Blog Archives

Google Loon – Balloons could bring the Internet to everyone

Google Project Loon balloon on display at Airforce Museum in Christchurch

Google have recently been testing balloons in the hope of building a global network enabling internet access and mobile signals around the world.

Called Project Loon, Google launched 30 test balloons in New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to our balloons.

Head of the project, Mike Cassidy, had this to say about it.

We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.

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Google launching new version of Nexus 7 in July

350061-google-nexus-7As we all know, technology is constantly moving forward with new versions and models of popular pieces of tech always being worked on.

The latest appears to be a new version of Google’s Nexus 7.

Google Inc will launch a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet powered by Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon processor around July, two sources told Reuters, as the software giant pushes deeper into the cut-price mobile hardware market.

Google is aiming to ship as many as eight million of the Asustek-made tablets in the second half of the year, throwing down the gauntlet to other low-end tablets such as Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle Fire and Apple Inc’s iPad mini, the sources with knowledge of the new product said.

This is the first time details about the timing and sales targets for Google’s new tablet have been unveiled, although the company has not publicly released any information.

Google, which gets almost all of its revenue from online advertising, wants the aggressively priced Nexus tablets to be a hit as more Nexus users would mean more exposure for Google’s ads.

The latest version will have a higher screen resolution, a thinner bezel design and adopt Qualcomm’s chip in place of Nvidia Corp’s Tegra 3, which was used in the first Nexus 7s released last year, the sources said, declining to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

In a blow to Nvidia, Google weighed both U.S. chipmakers’ processors but finally decided on Qualcomm’s for power reasons, one of the sources added.

Qualcomm and Nvidia are competing aggressively in the tablet market as they seek to expand from their traditional strongholds of cellphones and PCs respectively.

Google Glasses in the workplace

Google Glasses are a great idea and will probably be of great interest to many people when they first come across somebody wearing a pair.

However, the reality may end up being a lot like this.

google glass

Via

The Internship – New comedy film set in the Google offices

The-Internship-600x421The Internship is new comedy film that is set in the world of Google. The trailer was launched during a Google+ Hangout with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and, as you can see from the trailer, it is all Google.

Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation’s most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.

The film also stars Max Minghella, Rose Byrne, Dylan O’Brien, and Jessica Szohr. The Internship is due out on June 7th.

Source: Google Play

Google Glass will pass sound through your skull

project-glass1There have been lots of rumours and speculation about Google Glass over the past few months. This is the project to make augmented reality glasses.

We have seen images and videos on how the images will work, but now documents filed with American regulators show the hardware, due to be introduced in later this year in an experimental form, uses “bone conduction” to create sound instead of a traditional speaker.

This works by sending vibrations through the skull to the inner ear. The technology is not new, but does make sense for Project Glass.

If you had to use headphones then that could be dangerous while walking or driving. However, bone conduction means you would still be able to hear what is going on around you.

Google filed a patent for bone conduction spectacles last month, and the Federal Communication Commission this week published it approval for Google Glass, including “integral vibrating element that provides audio to the user via contact with the user’s head”.

The plan is for the glasses to be commercially available from next year.

Source: Business Insider

Facebook reveal Graph Search

graph searchFacebook had been dropping hints that they would be revealing something big.

That something big turns out to be a new way of searching on Facebook.

Called graph search it allows users to make “natural” searches of content shared by their friends on Facebook. For example you could search for “friends who like Brad Pitt and The Walking Dead.” It finds things that have been shared on Open Graph. That is the feature of Facebook that shares apps you use, photos you comment on, and music you listen to.

Founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stressed that it was not a web search although it would use Microsoft’s Bing search engine for situations when graph search itself could not find answers.

Zuckerberg said that graph search would launch immediately as a beta test, and would roll out “very slowly”. The tool will be usable from the blue banner that sits at the top of every Facebook page.

“We’re going to put an encouragement on the home screen of everyone’s account so that everyone has the chance to look through these tools.

“We’re going to do this before graph search is fully rolled out.”

Of course you could search for things on Facebook using Google. All you have to do for that is us the following:

“search_term” site:facebook.com

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s new Graph Search?

Source: BBC

Google’s Top 10 most searched things during 2012

Google Logo

 

The year is almost over so Google have pulled together the most searched things during the year. They had 1.2 trillion searches during the year.

Here is the Top 10 ranking for the World:

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. iPad 3
  5. Diablo 3
  6. Kate Middleton
  7. Olympics 2012
  8. Amanda Todd
  9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  10. BBB12

Looking at the UK the results are a bit different:

  1. Euro 2012
  2. Olympic tickets
  3. Whitney Houston
  4. Kate Middleton
  5. April Jones
  6. Netflix
  7. Natwest Online
  8. iPad 3
  9. Gary Barlow
  10. Gangnam Style

Then we have the Top 10 most searched items of consumer electronics:

  1. iPad 3
  2. Samsung Galaxy S3
  3. iPad Mini
  4. Nexus 7
  5. Galaxy Note 2
  6. Play Station
  7. iPad 4
  8. Microsoft Surface
  9. Kindle Fire
  10. Nokia Lumia 920

 

They also put together this video – Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review

You can see all the lists here.

Google have an Augmented Reality Game

Ingress transforms the real world into the landscape for a global game of mystery, intrigue, and competition.

Our future is at stake. And you must choose a side.

A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us.

“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us.

“The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.

Install Ingress and transform your world.

The World is the Game
Move through the real world using your Android device and the Ingress app to discover and tap sources of this mysterious energy. Acquire objects to aid in your quest, deploy tech to capture territory, and ally with other players to advance the cause of the Enlightened or the Resistance.

Strategy
The struggle is being played out globally. Track the progress of players around the world, plan your next steps, and communicate with others using an Intelligence map.

What is the Niantic Project?
Is this just a game? An Investigation Board (http://www.nianticproject.com) filled with cryptic clues and secret codes awaits. The story evolves everyday. Powerful secrets and game tech are there to be unlocked.

Form Alliances
The struggle to save the planet spans the entire world. Groups of people acting together can be more effective than individuals acting alone. Cooperation across neighborhoods, cities, and countries will be needed to achieve the ultimate victory.

NOTE: This app is optimized for smartphones, not tablets.

Join the investigation:
G+: http://www.google.com/+NianticProject
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NianticProject
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NianticProject

Google are closing more of their services

Google are once again going through the different services and features they offer and closing down the ones that either don’t work or just have too little impact.

This means they now have 60 differentt services being wound down

Here is the latest list of changes via the Google Blog.

  • AdSense for Feeds was designed to help publishers earn revenue from their content by placing ads on their RSS feeds. Starting October 2, we’ll begin to retire this feature—and on December 3 we’ll close it. Publishers can continue to use FeedBurner URLs powered by Google, so they won’t need to redirect subscribers to different URLs. For more information visit the AdSense Help Center.
  • Classic Plus is a Google Search feature that lets people upload or select images to use as a background on Google.com. Users won’t be able to upload new pictures starting from October 16, and we’ll turn the service off in November 2012. You’ll continue to have access to any images you’ve uploaded.
  • Google storage in Picasa and Drive will be consolidated over the next few months, so users will have five GB of free storage across both services. If you’re paying for storage, your free storage will now be counted towards your total. So if you buy a 100GB plan, it will give you 100GB of total storage instead of adding to what you already had. We believe this approach will make it much easier for users. For both free and paid storage, people at or near their current storage limits will have the same amount of storage after this change.
  • Spreadsheet Gadgets were designed to allow people to add customized features to Google Spreadsheets. But most popular gadgets have now been added directly into charts in spreadsheets. So we will slowly start turning off Gadgets in Spreadsheets next year.
  • Starting on October 15, we’ll stop issuing and displaying Google News Badges, as well as showing Recommended Sections. People can still tailor their Google News experience by adding custom sections or adjusting the frequency with which news sources appear.
  • We’ve merged Insights for Search into a revamped Google Trends. You can now see search trends and compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties in a single place:google.com/trends. We will no longer support Trends for Websites, which allowed people to compare traffic to and audiences of different websites.
  • Places Directory was an Android app that helped people find nearby places of interest. We’ve removed the app from Google Play and are taking down the Places Directory site because users can find everything in Google Maps for Mobile, which offers a much better user experience.
  • We introduced +1 Reports in Webmaster Tools to help publishers measure +1 activity on their pages. Given that webmasters now use Social Reports in Google Analytics to get a wider view of social activity (including +1’s), we’ll be discontinuing the stand-alone +1 Reports on November 14. Measuring social media remains a priority for Google Analytics, so stay tuned for future improvements.

What do you think of the changes?

Google Street View heading back to the iPhone

Since the iOS 6 update that say Google Maps expunged from the system people have been talking about the new Apple Maps. That talk has not been particularly flattering, although I do know a few people who are fine with it.

It does not appear that Google Maps will be back on your iPhone or iPad any time soon (although you can just bookmark maps.google.com and use it in your web browser), but it appears the Google Street View will be back with us in a couple of weeks.

According to the New York Times the reasons why Apple dropped Google Maps was because:

Google, it says, was saving all the best features for phones that run its Android software. For example, the iPhone app never got spoken directions or vector maps (smooth lines, not tiles of pixels), long after those features had come to rival phones.

The even greater issue may be data. Every time you use Google’s maps, you’re sending data from your phone to Google. That information — how you’re using maps, where you’re going, which roads actually exist — is extremely valuable; it can be used to improve both the maps and Google’s ability to deliver location-based offers and advertising.

Apple, of late, has been disentangling itself from Google. (It also eliminated the YouTube app from iOS 6, although Google quickly released a free downloadable app.) So when it came time to renew its contract, Apple declined. It was no longer interested in supplying so much valuable user data to its rival.

What are your thoughts on the new Apple Maps?

Via