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Understanding how the Local pack works. Location data is drawn from a user's GPS, cell towers, Wi-Fi nodes,…
Google  from twitter
5 hours ago by jhill5
Did Uber steal Google’s intellectual property? • The New Yorker
Charles Duhigg:
<p>After [the former DARPA Grand Challenge for self-driving vehicles participant, Anthony] Levandowski arrived at Google, his plan was to send out hundreds of cars, equipped with cameras, to photograph America’s roads. Then he encountered Google’s bureaucracy.

The company was less than a decade old, but it had almost seventeen thousand employees, including a thick layer of middle managers. Levandowski recently told me, “One of the reasons they wanted us was because Larry Page knew we were scrappy—we would cut through red tape.” Page, Google’s co-founder and chief executive, often complained that the company had become bloated, and had lost the hacker mentality that had fuelled its initial success. By the time Levandowski arrived, Google’s apparatchiks were in ascent.

“Hiring could take months,” Levandowski told me. “There was a program called WorkforceLogic, and just getting people into the system was super-complicated. And so, one day, I put ads on Craigslist looking for drivers, and basically hired anyone who seemed competent, and then paid them out of my own pocket. It became known as AnthonyforceLogic.” Around this time, Levandowski went to an auto dealership and bought more than a hundred cars. One of his managers from that period told me, “When we got his expense report, it was equal to something like all the travel expenses of every other Google employee in his division combined. The accountants were, like, ‘What the hell?’ But Larry said, ‘Pay it,’ and so we did. Larry wanted people who could ignore obstacles and could show everyone that you could do something that seemed impossible if you looked for work-arounds.”

Levandowski and his team were asked to map a million miles of U.S. roads within a year. They finished in nine months, and then set up an enormous office in Hyderabad, India, to begin mapping every street on earth.</p>

This isn't the heart of the story - this is back in 2007 - but it illustrates something pertinent about both Levandowski and Page, particularly the latter: he'll forgive if you get the results.

It also goes into Silicon Valley's culture, which it says is built on one big idea: betrayal.
google  uber  ethics  waymo 
5 hours ago by charlesarthur
Google CEO Sundar Pichai says Project Dragonfly, the censored Chinese search engine, works • The Washington Post
Brian Fung:
<p>“If Google were to operate in China, what would it look like? What queries will we be able to serve?” chief executive Sundar Pichai said during an event hosted by Wired on Monday night. “It turns out we’ll be able to serve well over 99 percent of the queries.”

The announcement could prompt more questions from U.S. policymakers, some of whom have accused Google of being evasive about Project Dragonfly. Meanwhile, Google and its peers in the tech industry are facing intense scrutiny over its approach to user privacy and data, with some federal lawmakers proposing legislation that could impose new restrictions on tech companies' handling of customer information.

Like many other firms, Google is eyeing China as a massive market opportunity. China, which has an estimated population of 1.4 billion, is already heavily dependent on Google’s Android operating system; in 2013, 9 out of 10 smartphones in China were running Android. But Google’s position in mobile could eventually erode as Chinese competitors have sought to develop alternatives to Android. Gaining broader access to Chinese audiences could give Google more opportunities to serve online advertising and sell mobile apps.</p>
google  china  dragonfly 
5 hours ago by charlesarthur
Google to charge phonemakers for Google Play app store in EU • Financial Times
Rochelle Toplensky:
<p>With more than 80% of the world’s smartphones running on the Android operating system, the product is vital to Google’s future revenues and profitability.

Google denied any wrongdoing and has appealed against the EU’s decision to the European Court of Justice. But on Tuesday a company spokesperson said that from October 29, Android phonemakers “wishing to distribute Google apps” would also be able to build “non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the EEA”.

The spokesperson added that phonemakers would also be able to able to license Google Play separately from Google’s search engine and Chrome for an unspecified fee.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Google addressed each of the practices that Ms Vestager deemed illegal. However, critics say the changes are unlikely to upend the global smartphone industry.

Thomas Vinje, a lawyer at Clifford Chance whose clients have raised competition concerns over Google’s Android contracts, said: “The bottom line is that Google’s so-called remedies would mean that both Android and Google’s other dominant mobile products will remain immune from effective competition.

“No manufacturer will produce a device based on a forked version of Android only for Europe,” he added.</p>

Vinje is probably correct.
google  android  store 
6 hours ago by charlesarthur
The Google Pixel 3 is a very good phone. But maybe phones have gone too far • Buzzfeed News
Mat Hohan:
<p>The world is on fire but the new Google Pixel 3 — a Good Phone, which I do recommend you buy if you like Android and can afford it, although its updates are mostly incremental — in my pocket is cool to the touch. A dark slab of metal and glass. It comes alive when I rub my finger across the back of it.

And then!

“We’re doomed,” a colleague texts me on Signal*. A push alert from a well-regarded news site has more details on the alleged murder and dismemberment of a Saudi journalist. On Nextdoor, several neighbors report that their drinking water has tested positive for unsafe levels of pesticides. The Citizen app prompts me to record video of an angry naked man rampaging in the shit-strewn streets of San Francisco. Facebook is hacked and our information is out there. Everyone on Twitter is angry, you fucking cuck. You idiot. You tender, triggered snowflake. Everyone on Instagram is posturing, posing. You are less beautiful than they. The places you go are not as interesting. You should feel bad because you are worse in every way. The world is dying; come see it, come see it.

I don’t recall exactly when my phone became such a festival of stress and psychological trauma, but here we are.</p>

If you haven't read - or had forgotten - Honan's piece from CES Las Vegas, called "<a href="">Fever Dream of a Guilt-Ridden Gadget Reporter</a>", it's time to enjoy that too. Sample paragraph:
<p>I try to remember all the products I've talked about that I won't even bother to cover—and that nobody's going to buy. There were some Bluetooth speakers. Or maybe they were WiFi. But there was definitely a helmet cam. And a waterproof phone. And a tablet and an ultrabook and an OLED TV. There was ennui upon ennui upon ennui set in this amazing temple to technology.</p>

That was January 2012. Never change, Mat.
google  pixel 
6 hours ago by charlesarthur
Piano Genie: An Intelligent Musical Interface Made with Tensorflow
We introduce Piano Genie, an intelligent controller that maps 8-button input to a full 88-key piano in real time:

Piano Genie is in some ways reminiscent of video games such as Rock Band and Guitar Hero that are accessible to novice musicians, with the crucial difference that users can freely improvise on Piano Genie rather than re-enacting songs from a fixed repertoire. You can try it out yourself via our interactive web demo!
Music  Machine_Learning  Google  Tensorflow 
9 hours ago by corychainsman
Study: Google is the biggest beneficiary of the GDPR
some findings: "while the number of trackers asking for access to their data is decreasing, a tiny few (including Google) are getting even more of their data. This is not least due to the fact that many consent management tools use manipulative UX design (so-called dark patterns) to nudge users towards particular choices and actions that may be against their own interests. "
Gdpr  google  corporate-consolidation  ux/ui  dark-patterns 
10 hours ago by hthief

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