Today Google unveiled their purpose-built self-driving car prototype, complete with no steering wheel, brake, or gas pedals. You just jump in, and go. The demo video is pretty impressive, and even the funnier Kara Swisher video of her first ride makes it look kind of fun. [more inside]
Metafilter is laying off 3 of its staff, including long time moderator and frequent moral compass Jessamyn who is moving on to Internet Archive’s Open Library. November 2012, Metafilter experienced a sharp drop in traffic. Slate asks "Why has Google forsaken Metafilter?" But the problem is endemic of a larger issue. Google is breaking the internet. [more inside]
Today's Google Doodle, in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Rubik's Cube. — a fully functional, animated Rubik's Cube. [Click here for the interactive version.] [Related]
One day in July 2001, Larry Page decided to fire Google’s project managers. All of them.
Having taken pictures of more than 6 million miles’ worth of road, Google is more than doubling the amount of global Street View imagery by adding all of its archive photography. The company’s Google Maps Web application will now include a time machine feature where users can move a slider to see all historical images of a place. As much as possible, pictures of the same place have been aligned so they have the same perspective as one another.
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.
Wired's Gideon Lewis-Kraus reports from the trenches of the Silicon Valley "ecosystem". [more inside]
Fisher Yu, 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 app.
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.
London to Amsterdam, Saint Petersburg and Tokyo to New York, well known historical paintings of city scenes around the world superimposed on to Google Street View by Halley Docherty (whose username is shystone on Reddit) | Google Street View Paintings by Raul Moyado Sandoval that he calls Metapanoramas | Also Paintings as Google Street View Maps via Lileks' wonderful Lint. [more inside]
More visualizations of the personification of our favorite search engine - now with added competitors! [more inside]
Mark Ames follows up on The Techtopus (previously) with a new report showing a much larger conspiracy than has been previously reported: [more inside]
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]
Lifehacker: "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]
DevArt: An exhibition of art created with code - skywriting quadcopter drones programmed with c++, room dividers reimagined as 3D screens for psychedelic projections, using raspberry pi to rename WiFi networks as lines of poetry. They are collaborating with the Barbican in London for the Digital Revolution exhibition and are currently seeking an emerging creative coder to be funded to present at the exhibition alongside world-class interactive artists Zach Lieberman, Karsten Schmidt, and the duo of Varvara Guljajeva & Mar Canet.
Do not play this game. You will be dead in seconds. Did it get popular using sneaky tactics? Probably not. But do you want it to haunt your dreams? No, you don't. Stave off your existential despair in some other way. I repeat, do not play this game.
Reminisce with a virtual Lego set. Make that house you always wanted to build but never had enough pieces for. Or just make another spaceship. [more inside]
Ars Technica reports on malicious extensions on the Chrome web browser, which install advertising-based malware that hijack links and inject ad content. Further speech recognition exploits (source) leave open the opportunity for malicious sites to record sound captured by the user's web browser without permission.
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]
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)
Includes the annotated game. (via)
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.
How Silicon Valley Became The Man The Harvard Business Review's Justin Fox interviews Stanford historian Fred Turner about how the New Communalists molded the Valley in their image.
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 today.
Google Location History- LifeHacker tells you how to delete your history (you need to be logged into google to use this link) and turn off Google location tracking on your phone.
The search engine optimization community has spent the last two years in a panic. SEO people flood our Internet with spam links and fake Twitter bots and paid traffic, to help bad websites look more popular than they are, to deliver fake viewers to web ads. They now spend their lives on the run, Google nipping at their heels. Their biggest project? Removing all the spam links on websites like this one—the spam links that they put there.
Big Dog. Wild Cat. Cheetah. Petman. Atlas. Google acquires Boston Dynamics, notable maker of terrifying robots. [more inside]
Christian Stefansen has made Amiga Workbench 1.3 available in Chrome via the Portable Native Client. For those of you rode on the third wheel of the 16-bit operating system wars, this is quite a treat, in addition to being a nifty proof-of-concept. More info on the technology here.
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. Live reactions at the Guardian.
Are paper books becoming obsolete in the digital age, or poised to lead a new cultural renaissance? [more inside]
Last month, an innocent video of Japanese celebricat Maru climbing a ladder was defaced with a dick pic in the comments (NSFW ASCII art). The Internet's favorite feline was the latest casualty in a hurricane of spam, links to viruses, ASCII art and other flying debris that has descended on the YouTube comments section ever since Google forced all commenters to adopt Google+ accounts. [more inside]
Auto Correct — Has the self-driving car at last arrived? From The New Yorker, November 25, 2013.
The India-Pakistan partition in 1947 separated many friends and families overnight. A granddaughter in India decides to surprise her grandfather on his birthday by reuniting him with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) after over 6 decades of separation, with a little help from Google Search. SLYT
"A job at Google. It's career heaven, right? How could a gig at the biggest, most ambitious tech company on the planet possibly be bad? Well, take a look at this Quora thread, which is being used by current and former Google employees to dish the dirt on working for Big G."
It begins. A consortium of mobile phone makers including Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony have launched a barrage of patent suits against Google and major Android handset makers such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC. Unlike previous patent suits from the major shareholders, these suits are on the rocket docket of Eastern Texas.
Google's Doodle is a fun Halloween themed game. Add different combinations of ingredients into the witch's cauldron for some spooky surprises. [more inside]
San Francisco's Bay Barge Mystery "Something big and mysterious is rising from a floating barge at the end of Treasure Island, a former Navy base in the middle of San Francisco Bay." And now one has showed up in a Maine harbor. Update from C|Net News.
Google/Motorola unveil new modular phone idea. This is a partnership with the the Phoneblocks people, which was generally not well received when we last discussed the idea.
The Digital Attack Map from Google and Arbor Networks gives you an amazing dynamic visualization of ongoing Distributed Denial of Service and other cyberattacks. You can also go back to see older attacks - like the 6-day long attack on the US in August, attacks on the anniversary of the Korean War, and others. Slate finds it a bit self-serving for Google, but the helpful video explaining DDoS is useful.
Google knows almost every wi-fi password. Of course this means that the NSA also has access to them. Apple might not be much better.
To mark the 178th anniversary of Darwin’s first exploration of the Galapagos Islands, Google Maps has captured dozens of locations featuring the local biodiversity. It's the newest of Google's ongoing efforts to bring diverse locations to you via your computer.
If you start typing "why" into Google, the autocomplete gives you a glimpse at the various mysteries people want answers to, such as "why is space black?" or "why are people stupid?" or "why is there yellow discharge in my underwear?" XKCD's current comic, "Questions," shows a glimpse at some of these questions, culled from a big list of over 33,000 that XKCD's author, Randall Munroe, generated from Google API queries. In response, Reddit user GeeJo made his best attempt at answering every single one posed in the comic.
Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.