White House Stories April 26, 2016

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Google has long held close ties with politicians in Washington, D.C., and according to new data, nothing has changed. Watchdog group Campaign for Accountability has recently released new data detailing visits to the White House by various companies in the tech sector and other industries. According to the data, Google’s head of public policy Johanna Shelton has met with White House officials 128 times since President Obama took office in January of 2009.

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White House Stories December 18, 2015

Check out this 360 degree holiday tour of the White House on YouTube [Video]

360 degree video has taken off this year, and now yet another creation use of the technology is hitting YouTube. Just in time for the holidays, the White House has taken to YouTube to upload a 360 degree video tour of the decked out temporary residence and workplace of the President of the United States.

Beyond just being a 360 video that you can pan around, this video also offers 3D options for those that have a pair of classic 3D glasses laying around. Also, as with any 360 degree video on YouTube, you can also head over to your mobile device and pan around the video using your phone’s gyroscope. There’s also Google Cardboard support.

White House Stories September 16, 2015

Google invites Ahmed to the Google Science Fair after clock incident

Update: Yep, he went.

An Irving, Texas ninth grader was arrested for bringing a clock — which some teachers and school administrators apparently thought was a bomb — to school yesterday, and now just about everyone wants to show him support by inviting him places. Yes, even Barack Obama invited him to the White House and called his clock “cool”.

The Mountain View company also wants to show its support for him, taking to Twitter to invite him to the Google Science Fair. “We’re saving a seat for you at this weekend’s Google Science Fair,” Google said. “Bring your clock!” And apparently, an organization by the name of Windsor Circle is prepared to pick up the tab if he goes.

The Google Science Fair is an annual program calling on all of the best science talent from various grade levels, all leading up to a finalist awards ceremony where the winners are chosen. That event is scheduled for September 21st at 7 PM PT, and Ahmed has evidently been invited. For those of us that aren’t Ahmed, Google has provided a live stream.

White House Stories April 14, 2015

Prankster games Google Maps business listing to place Edward Snowden in the White House

A prankster has gamed the Google Maps business listing function to make it appear that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is resident in the White House.

Google said that the listing, first spotted by Marketing Landwas originally verified for a snowboard shop of that name elsewhere, with the location subsequently edited. Either the prankster or others have added reviews, one of which says that it’s a “great source of classified information.”

Google says that it has removed the listing, but it was still showing up (as above) in Google Maps at the time of writing.

White House Stories March 31, 2015

Chair of Senate antitrust panel looking into conversations between Google and FTC

Senator Mike Lee, who chairs the Senate’s antitrust panel, will conduct a “preliminary inquiry” into whether conversations Google had with FTC investigators influenced the commission’s decision to clear the company of anti-competitive behavior, reports the WSJ.

The senator could later expand his inquiry to include conversations people in the White House had with the FTC and Google, people in his office said.

The FTC last week denied that its decision had been “a close call” following leaked documents suggesting that it had been. The documents also provided some fascinating insights into Google’s business model.

Google declined to comment on this latest development, but has previously said that its meetings in the White House were not related to the FTC investigation.

White House Stories March 24, 2015

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The Wall Street Journal has published a new report highlighting the reach that Google has in the United States government. According to the report, Google employees have visited the White House 230 times since President Obama took office. That comes out to an average of roughly once a week. For comparison’s sake, Comcast employees have met at the White House just 20 times since Obama’s inauguration.

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White House Stories September 4, 2014

White House confirms Google VP Megan Smith as new Chief Technology Officer

As previously rumored, the White House confirmed today that Google executive Megan Smith will be its next Chief Technology Officer alongside former Twitter lawyer Alexander Macgillivray as its new Deputy U.S. CTO. President Obama said the following about the new hires in a statement (via The Washington Post):

“Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment. I am confident that in her new role as America’s Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people. I am grateful for her commitment to serve, and I look forward to working with her and with our new Deputy U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray, in the weeks and months ahead.”

Smith was previously a vice present at Google X, Google’s division for experimental projects like its self-driving cars and recently unveiled Project Wing drone project.

White House Stories August 21, 2014

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After spending a lot of his time keeping Google’s servers running smoothly, Mikey Dickerson is officially a government employee. After resolving launch issues with HealthCare.gov last year, the White House asked the former Googler to be its deputy chief information officer of the federal government and administrator of the United States Digital Services Team.

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White House Stories April 4, 2014

White House complains after Samsung retweets Obama/Ortiz selfie [Video]

The White House has complained about Samsung retweeting a selfie Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz took with President Obama on his Galaxy Note 3.

Ortiz took the photo during a visit to the White House, and tweeted it. Samsung then retweeted it to its 5.2M followers, commenting that it was “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3.”

“I can say that as a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes, and we certainly object in this case,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

ABC News claims that Ortiz was paid by Samsung to take the photo, a claim which Ortiz denies.

It wasn’t anything promotional or anything like that. I mean, who knows that you’re going to get a picture with the President, a selfie? You can’t guarantee that.

White House Stories February 28, 2014

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It’s not just fictitious towns you have to look out for on Google Maps: Microsoft engineer and former Marine Bryan Seely demonstrated to ValleyWag how he was able to exploit the open nature of the product to intercept phone calls to both the FBI and Secret Service.

The technique Seely used was incredibly simple …  expand full story

White House Stories January 29, 2014

Blink and you missed the tech stuff in the State of the Union address

Technology got only the briefest and vaguest of mentions in last night’s State of the Union address, with little in the way of new commitments.

President Obama promised six more “hubs for hi-tech manufacturing,” adding to the two hardly anyone had heard of in Raleigh and Youngstown that “connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies.” The government apparently kicked in $100M in funding for research into 3D printing and energy-efficient chips. Nothing was said about where the new hubs would be or what they would do.

Aside from that, there was a pledge to connect 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband over the next four years, which doesn’t seem an overly ambitious deadline for something so basic; generalised promises to reform the NSA; and a plea for Congress to reverse cuts to government research funding.

Nothing on patent reform. Nothing on net neutrality. ISP or carrier monopolies and collusion. Nothing on tightening rules on data security in the wake of large-scale credit card compromises. Not much on immigration reform, to help tech companies hire the people they need. And no specific pledges on limiting the powers of the NSA.

Is is just me, or is it odd to spend so much time talking about the economy and job-creation, but so little on steps to help the industry that is expected to drive much of that growth?

White House Stories December 19, 2013

There’s little question the White House is one of the most familiar buildings the world over and they always go the extra mile decorating for the holiday season. That’s why it’s so notable that the White House just held a streaming Google+ Hangout to show off some of the decor that has the White House looking all festive for the first family and tourists alike.

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White House Stories December 6, 2013

Following a year of mixed messaging and confusion regarding government access to personal data and how companies are handling the issue, Google is putting it’s support behind a petition demanding the United States government require a warrant before accessing email of private citizens.

[tweet https://twitter.com/ericschmidt/status/408987436945907712]

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt tweeted a link to the company’s post on Google+:

Doesn’t the stuff you keep online deserve the same protection as the stuff you keep offline? Under a law called ECPA, government agencies in the U.S. can see what you’ve written and stored online without a warrant. Sign this petition to the White House and tell the government to get a warrant!

The petition originated on November 12, 2013, and requires just over 42,000 signatures by December 12, 2013, to mean the threshold for a response from the White House. At the time of this writing, just over 57,000 signatures have been collected on the online petition.

The full petition reads as follows: expand full story

White House 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.

White House Stories April 3, 2012

“New content, new partners, new countries, new features”

Google’s Art Project is expanding to 30,000 high-resolution images at 151 museums in 40 countries from an initial 1,000 images at 17 museums in nine countries. The project’s goal is to give people access to the world’s great works.

The expanded Art Project embraces all sizes of institutions, specializing in art or in other types of culture. For example, you can take a look at the White House in Washington, D.C., explore the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, and continue the journey to the Santiniketan Triptych in the halls of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. In the United States alone, some 29 partners in 16 cities are participating, ranging from excellent regional museums like the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina to top notch university galleries such as the SCAD museum of art in Savannah, Georgia.

Even The White House got “Streetviewed”:

Here are a few other new things from the expanded Art Project that you might enjoy: expand full story

White House Stories March 12, 2012

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O.K., really that headline is a bit misleading. We have no idea what the now-former DARPA head has been hired to do at Google, and the department would only tell us the scripted:

“Regina is a technical pioneer who brought the future of technology to the military during her time at DARPA. She will be a real asset to Google and we are thrilled she is joining the team.”

Besides pulling off designer jeans, Wired profiled her other qualifications:

Dugan’s emphasis on cybersecurity and next-generation manufacturing earned her strong support from the White House, winning her praise from the President and maintaining the agency’s budget even during a period of relative austerity at the Pentagon. Her push into crowdsourcing and outreach to the hacker community were eye-openers in the often-closed world of military R&D. Dugan also won over some military commanders by diverting some of her research cash from long-term, blue-sky projects to immediate battlefield concerns.

“There is a time and a place for daydreaming. But it is not at Darpa,” she told a congressional panel in March 2011 (.pdf). “Darpa is not the place of dreamlike musings or fantasies, not a place for self-indulging in wishes and hopes. Darpa is a place of doing.” For an agency that spent millions of dollars on shape-shifting robots, Mach 20 missiles, and mind-controlled limbs, it was something of a revolutionary statement.

You will recall that Google’s Driverless cars were born from the DARPA Grand Challenge, so perhaps we will see her join the ranks of Google’s X team. The videos below of Dugan talking feature her deep knowledge on the type of cyber-hacking that Google has accused China of in the past.

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