Area 120 is for Startups

Google Area 120 002

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

Augmented Reality in Google Goggles helps you search

Augmented Realty 001

Google Goggles App has Augmented Reality feature

Google Goggles is not a new app in the Google Play Store, it’s been around for a long while.  In the past however it was only possible to search out the entire image, soon perhaps users will be able to outline something in the image to perform a search on. And thus comes the augmented reality.

For the uninitiated, augmented reality is just whatever you may see, but with added function when viewing through the lens of a camera(phone).  In a live scene involving a couple of items on a desk, you might see the backdrop of a war or a play house.  Or if focusing on the TV, you might see a couple of cartoon characters emerge in 3D.  Augmented reality is an overlay, over what is apparently real, but only viewable through a smartphone.

Google Goggles may soon be able to present additional information in real-time when you specify an object.  Say for example you specify a vehicle in the image, Google Goggles might be able to give you the stats on that vehicle or possibly the price.  It would appear in the view in an area relative to the object.  Maybe you’re at a kiosk in a mall and want to see reviews or comparative prices for a product, but don’t have the name. Augmented reality will search the product and list info on-screen without needing all that info.

Where you currently might be able to research only popular icons, like the Empire State Building or translate some Japanese sign into English, Google Goggles app will enable far more searchable data on more common objects in the view.  Just imagine if Goggles could ID each player in a live sporting event or help you find out where to get that cool jacket you saw a celebrity wearing.

The possibilities are grand in the new search world without needing to know the words to fit the situation.  And your visual searching helps Google catalog an even wider scope than was previously possible.

Source: Android Authority

Google Post may enter Search for Topics of Interest

Google Post 001b (Twitter Reversal)

Google Post is a direct line to Celebs, Businesses, and Politicians

You may have seen a post on Twitter naming a particular celebrity and how they have recently “died”. Only to find out, either directly from that Celeb or from a major news source, that the “news” is entirely false.  Google knows that the world uses its search engine to uncover spurious statements and expects that with Google Post, the issues can be laid to rest.

Initially, as noted by TheVerge, Google Post was rolled out to U.S. presidential candidates.  The hope was that the candidates could respond directly to the most-searched terms on Google.  When a particular search became popular the candidate’s team could have a response up on Google quickly, offering the facts straight from the source, rather than vague speculation on the part of news organizations.

Google Post is great for Celebs and Politicians, but what about everyone else?  In particular, Google is rolling out the feature to local businesses.  Although the BIG topics may harness millions of searches for a politician or celebrity, there are plenty of local searches for stores, restaurants.  For example, if a business is reported to have been closed permanently, it is not uncommon for Google to receive questions and searches regarding.  If the owners of that business can respond, they can correct the false information directly.

All these new features give those who are involved that are in a position of significance, a chance to respond directly to the unspoken requests of the public.   In a sense, Google Post is like a Twitter reversal.

Fresh Groceries from Google Express?

Fresh Groceries 002

Google Express is starting to delivery Fresh Groceries

Now that Instacart and Amazon Fresh are into the fray of delivering fresh groceries to your door, Google has jumped in too.  But where smaller companies like Instacart or FreshDirect might now have the resources of Google, Google has some catching up to do.

Google Shopping Express has been going strong for a while now, it’s no stranger to the onesy-twosy shopping desires of the public.  So getting into the game of fresh groceries doesn’t sound all that difficult.

For now, in the very early stages of the fresh groceries delivery, the service will only be available in certain areas of San Francisco and Los Angeles.  But you can probably guess that it will quickly extend out to the Greater Los Angeles Area as well as the rest of the SF Bay Area.

AmazonFresh began it’s fresh delivery service without any fee, but has now mandated a $300 annual fee.  InstaCart and FreshDirect tack on a fee depending on ordering time and quantity.  Google’s Shopping Express only costs $95 annually which reduces the delivery fee.  But you can take deliveries without the annual cost for $5 per delivery.

All this sounds a bit like services that were once common in the United States.  Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s it was not uncommon to have a grocery delivery service.  Many people once had Dairy products delivered to their doorsteps daily.  Schwan’s Food Delivery still does this and has been doing it for over 60 years.

So what’s the new thing; speed, cost, convenience.  It’s tech, it’s using the cloud to track all aspects of the ordering and delivery process and metrics.  Google is great at this and is implementing it across the board.  Google Fresh Groceries is merely the next step.