Posts Tagged ‘google’

Screenshot of by Hayley Tsukayama/Screenshot of by Hayley Tsukayama – For April Fool’s Day, Hulu is promoting fictional shows such as “The Itchy and Scratchy Show” from “The Simpsons” and “The Rural Juror” from “30 Rock.”

The new month has already brought a lot of major tech news: Google announced Saturday that it’s closing YouTube and launching a scent search engine; meanwhile, Twitter is launching a two-tiered service that will require users to pay $5 if they want vowels included in their messages.

In other words, it’s April Fool’s Day, and major tech companies are following tradition and pulling some big pranks.


In an elaborate ruse, the world’s most popular video site announces it’s been nothing but a contest site this whole time and says it’s going dark for the next decade.
Is the world's biggest video site about to go offline for a decade?

Is the world’s biggest video site about to go offline for a decade?


This article was taken from the March 2013 issue of Wired magazine. Be the first to read Wired’s articles in print before they’re posted online.big ideas

Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by ten per cent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google.

The way Page sees it, a ten per cent improvement means that you’re doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.

That’s why Page expects his employees to create products and services that are ten times better than the competition. That means he isn’t satisfied with discovering a couple of hidden efficiencies or tweaking code to achieve modest gains. Thousand-per-cent improvement requires rethinking problems, exploring what’s technically possible and having fun in the process.

This regimen of cheeky aspiration has made Google an extraordinary success story, changing the lives of its users while fattening the wallets of its investors. But it has also accomplished something far beyond Google itself: in an industry rife with bandwagon-hopping and strategic positioning, Page’s approach is a beacon for those who want more from their CEOs than a bloated earnings statement. Although Google has made some missteps in recent years, and its power has deservedly drawn the scrutiny of regulators and critics, it remains a flagship for optimists who believe that innovation will provide us with not just delightful gadgetry but solutions to our problems and inspiration for our dreams. For those people — and maybe for the human enterprise itself — a car that drives itself (to name one of the company’s recent triumphs) is a much more valuable dividend than one calculated in share values. There’s no question which is more important to Larry Page. (more…)

Nokia says Google is trying to force VP8 down the computing industry’s throat, but Google is backing up its free video technology with patent deals and help with HTC’s legal defense against Nokia.

The nascent WebRTC standard for video communications on the Web has become a technology battleground pitting Google against Nokia.

The WebRTC standard for Web-based communications is a battleground for Nokia and Google over the VP8 video technology.

The WebRTC standard for Web-based communications is a battleground for Nokia and Google over the VP8 video technology.

The reason for a war not just of words but also of actions is a lowly technology called a codec, which compresses video for efficient networking and compact storage. Google wants the Net to embrace its royalty-free, open-source VP8 codec, but Nokia is trying to quash VP8 by refusing to license patents it says are required to use it.

Google, meanwhile, has come to the aid of Android phone maker HTC in a Nokia patent-infringement case that involves VP8.

Why the hard feelings? In a statement, Nokia said it’s trying to keep Google from infringing its patents and forcing inferior, proprietary technology down the industry’s throat:

Nokia believes that open and collaborative efforts for standardization are in the best interests of consumers, innovators and the industry as a whole. We are now witnessing one company attempting to force the adoption of its proprietary technology, which offers no advantages over existing, widely deployed standards such as H.264 and infringes Nokia’s intellectual property. As a result, we have taken the unusual step of declaring to the Internet Engineering Task Force that we are not prepared to license any Nokia patents which may be needed to implement its RFC6386 specification for VP8, or for derivative codecs.

VP8 is an element of Google’s effort to advance the Web so that people and companies do more and more with it. The more time people spend online, the more they use Google services.

VP8’s main competitor today is a standard called H.264, aka AVC, that a broad coalition of companies and other organizations produce through the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). They’ve just finished work on a sequel called HEVC/H.265 that’s just now in the early stages of coming to market, butGoogle is working on successor called VP9.

The lever Google is pushing on to try to advance VP8’s fortunes is WebRTC, a new standard for setting up video and audio communications over the Web. Google, like some allies including Firefox maker Mozilla and the World Wide Web Consortium standards group, wants a royalty-free video codec for the Web so that programmers can use it as easily as they do JPEG and PNG for graphics today. Google and its allies want VP8 specified as a mandatory-to-implement codec for WebRTC.

Google has spent millions of dollars pursuing its royalty-free video dream — first through the $123 million acquisition of VP8 developer On2 Technologies, then through sustained development and promotion of the technology, and now through legal means. Earlier this month,Google announced a deal with MPEG LA, which licenses pools of patents used for various video codecs, that resolved patent infringement objections raised by 11 companies through MPEG LA. Nokia is not part of the deal.

And Google is helping defend VP8 elsewhere — including Nokia’s patent lawsuit against Android phone maker HTC, which includes VP8 in its infringement claims. According to a Google statement:

The amazing innovation we see on the Web is made possible by open, community-developed technologies, and VP8 brings those principles to video. Our agreement to clear rights with MPEG LA and our intervention in Nokia’s lawsuit against HTC over VP8 demonstrate our strong support for the standard.

The rhetoric from each side can exaggerate the opposition’s shortcomings.

H.264 is hardly closed, given that anyone can license it and that a broad range of interested parties develop it collaboratively. And VP8 is not entirely open, since at least today Google controls it. But others are involved in VP8, too, and Google is supporting an effort to standardize VP8 through MPEG as the new Internet Video Codec. At the same time, it’s hard to say VP8 “offers no advantages” over H.264, given the expense of royalty payments for that technology.

What remains to be seen is whether one or both companies will yield, perhaps nudged by unfavorable court verdicts or lucrative licensing payments. Nokia may say now it won’t license its patents under any terms, but money and litigation have been known to change corporate priorities.

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Sure, Google Glass is cool, but it’s also weird looking. In an effort to get Google Glass on more people’s heads, the company has a new strategy to make Glass more likable: Slap a “Made in America” sticker on it.

Google will (at least initially) manufacture Glass in the U.S., The Financial Times reports. Google is working with Foxconn to make Glass in Silicon Valley, near Google headquarters. This gesture is, arguably, one in a long line of brilliant PR moves that Google has employed to get Glass to be seen as hip.

Google has been creating partnerships between Glass and trendy companies like Warby Parker, and it has been tweaking the design to make the device more fashionable. The company is also controlling exactly who is seen wearing Glass — just this week, Google started to announce the winners of their “#IfIHadGlass” campaign, in which Google chose people who it deemed cool enough to be one of the first few thousand to try Glass.


Google updates Nexus 4 design

Posted: March 29, 2013 by Ellion hossain in Technology
Tags: , , , , ,

Apparently, Nexus 4 owners have been having some issues keeping their new phone from flying off their desk and ending up on the floor. Because of the rear glass panel, the phone can slide around fairly easily depending on the type of surface it’s on. However, Google redesigned the phone just slightly to prevent unnecessary sliding.



According to German site MobiFlip, the new Nexus 4 features two small nubs towards the bottom of the phone, where the glass meets the edge. These small nubs raise the back of the device just slightly off of the surface to prevent it from sliding around and possibly falling onto the floor causing any kind of damage.


The small nubs also allow the sound coming out of the phone’s speaker to be louder when the device is laid on its back. They’re barely noticeable, but they can make a huge difference in several ways. On top of that, the camera’s lens has been updated as well, with less area around the lens being exposed. We’re not sure if this was because the old lens wasn’t working as efficiently, or if it’s just a simple design tweak that had nothing to do with the camera itself.

Overall, it’s nice to see Google still focusing on the Nexus 4 and improving the hardware even though the phone has already been released. However, those who already own the phone are out of luck, and you’ll have to resort to the bumper case to get a similar effect. However, for those still thinking about buying a Nexus 4, your unit may come with the new changes.


The eerily empty streets of Namie, a town deep in the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are featured in the latest images captured by Google for its Street View mapping project.

The scene is wrenching: houses flattened by the earthquake and now abandoned for fear of radiation; rows of empty shutters on a boulevard that once hosted Namie’s annual autumn festival; ships and debris that still dot a landscape laid bare by the 50-foot waves that destroyed its coastline more than two years ago.

Namie’s 21,000 residents are still in government-mandated exile, scattered throughout Fukushima and across Japan. They are allowed brief visits no more than once a month to check on their homes.

Google Street View

Another 90,000 people remain unable to return to their homes in the exclusion zone. Both experts and government officials have said that some of the most heavily contaminated areas in the exclusion zone may be uninhabitable for years, or even decades.

Invited by Mayor Tamotsu Baba to document the town’s deserted streets, Google began mapping Namie earlier this month. It used a car fitted with a special camera that captures a 360-degree view of its journey.

Google has mapped other parts of Japan’s tsunami zone, but the scenes released Wednesday were the first from within the exclusion zone.

“Many of the displaced townspeople have asked to see the current state of their city, and there are surely many people around the world who want a better sense of how the nuclear incident affected communities,” Mr. Baba said in a blog post on Google.

Mr. Baba, as well as Namie’s town hall operations, remain evacuated in Nihonmatsu, a city about 30 kilometers inland.

“Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering,” he said. “But in Namie­machi, time stands still.”