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Digital Neurons in your Browser

Browser-based Neural Network Demo
What is a Neural Network?
It’s a technique for building a computer program that learns from data. It is based very loosely on how we think the human brain works. First, a collection of software “neurons” are created and connected together, allowing them to send messages to each other. Next, the network is asked to solve a problem, which it attempts to do over and over, each time strengthening the connections that lead to success and diminishing those that lead to failure. [more inside]
posted by CrystalDave on Apr 12, 2016 - 7 comments

The Future is Now

Virtual Reality, a tech geek dream for decades, was long hobbled by high latency, clunky hardware, and perennially absurd reports on network news. That all changed in 2011, when Palmer Luckey, then 18, built the first Oculus Rift prototype in his parents' garage with iPhone repair money. Awed by its powerful sense of presence, developer John Carmack became a fan and demoed it at E3. The ensuing Kickstarter campaign shattered all fundraising goals, and Facebook controversially bought the rights for a whopping $2 billion -- alienating erstwhile partner Valve Software, the iconic creators of Half-Life/Portal/Steam. A Cambrian explosion of headsets followed: Morpheus, HoloLens, Google Cardboard, Gear VR. But perhaps most interesting is Valve's own counter-project: a breathtaking "room scale" VR set-up with Tron-like "Chaperone" and tracked motion controls called the HTC Vive. With this week's commercial launch of Rift and Vive bringing us to the threshold of a new interactive medium, look inside for guides, notes, and killer apps for this, the stunning arrival of consumer VR. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 5, 2016 - 127 comments

drop it like it's hot

If you're just waking up, you might not have noticed that Gmail rolled out Google Mic Drop overnight. This service adds a button to Gmail which allows you to "mic drop" out of a thread, complete with an appropriate Minion gif. Unfortunately it looks like Google didn't exactly think this through and may have lost some people their jobs. Google have since apologised and pulled the joke, a few hours after going live.
posted by fight or flight on Apr 1, 2016 - 269 comments

"The Replicant project was reportedly shut down in December"

Google Puts Boston Dynamics Up for Sale in Robotics Retreat.
posted by FuturisticDragon on Mar 17, 2016 - 66 comments

Chrome Music Lab

Google’s Chrome Music Lab [Chrome recommended, not sure if it is required] is a collection of Chrome “experiments,” all featuring Web technologies like WebGL that run inside the Google Chrome browser. Google said that it created the experiments as part of Music In Our Schools month, but the experience should appeal to adults and kids alike: It’s like a Web-based Exploratorium for sound.
posted by hippybear on Mar 13, 2016 - 23 comments

Another one bites the dust

“It’s not a human move. I’ve never seen a human play this move,” he says. “So beautiful.” Go—a 2,500-year-old game that’s exponentially more complex than chess. As recently as 2014, many believed another decade would pass before a machine could beat the top humans. Now, Alphago, Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system has beaten Lee Sedol, one of the world’s top players thrice to win their 5 match series. When AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol in the first game, the result was shocking to many, but doubts still remained about its strengths and weaknesses.In the second game, Lee’s play was much better. His game plan was clearly to play solid and patient moves, and wait for an opportunity to strike.Even though Lee never found that opportunity, it was a high quality game and it gave hope to everyone supporting ‘team human’. Game three crushed that hope. [more inside]
posted by TheLittlePrince on Mar 12, 2016 - 161 comments

Online safari in South Africa

Walk around South Africa online with Google Street View. Safari means journey in Swahili. See some of the wildlife in Kruger National Park, meander along the top of Table Mountain, around the Kirstenbosch Gardens or along Cape Town's beautiful beaches. There are some people who can never afford to physically come to South Africa and see these places in their lifetime, and hopefully this will give them the opportunity to experience it a little bit. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Mar 11, 2016 - 2 comments

AlphaGo and AI progress

The first game between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol is scheduled to begin at 23:00 EST tonight, in Seoul. There will be a livestream with commentary in english. Since the Deepmind Go-playing computer's previous victory against Fan Hui, Go professionals and AI researchers alike have had time to consider what it means. [more inside]
posted by sfenders on Mar 8, 2016 - 56 comments

how many hot dogs should i eat within a given week

Recent Google Searches (slTumblr)
posted by overeducated_alligator on Mar 7, 2016 - 40 comments

Your plastic pal who's fun to be with?

Boston Dynamics presents the 'next generation' Atlas robot. (Previously)
posted by fings on Feb 23, 2016 - 109 comments

I don’t think I’ll forget iPhone Butt

What happens when you zoom in too much on Google Maps. Discoveries by digital artist Kyle F. Williams.
posted by numaner on Feb 18, 2016 - 14 comments

Fake Online Locksmiths, lead gens and Google Maps (nyt)

Fake Online Locksmiths A locksmith’s shop on a street in Sun City, Ariz. [...] turned out to be a fiction that was created for the locksmith by a web design firm using Photoshop at what is, in fact, a vacant lot. [via marginal revolution] [more inside]
posted by hawthorne on Feb 6, 2016 - 65 comments

A: Invent a dog spacesuit

41 of the trickiest questions Google will ask you in a job interview [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 26, 2016 - 77 comments

Selective Blindness in Google Earth and Google Maps

Sorry we have no imagery here: Self censorship in Google geographical images Google's original mission statement from 1998 stated was to: “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams on Jan 20, 2016 - 17 comments

Explore a little world from the comfort of your home

Hamburg's Miniatur Wonderland has been featured on Metafilter before (1, 2) but now you can explore 9 of its sections as if you were there with Google Maps.
posted by jontyjago on Jan 13, 2016 - 14 comments

The dark shadow of Mordor creeping into the Ukraine

The occupiers from Mordor and their sad little horse - I mean Russians from the Russian Federation and their Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov - such is Google translate. Probably not an intentional Google bomb, but just how the Ukrainians have actually been describing their occupiers in online documents which feed Google's translation algorithm.
posted by caddis on Jan 7, 2016 - 2 comments

Good is to MetaFilter as evil is to LOLCats

A web tool (scroll down) built by Radim Řehůřek allows you to compute analogies between English words using Google's word2vec semantic representation, trained on 100 billion words of Google News. "He" is to "Linda" as "she" is to "Steve." "Wisconsin" is to "Milwaukee" as "Maryland" is to "Baltimore." "Good" is to "MetaFilter" as "evil" is to "LOLCats." [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jan 3, 2016 - 30 comments

All the information you'll need to master today's hottest PC phenomenon

Google Books has ten years of Maximum PC online for your enjoyment and occasional chuckles. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty on Jan 3, 2016 - 13 comments

Quantum computing! Brought to you by Google, Goldman Sachs, the NSA...

Google successfully tests the first commercially available quantum computer. Google/NASA's Quantum Computing / AI lab has verified that D-Wave Systems recently announced 1000+ qubit quantum computer works as designed: really, really, really fast. "A 100,000,000x leap in computing power", one of their board members claims. In addition to Google, NASA, and government grants, D-Wave's CEO, the former CTO of Goldman Sachs, also obtained large initial investments from the financial industry. One of their first customers? Los Alamos National Laboratory, "a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security." This obviously has huge implications for public key encryption, scientific research... everything, really.
posted by markkraft on Dec 8, 2015 - 121 comments

Antitrust Antitrust Antitrust Bring Back Antitrust

After 18 years in operation, after a federal law mandating that hospitals work to prevent needle-stick, and after two successful lawsuits resulting in BD paying more than $400 million for violating anti-monopoly statutes, Retractable Technologies made only $34 million in global sales last year. BD, with an inferior, more expensive product, sold $8.4 billion, the payouts to its competitor serving only as the cost of doing business. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control estimated 380,000 needle-sticks at hospitals every year. Today, they estimate 385,000. “You turn on the TV and watch politicians talk about unleashing the power of the free market, that’s absurd,” Shaw says. “The American public is being denied a free market, being denied competition.”
We need a new antitrust for a new predatory era.
posted by ennui.bz on Nov 29, 2015 - 28 comments

...like Xerxes whipping the sea for swallowing his shitty bridge.

Marcin Wichary writes (among other things) articles about crazy, complicated computer bugs and what they say about the world. Come to read about how a bug in Google's famous Pac-Man doodle led to all manner of chaos, stay to learn how a confluence of history, typography, and OS weirdness broke the Polish S (previously), or how a fluke of CSS unearthed a decades-old font. [more inside]
posted by Itaxpica on Nov 16, 2015 - 37 comments

Pepsi Deep Blue

TensorFlow. Google has open-sourced their numerical computation library for machine learning applications. (Especially "deep" learning.) [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Nov 13, 2015 - 28 comments

Putting the Emo in Emoji

Arika Okrent (previously and previously and previously) is known here as MentalFloss.com's language maven, usually looking at linguistic history, like English language words that only survive as parts of idioms and a group trying to revive the Lakota language. But her latest short piece clearly deals with the Future of Language: Emojis. And how the depiction of emojis for certain emotions vary between different devices/systems, sppecifically Apple/iOS, Google/Android and Samsung's proprietary sub-system for the Galaxy S5. [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Nov 10, 2015 - 24 comments

End of the line for Chromebooks?

Google will be folding its Chrome operating system into Android, according to The Wall Street Journal and independently confirmed by The Verge. Google is denying this, according to The Guardian, saying it is "committed to Chrome OS and it is likely Android and Chrome OS will co-exist with tighter integration between the two for the foreseeable future". Chromebook-like small laptops running Android such as the Pixel C are not uncommon, though they tend to dual-purpose as tablets and be more expensive than machines running the browser based operating system.
posted by Artw on Oct 30, 2015 - 58 comments

Google‘s ongoing war on productivity (Episode 6,625)

Today, the Google homepage brings you the “2015 Global Candy Cup” doodle, in which flappy-bird-esque witches collect candy. May the best color (Green) win.
posted by Going To Maine on Oct 30, 2015 - 25 comments

Person: Pick up a big red block. Computer: OK.

In 1970, a young graduate student at MIT demonstrated SHRDLU, an interactive artificial intelligence program which could understand simple English sentences in order to manipulate and describe objects within a simple "block world". It was heralded as a huge breakthrough, leading to predictions that comprehensive "Strong AI" was just around the corner. This optimism proved to be premature, being followed a few years later by the first so-called "AI Winter" of disappointment and funding cuts. But the student, Terry Winograd, went on to Stanford and continues to be influential not just in computer science but also in ethics, cognitive science, natural language and even design. But you might know him better as the PhD. thesis advisor for a guy named Larry Page who was working on some kind of techniques for finding relevant web pages.
posted by mr.ersatz on Oct 11, 2015 - 18 comments

Android x86

Here is Android x86, an open source project which allows you to put Google's Android OS on PC hardware. While there is some software that won't work, it's surprisingly capable! While obviously best for netbooks it's capable of running on many laptops, or you could consider running it in a virtual machine if you just want to run Android software on your PC for a bit. Here's the download page (the proper boot media can be found under "Android-x86-4.4") and installation instructions.
posted by JHarris on Sep 25, 2015 - 50 comments

A design doc to write home about

With the introduction of Google's new logo, why not take a look at the extensive documentation explaining the details of their Material Design philosophy?
posted by cthuljew on Sep 17, 2015 - 44 comments

"Google Glass: 2013-?"

Here are some useful websites from our pals at Google. Well actually, the websites and tools have all been killed, but their dev blogs helpfully remain!
Google Notebook - iGoogle - Google Desktop - Google Video - Orkut - Jaiku (Here's a hilarious-in-retrospect article from Venturebeat about Google buying Jaiku.) - Google Talk (semi-dead, hasn't updated since 2010) - Google Reader.
A good list of killed Google services can be found on Slate's Google Graveyard, unrelated to the one Joe Beese linked in 2010 which has, itself, died. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 4, 2015 - 87 comments

They’ve kept the professional white background

”Google’s new logo is its biggest update in 16 years“ (says Fast Company) “[I]t's now using a sans-serif typeface, making it look a lot more modern and playful. The colors are also softer than they used to be. The logo bears a bit more resemblance to the logo of Google's new parent company, Alphabet, as well.” (says Verge) The Google Blog has more. And, of course, there’s an introductory doodle.
posted by Going To Maine on Sep 1, 2015 - 174 comments

Google says it's the other drivers' fault

Since 2009, Google cars have been in 16 crashes, mostly fender-benders, and in every single case, the company says, a human was at fault. Researchers in the fledgling field of autonomous vehicles say that one of the biggest challenges facing automated cars is blending them into a world in which humans don’t behave by the book. These robots "have to learn to be aggressive in the right amount, and the right amount depends on the culture.” (SLNYT)
posted by RedOrGreen on Sep 1, 2015 - 87 comments

Google has a secret candidate-finding technique

"If Google sees that you're searching for specific programming terms, they'll ask you to apply for a job. It's wild." "I typed 'request; and half expected to see 'Follow the white rabbit, Max.' Instead, the screen displayed a paragraph outlining a programming challenge and gave instructions on how to submit my solution. I had 48 hours to solve it, and the timer was ticking."
posted by Mo Nickels on Aug 26, 2015 - 120 comments

Can Google Rig Elections?

A fascinating article by Robert Epstein at Politico.com about Google's Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) work, and whether and how they'd be able to influence an election. [more inside]
posted by sneebler on Aug 23, 2015 - 34 comments

I spent a weekend at Google talking with nerds about charity.

Dylan Matthews reports on the Effective Altruism Global conference.
posted by Elementary Penguin on Aug 12, 2015 - 64 comments

We go by "G" now.

Larry Page announces, in a blog post, a massive restructuring of Google. Google is now a subsidiary of Larry and Sergey Brin's new company "Alphabet", and Sundar Pichai Google's new CEO.
posted by sutt on Aug 10, 2015 - 165 comments

ENHANCE!

A computational approach for obstruction-free photography takes out the chain link fence obscuring the target of your photo, removes reflections, and--this is the crazy TV show part--can even build a separate image from the reflection. It uses multiple frames and magic math to build up the two "clean" images. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Aug 5, 2015 - 28 comments

What happens when you talk about salaries at Google

"Don't you know what could happen?"
posted by entropicamericana on Jul 20, 2015 - 88 comments

You're no Ferdinand Magellan

Smarty Pins is a trivia game played with Google Maps
posted by desjardins on Jul 16, 2015 - 21 comments

The Uncanny Wormhole

DeepDream, Google's code for visualizing neural networks, is being used like some unholy Lovecraftian Instagram Filter to produce disturbing, surrealistic photos and videos,including upping the psychedelic ante in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Many, many of the photos and videos are Not Safe For Life, Work, or Sanity. Almost all of them are very weird, especially the food ones.
posted by Cookiebastard on Jul 9, 2015 - 94 comments

Where is Google taking us?

I listen to one of the two or three key brains behind the Search algorithm itself, Ben Gomes, who speaks 10 to the dozen of “natural language generation” and “deep learning networks” (and, inevitably, of the “holy grail” of answering users’ questions before they have been asked). [more inside]
posted by Little Dawn on Jul 5, 2015 - 52 comments

A planetary-scale platform for environmental data & analysis

According to Wired, "Paired with AI and VR, Google Earth will change the world". But just after its tenth birthday, Google Earth is already changing the world even without AI or VR, simply by giving scientists tools to map the world's problems (NYT). Google Earth Engine has become an emerging tool in environmental monitoring, conservation, water resources, regional planning, epidemiology, forestry, agriculture, climate science, and many other fields:
In 2007, not long after taking the job at Google, Askay flew to Brazil, helping an indigenous tribe, the Surui, map deforestation in their area of the Amazon, and this gave rise to a wider project called Google Earth Engine. With Earth Engine, outside developers and companies [and scientists] can use Google’s enormous network of data centers to run sweeping calculations on the company’s satellite imagery and other environmental data, a digital catalog that dates back more than 40 years.
[more inside] posted by dialetheia on Jul 1, 2015 - 12 comments

Not even vindictive perverts will use Bing

Better late than never? John Oliver's roughly 16-minute take on online harassment features a 20-year-old AOL commercial, a reworked version of the commercial at the end, and the news (to some of us) that victims of revenge porn may be forced to send pictures of their bodies to the US copyright office in order to get the porn taken down. Oliver's Bing joke occurs at about 13:35.
posted by Bella Donna on Jun 23, 2015 - 57 comments

teaching the machine to hallucinate

Google Photos recognizes the content of images by training neural networks. Google Research is conducting experiments on these simulated visual brains by evolving images to hyperstimulate them, creating machine hallucinations - like that image of melting squirrels that's been going around lately.
posted by moonmilk on Jun 17, 2015 - 112 comments

For (nearly) all of your Ovis Aries needs.

Inspired by the view from a train journey in the Netherlands, Google sheep view is a tumblr that is what it says it is. With an added outtakes section.
posted by Wordshore on Jun 16, 2015 - 10 comments

Underwater street views

Underwater pics mapped. Google Maps teamed up with XL Catlin Seaview Survey, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Chagos Conservation Trust to put together an assortment of underwater views to explore. Previously. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jun 8, 2015 - 3 comments

The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages.

Big and Weird: The Architectural Genius of Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick
The vision outlined in these documents, an application for a major expansion of the Googleplex, its campus, is mind-boggling. The proposed design, developed by the European architectural firms of Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, does away with doors. It abandons thousands of years of conventional thinking about walls. And stairs. And roofs. Google and its imaginative co-founder and chief executive, Larry Page, essentially want to take 60 acres of land adjacent to the headquarters near the San Francisco Bay, in an area called North Bayshore, and turn it into a titanic human terrarium.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on May 14, 2015 - 52 comments

It gets to sit right next to the MetaFilter logo. But what is it?

The 'hamburger' icon is over 30 years old, and it's still a mystery to many users. Unlike the magnifying glass skeuomorph, which most people recognise as meaning 'search', the three horizontal bars used to represent 'menu' (or 'there's more stuff under here that you're less likely to need') is one of the most debated UX choices in web design. [more inside]
posted by Gin and Broadband on May 13, 2015 - 68 comments

... statistically similar terms like “elderly people remain frisky”

The Words the Media Industry Prefers MeFi's own Paul Ford ( previously, a few times )writes another article about the internet and media and data and meaning.
posted by DigDoug on Apr 28, 2015 - 13 comments

Have you ever had a search engine provide your cell service? You will.

Renowned not-evil search engine company Google just formally announced its long-rumoured MVNO: Google Fi. [more inside]
posted by entropicamericana on Apr 22, 2015 - 86 comments

Roll up for the mystery tour

Courtesy of your dear friends at ye olde Google, here's a fun and educational interactive tour of the legendary London recording studio: Inside Abbey Road.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 15, 2015 - 8 comments

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