San Jose Fiber Huts to be placed

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Nine San Jose Fiber Huts installed by Google over the next three years

San Jose is one of the ten largest cities in the United States having passed one million residents in the early part of the 21st millennium.  It’s much larger than any other city where Google Fiber has been successfully installed.  So three year estimated roll-out of Fiber to this grand Silicon Valley city isn’t all that far fetched.

One of the first things that Google Fiber will need in San Jose is a hub for all the connections.  Whereas you might find the infamous “Lawn Fridges” adorning the landscape in most cities, Google Fiber consolidates these into a small box known as a “Fiber Hut”. Each Fiber Hut amasses 40,000 fiber connections to the surrounding homes and businesses. But in a city of over 1,000,000 people, quite a few huts would be required.

Not every single person in San Jose will be getting their own connection, but 360,000 connections, or nine Fiber Huts, would seem to be enough to cover the city. The next thing you’re probably thinking about is, NIMBY or “Not In My Back Yard”. Fortunately each Fiber Hut will occupy city-owned land and centralized to each of the city’s districts. Below is a list of (most of) the locations and districts that each Fiber Hut will be placed into.

  • (01) Williams Rd near Moorpark Ave
  • (02) Hellyer Ave & Bernal Rd
  • (03) Bird Ave & Virginia St
  • (03) Guadalupe Parkway near Mission St
  • (05) Mexican Heritage Plaza Parking Lot
  • (07) Lone Bluff Wy & Oldham Rd
  • (10) Glenbury Wy & Thornwood Dr
  • (10) Blossom Hill Rd & Camden Rd

The installation of these small buildings will indicated to the locals that Google Fiber will soon be available in their neighborhood.  At which time it would be good to check with Google Fiber to find out when you can get access to the service.

Source: Mercury News

 

Google IO 2016

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IO 2016; it’s coming to Mountain View

In the last six months, there has been a great deal of chatter about Google IO 2016, not merely about the tech, but the locale.  Google has decided for reasons as yet unknown to move it’s biggest conference of the year to Shoreline in Mountain View. If you’ve never had a chance to visit the area on the North East side of the Highway 101 in Mountain View, then you may not know that Google occupies most of it.

The structure of Google has changed as well this past year.  Google itself is now a subsidiary of Alphabet.  And the acclaimed Google X Labs has been renamed under Alphabet to “X”.  Like so many other internal features of the Search Engine, now many departments have been converted into subdivisions to serve under Alphabet, rather than Google.

At Google IO 2016, X may play a larger role.  Pushing forward with Autonomous vehicles and legislature, X has suggested the possibility that vehicles can pilot themselves.  It is likely that both the autonomous electric car and the various Toyota-based internet combustion-engined autonomous vehicles may play a part in IO 2016. (here’s to hoping that autonomous vehicles are the taxi service for attendees)

You might ask, what else am I likely to see at Google IO 2016 that isn’t already in the spot light?  It all depends on how much Google-y stuff you already know about.  There’s been talk of Android VR, Chrome OS, the merging of Chrome and Android, Project Tango, Chat Bots, and Personal Assistants or the likes of Amazon Echo. And very recently Google has debuted Google Spaces for the sharing and conversation of all.

Google has spent a great deal of time and money lately concentrating on two aspects of the new visual format of Virtual and Augmented Reality.  We most often see this stated as “VR”.  But Augmented Reality isn’t about creating spaces, rather adding to your current perspective.  Whereas Project Tango is looking to help developers map and create digital spaces from reality.  While it is currently possible to map a space using a 360 camera or an Android phone to make a Photosphere, the shadow and texture of that 3D space is rarely captured. Thus, Tango will resolve these previously inaccessible features. offering a true 3D experience.

Google Cardboard has introduced the idea that Virtual Reality is available to nearly everyone.  Using one’s Smartphone and a simple cardboard configuration, it is possible to experience a bit of the future of three-dimensional visual stimulus.  It may be possible that Google will give away some real VR headsets at IO 2016.

The tidbits that are not the top spots on the Google IO 2016 radar include Project Aura: Google Glass 2, Project ARA: Modular Smartphone, Google Messaging: What’s App, another Chromebook Pixel: version 3,  Android Pay & Hands-Free.  The last item in this list is the simple next step to paying with one’s Smartphone, but simpler.

It’s awesome to think that you don’t need to carry much more than a plastic candy bar to pay for nearly everything, but what if you didn’t even need to take it out of your pocket? How would the cashier know it was you? Google Hands Free app offers this and it would be great to see more about it, or if it will be released to a wider scope of businesses.  For now it’s limited to the beta test in the areas around Google HQ, but hopefully IO 2016 will show some expansion.

Starting Wednesday morning at 10 AM, the Keynote for IO will begin. If you can’t make it or don’t have tickets, everything will still be live streamed.

IO2016 Site

Area 120 is for Startups

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Google created Area 120 to entice Intelligent Employees to stay

Google Ventures is just one way that Google puts money into an idea.  And with all the brilliant people already working at Google, you’d think that the 20% of the time would yield more good ideas.   But Google top brass know that not everyone will get the money for their idea, so to entice intelligent employees to stay, they’ve devised Area 120.

Employees used to get 20% of their work time for non-scope projects, but only last year Google put a cork in that.  And now with Area 120 they’re opening it up again, however it is slightly different.   Rather than give up 20% of the time every week, employees are given a set period of months with actual company backing to develop their ideas into functional products.  If an employee or group can prove initially that the idea is viable, they will get the time and money to move ahead.

It has long been a tradition in Silicon Valley to take one’s idea outside the company often, to return to the tune of millions (if not billions) of dollars when the product is viable.  But Google would rather keep the talent happy and inside the company rather than force them potentially elsewhere.  Google (Alphabet) buys many companies, often for the talent, and it seems wise to keep them local and encourage development without even “leaving the office”.

Of course Area 120 will not convince everyone to stay, but it might just bolster more employees to test their mettle with Google.  The ideal could shake loose even more great ideas and a potentially lower cost.  It’s great to see that Google is still as progressive and thoughtful enough to recognize greatness within it’s borders.

Here’s to another good idea.

Source: The Information

Canadian Competition Bureau declares Google not anti-competitive

 

Google is not anti-competitive, in Canada at least, says Competition Bureau

The Canadian Competition Bureau has dropped its case against Google, declaring that the company is not anti-competitive. This decision comes just prior to the European Union’s move to make the same accusation against the search giant.

According to a blog post on the website of the Competition Bureau released on April 19th, the Bureau has determined that the majority of Google’s activities are not infringing on the the rights of other companies to compete in the same market.  The Bureau did however take issue with Google’s requirement of advertisers that they not sell ads with other search engines.  Google has complied with the Bureau’s request that this be changed, for a period of five years.

After an extensive, three-year investigation, and listening to thousands of complaints from customers and rivals, the Bureau determined that Google’s most direct intent was for the sake of users of its search engine.  The algorithm that Google employs is often changed, but for the embetterment of the users, not to skirt competitive rules or lord it’s market dominance over others.

Following the investigation and Google’s compliance, the Canadian Competition Bureau makes note that it is interested to see what the European Union finds.  For now, we will have to watch the EU’s grilling of Google’s search and advertising practices.  But the hope stands that the wisdom expressed in the findings of both the US and Canadian anti-competition watchdogs is reflected in that of the EU.

Source: CCB Blog

Google Loon Project over US soil

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The Domestic version of the Google Loon Project

As is required by the US Federal Communications Commission, Google has filed a request to fly it’s Loon project over US soil.  All this might sound like pie in the sky, and so it is somewhat.  But short of the multi-million dollar cost to launch a rocket into near-earth orbit, the concept has a nice sound to it.

For three years now, Google has been testing the Loon project over the Southern Hemisphere in places like Easter Island, New Zealand, and Indonesia.  But in general these activities have occurred in areas where it is very difficult to string up cables for internet access.  The idea is perfect for getting communications out to remote places.  And this is no less true for the remote parts of the US.

Unlike recent stories about Google Fiber Wireless, the Loon project offers lesser data rates (than fiber), but likely with prices being lower also. The expected throughput should reflect what is now possible via LTE 4G.

The name of the project reflects the actual idea.  It’s not just a cute title, rather real weather balloons carrying 60 to 580 MHz transceivers.  And there’s no worry that these lithe wireless devices will either run out of power or be snagged by the wing of a commercial airliner.  They operate on solar energy and fly 2.5 times higher than most aircraft (11 miles high).

Although the announcement for the local expansion of the Loon project in the US came in November of 2015, Google does not expect to unleash the product for about 2 years.   For those who are waiting for Google Fiber, both Google Fiber Wireless and Google Project Loon may be yet a little longer in the wings.