspecified price point. It’s also unknown what carriers it’ll be available on or if it’ll launch in the United States at all.

A full picture gallery courtesy SanMobile is available below.

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Google hosts Indonesian street art with Chrome Open Spaces, invites archipelago artists to submit work via custom Chrome app (Video)

Google is really into art, as evident by the company’s most recent update to the Google Art Project, and now it is hosting Indonesian art via the Chrome Open Spaces project.

The Google Chrome blog has the story:

From old masters like Basuki to contemporary street artists like Darbotz, Indonesia has a long and rich history of art. The rapidly growing population and economy has led to densified urban spaces,crazy traffic and the rise of Indonesian street art. The Chrome Open Spaces project used the web to bring all these elements together.

Google said the project showcases creativity blended with modern web technologies, such as HTML5, and it even allows archipelago artists to submit drawings through a custom-designed Chrome app that enables the creation of online ‘street art’ with digital values.

“Over 12,000 drawings were submitted and 11,000 votes were cast,” Google explained. “From these virtual paintings, nine winners were chosen to have their creations showcased on buildings and walls across Jakarta and Bandung.”

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