San Francisco must change.
"...the current state of permitting regulations for building and the glacial pace of infrastructure projects in San Francisco benefit very few people and risk turning it into a caricature of its former self for tourists and residents rich enough to live in a fantasy, not a living city. If there was ever a time when San Francisco needed to embrace a dynamic, expansive policy for building housing, offices and transportation, it is now." (Previously: 1
posted by ambrosia
on Jul 6, 2014 -
In March 2012, legendary animator Glen Keane
sent out a letter to his colleagues at Walt Disney Animation Studios that outlined his resignation
from the House of Mouse, where he'd worked for over 38 years on beloved Disney characters like Ariel, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and the Beast. His departure left many Disney fans wondering what was going to happen to the great master, whom many believe is one of the greatest character animators alive today, and for a while it seemed that his retirement might be permanent.
Last week, however, Keane debuted his first hand-drawn animated short, Duet
, which he produced with Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group in San Francisco.
As you might expect, it's an absolutely breathtaking artistic and technical achievement
. And it hasn't even been released in its final interactive mobile format yet. [more inside]
posted by Hermione Granger
on Jul 4, 2014 -
Ian McClatchie, the Ambivalent Engineer, reminisces about his time on the Google Street View project.
"At the time I was hired, we had two copies of the first camera set, which I dubbed R1. These had been assembled by bolting five 11 megapixel CCD based book-scanning cameras (shown below) to a plywood board, and bolting that to the roof of a car, much of which was accomplished by Elliot Kroo when he was, if I'm not mistaken, 14 years old (youngest intern ever at Google). Neither R1 worked much, due to problems with the cameras, not Elliot!"
posted by daisyk
on Jul 3, 2014 -
"Advertising is not well.
Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement
emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement
clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising
—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil
that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale
about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 3, 2014 -
Following on the heels of Phonebloks
, a Google/Motorola formed a design group called Project Ara
. The Verge
recently interviewed Paul Eremenko
, the project lead, about progress made towards modularization of mobile phone components, overcoming engineering issues, and the group assigning itself an ambitious timetable to succeed in delivering a sellable product within two years, or disbanding.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Apr 25, 2014 -
, a Princeton grad student, and David Gallup
, a Google employee, have published a method for retrieving the 3D information of a scene from the small motion of the hands that occurs while taking video. They've given their paper a website
that includes a video
, the paper itself, and a dataset. One neat application of this is the ability to simulate short depth of field, a feature that has made it into the new Google Camera
posted by Maecenas
on Apr 19, 2014 -
Google has been in Ireland since 2003, and some former Google employees and contractors with significant experience at the company say that Google’s reputation as a great employer is undeserved. Permanent staff are well taken care of, they say, but even many permanent staff are overqualified, overworked, and perform relatively menial tasks. In addition, entire layers of hidden contractors and temporary workers do much of the work without the benefits or opportunities accorded permanent staff.
posted by gorbweaver
on Apr 1, 2014 -
Are the robots about to rise? Ray thinks so...
Google has bought almost every machine-learning and robotics company it can find... And it has embarked upon what one DeepMind investor told the technology publication Re/code two weeks ago was "a Manhattan project of AI"... Peter Norvig, Google's research director, said recently that the company employs "less than 50% but certainly more than 5%" of the world's leading experts on machine learning. And that was before it bought DeepMind which, it should be noted, agreed to the deal with the proviso that Google set up an ethics board to look at the question of what machine learning will actually mean when it's in the hands of what has become the most powerful company on the planet.
In late 2012, Ray became Google's new Director of Engineering
, empowering him with extraordinary resources and latitude. [more inside]
posted by tybeet
on Mar 13, 2014 -
: "One of the more annoying things about Netflix
, Hulu Plus
, and Amazon
's television streaming libraries is the vast difference between the selection available. It would be almost impossible to get a thorough idea of who has the better library without searching for hundreds of TV shows on each service and comparing them manually. So we did just that." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Mar 4, 2014 -
Mark Ames on Silicon Valley's conspiracy to drive down workers' wages:
In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators.... The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act.... [more inside]
posted by enn
on Jan 24, 2014 -
My game with Magnus Carlson
: On January 16, 2014, Magnus Carlsen, the newly crowned world chess champion and the highest rated player in history, paid a visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, to give a talk and play a ten board simultaneous exhibition.
Includes the annotated game. (via
posted by starman
on Jan 23, 2014 -
Over the years, many scientists have investigated various body fluids—such as tears—in the hopes of finding an easier way for people to track their glucose levels. [...] We’re now testing a smart contact lens
that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates
on Jan 16, 2014 -
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Arthur Wynne's creation of the crossword puzzle, Google's homepage hosts a (not terribly difficult) example of the form
posted by JHarris
on Dec 21, 2013 -
Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and Aol have all teamed up to oppose
widespread government surveillance. In an open letter to the US president and members of congress, the companies urge
the government to reform
its digital spy apparatus.
reactions at the Guardian.
posted by brina
on Dec 9, 2013 -