Google Maps will soon alert users to upcoming railroad crossings

The number of railroad crossing accidents that occur in the United States has declined 80 percent since 1970, but last year that number inexplicably rose 9 percent to approximately 1,100, 270 of which resulted in deaths. Today Google and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a partnership in which Maps users will receive audio and visual alerts when they’re coming close to a railroad crossing in their route, according to a report in the New York Times. The FRA has a vast database of every rail crossing in the country.

Read more

Hugo Barra talks Xiaomi’s long-term U.S. plan, challenges in interview with Re/code (Video)

Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra: Full Interview at Code Conference (Video) | Re:code 2015-06-26 09-13-04

Hugo Barra, perhaps best known for his involvement with the Android team in its earlier days at Google, is now based over in China working at a company late last year named as the most valuable startup in the world. Known for its high-quality budget Android phones, TV sets, smart device accessories, wearables, and more, Xiaomi hasn’t yet officially launched any of these products in the US. Barra spoke to this at Re/code‘s Code Conference recently, mentioning the company’s long-term plan to eventually make it to United States shores despite many challenges… Read more

Huawei’s $250 P8 Lite comes to the US, sports a 5-inch display, Snapdragon 615

huawei-ascend-p8

As expected, the Huawei P8 Lite has now landed in the United States. The phone isn’t exactly the first of its kind—the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 and the ZenFone 2 fall into the same category—but it’s a notable addition to the available mid-range offerings in the US. It’s a stripped down version of the company’s P8, as you might expect… Read more

Xiaomi’s Mi Store ‘beta’ to open in US, UK, France and Germany on May 19th

Mi Store 2015-05-15 12-49-11

Xiaomi is going to very slowly start its entry into Europe and the United States next week, according to a post from the company’s Facebook page. Starting on the 19th of May, the company will offer a small selection of accessories—including power banks and headphones—to buyers in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany… Read more

comScore releases U.S. smartphone subscriber market share for March 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 1.08.51 PM

comScore today released a new U.S. smartphone manufacturer and platform market share report for the three month period ending in March. The data suggests that while the continued strength of iPhone 6 adoption has resulted in market share gains for Apple, Android is still the most popular smartphone platform in the United States.

During the measured period, comScore reports that 187.5 million people in the United States owned smartphones, which equates to 77 percent of the total population. Of that, Apple was the most popular OEM (original equipment manufacturer) with 42.6 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 1% from December), followed by Samsung with 28.3 percent market share (down 1% from December), and LG taking third place with 8.4 percent (up 0.4% from December).

Read more

Google, Apple & other large tech companies urge the White House & Congress not to renew the Patriot Act

patriot-act-reform

Google is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Google was joined by Apple, AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable …  Read more

Google adding fact-checked health information to Knowledge Graph

health-info-animated

Google’s Knowledge Graph–which highlights fact-checked info at the top of certain types of search results–is being expanded to include health-related searches. So next time you want to check whether you have the common cold or a rare strain of Ebola, Google should provide the necessary reassurance.

Starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators.

Google says that the information is pulled from “high-quality medical sources across the web” and then checked by both its own doctors and others from the Mayo Clinic …  Read more

European Parliament approves proposal to break up Google – but it doesn’t mean much

google-europe

A European Parliament motion calling for the breakup of Google, separating out the search business from the company’s other activities, has been overwhelmingly approved, reports the WSJ.

In a vote in Strasbourg, 384 legislators voted in favor of the controversial initiative, with 174 against and 56 abstentions […]

“Clear adoption by the EP of Digital Single Market motion, including unbundling for search engine if needed,” tweeted Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker from Spain who backed the proposal.

The vote comes just a day after a separate European call for the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling to be extended to google.com as well as the European versions of its sites …  Read more

Samsung to launch 3G-connected Gear S smartwatch in United States next week

Samsung Gear SSamsung on Thursday announced that it will be launching the Gear S smartwatch in the United States on next Friday, November 7th. The first 3G-connected smartwatch was originally announced in August and features a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display, 1.0 GHz dual-core processor, network connectivity, 300 mAh battery and more.

The Gear S essentially doubles as a fitness tracker, with a myriad of sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, ambient light sensor, UV sensor and barometer. The smartwatch is based on Samsung’s own Tizen software platform, a clear differentiation over Samsung’s other smartwatches and Android Wear. Read more

Sprint reaches 4G LTE roaming agreement w/ 15 regional & rural carriers

Sprint

U.S. national carrier Sprint announced today that it has signed 15 additional agreements with rural and regional carriers to cover 4G LTE roaming on its network. Rural and regional carriers participating with Sprint in the new agreements including New York and Pennsylvania’s Blue Wireless, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Wireless, Alabama’s Pine Belt Wireless, Idaho’s Syringa Wireless, and more including members and partners of the Rural independent Network Alliance.

With the 15 additional regional and rural partners announced today, Sprint says it not has 27 regional carrier partners across the United States. The announcement comes just one month after Sprint abandoned plans to acquire wireless carrier competitor T-Mobile and appointed a new CEO to lead the company. You can view a full list of Sprint’s newly announced additional 4G LTE roaming partners below and Sprint’s list of supported LTE locations here.

Read more