California Stories March 15, 2016

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Google’s expansion plans for its Mountain View HQ have been progressing rather slowly, but the company has now given the go-ahead for local planning officials to release the renders of the structures it hopes to build next to its existing Googleplex head office.

The company originally submitted plans for a combination of one dome-like structure and a second building looking like a giant tent. As BizJournals now reports, the latest version appears to have abandoned the dome in favor of a lower-profile structure designed to blend into the local environment (more images below).

Once the campus is complete, you’ll be able to take a walk through it …

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California Stories January 19, 2016

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Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that YouTube has acquired a massive new office park near its current San Bruno headquarters. The Bayhill Office Center comes in at 553,328-square-feet and consists of five buildings. YouTube paid $215 million for it, which comes out to around $388 per square foot. Youtube acquired the space from Hudson Pacific Properties, which purchased it from Blackstone Equity Office just last year.

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California Stories December 17, 2015

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Google’s vision of self-driving cars whose interiors have no driving controls could be thwarted in its home state of California. Automotive News reports that the California Department of Motor Vehicles wants to impose legislation that would require all autonomous vehicles to have both driving controls and a specially-licensed driver behind the wheel.

While Google’s primary test fleet of self-driving cars have manual controls, these are only intended for development purposes. The next-generation prototypes (shown above) have no controls …

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California Stories September 12, 2015

When Google originally showcased the newer low-speed “cute-mobile” self-driving car, it mentioned a goal of having about 100 of them on the road for testing within a couple years. Now, as the company is bringing its low-speed electric prototypes to Austin a year later, Sarah Hunter, head of policy for Google [X], has revealed that the company is expanding production of the cars (via The Guardian). Hunter says that Google is now producing at least a “few hundred” and hints at a potential future of mass-production… expand full story

California Stories May 6, 2015

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In a move that could reportedly threaten Google’s campus expansion plans on its home turf in Mountain View, California, BizJournals reports that LinkedIn has won a bid for valuable real estate that Google was hoping it to use for a previously announced futuristic campus: expand full story

California Stories February 11, 2015

Google powering Mountain View HQ from wind power as of next year

Google has announced that it will be powering its Mountain View headquarters with wind power from 2016–or, more precisely, that it will be purchasing enough wind-generated electricity to cover the power used by its HQ.

The agreement with NextEra Energy Resources will help to repower an iconic Bay Area wind farm at California’s Altamont Pass with new turbines that will pour 43 MW of electricity onto the grid starting in 2016 […]

Even though the electrons follow an untraceable path through the California electricity grid, we can be sure that we’re offsetting the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters with the renewable energy from the new turbines.

Google has been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, and already uses renewable energy to power its data centers (winning praise from Greenpeace), but this is the first time the company has made a direct commitment regarding its offices. Google also runs a free electric shuttle bus service for local residents.

Google shared the news the day after Apple announced that it is building a solar farm to offset all its California operations, including its new campus building currently under construction.

California Stories January 13, 2015

Contract drivers for Silicon Valley tech companies vote to unionize in quest for better conditions

Contract workers driving shuttle buses for a range of Silicon Valley companies have voted to unionize, reports USA Today.

A majority of the 120 full-time and part-time drivers who transport those companies’ employees have signed authorization cards with the union, said Rome Aloise, International vice president and secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 853.

The drivers are employed by South San Francisco-based Compass Transportation, which has contracts with Apple and the other firms to transport its workers to and from work.

Although the hourly rates for the drivers range from $18-20, they argue that high living costs make it difficult to live close to work, and working further out does not allow them to return home between split shifts in the morning and evening–meaning they are effectively at work for far longer than their paid hours.

William Gould, a professor at Stanford Law School said: “These workers, as a practical matter, have to wait in certain areas to do their work (and) they are not compensated for that wait.”

Facebook shuttle bus drivers joined the Teamsters union in November. Although Google is not specifically named by the Teamsters, it’s believed that Google drivers will also be invited to vote on joining a union.

Google has faced criticism over its impact on the housing market in San Francisco as a result of well-paid employees being able to buy and rent property in the area, partly as a result of the wifi-equipped shuttle buses–with protestors blocking the buses.  The company responded by donating $6.8M to a program offering free transit to low income kids, and funding four electric shuttle buses for use by the local community in Mountain View.

Photo: wired.com

California Stories October 14, 2014

Google announced today that its rebranding its Google Shopping Express service while expanding the same day delivery service to new markets and merchants. While announcing the new shorter “Google Express” name, Google announced that the service is now available in Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C. After first rolling out the service a year ago, it’s now accessible to more than 7 million people.

Google also noted some of the big merchants it’s added support for in recent months, including alcohol delivery in the Bay Area, making for a total of 16 new shopping options through Express: expand full story

California Stories September 10, 2014

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Google has agreed to invest $145 million in a 82MW solar power plant project in Kern County, California. Set on top of a former gas and oil field, the 737-acre facility will be loaded with over 248,000 SunEdison mono-crystalline solar PV modules. Once up and running, the Regulus power plant will crank out enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes.

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California Stories September 1, 2014

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Google’s self-driving cars may have notched up 700,000 accident-free miles without anyone needing to press the big red Stop button, but project director Chris Urmson’s personal deadline to have the cars on sale to the public is still five years away, reports the MIT’s Technology Review.

Most tech-heads know that the cars rely on inch-perfect modelling of the specific streets they will use, the cars unable to drive anywhere else, but the piece revealed that this is just one of the challenges ahead …  expand full story

California Stories August 25, 2014

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As we’ve previously covered, the state of California has been in the process of passing a bill that would require all smartphones sold within the state to come with a remote killswitch option to deter thieves. The bill was passed by the state legislature earlier this year, and today it was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, as noted by CNET.

The law goes into effect in July 2015, and will require all smartphones sold within the state to include an option for remotely disabling a stolen device. Google has already plans to meet the requirements of this law with its upcoming Android L release, but now such features will be required by law on all future Android, Windows Phone, and other handsets by default, meaning OEMs distributing older versions of Android will need to find a new solution.

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Activity trackers can be a good way to monitor not only exercise but also sleep patterns – and now Jawbone’s UP device seems to have found a third application, as an earthquake tracker. The above graph shows the moment at which the magnitude 6 earthquake hit Napa, California, at around 3.20am …  expand full story

California Stories August 21, 2014

Google’s autonomous car without steering wheel or pedals to get steering wheel & pedals …

When Google showed off its built-from-scratch self-driving car with no steering-wheel or pedals, the world’s press weren’t the only people watching: California’s DMV also had its eye on the vehicle.

A new rule taking effect in California from 16th September says that self-driving cars are only legal on public roads if a driver is able to take “immediate physical control,” reports the WSJ. That means that Google is going to have to make a couple of small adjustments to the cars: fitting that missing steering-wheel and pedals.

[Google] said it plans to comply with the California rule by building a small, temporary steering wheel and pedal system that drivers can use during testing.

“With these additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features, while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary,” Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne said.

The company will initially be testing the fleet of 100 prototype vehicles on private roads.

Google had also wanted to test other types of autonomous vehicles, including motorcycles, but the DMV refused permission. California DMV official Bernard Soriano did, however, state that they are drafting rules that allow members of the public to operate driverless cars within a couple of years – and by that time, no steering-wheel or pedals will be required.

Only a handful of US states allow driverless cars on the road at present, but others are likely to follow California’s lead, and other countries likewise.

California Stories June 25, 2014

Celebrate San Francisco with 20 free tracks from Google Play

Amid protests, Google tries to make nice with the city of San Francisco both with a showing of local bands and some San Francisco related tracks (20) on Google Play available for free. Rumor has it there will also be lots of San Francisco beers at the event this evening.

California Stories June 4, 2014

Satirical Conan video suggests Google’s self-driving car has a few bugs

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After Google demonstrated a prototype of a purpose-built self-driving car, Conan made a few edits …

Google wanted to show what an autonomous car might look like without any manual driving controls, and to see what people made of it. What Conan made of it was this one-minute amusing video.

The reality, of course, is that Google’s self-driving cars have clocked up 700,000 accident-free miles without anyone having had to use the emergency stop button.

The DMV is looking at the issue of how driving infringements by autonomous vehicles might be handled, and California is close to issuing the cars with driver’s licences.

California Stories June 3, 2014

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Google Shopping Express is now overnighting purchases in Northern California. Starting today, East Bay residents in Berkeley, Concord, Danville, Dublin, Fremont, Oakland, Pleasanton, Richmond and Walnut Creek can take advantage of the search giant’s slick delivery service. Further expanding its operations, the company says that in the next few months it plans to bring Google Shopping Express’ overnight service to the California-Oregon border, Fresno and Visalia.

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California Stories May 22, 2014

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Google’s home state, California will start granting driver’s licenses to driverless cars in September. The DMV will charge $150 a pop for an autonomous car’s driving permit and will allow the self-driving vehicles to cruise public roads as long as the automobile meets the state agency’s strict requirements. California will issue licenses to autonomous vehicles if its test drivers are employed by its manufacturer and have the proper permits and documentation. The car’s driver/passenger must remain behind the wheel at all times and be ready to take over if needed. This doesn’t sound too bad, right? But here comes the boom.

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California Stories May 21, 2014

Google argues it, not the person in the driver’s seat, should receive any tickets for its self-driving cars

Google argues that should any of its self-driving cars get a ticket for a traffic violation, that ticket should go to the company and not to the person in the driver’s seat, reports The Atlantic.

“Right now the California Vehicle Code reads that the person seated in the driver’s seat is responsible for the movement of the vehicle,” Mountain View PD’s Jaeger tole me in an email […]

“What we’ve been saying to the folks in the DMV, even in public session, for unmanned vehicles, we think the ticket should go to the company. Because the decisions are not being made by the individual,” said Ron Medford, safety director for Google’s self-driving car program, and the former deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

None of Google’s self-driving cars have yet been ticketed, but the possibility could have significant implications in states like California that apply points to driving licenses as well as handing out fines.

Surprisingly, the DMV is already addressing the issue, having held four public meetings to examine the way the driving code might need to be adapted to cope with autonomous cars.

The assistant chief counsel for the California DMV, Brian Soublet, opened the most recent meeting asking, specifically, if anyone had comments on the definition of operator in the legal code. “The vehicle code defines an operator as the person seated in the driver’s seat,” Soublet said, “or if there is no one seated in the driver’s seat, the person who causes the autonomous technology to engage.” […]

“[In law] a person includes a corporation and a partnership and other forms of entities. So when we think of a vehicle being operated, is it that inclusive? Is the operator that person, that could be a corporation?”

So if your self-driving car decides it is safer to run a light than to brake hard, it could be Google who picks up the tab.

California Stories May 8, 2014

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Bloomberg reports California’s Senate has passed a bill that will force smartphone makers like Samsung to implement “technology that would let customers remotely wipe data from their devices and render them inoperable when stolen.” Officials have been attempting to pass similar bills with no luck but have since made tweaks to the legislation removing tablets and other terms.

Under the new bill, smartphones sold in California must include the technology starting in July 2015. While the bill was passing 25-8, the margin in the Democratic-controlled Senate can change as absent members continue to enter votes. The state Assembly, also controlled by Democrats, will consider the legislation next.

Last year Apple and Google introduced new theft deterrent features just as government officials in San Francisco were increasing pressure on smartphone makers to implement such features. While Apple’s new “Activation Lock” feature requires an Apple ID and password to reactivate a stolen phone after being remotely erased/wiped by the owner, it fell short of a full-on kill switch feature that officials were hoping for and required the user to enable it. Google has since introduced similar features for Android devices.

Samsung and Google have yet to respond to comment on the bill, but an Apple spokesperson told Bloomberg the following: expand full story

California Stories January 16, 2014

Judge throws out ticket issued to California woman for driving with Google Glass

The Associated Press reports that a California woman who was ticketed for driving while wearing her Google Glass has had her charges thrown out by the San Diego police commissioner. According to the report, the woman’s charge did not hold up against the language of the current law because it couldn’t be proven that the device was powered on at the time.

The court didn’t necessarily rule that it’s legal to wear Glass while driving, and the commissioner said there’s a chance the law could be interpreted to cover Glass as a TV-like system, which would move the device from the gray area it’s currently in and make using Glass while driving illegal. There’s no word yet on how the law would apply to a smart contact lens.

California Stories December 16, 2013

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Google, which was fined $22.5M by the FTC for illegal use of tracking cookies on iPhones even when the user had set Safari to reject them, is asking the UK’s High Court to reject a claim for compensation from a group of British iPhone owners, reports The Guardian.

Google is arguing that any case should be held in the U.S., and that UK courts have no jurisdiction in the matter. It also observes that a similar claim in the USA was dismissed two months ago.

Google has been called “arrogant and immoral” for arguing that a privacy claim brought by internet users in the UK should not be heard by the British legal system […]

In the first group claim brought against Google in the UK, the internet firm has insisted that the lawsuit must be brought in California, where it is based, instead of a British courtroom …  expand full story

California Stories October 30, 2013

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The legality of driving while wearing Google Glass appears set to face its first test after Glass Explorer Cecilia Abade was ticketed by a California cop.

 A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!

The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass). Is #GoogleGlass  illgal while driving or is this cop wrong???

Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?  expand full story

California Stories January 31, 2013

Court again rejects Apple’s attempt at Samsung Galaxy Nexus sales ban

Reuters reported today that a U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington rejected Apple’s attempt to get a sales ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus. Apple asked the court to revisit a previous decision to reject the company’s request for the sales ban leading up to a full trial set for March 2014. The case involved patents not included in the California trial that awarded Apple a $1.05 billion verdict against Samsung.

Apple wanted the full Federal Circuit of Appeals, made up of nine active judges, to reverse the earlier ruling. But in a brief order on Thursday, the court rejected Apple’s request without detailed explanation or any published dissents… Several experts had believed that Apple faced long odds, as the legal issues in play were not considered controversial enough to spur full court review.

Reuters noted that Apple could still appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court:

Apple could still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the high court has made it more difficult for patent plaintiffs to secure sales injunctions in recent years.

California Stories January 23, 2013

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Earlier this month, a U.S. District Judge in California ordered Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and others to give depositions in an ongoing private lawsuit. Employees brought on the private lawsuit alleging  “no-poach” agreements the companies entered would drive down wages. Today, new details have emerged after a request to keep court documents secrets was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

While emails exchanged between Steve Jobs and former Palm CEO Ed Colligan have been the focus on the documents, The Verge also pointed us to emails exchange between Jobs and Google execs. Below we have an email form Jobs to Schmidt asking to put a stop to Google recruiting employees from its iPod team, as well as one where Schmidt discussed not wanting to create a paper trail: expand full story

California Stories November 6, 2012

Late last night, Google’s Sergey Brin took to his Google+ account to post his thoughts on the eve of the U.S. elections and offer a plea to the winner. Brin explained he is “dreading today’s elections,” while describing government as “a giant bonfire of partisanship”:

I must confess, I am dreading today’s elections…Not because of who might win or lose…Not because as a Californian, my vote for President will count 1/3 as much as an Alaskan (actually it won’t matter at all — I’m not in a swing state)…Not because my vote for Senate will count 1/50 as much as an Alaskan…But because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship

His request for the winner? Withdraw from any political party and govern independently:  expand full story

California Stories October 12, 2012

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The Wall Street Journal just published a lengthy report detailing how Google convinced Nevada state assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, as well as other states’ transportation committees, to introduce legislation that would help legalize its driverless cars for streets.

“This will save taxpayers countless millions of dollars and revolutionize driving as we know it. No more being distracted, no more accidents, and not another DUI attorney again.”

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company persuaded lawmakers, according to The Wall Street Journal, with “demonstrations and rides in its exotic cars,” and it subsequently earned “legislative wins” in Nevada, California, and Florida. There are even bills pending before legislators in Hawaii, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia:

In the process, the Mountain View, Calif., company is building its credentials as an astute political operator. Google has been “pretty savvy” at navigating state capitols, said Frank Douma, a transportation-policy author and associate director at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. With its self-driving cars, Google “knew what they were doing by moving forward in Nevada” before approaching bigger states, he said. “If you blow it in the first state, you’ve really got problems.”

Success at legalizing self-driving car technology has broader implications for Google. Skills learned from lobbying state lawmakers could aid other endeavors that will require local policy-making, including the potential expansion of its Google Fiber Internet and TV service into markets dominated by cable companies.

Google spent roughly $9 million during the first and second quarters of 2012 lobbying in Washington and coaxing lawmakers and U.S. Department of Transportation officials, but Google did not disclose how much went toward lobbying state officials.

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California Stories October 11, 2012

U.S. Judge Lucy Koh granted Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone in June, and the decision resulted in the temporary removal of the device from Google Play pending a software fix with Android 4.1. Today, Reuters reported that Apple’s U.S. injunction on the Galaxy Nexus has been reversed. 

TheNextWeb got its hands on the official order. Samsung argued that its product would “sell almost as well without incorporating the patented feature” :

Samsung argued, somewhat humiliatingly, that the sales of the Galaxy Nexus were so poor that they didn’t pose a threat to Apple’s iPhone and that the unified search feature was not essential to the success of its device. The appeals court apparently agrees, as it states in its official order:

…it may very well be that the accused product would sell almost as well without incorporating the patented feature. And in that case, even if the competitive injury that results from selling the accused device is substantial, the harm that flows from the alleged infringement (the only harm that should count) is not.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled the court “abused its discretion in entering an injunction” and will send the case back to the California court for consideration. expand full story

California Stories October 4, 2012

Uh-oh, Google better step on the pedal: Automaker Nissan recently unveiled a self-driving car at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies tradeshow in Tokyo.

The concept car, dubbed “NSC-2015, can park or drive up to a passenger when commanded by a smartphone. In the Nissan press video above, a demonstration at CEATEC 2012 shows the modified Nissan Leaf responding to an Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S III.

Nissan specifically said the car could search for an empty space and park itself after a driver has left the vehicle and then the driver could later summon the car with just a simple smartphone tap.

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California Stories September 25, 2012

Update: During a Q&A following the signing of Google’s autonomous car bill today, Sergey Brin was asked how long until the public would be using the vehicles. While noting he plans for a broader subset of employees to test the vehicles in the near future, Brin noted he expects the public to begin using the vehicles within 5 years. Sergey also noted the company has had conversations with many car manufacturers but Google doesn’t currently have plans to build cars itself.

“Self driving cars do not run red lights” -Sergey

In a tweet from the Google Public Policy Twitter account, Google noted today that California Gov. Jerry Brown will be signing its autonomous vehicle bill supporting Google’s effort to bring its self-driving cars to public roads. Google will be streaming the signing at 1pm PT on the Google YouTube Channel (embedded above).

[tweet https://twitter.com/googlepubpolicy/status/250636721073557504]

The Bay Citizen reports Google is now only awaiting approval from Gov. Jerry Brown as its driverless car bill passed 37-0 in the Senate and 74-2 in the Assembly. The bill, which was put together by legislative staffer Howard Posner and sponsored by state Sen. Alex Padilla, would allow Google and other companies to test their driverless cars on public roads and require new laws governing the operation of the vehicles in public:

Padilla’s bill, SB 1298, would allow companies to test self-driven cars on public roads and require the DMV to draft rules governing use of the vehicles by the public. The measure also would define a car’s “operator” as the person sitting in the driver’s seat, or if there’s no one in the driver’s seat, the person who “causes the autonomous technology to engage.”… In its final form, the bill would give the DMV authority to reject the use of driverless cars that did not meet its standards. The measure also would require that owners be notified about what data their car is collecting, but it did not resolve questions of liability.

Google provided a statement to The Bay Citizen in an email: expand full story

California Stories July 26, 2012

Samsung says Apple stole iPhone design from Sony

With Apple and Samsung’s jury trial slated to kick off in a federal district court in San Jose, Calif., this Monday, AllThingsD points us to trial briefs where Samsung’s lawyers argued Apple’s inspiration for the original iPhone CAD drawings and designs were inspired by a Sony product:

Right after this article was circulated internally, Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to prepare a “Sony-like” design for an Apple phone and then had CAD drawings and a three-dimensional model prepared. Confirming the origin of the design, these internal Apple CAD drawings prepared at Mr. Nishibori‘s direction even had the “Sony” name prominently emblazoned on the phone design, as the below images from Apple‘s internal documents show..

Soon afterward, on March 8, 2006, Apple designer Richard Howarth reported that, in contrast to another internal design that was then under consideration, Mr. Nishibori‘s “Sony-style” design enabled “a much smaller-looking product with a much nicer shape to have next to your ear and in your pocket” and had greater “size and shape/comfort benefits.” As Mr. Nishibori has confirmed in deposition testimony, this “Sony-style” design he prepared changed the course of the project that yielded the final iPhone design.

The article referenced above is from a 2006 interview with Sony designers that appeared in Businessweek.

California Stories July 2, 2012

CamUp filed a lawsuit late last week that claimed Google ripped its video-chat feature for Google+ and YouTube.

The lawsuit filing revealed Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president, along with a few Mountain View engineers, approached the New York-based startup at the South by Southwest Festival in March 2011. They later met in London to negotiate adding a Hangout-like button, called “Watch with your friends on CamUp,” to Google’s popular video-sharing platform, YouTube. Despite receiving accolades on its product, CamUp did not hear from the Googlers after the meeting.

By May 2011, CamUp detected an alarming amount of visits from Google’s headquarters in California. The startup suggested that the traffic is evidence of Google beginning to examine its product for copying purposes. Google launched Hangouts with a “Watch your friends” button just one month later, which were allegedly indistinguishable from CamUp’s offerings.

CamUp is seeking damages, an injunction to remove Hangouts on YouTube and Google+, and it is suing Google UK’s Director of Business and Markets Richard Robinson.

The filing (via GigaOM) is embedded below.

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California Stories June 25, 2012

Google supports LGBT Pride Month in search results

Google is marking any LGBT-related query this month with a rainbow-colored banner under the search box.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company is once-again celebrating LGBT Pride Month, as it has down for the last five years in a row, by adding a bit of color to its search.

U.S. President Barack Obama declared June as LGBT Pride Month for 2012. The month-long stance is against discrimination and violence toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, with promotion for equal and civil rights.

California Stories June 19, 2012

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just granted Project Glass a patent that protects the trackpad feature of Google Glasses.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin appeared with his wife, Anne Wojcicki, on California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Current TV show last month to briefly let the politician demo a pair of Google Glasses. During “The Gavin Newsom Show” interview (above), Brin gave the world a glimpse as to how the space-age spectacles work.

Viewers immediately noticed a trackpad-like control on the right side of the augmented-reality glasses, but the USPTO just protected the feature by granting Project Glass a patent for the trackpad. The patent covers a sensor device, for either side, that tracks gestures and finely controls the heads-up display. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company also detailed several gestures that work with the trackpad—such as scrolling, tapping, or flipping—to provide visible, semi-transparent options.

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California Stories June 8, 2012

Apple’s lawyers threaten Samsung with temporary restraining order to stop Galaxy S III sales

Last time we checked in on the ongoing U.S. patent-related court cases between Apple and Samsung, Apple’s lawyers were requesting to add the Galaxy S III to its previous motion for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus line of products from February.

Apple was hoping the courts would agree to withhold sales of the S III until a ruling on the preliminary injunction was made. Samsung recommended the judge dismiss Apple’s request and file a new motion, but Apple attorney Josh Krevitt threatened Samsung at a hearing on Thursday that Apple could file a temporary restraining order as early as today to stop sales of the S III before it launches June 21. Bloomberg reported:

Josh Krevitt, a lawyer for Cupertino, California-based Apple, told Koh he was considering filing a request for a temporary restraining order in the interest of blocking sales of the Galaxy S III before its scheduled release in the U.S. this month… Krevitt said a court order temporarily barring Galaxy S III sales in the U.S. will create “a mechanism to allow the court to decide this issue before the launch.”

First Samsung will have to prove in court today that the Galaxy S III includes a “different combination of features” from the Nexus in order to prevent Apple from adding the device to the previously requested preliminary injunction. According to Bloomberg, Samsung lawyer Bill Price claimed: “Apple’s urgency stems from its inability to “compete against the new features” of the Galaxy S III, and the company is trying to “prevent a phone from getting to the public that is better than Apple’s in many, many respects.”

Reuters noted that several Google attorneys attended Thursday’s hearing. If Apple files for a temporary restraining order, the scheduled July 30 trial date would likely be delayed. Apple is also trying its best to kill HTC.

California Stories June 6, 2012

Apple seeks US preliminary injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy S III

Apple put forward a second California litigation against South Korea-based Samsung earlier this week when it sought the court’s consent to add the Android-powered Galaxy S III smartphone to its motion for a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Nexus.

According to FOSS Patents:

Apple made this move approximately 20 hours after I wrote about the Galaxy S III being “the obvious next target”. In my blog post I speculated that Apple might bring a preliminary injunction motion against it, possibly after awaiting tomorrow’s preliminary injunction hearing. Apple decided to forge ahead now. Apple is on the offensive against Android. Earlier this week it filed an ITC complaint requesting an immediate import ban of 29 allegedly-infringing HTC devices. There’s an important overlap: the “data tapping” patent that Apple is seeking to enforce against HTC’s current generation of products is one of two patents Apple is using against the S III.

Apple purchased the S III in the United Kingdom, where Samsung launched it on May 29. The U.S. launch date is June 21 — precisely two weeks after the preliminary injunction hearing.

Apple’s motion notes that “[a]ccording to press reports, Samsung has already sold over nine million preorders of the Galaxy S III; indeed, the Galaxy S III has been reported to be the most extensively preordered piece of consumer electronics in history.”

Apple filed the first preliminary injunction motion against the Galaxy Nexus in February over four disputed patents. The Cupertino, Calif.-based Company’s requested in its latest motion that Samsung withhold the launch of the device’s successor in the United States until the court rules on the preliminary injunction request.

Samsung replied to the motion this afternoon, contending Apple cannot continue to add to its record for the Galaxy Nexus:

“If Apple wishes to seek an injunction against the Galaxy S III, the Court should require Apple to file a new motion and allow the parties to develop a full factual record on all four factors. Accordingly, the Court should reject Apple’s motion to amend its current notice of motion for a preliminary injunction.”

This article is cross-posted at 9to5Mac.

California Stories May 9, 2012

Sony and Google introduced a new Google TV product at an event today in Palo Alto, Calif. Phandroid was on-hand for the event and noted the box also comes with a completely redesigned double-sided remote that integrates a multi-touch trackpad on one side and a full keyboard on the other. There is not much word on pricing or specs, but Sony is expecting to launch the Google TV 2.0 device sometime this summer with more information likely coming out of Google I/O. Go past the break for videos of the device and remote from the event:

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California Stories April 19, 2012

Judge orders Google, Apple to face ‘no-poach’ lawsuit

Reuters reported that a judge rejected Google and Apple’s bid last night to have an antitrust lawsuit dismissed. The lawsuit claimed the companies illegally entered “no-poach” agreements in an effort to stop competitors from stealing talent:

District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, rejected the companies’ bid to dismiss claims brought under the Sherman Act and California state law, in a decision released Wednesday night. […] The proposed class action lawsuit was brought by five software engineers, who accused the companies of conspiring to depress employee pay by eliminating competition for skilled labor.

Other defendants in the case included Intel, Adobe Systems, Intuit Walt Disney Co’s Pixar, and Lucasfilm.

This Aside is cross-posted at 9to5Mac.

(Image via Zoknowsgaming)

California Stories April 13, 2012

YouTube announced it is live-streaming “Coachella 2012” all weekend long on its video-sharing platform.

“Since 2001, the the Coachella Music and Arts festival has brought thousands of fans to southern California to kick off the music festival season in style.  For the second year, YouTube will be live streaming the action, with a three day broadcast of the festival, presented by State Farm,” explained Google’s Music Marketing Manager Tim Partridge on the Official YouTube Blog. 

Over 60 artists will stream during the event—from Gotye to The Black Keys. The show begins at 6:50 p.m. EST tonight on the Coachella YouTube channel. expand full story

California Stories April 5, 2012

Google expanded its GoMo initiative to offer small businesses an opportunity to mobilize their websites for free.

According to Fortune, the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine teamed with startup Duda Mobile to offer the $9 per month service at no cost for an entire year starting today. Users will save $108 a year, and then they can purchase the premium service after the complimentary period ends—if desired.

In a blog post, Duda Mobile’s Dennis Mink explained the collaboration:

Our hope is that by offering both the education AND the service at no cost for one year, we can help businesses make the shift to mobile more quickly, benefiting both their business as well as us consumers who no longer want to pinch and zoom our way through their regular websites on our phones.

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California Stories March 29, 2012

World—meet Google Consumer Surveys: Just when it looks like Google has extended its reach into every dark corner of the Internet, the search engine launches a new service to reap more cash online.

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California Stories March 28, 2012

Google just launched a new feature called “Account Activity” that sends account-holders monthly encrypted reports about their signed-in frittering across the Web and Google services.

Once a user opts-in to the feature, Google will confirm and then send the first monthly report (see image below). The full-report gives Account information, such as locations, browsers, and platforms employed while Internet surfing.

The report also gives Gmail specifics, like most contacted addresses and to-and-fro message counts, and it breaks-down other Google services’ particulars, including Web history with users’ top searches, types, and queries, and a personal YouTube report on uploaded video activity and viewers’ location data. Users can also delete old reports or browse previous months as they begin to pile up.

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California Stories February 12, 2012

The “Googleplex” has been Google’s hallmark offices for years and rates as one of the top places to work by many magazines. According to a new report from the Mercury Times, Google is expanding on its already large Googleplex. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company reportedly plans to spend $120 million to add new advancements to its sprawling headquarters, from a new museum to new testing labs for the secret Google X projects.

Google plans to open a new Experience Center as a museum not open to the public. The Experience Center would show Google’s history to special invited groups. Some of the products shown off could potentially be confidential. The focus here would be selling products to groups, such as school districts.

There has been much in the news lately regarding Google’s “Project X.” In Project X, the team is reportedly working on new HUD glasses, which we exclusively told you last month. As part of its new $120 million addition, Google is attaching new additions to that sector. Google is also adding to its “Google/@home” initiative. As part of @home, Google is reportedly developing a new streaming home-entertainment device. This break through into consumer electronics could be announced tomorrow, according to a teaser from the Google TV team.

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California Stories January 27, 2012

Late last week we told you that the U.S. Justice Department apparently had evidence that Google, along with Apple, Adobe, Intuit, Pixar, Intel, Walt Disney and Lucasfilms, entered “no-poach” agreements as part of an antitrust investigation from 2010. U.S. District Judge Lucy H Koh made a statement yesterday at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., confirming the companies must face a lawsuit. According to the report from Bloomberg, Koh said she would allow plaintiffs to re-file their complaint even if an initial request by the defendants to dismiss the claims is granted.  

Judge Koh’s decision yesterday will result in Google and the other companies having to provide a detailed account of the agreements made with other companies. They must also allow lawyers to take depositions. One lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Joseph Saveri, said, “We get to see what really happened,” claiming the case could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Google provided statements to Bloomberg claiming they have “always actively and aggressively recruited top talent,” while the others have declined to comment.

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California Stories December 19, 2011

AT&T started rolling out LTE in California’s San Francisco market earlier this month, and now the company is moving south to Los Angeles. The Samsung Skyrocket with LTE capabilities that I am testing (great phone, by the way) started detecting LTE connection around the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) area. The speeds in this instance are not as fast as they are (yet) in other markets, but they are in line with the LTE speeds seen in San Francisco last week. In addition, they certainly beat HSPA+.

The speeds I am seeing in L.A. are around what is shown in the image above: 18mb/s up, 5mb/s down.

An AT&T spokesperson told 9to5Mac:

We’re continuing to expand our 4G LTE coverage nationwide. As part of our rollout, we’re regularly testing and turning up parts of our network, including in additional markets, so some customers with LTE devices may already see faster speeds.

Therefore, LTE in L.A. has not officially been announced, but now we know it is definitely in testing around the areas of L.A. This testing likely means an official rollout soon. As testing progresses, we should see LTE in more areas of L.A.

Let us know if you spot any LTE connection in unannounced regions.

Update: CNET also has reported seeing LTE in LA

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California Stories June 29, 2011

Amazon Affiliate members in California got a rude awakening this morning when they received and email from Amazon telling them that all Affiliate programs would be terminated by September 30th.  This is in reaction to a proposed CA law that would tax Amazon purchases because Affiliate Account holders (workers) live and work in the State.

The whole thing is up for debate but we found the last sentence in the letter (whole thing pasted below the fold):

We are also working on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.

We noted yesterday that Amazon was getting their own ad network, which would go head to head with Google and others. expand full story

California Stories May 9, 2011

A microkitchen inside Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Google, which employs 26,000 people, will hire more new employees this year than ever before. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that the company is about to build its own office space, something they have never done before. According to MercuryNews.com, the company will spare no expenses to build a 600,000 square feet of office space for its rookie employees affectionately called Nooglers. This compares to the 4.3 million square feet in total for their Mountain View headquarters, with 65 buildings stretching along more than a mile of Charleston Road. It’ll be custom build from the ground up and Google will employ some cutting-edge green designs, too….

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