When I went to L.A. in July, I used Uber to travel back to the Airport. Of course, that was during rush hour, which is not a smart move. But the driver – an L.A. native – knew the shortcuts to get me from Venice Beach to LAX in a faster time.
So how would a driverless car do it?
Local independent transportation company Uber announced today they want to invest up to $375 million for 2,500 driverless cars from Google when they become available toward the end of the year. Their investment also included a commitment to share data with Google for the trips.
Google – who has been developing driverless cars since 2008 – just showed the GX3200 earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show. The GX3200 is a four-person, 3 suitcase car with built-in Wifi and a charge that can get up to 750 miles.
For Uber, this could mean faster rollouts in cities they never planned to be a part of. Having 1-2 cars in towns with populations less than 10,000 is a reality. You don’t even a dispatcher living there, since the app takes care of the process.
Uber is in 24 cities in the U.S. – Just adding Honolulu last week – and 18 worldwide locations. Of course, major hurdles in some areas as labor unions petition this service and new regulations trying to shut down the Uber Taxi service.
Still, the question begs – do you want a driverless car? I would be more happy to have a car show up for me to get in and drive to my desired location. Having some control at this stage in the autonomous car period will make me feel safer.
With newer Google Maps – including the recently purchased and implemented Waze software (predictive software that finds alternate routes) – I could see a driverless car act just like my Uber driver from July.
If you like to follow the ever-growing integration between computers and home theater, then the recent innovations have been a welcome, and quickly, growing surprise. Boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and others have made life much easier than the days when I built my first HTPC and looked for the best ways to stream my home media to it.
Then Google unveiled Chromecast, a surprise, as it came at an event where everyone expected only the new Nexus 7 to be unveiled. The tiny stick plugs into a spare HDMI port and allows customers to “cast” media to their TV from compatible web sites, as well as Android tablets and phones.
But what about your home media — all of those ripped DVD’s and music that you have stored on your home network. That too is easy enough, though you need to be using the Chrome web browser.
Open a new tab
Press Ctrl + O
Open a file (video or audio) that Chrome can play
Click the cast button
That is all there is to it to get your own media up and playing on your big screen.
Just a quickie….Samsung UK have an offer on at the moment that if you buy one of their Chromebooks during August, you can claim a free smartphone. Don’t get too excited as the phone is only a Galaxy Mini but it’s better than nothing and you can always flog it on ebay. There are further goodies if you buy a 3G Chromebook.
Pay attention to the small print as you have to wait 14 days from the date of purchase before you can apply for the phone.
Great news for people who love to hang out in Starbucks, or who are using the local Starbucks as their “office”! Google has teamed up with Starbucks in order to bring a faster WiFi connection to all 7,000 company owned Starbucks stores that are located in the United States. Best of all, you will be able to use the newer, faster, WiFi at Starbucks for free!
According to Google, soon you will be able to visit Starbucks and surf the web at speeds that are up to 10 times faster than before. Do you live in a Google Fiber city? If so, Google is hoping to be able to make the WiFi connection at your local Starbucks to be up to 100 times faster than it used to be.
Of course, there is a bigger, more altruistic reason for offering faster, free, WiFi at Starbucks than to make things a bit easier for freelancers who use the coffee shop as an “office”. In times of trouble, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people went to a Starbucks so they could use the store’s WiFi and connect to their loved ones. The upgrades to the WiFi will make that easier.
Google says that they will start rolling out the new, faster, WiFi starting this month. You will be able to tell when your local Starbucks has had the WiFi upgraded when you visit the store and notice you can log into the “Google Starbucks” SSID.
The Lollapalooza music festival has been around for quite some time, originating with Perry Ferrell and Jane’s Addiction. The concert series persists, and will take place this weekend in Chicago — in fact, starting today at 2:30pm CST, taking place from Grant Park and featuring more than 20 artists.
Best of all, those who didn’t, or couldn’t get tickets or travel to the Windy City need not worry. because sitting on the sofa will yield the same live action as the expensive tickets and trip to the city. Now the difficult part is up to you — spending your weekend being lazy! Personally, I plan to utilize my Google TV for the big screen experience.
For Android fans there is perhaps no bigger news than the rolling out of a brand new version of the Google Play store. This weekend version 4.2.3 hit the web, with a few alterations to the software coming along for the ride. Sadly, this latest iteration is built for the Nexus 4 — the LG manufactured handset which became available in late 2012.
At this point it is unclear if this latest build is set to be part of Android 4.3, which we expect to be called Key Lime Pie, or if this will simply be a new version of the store that is available across all devices — or at least perhaps Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and newer.
Google is holding an event this week, which is billed as breakfast with Android chief Sundar Pichai. Sadly, while GNC did receive an invitation, we will not have a writer in attendance. Hopefully, we will still learn all of the details of Android 4.3 at this event, which could be a very interesting occasion indeed, if rumors and reports of what is in store bear any fruit.
You can download the Google Play Store Appversion 4.2.3 APK from here. I have not tested it on either my phone or tablet, so I can not verify compatibility with anything more than the Nexus 4.
Last fall I got a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. I love the S3. It’s an awesome piece of technology.
Sometime overnight a couple of evenings ago, it developed a hardware problem and the next day it would no longer boot. It was working perfectly when I went to bed, but when I woke up something had gone wrong.
So, I went by a Sprint store. The technician tried to do a hard reset, but no go. He ended up giving me a new white S3.
I ended up having a bit of a problem getting my Gmail contacts to synch to the new phone from Google’s cloud. After a bit of research, I discovered there is an apparent bug in Google+. If you have Google+ friend synching enabled on your Android phone, it ends up preventing the Gmail contacts from synching to the phone.
The work-around to the problem is to turn off Google+ synching. Once I turned off Google+ data synching in the the phone settings, the Gmail contacts instantly started synching over. I’ve got quite a large contact list since the list was originally developed in Windows and has been synched over to a number of different phones as well as OS/X, so it took a while to synch over.
I don’t need the Google+ contact list to synch over to the phone anyhow, so I will keep this Google+ app feature turned off. I had noticed even before this happened that contact updates didn’t synch properly to or from the old phone, so it is likely that the bug in the Google+ synching has been around for a while and as of this writing is not resolved.
So, if you get a new Android phone and you are having trouble getting your Gmail contacts to synch over to the new device, make sure that Google+ synching is disabled then cloud synching of your contacts should begin working just like it’s supposed to.
Google Maps and its Street View program have traveled across much of the world, beginning with streets and then venturing out to trails, museums and even under the waves at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Now the search giant wishes to enlist the aid of users to go further that ever.
The company is enlisting volunteers to strap on its cameras and head off around the world. The first example of this was carried out in Hawaii and information and images can be found on the Google Maps blog.
“We’re working to build the very best map of the world, and we’d love your help to do it. Today we’re kicking off a pilot program that enables third party organizations to borrow the Street View Trekkerand contribute imagery to Google Maps. For the first time ever, this program will enable organizations to use our camera equipment to collect 360-degree photos of the places they know best — helping us make Google Maps more comprehensive and useful for all. This program is part of our ongoing effort to make it possible for anyone to contribute to Google Maps”.
The first partner, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), has already begun using the Trekker to take photos of the most popular, well-trafficked sites on the Hawaiian islands for future inclusion on Google Maps.
If you wish to be next, then this is the time to register. Got a big trip planned? Want to contribute to what has widely been considered the best map service in the world? Pack your bags!
Once a pon a time a number of years ago I went through a period of several years where I spent a fair amount of money on compact discs. Those days are long gone and have been for some time.
It’s probably just my age showing more than anything, but in recent years I lost interest in finding new music. I stopped listening to the radio the better part of ten years ago. When I did listen to music, it was to the old stuff.
To my surprise, I’ve become more interested in listening again. There’s a genre of music I paid scant attention to in the past called “electronic” that has caught my ear in the past couple of months. Mind you, not enough to start shelling out money for CD’s or even MP3′s, but these days that isn’t necessary. The “electronic” category of music is not for everyone. It is created with synthesizers and some of the sounds are very aggressive; some people would consider them noise. To my surprise, I’m really enjoying listening to this stuff — not enough to buy the music outright, but enough to pay to have access.
Google Music is currently offering a 30 day free trial. The price after the free trial is $7.99 per month if you lock it in by subscribing before the June 30 expiration date. The regular subscription price is $10 dollars per month.
I subscribed to the free offer, and so far I like it. I searched for the names of some of the electronic artists such as Hardwell and Armin van Buuren. I was easily able to figure out how to start the “radio” feature, which is initiated from a particular song. Once tracks started playing, I gave many of them a “thumbs up” if I really liked them and a few tracks a “thumbs down” if I didn’t like them. Google Music seems to do a great job of figuring out what I like over time.
Google Music claims to offer access to millions of tracks. A few experimental searches seems to indicate that they do offer a broad selection of both new and back catalog tracks.
You can download any track to your device by adding it to your library. I didn’t read the terms of service, but I’m sure once you cancel any downloaded music will go away once you stop paying the rent.
Renting access to music is actually a great idea if you want to casually listen, but don’t want to spend a fortune doing it.
When I read the most recent news from Google I had to check my calendar — sure enough it is not April 1st. However, what the search giant announced sounds fantastical. What more can you say about getting internet from a high altitude balloon? Well, that is the dream the company has announced.
“But for 2 out of every 3 people on earth, a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach. And this is far from being a solved problem”.
Google talks of the serious challenges facing the internet connectivity for large portions of the world. The company aims to solve this with high-altitude balloons in stratospheric orbit. “Solving these problems isn’t simply a question of time: it requires looking at the problem of access from new angles. So today we’re unveiling our latest moonshot from Google[x]: balloon-powered Internet access”.
The company thinks 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”.
This week Google started a pilot program in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to the balloons. This is the first time Google has launched this many balloons (30 this week, in fact) and tried to connect to this many receivers on the ground, and promises to learn a lot that will help the company improve its technology and balloon design.