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Is Moto 360 the “Google Glass killer”? (0)

With the introduction of the Moto 360 smartwatch, Google may have signed an obituary for its Google Glass before it even becomes available to the general public. Writing for Mashable, former Google Glass Explorer and self-described "tech enthusiast" Peter McDermott says that may be the case. While the idea behind Google Glass--enabling to access information instantly through a display at the corner of your eye, without having to constantly bringing out your phone--is promising, actual usage of the Glass shows a different story. McDermott lists down several issues facing Google Glass: Relatively short battery life - While Google Glass lasts up to 8 hours in casual use, that is not the case once you turn on the video camera, wherein the device would last for up to 30 minutes if you record continuously. Worries regarding security issues - Google may insist all those criticisms at how Google Glass compromises security are unfounded, but a few tweaks from a knowledgeable individual could make Google Glass gather personal information from the people around the user including credit card numbers. The lack of social acceptance - The tech giant calls out Google Glass critics for being so concerned about privacy when they have mobile devices that have potential security risks. But add the news about the "largest government surveillance scandal in recorded history," people will remain uncomfortable seeing one guy with a tiny camera attached to his face. "Moto 360 won't have these problems," McDermott wrote. "First of all, it's on my wrist, so it's much less conspicuous than a face-mounted computer. This definitely helps us in the social acceptance arena, and makes it a wearable than I'm comfortable wearing everywhere (except maybe not the shower)." The blogger also gives praises on Moto 360's potential in hosting better apps that work in multiple wearable devices, as well as the added sex appeal to people who treat their watches like jewelry. It is even a safer way of using a wearable device, without having to face the risk of getting mugged in a bar, get a traffic ticket for operating a mobile device while driving, or get questioned by a FBI agent in a cinema over allegations of movie piracy. "Now that I’ve seen Moto 360, I see some elements of Glass that I love that will fit much better into my daily life," McDermott wrote. Mashable Read More

Google tries to debunk Google Glass myths (0)

In an attempt to temper down the criticisms surrounding its Google Glass, the "don't be evil" company has published a list of 10 Google Glass myths Google tries to prove untrue. However, its obviously defensive tone and the way they flatter themselves seem to create more questions (and possibly hate). Myth 1 - Glass is the ultimate distraction from the real world - Google contends that Google Glass makes you experience, and record, life as it happens instead of looking down to your mobile devices. "Big moments in life -- concerts, your kid’s performances, an amazing view -- shouldn’t be experienced through the screen you’re trying to capture them on." While that can be true, Google glossed over the actual reason why it is called an "ultimate distraction" in the first place: driving. A Google Glass Explorer, a beta tester who paid $1,500 just to try out the device, was cited by the California Highway Patrol for allegedly operating her Glass while driving. That charge has since been dismissed after the judge said there is not enough evidence to determine whether the arrested Explorer's Glass was turned on at the time. (Glass does not have a LED indicator that it is turned on, while Google claims the wearer has to look up to view the Glass display.) Myth 6 - Glass covers your eye(s) - In a very defensive tone, Google states: "Before jumping to conclusions about Glass, have you actually tried it?" While the device's screen is designed to sit above the right eye, there have been instances when the screen is placed on the upper half of the eye. This is coming from Explorers who have tried the Glass. Myth 9 - Glass is banned... EVERYWHERE - Another exaggerated Google Glass myth. Some establishments have imposed a ban on Google Glass to prevent wearers from secretly recording video. Meanwhile, a number of states are considering banning the device from being used while driving, much like cell phones. So it's not really EVERYWHERE. Google even says: "Just bear in mind, would-be banners: Glass can be attached to prescription lenses, so requiring Glass to be turned off is probably a lot safer than insisting people stumble about blindly in a locker room." One guy did exactly that, fitting the Glass on his prescription lenses, walked to a cinema and ended up being questioned by FBI. The wearer insisted the Glass was turned off, but the FBI agent was not convinced until the Glass was hooked up to a laptop and had all images downloaded. Myth 10 - Glass marks the end of privacy - Google cited how people went paranoid over the "end of privacy" when cameras became available in the market in the late 19th Century, adding that there will be more cameras in 10 years. Matt Peckham of Time magazine says it best: "Is it really enough to wave off privacy concerns by looking backwards? Is the widespread adoption of something validation enough? Plenty would disagree. You could argue (and in fact many have), for instance, that pervasive camera networks like Britain’s unprecedented CCTV system are Orwell’s future dystopia by any other name." "Google Glass might not be 'the ultimate distraction,' but just like cellphones, it could be if used improperly, and who’s going to enforce its proper use? It might not be on and recording all the time today, but what about more powerful future versions down the road? It doesn’t do facial recognition at Google’s behest, but what about tomorrow? And for all Google’s assurances about curating its application store to control what people can do, what happens when people start jailbreaking these things?" Read More

Google Play soon allows cross-platform gaming with iOS (0)

During the Games Developers Conference this week, Google has announced that Google Play Games services, the company's backend that activates online features for many Android game apps such as multiplayer capability, will soon be available to iOS. Google says that it will offer the service to app developers so their games can employ turn-based and real-time multiplayer gaming into multiple, cross-platform devices. This means that you can soon challenge your iPhone-totting friends to a round of Badland, even though you are using an Android mobile device. Before the announcement, iPhone and iPad users have to settle on a Google-provided plug-in for the Unity game engine. Google also says it is releasing a separate SDK for non-Unity game apps. Aaron Souppouris of The Verge says that Google's announcement of expanding multiplayer capabilities to iOS, as well as Microsoft's anticipated announcement, could "signal a change in the way the big three mobile operating systems approch gaming." Google adds that many of new features in Google Play, including the cross-platform multiplayer service, will go live on March 18, Tuesday. Source: The Verge Image source: Twin Design / Read More

Project Ara: Google modular smartphone in the works (0)

For Google, the future will have consumers assembling their own smartphones from individual parts. The tech giant is set to introduce the Project Ara, which aims to make that happen, in its three developer conferences. According to the Ara website, the first of three conferences will take place on April 15 and 16, which will be held online. This allows any interested developer from all over the world to join in the conversation. Google will also host a more intimate gathering at the Computer History Museum, located near its headquarters in Mountain View, California. When Google sold its Motorola unit to Lenovo, it kept Moto's Advanced Technology And Products (ATAP) group. Its aim aligns with Google's so-called "moonshot" projects, or technology that pushes through leaps and bounds instead of increments. This includes the Google modular smartphone, which breaks the usual handset down into its components such as the camera, processor, and storage among others. The idea behind modular phones is to be able to purchase components separately to upgrade or enhance their mobile device according to their preference. Reports claim that Google wants to sell a stripped-down base phone, which does not even come with a cellular connection, for $50. Users would then add up more modules to enhance their phone's abilities as they see fit. There are no dates yet for the other two conferences, but Google says both will be held within this year. You can follow the progress of the Google modular smartphone on the @ProjectAra Twitter account. Read More

Google smartwatch leaked? (0)

The tech world was abuzz when photos of what seems to be an early prototype of the Google smartwatch leaked online Tuesday. Citing an anonymous source, Android Police claims the Motorola-made Google Watch, which goes by the codename "Gem," falls under the Nexus line of devices. The images look grainy at best, but they show what to expect from the Google smartwatch: a square display, a capacitive back button, and two buttons. One of the photos shows the prototype displaying a settings menu. It remains unclear when the photos were taken, although Android Police believe it existed in 2013, before Google sold its Motorola business unit to Lenovo recently for $2.9 billion. Meanwhile, Motorola confirmed on Twitter that the company was developing a watch that they aim to release "this year." It is not yet known if the two devices are related Rumors of a Google smartwatch also circulated last October, when the tech giant was reportedly close to completing the device with the help of Google-acquired Android watchmaker Wimm. Google has yet to respond on the issue. Source: Mashable Read More

Google releases anti-Glasshole etiquette (0)

It is not yet even in the market, but Google Glass has sparked conversations about possible privacy breaches. There are concerns that people are being secretly recorded by a Glass-wearing creep, or that Glass users would wear them while driving. The Internet has a term for irresponsible Google Glass users: Glasshole. Google has recently published a list of do's and don'ts to keep their Glass Explorers from committing Glasshole moves, because you wouldn't want your upcoming product be associated with douchiness rather than its innovation. Do ask for permission before shooting images - Do not just stand alone in the corner of a room and recording the party as it happens. It is not going to win you new friends. "The Glass camera function is no different from a cell phone so behave as you would with your phone and ask permission before taking photos or videos of others," Google said. Do not be rude - "If you're asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well," according to Google. There have been reports of Glass Explorers insisting on wearing their headsets even after being asked by restaurant owners to remove them. This has lead to some incidents of violence, and some restaurants banning the Glass altogether. Do take advantage of the Glass voice commands - Do not fiddle the device around like what you do with your smartphone. If you want to take a picture, say "OK Glass, take a picture" instead of winking or tapping on the side of the headset. This would let people around you know that you are shooting a photo, instead of doing so stealthily. Do not wear it all the time - Google Glass is supposed to provide quick updates or perform quick actions, as a complement to your mobile device rather than a replacement. Glassholes tend to wear their headsets all the time, as if it is the way of the future. "If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods o time you're probably looking pretty weird to the people around you," Google said. Do use the screen lock - You will never know when bad guys would just snatch the Glass off your face. Activating the screen lock prevents thieves from accessing your email and other sources of personal information. Do not expect to be ignored while wearing it - Google treats its Explorers, llike walking billboards and they do not want them to act like Glaasholes. "If you're worried about someone interrupting that romantic dinner at a nice restaurant without a question about Glass, just take if off and put it around the back of your neck or in your bag," according to the post. Source: CNN Read More

Google sells Motorola to Lenovo for $3 billion (0)

Google has confirmed on its website that it has sold its Motorola unit to Chinese PC maker Lenovo for $2.91 billion. The deal consists of $660 million in cash and $750 million in Lenovo shares, while the remaining $1.5 billion will be paid through a three-year promissory note. Not only Lenovo receives the Motorola brand, but also its array of current devices, which includes the Moto X and Moto G. The Chinese company will also get over 2,000 patent assets, while Google will keep control for most of the patents it originally acquired from its past acquisition of Motorola. The deal would give Lenovo an established global brand, hoping to replicate its successful smartphone business outside China. Google, meanwhile, would shed off a unit that has constantly dragged down its profits. Motorola posted losses over the last year or so. The most recent quarter, for instance, Motorola posted an operating loss of $248 million, higher than what it lost a year earlier. The deal comes as a surprise as analysts see Google shifting towards creating its own hardware. Source: CNET Image source: CNET Read More

Google acquires artificial intelligence company DeepMind (0)

Google will be shelling out as much as $400 million to acquire DeepMind, a London-based artificial intelligence company that keeps its projects hush-hush. Re/code got the scoop after Google confirmed the acquisition to them, but stopped short in specifying the price. But more than acquiring a company, the deal is about acquiring the amazing talent involved in DeepMind. So much so that Google's CEO Larry Page led the deal himself. Its founder, neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, was a child prodigy in chess that Mind Sports Olympiad even called him "probably the best games player in history". Steeped in mystery, DeepMind's website can only describe its business as "building learning algorithms for simulations, e-commerce, and games". But for the people within the AI industry, DeepMind is seen as a formidable player, aggressively recruiting the best in the field. They even competed with Google, Facebook, and Baidu for talent. Big names in tech are among DeepMind's investors, such as Founders Fund, Horizon Ventures, and Skype's developer Jaan Tallinn. Sources say the company has secured $50 million in funding. Google has been hiring experts in artificial intelligence in recent months. It remains murky what Google plans to do with AI, but some tech blogs say it may have to do with developing various products and systems for e-commerce. Source: Re/code Read More

Google apologizes for Gmail outage (0)

Google suffered major outage over the weekend, downing Gmail, Google+, Calendar, and Documents. As expected, users around the world were outraged, leading into hashtags on Twitter and not-so-happy status updates on Facebook. The company has released an apology Friday evening, saying an internal software bug caused the Gmail outage, wherein users' data requests were ignored. It also lead to errors within other Google services. "An internal system that generates configurations — essentially, information that tells other systems how to behave — encountered a software bug and generated an incorrect configuration," Google's VP of Engineering Ben Treynor said on the company's blog. "The incorrect configuration was sent to live services over the next 15 minutes, caused users’ requests for their data to be ignored, and those services, in turn, generated errors." Google adds they are in the process of establishing systems to prevent any similar problems in the future. The Gmail outage, which began Friday at 10:55 a.m. PST, lasted between 25 and 55 minutes. It affected as much as 10% of its total users. Source: Mashable Read More

Google smart contact lenses can monitor diabetes (0)

Google has announced it is testing a smart contact lens that measures glucose levels of people with diabetes or at risk of getting one. The Google smart contact lenses are armed with a tiny wireless chip and a "miniaturized" glucose sensor placed between two layers of lens material. It measures the glucose levels found in the wearer's tears. The company plans on adding tiny LED lights to indicate whether the wearer's glucose levels have reached thresholds. Do not expect this product to be available soon, as Google says "a lot more work" is needed to be accomplished to make the technology safe and ready for consumers. "We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease," Google says in its blog post. The Google smart contact lenses are a reflection of how consumer demand for such devices is expected to grow. A report from the International Diabetes Federation says that one in ten people in the world are likely to have diabetes by 2035. People with diabetes need to monitor their glucose levels regularly because sudden spikes and drops are dangerous. This is currently measured through blood tests, even on children. Google claims their prototype of the lens can "generate a reading once per second" and is working with the US Food and Drug Administration to bring their smart contact lenses to mainstream use. Source: BBC Read More

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