Tag Archives | Google

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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Google’s ‘Back To The Moon For Good’

For those of you who don’t believe that man ever set foot on the moon (i.e. the moon missions were a hoax), this may not be too compelling, but for those interested in Google’s space plans, this Tim Allen-narrated mini-documentary from Google is some great eye candy:

Here’s the official description:

Watch our cool movie about going back to the Moon. In case you haven’t heard, the Moon is trending again… and in a big way. Narrated by Tim Allen (voice of Buzz Lightyear), this is a complete behind-the-scenes feature on the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest incentivized prize in history. Adapted from the award-winning digital planetarium show, the 24-minute movie chronicles 18 teams from around the world looking to make history by landing a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the Moon. This global competition is designed to spark imagination and inspire a renewed commitment to space exploration, not by governments or countries – but by the citizens of the world.

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Does the Internet of Things herald an era of digital feudalism?

google-nest

Via Live Mint:

Why did Google buy a thermostat company—that too at a stiff $3.2 billion? Well, not to diversify into smoke detectors—that’s for sure. The answer, if you ask futurologist and science fiction author Bruce Sterling, is that Google’s acquisition of Nest is a major strategic strike in the ongoing technological power struggle over who is going to control the Internet of Things.

For those who logged in late, the Internet of Things, which last year displaced Big Data as the most hyped tech trend of 2014, is a popular term to denote the phenomenon whereby the (offline) world of things will gradually, and eventually, be fully connected to the Internet, such that there would no longer be any human or social activity that is beyond digital capture, as it were.

Sterling, who was one of the founders of the cyberpunk movement, presses the reset button on the popular discourse over the Internet of Things.

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Billions of Dollars + Zero Wisdom = Google Hires Resident Philosopher

Picture of italian philosopher Luciano Floridi (Stefano Oreschi via Wikimedia Commons).

Picture of italian philosopher Luciano Floridi (Stefano Oreschi via Wikimedia Commons).

via Pacific Standard:

How an Oxford don is helping the tech giant understand the nature of modern identity—and stay out of court.

One day this past September, Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, sat down with a group of experts in Madrid to begin publicly discussing how Google should respond to a recent, perplexing ruling by the European Union’s Court of Justice. In May, the court had declared that, in accordance with the European “right to be forgotten,” individuals within the E.U. should be able to prohibit Google and other search firms from linking to personal information that is “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive.”

In an age of revenge porn, social media gaffes, and all the infinite varieties of embarrassment that can attend one’s name in a Google search, the ruling was, in spirit, an attempt to keep ordinary Europeans from being unduly tyrannized by an Internet that, famously, never forgets.

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Consciousness In The Age Of Digital Dystopia

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Vijay Kalakoti (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This was originally published on Jan Wellmann’s website. You can follow him on Twitter: @janwe

It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing your first cup of coffee when the tanks roll into your neighborhood. Phone lines are cut, curfew is activated, and doors are broken down.

You sigh. It’s another “cleanout day” in the not too distant future.

The War On Terror has infiltrated every layer of society. Internet sites track the spread of extremism like the CDC tracks a lethal virus. The threat is pandemic and online news sources agree: In order to keep you safe, weekly cleanout campaigns must ramp up all across the nation – yet again.

Today you just happen to be in the red zone.

The main annoyance about being in a red zone is usually the loss of your phone signal. But today is different.

A close friend has gone missing – along with his past.… Read the rest

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Google is the biggest corporate lobbyist in America now, says new Public Citizen report

Google_logo

via Pando:

I’ve been in Boston all week. I had to tell my mother where I was, but not Google. Its seamlessness in switching up my Google ad results, changing its suggestions to me of places to visit and ads to click on, was instantaneous.

Google knew where I was going, as I was making the trip. We’re used to this by now. It’s justified under the umbrella of modern convenience. But should it be?

This morning, a new Public Citizen report, “Mission Creep-y: Google is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collecting Empire” came across my desk. It doesn’t break news. But it is an exhausting catalog of Google’s powerful information gathering apparatus, its missteps, and its massive social ambition.

When you put the isolated pieces together, it can kind of make you choke on your breakfast.

Read More: http://pando.com/2014/11/13/google-is-the-biggest-corporate-lobbyist-in-america-now-says-new-public-citizen-report/

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Google just removed the biggest obstacle to its real-world surveillance system’s spread

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 9.49.33 PM

via Pando Daily:

Nest plans to offer its smart thermostat to Irish consumers for free when they sign up for a two-year contract with Electric Ireland. Nest chief executive Tony Fadell said at the Web Summit in Dublin that the deal could put his company’s thermostats in up to 1.6 million homes, according to CNET, and claimed that similar deals would be announced for other countries in the future.

It makes sense for Nest to give away its thermostat. Most consumers are unlikely to spend $250 on an Internet-connected thermostat, but they might be willing to have one installed if one is offered for free whenever they sign a contract with a utilities company. (Though they might also do what Samsung’s customers did when it offered free smartwatches and try to resell them online.)

This is a familiar tactic. It’s probably how you purchased your smartphone: You signed on for a two-year contract with a wireless carrier, purchased a subsidized device, and paid it off as part of your inflated monthly payments.

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