Google Fiber Construction in Austin Crossed with Traffic


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Construction in Austin is not mixing well with the increased traffic

In the past 10 years, Austin has grown by leaps and bounds.  As more and more people pour into the Texas state capital, the road infrastructure that exists is beginning to wane.  Add to that Google Fiber construction in Austin and you get a tangled mess. Who knew Google Fiber would be so popular? (we did)

Nearly three years ago in April of 2013, Google Fiber got started with the construction of its fiber network in Austin, and the traffic was only slightly less bad.  But now with construction going full bore in some places and tapering off in others, the combination of added vehicles has made things nearly unlivable.

While no one likes to live in a construction zone, regardless of how much traffic that already exists, not everyone may be aware of the connection between the great potential of Google Fiber and the hassle of it’s installation.  While those in the South of Austin are already enjoying Google Fiber and possibly now telecommuting, not everyone is so fortunate.  It is the hope of the authors of this blog that we can help interested parties to acknowledge that (although we are unaffiliated with Google) Google Fiber will do it’s best to make construction and repairs quick.   


Google Self-Driving Cars will get Giant Qi Charger

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Giant Qi Charger for the Google Self-Driving Cars

You may have a mobile phone that has a Qi Charger, or you may not (if you own an iPhone).  It is possible to adapt a Qi charger to an iPhone, but were not here to discuss phones, rather wireless, self-driving cars.  Google’s latest little around-town self-driver (effectively) has a Giant Qi Charger.

Once the the idea of Self-Driving or Self-Piloted vehicles becomes more normal, you may not think much about the age-old task of refueling.  The refueling stations of today will become manhole-sized discs embedded in the street or parking lots. You’ll leave the car at your door and it will park itself down the street or somewhere on your property over another giant Qi charger, returning at your call.

Future Generations will  be fascinated by watching someone plug a cord into the side of a classic, restored Tesla Roadster and wonder for what a steering wheel is used. Like Mr Scott in Star Trek IV, saying “Hello, Computer..“, our grandchildren will boggle the idea that manual controls are necessary.

For now the concept that vehicle can be driver-less and wireless is merely a future proposition, unless you’re aware of the work that Google has done in the field.

A Company called Hevo Power is endeavoring to make the giant qi charger a reality for Google self-driving cars.  In particular, at least for now, these cars will be the smaller, limited to 25 MPH vehicles that Google has had designed explicitly for this purpose.  The testing that Google does for these cars may help in other self-driving vehicles, beyond that which Google owns.

At the moment, wireless charging seems to be best used for phones and toothbrushes, but what of electric cars?  Hevo has installed a 1.5 kW charger for the self-driving cars at an office in Mountain View, CA; the birthplace of Google.  For reference, 1.5 kW will recharge a Tesla S 60 in a mere 40 hours, or a Nissan Leaf in 18 hours.   But Hevo claims that they have the capacity to make a giant qi charger capable of 200 kW.  At that rate a Tesla S P90D will be ready in 30 minutes and a Nissan Leaf in 10 minutes.

Maybe this wireless charging thing ain’t so bad after all?


Google Search Appliance to be Retired


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Google is retiring the Google Search Appliance

After a decent run of nearly a decade, Google going to stop selling the miniature version of their core product.  The Google Search Appliance is the 2nd version of Google’s search-in-a-box, the first was the Google Mini (retired 3 years ago).

The Google Search Appliance (GSA) may not have been a huge success.  In general it seems that not so many companies were even aware of its existence. To be able to search the documents of one’s office with the corporate network would mean that you would need a large number of systems that had files available; not tied up in a proprietary system.  The GSA required that you not only purchase the equipment but a license for up to three years of access to the box.   Each license included only so many files to be searchable within the GSA.  You could, for example get from 500,000 docs or as many as 30 million docs per the license.

One important advantage of using the Google Search Appliance was that you could keep all your documentation in-house rather than worry that in-transit someone might sniff a packet or two of sensitive data.  But further more, the 800-lb gorilla is just that; you can get Google Search of your docs, easily one of the most effective search engines in the world, and fast.

It’s not just obvious the direction that Google is going, although they have mentioned that these services will become cloud-based in the future.  The Google Search Appliance will be missed once it has been completely sunsetted.  And we will see how useful private Cloud search will be…

Google takes SMS out of Hangouts, but not Google Voice

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Google Voice is safe, while Google takes SMS out of Hangouts

There has been much chatter around the recent changes to Google Hangouts and SMS, but users of Google Voice remain unaffected for now.

At first it seemed like all messaging be doing would be disrupted, but if you’re a Google Voice user who sends messages via a difference service than through the carrier, you’re safe. Google is only moving the carrier based SMS service out of Hangouts.

It’s a practical move too, SMS will not be it’s own app, free of the entanglement of Hangouts.  Hangouts is an Instant Messaging app, similar to Apple’s iMessage.  But Hangouts, unlike iMessage is available on every platform, from Windows, to Mac OS, to Android, to iOS, and even Linux via Chrome.

The combination of SMS in Hangouts was causing all sorts of issues.  For example, at one time it was not possible to send either a text or picture message between T-mobile and AT&T unless that message had a subject.  Most people are completely unaware of how to add a subject line to a text or picture message via SMS.  In some cases the subject line was not an option in whatever SMS application.  Google’s pushing of SMS to it’s Messenger app, separates the complications of the IM and SMS to separate spaces.

Some complaints about this change include the loss of certain emoji in SMS.  It was in Hangouts possible to do “/” slash-commands to send special images, but this is not currently possible in SMS.  This may be due to the interpretation of these messages by your carrier.  When sending a slash-command from a carrier that recognizes it, the next may not and it will look like jibberish.

Thank goodness Google Voice is still in Hangouts.

Alphabet takes the Crown from the King of the Stock Market

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Alphabet Is King of the Stock Market, dethroning Apple

By now it’s no secret that Alphabet is the king of the stock market, knocking Apple loose from it’s nearly four-year position. Google announced its earnings this morning and immediately saw the price jump up $6 billion above Apple.

There’s been much talk surrounding both Alphabet and Apple lately and this recent exchange on the stock market. Apple, it seems has been blamed for poor sales and dedicating so much of its core business to the literal core of its business (the iPhone).  Two-thirds of Apple’s income is due to sales of iOS devices.  That alone is impressive, but apparently not enough to retain the king of the stock market title.

Alphabet is now the official holding company of many of Google’s prior subsidiaries.  And with this change, investors appear to be happy as demonstrated by the 10+% increase in Alphabet’s stock price. What’s more is that Alphabet has made more money than last year, which also seems to make investors happy.

Almost exactly three years ago Exxon Mobil made a break of Apple’s market dominance, but it didn’t last very long.  On the horizon Apple has the iPhone 7 coming.  There is both anticipation and concern about the new product, so it remains to be seen if Apple can retake it’s king of the stock market position.  Or if Alphabet can maintain it’s again meteoric rise to the top slot. In the last case, Apple’s stock took a hit and Exxon Mobil took over.  The same has not occurred for Alphabet.

Will this Alpha Bet, be a good one for Google, only time will tell.