Tag Archives | Google

Google Patents ‘Creepy’ Cuddly Toys to Run Your Home

Would you let Ted run your home? Google is thinking you just might and has patented some Internet-connected toys that can do just that, per BBC News:

Google’s R&D team has looked into making internet-connected toys that control smart home appliances.

google toys

The firm has published a patent that describes devices that would turn their heads towards users and listen to what they were saying, before sending commands to remote computer servers.

The three-year old patent was spotted recently by the legal technology firm SmartUp.

It described the proposal as “one of Google’s creepiest patents yet”.

Privacy campaigners have also raised concerns.

A spokeswoman for Google was unable to say whether this was a product the firm might develop and sell.
“We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees come up with,” she said.

“Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t.

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The New Googleplex: A Titanic Human Terrarium

“The next Googleplex goes way beyond free snacks and massages; it’s a future-proof microclimate,” writes Brad Stone for Bloomberg:

The most ambitious project unveiled by Google this year isn’t a smartphone, website, or autonomous, suborbital balloon from the Google X lab. You can’t hold it, or download it, or share it instantly with friends. In fact, the first part of it probably won’t exist for at least three years. But you can read all about it in hundreds of pages of soaring descriptions and conceptual drawings, which the company submitted in February to the local planning office of Mountain View, Calif.

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

Credit: BIG/Heatherwick Studio

 

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.

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The Persistence of the Office

Google's campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Google’s campus concept. (Photo: Google)

Susie Cagle Via Pacific Standard:

Google is growing. The company recently unveiled plans for expanded headquarters it hopes to build in Mountain View, California: a “sprawling sci-fi campus” that is “unlike anything built before it.” The structure looks aggressively inspired, bordering on nonsensical. There are glass canopies and cars that look like bananas.

In a way, though, the most exceptional thing about Google’s offices is that they exist at all. Google and other tech companies build and maintain massive campuses, while other companies are expanding their telework ranks—and using the products of tech companies to do it.

The industry that makes it possible for other companies to employ teleworkers is putting massive resources into developing and maintaining its own office culture.

Telework is growing every year. It’s what many predicted as the work of the future—nimble and flexible production unconstrained by time or place.

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Study: Internet Searches Causing Us to Think We’re Smarter Than We Really Are

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Andrew Moran via Career Addict:

The next time you perform a web search on Google or Yahoo be sure to remember that you’re not actually as smart as you think you are. Internet searches are convincing us that we’re smarter than we are, says a new study by Yale University psychologists.

According to the latest study, surfing the Internet for various tidbits of information gives people the false impression, or “widely inaccurate view,” that they’re intelligent. The experts warn this could generate over-confidence and a false sense of self-esteem, which could then lead to the bad decisions down the line.

The Google Generation

Researchers came to this conclusion when they performed a series of experiments on study participants. More than 1,000 students had taken part in the research study. In one test, an Internet group had been provided with a link to a website that explains “how does a zip work?” and the other group was given a print-out sheet with the same information.

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Google Puts Online 10,000 Works of Street Art from Across the Globe

Circling Birdies by Cheko, Granada Spain

Circling Birdies by Cheko, Granada Spain

Ayun Halliday via Open Culture:

Since last we wrote, Google Street Art has doubled its online archive by adding some 5,000 images, bringing the tally to 10,000, with coordinates pinpointing exact locations on all five continents (though as of this writing, things are a bit thin on the ground in Africa). Given the temporal realities of outdoor, guerrilla art, pilgrims may arrive to find a blank canvas where graffiti once flourished. (RIP New York City’s 5 Pointz, the “Institute of Higher Burning.”)

A major aim of the project is virtual preservation. As with performance art, documentation is key. Not all of the work can be attributed, but click on an image to see what is known. Guided tours to neighborhoods rich with street art allow armchair travelers to experience the work, and interviews with the artists dispel any number of stereotypes.

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Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality

This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Bloomberg Markets.

This story appears in the April 2015 issue of Bloomberg Markets.

How would you like to live to 500? No problem, just make friends with the guys at Google. Katrina Brooker reports at Bloomberg Business:

“If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes,” Bill Maris says one January afternoon in Mountain View, California. The president and managing partner of Google Ventures just turned 40, but he looks more like a 19-year-old college kid at midterm. He’s wearing sneakers and a gray denim shirt over a T-shirt; it looks like he hasn’t shaved in a few days.

Behind him, sun is streaming through a large wall of windows. Beyond is the leafy expanse of the main Google campus. Inside his office, there’s not much that gives any indication of the work Maris does here, Bloomberg Markets will report in its April 2015 issue.

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Google Is Considering Ranking Websites Based on Truthfulness

One of the questions we are asked all the time is “why should I trust a site called ‘disinformation’?” Once we’ve explained that one shouldn’t necessarily trust any news source and should always question the inherent biases of the writers and editors, whether mainstream (e.g. New York Times) or fringe (e.g InfoWars) and that we try to expose our visitors to as many, often conflicting, views as possible, the questioner usually feels fortified for a round of news consumption via disinformation and many other sites/sources.

all the news

One wonders, however, if Google’s purported new search algorithm will divine “truthfulness” in our approach, or will instead just act as a mirror of the mainstream media’s mantra of “all the news that’s fit to print” (to quote the Gray Lady). New Scientist reports on Google’s worrisome new approach:

The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free “news” stories spread like wildfire.

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Google Announces Launch of SnuggleNet [Satire]

By James Curcio

As luck would have it, Google had just launched SnuggleNet, billing it as “an iPhone you could snuggle.” And you were getting no kind of affection from virtual friendships. It seemed a worthwhile purchase.

SnuggleNet is a peripheral, already connected to all the social networks you’ve been a part of since you were a child. “It knows what you need and when you need it,” the advertisements said.

After a difficult day of work, it will wrap you in a warm embrace and say, “hey, you need to watch some Venture Brothers. And fuck that, you know, thing that piece of shit @heretic357 was saying about you on Twitter—”

You will quickly discover SnuggleNet is kind of a notorious shit mouth.

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Youtube Ditches Flash, and it Hardly Matters: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

html5_logo_512Cory Doctorow via EFF:

Last week, Google announced that its Youtube service would default to using HTML5 video instead of Flash. Once upon a time, this would have been cause for celebration: after all, Flash is a proprietary technology owned by one company, a frequent source of critical vulnerabilities that expose hundreds of millions of Internet users to attacks on their computers and all that they protect, and Flash objects can only be reliably accessed via closed software, and not from free/open code that anyone can inspect.

A year ago, the largest video site on the net ditching Flash would have been a blow for Internet freedom. Today, it’s a bitter reminder of how the three big commercial browser vendors—Apple, Microsoft and Google—Netflix, the BBC, and the World Wide Web Consortium sold the whole Internet out.

In spring 2013, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) abandoned its long-term role as the guardian of the open Web, and threw its support at the highest level behind EME, an attempt to standardize Flash-style locks on browsers.

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Google Making Human Skin

Google is making human skin as part of research into “wristband that can detect cancer,” reports the Independent:

Google has been making synthetic human skin as part of work to create a wristband that can detect cancer, impending heart attacks and other diseases.

Scientists in the life sciences division of Google X laboratories in California needed to create arms that were as realistic as possible to test the technology.

Dr Andrew Conrad said the system, which is still in the early stages of development, would detect cancer cells when they first appear by using nanoparticles that “search” the body for disease.

It would theoretically allow diagnosis long before any physical symptoms appear, enabling early intervention to reduce the fatality rate of illnesses.

“We’re trying to change medicine from being episodic and reactive, like going to the doctor saying ‘my arm hurts’, to being proactive and preventative,” he told The Atlantic.

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