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.

Sidewalk Labs could initiate the City of the Future

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Where will the City of the Future be founded?

Google does seem to have its fingers on the pulse of everything.  But the purpose in keeping tabs is not just to play “Big Brother”.  Google’s goal the a search engine company is to “Organize the World’s Information*“. Via a sister company Sidewalk Labs (owned by Alphabet Inc), it could build the City of the Future.

Sidewalk Labs has already begun to make some attempts at improving current city life.  One of the projects that it engaged in was called LinkNYC wherein old pay phones were replaced with free gigabit WiFi for voice and video calls.   Another project that involved the US Department of Transportation was called Project Flow.  The intent herein was to improve the quality of transit in major cities of the US.

The founders and employees of Alphabet, Google, Sidewalk Labs, and much of the Googlesphere are daily dreaming up ways to improve themselves and their world.  And the next step appears to be the creation of a real place labeled the “City of the Future”.  The idea appears to have been not merely a concept, but likely an actual location somewhere on the planet.  Sidewalk Labs appears to be actively seeking a local government who is interested in offering space to the purpose.  Of course Alphabet would purchase the land, but it would give Google X and other companies a chance to test out new ideas like Google Autonomous vehicles and the like.

The City of the Future could be a legitimate living space with real people who daily live in the future of testing; taking the brunt of the technological learning curve for the rest of the planet.  Although it might be good to have some non-technical persons in the mix as a control measure.   There might not be any need to drive in the future city. All communications might be fluid and contiguous between normal conversation and digital.  Sensors would be a natural part of life and could monitor nearly every aspect of it.

Here’s to the Future!

Google Fiber Wireless?

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Get Google Fiber Wireless where Fiber won’t run

You’re probably wondering how Google can construct wireless fiber and you wouldn’t be wrong in pondering.  The name Google Fiber Wireless comes from the transmission of Google Fiber data speeds without wires. Google is beginning testing of this new technology in it’s starting place of Kansas City.

One of the major issues faced by all TelCos in the United States is the mandate to provide telecommunication services to people do not live in a city.  For literally decades the rules have been on the books that this must be part of the roll-out.  But for those who live in the boonies, it’s only just barely begun to get better.  One of the ways that people who currently live remotely get telecom is via wireless.

The cost is in the distance

Running fiber cable out to Uncle John in RemoteTown, KS; 45 miles off the beaten path, is not economical.  But with a wireless signal it might be.  Google Fiber Wireless aims to point their antennas in John’s direction in order to cover his need without the massive cost. But to get started, Google Fiber needs a test bed.  Utilizing lamp posts in Country Club Plaza and a few other places, the Internet / Search Giant will test the effectiveness of the 3.5 Ghz frequency spectrum.

Peace of Mind

There is also a saving grace to the ideal of Google Fiber Wireless in that there will be far less trenching and disruption.  Many people are upset with the changes both to the street and to their yards, and reasonably so.  But with this new gigahertz frequency band, the speeds may finally be offered without all the hassle of massive undertakings.  This new idea may also be a cost savings ideal that can be passed on to the customer.

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The document offered up from the meeting of the City Council of Kansas City seems to show that it may take up to two years to get this project up to the level of end-user viability.  It’s good to note that Google Fiber is trying to make it possible.  Although the small chart doesn’t specify any specific location info, knowing Google Fiber we can estimate that if it works in Kansas City, they will likely roll-it-out in other cities as soon as it is viable.