The hidden costs of being a technology innovator: Google’s $3.8M state lobbying spend

Google Personal Search

Politico has an interesting look at the lobbying Google need to do to ensure that it’s technological plans don’t get outlawed by legislation.

We’ve mentioned before one obvious need for lobbying: ensuring that self-driving cars are legal to use once they are eventually ready to go on sale to the public.

Google’s self-driving car has posed that particular challenge: Twelve states this year alone have explored some new regulation of those vehicles on local roadways, according to data compiled for POLITICO by the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in almost each of those capitals, Google has lobbied intensely to stave off any new, onerous restrictions …

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Google says that it has no current plans for Fiber in New York City

google-fiber-brick

Earlier this week, a job listing emerged regarding Google Fiber in New York City. This led many people to speculate that Google was working to launch its fiber network in the Big Apple. Fiber rollouts have been sparse so far, with the service only hitting a few markets, including Austin and Kansas City, so the idea of it launching in a city as massive as New York was certainly surprising. Although the company did recently announce a larger-scale rollout to nine new metro areas.

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Not content with biggest building space in New York City, Google plans additional expansion for 3000 more employees

111-eighth-ave-google-port authority

Not enough space?

Google owns the biggest building by square footage in New York City, the 111 Eighth Avenue building previously owned by the Port Authority and one of the most wired buildings in the world. Google finalized the $1.9B purchase at the end of 2010 and has continued to also occupy office space in the Chelsea Market building across the street.

The WSJ reports (paywall) Google now…

wants to expand further in the city, launching a search for enough space to hold more than 3,000 employees, according to several real-estate executives familiar with the hunt.

The Internet firm has been in discussions with several landlords about leasing at much as 600,000 square feet in Manhattan—about half the size of the Chrysler Building. A space that large would represent a roughly 80% expansion for the company, which first established a small outpost in New York in 2000.

What’s interesting about this expansion plan is that Google hasn’t even filled out its Chelsea offices, still leasing many offices out to other companies and data centers that signed leases before the 2010 purchase.

Watch live as HTC unveils the new HTC One (M8) at 11am ET [Livestream]

htc-one-live-stage

In case you’ve missed the countless rumors and leaks on tech blogs in recent weeks, HTC is about to unveil its second generation HTC One that has up until now mostly been referred to as its codename “M8”. If you want to watch the live event taking place in New York in just over an hour from now at 11am ET, it looks like you’ll be able to do so through what appears to be a live stream on HTC’s website here.

It looks like there won’t be many surprises at the event— there’s already a full video walkthrough of the device online— but we’ll at the very least get confirmation of specs, a look at new software features, and hopefully details on pricing and availability. If the rumors are right, HTC might stick with the One branding and simply call the device The New HTC One. In addition to the livestream, we’ll be on hand at the event to bring you updates as they happen on 9to5Google.com.

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Cute corners of the Google Maps world: fictitious towns & polar bears

agloe

Search for Agloe, NY, in Google Maps and the small town will duly appear. Which is odd, as Agloe doesn’t exist, and never has.

BigThink reports that Agloe was one of a number of ‘paper towns,’ places that were invented by early map-makers back in the 1930s in order to catch out rival companies who stole their work.

How do you prove someone stole your map, if that map accurately reflects reality? The answer: add fantasy! Mapmakers had been able to take their competitors to court by pointing out fake places (a.k.a. paper towns) on their maps that were copied from their original work! For this reason, fictitious roads are often called trap streets: because they entrap the company copying them onto their own maps …  Read more

HTC plans to emulate Samsung’s something-for-everyone strategy to reverse losses

HTC acknowledges that it needs more than high-end handsets

HTC acknowledges that it needs more than high-end handsets

While HTC technically ended 2013 in profit, the company says that declining margins are likely to see it end the first quarter of this year with a loss. HTC reported a wafer-thin profit of $10M from revenues of $1.4B, the latter figure 28 percent down year-on year. Its global market share of shipments was just two percent.

Reuters reports that the company plans to make a wider range of more affordable phones – the same strategy used by Samsung. Samsung made most of its money last year from a combination of its chip-manufacturing business and low- to mid-range handsets, and has itself come under pressure from low-cost competitor handsets …  Read more

NYPD confirms it’s testing Google Glass with officers on patrol

A visitor is testing the new Google Glasses at the international fair for digital economy 'NEXT Berlin 2013' in Berlin, Germany, 24 April 2013.  NEXT Berlin 2013 is an international trade for which serves as a platform of digital innovations from the worl

Now that Google’s Glass Explorer program is open to just about anyone in the U.S. that wants to signup for the $1500 head-mounted computer, we’re bound to see more and more people test the product in new scenarios. Today we get word from a VentureBeat report that The New York City Police Department has invested in a few pairs of the wearable in order to test Glass as a surveillance tool during patrols.  Read more

Google Glass will get stereo headphones and lots of new music features demonstrated by Young Guru

In its Explorer Story: Young Guru [through Google Glass], Google shows a lot of new features of the Google Glass upgrade and expected upgrades including the hardware addition of the stereo headphones.

We discussed Google Music hidden in the XE11 update yesterday but we’re seeing the Shazam type of song recognition, and some nice translation work as well.

Can’t wait! via

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Google Glass still needs personal talk-through, but now via Hangout chat

glass

If an existing Google Glass Explorer has sent one of their three invitations to you, the good news is you no longer have to travel to Google’s offices in NY or LA to collect your gadget in person.

For the first round of Explorers, Google had insisted on personal collection so that a member of staff could talk them through the product and assist them with setup. Those accepting invitations now are being offered a 45-minute one-to-one on Google Hangouts …  Read more

YouTube announces music awards show “powered by you” (and not by Vevo)

YouTube has announced a crowd-sourced music awards show streamed live from New York on 3rd November, with the winning acts chosen by YouTube viewers.

We get it. You love music. From propelling unknown artists to the top of the charts, to cheering on established artists as they reinvent the music video, to remixing and reimagining your own, music fans have turned YouTube into the world’s go-to music destination. Now, to celebrate music fans and the music you love, we’re announcing a new kind of awards show–one powered by you …  Read more

New York regulators crack down on fake online reviews, is Google Play next?

Google-Play-reviews

The New York Times reports that New York regulators will today announce a new initiative that aims to crackdown on fake reviews online. They’ve already reached settlement agreements with a number of companies and issued fines of around $350,000 to companies purchasing and providing fake reviews, many of which are submitted to services such as Google, Yahoo, and Yelp. Fake reviews have always been an issue for Google Play and just about every mobile app marketplace, so perhaps regulators will soon extend their investigation to mobile app stores as well.

“What we’ve found is even worse than old-fashioned false advertising,” said Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. “When you look at a billboard, you can tell it’s a paid advertisement — but on Yelp or Citysearch, you assume you’re reading authentic consumer opinions, making this practice even more deceiving.”

Regulators found that US Coachways, one of the companies included in the investigation, had hired freelance writers to write fake reviews on Yelp and other services: Read more

Moto X ‘Lazy Phone’ ads highlight ‘no touch’ interface, quick look camera

Motorola just released a trio of humorous ads touting features of its Moto X phone that don’t come in other phones. Above, highlights the abilities of the Moto X to respond to voice commands without touching the device. Two more goodies below show the shake to camera and quick look features. Both are great. Read more