Google is testing a password-free login for users. To login to a Google account, users enter their email address. A notification is then sent to the user’s phone asking them to confirm the sign-in.
Google will test 25 of its self-driving cars on public roads this summer. The cars will have steering wheels and brakes — not what the company envisioned a year ago– and will use the same software as Google’s Lexus RX450h sport utility vehicles, which have already self-driven about 10,000 miles a week in recent months. Convincing the public that driverless technology is safe is one of the hurdles the company must overcome. Project director:
This vehicle could go on a freeway, but when we think about introducing the technology, we want to do that very thoughtfully and very safely.
Google launches wireless carrier service named Project Fi.
Project Fi enables us to work in close partnership with leading carriers, hardware makers, and all of you to push the boundaries of what’s possible. By designing across hardware, software and connectivity, we can more fully explore new ways for people to connect and communicate. Two of the top mobile networks in the U.S.—Sprint and T-Mobile—are partnering with us to launch Project Fi and now you can be part of the project too.
Google announces Android Pay at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The new feature is not a new product but a framework that allows secure payments support from other companies which works in physical stores and also apps. It also supports NFC and biometrics.
We are doing it in a way in which anybody else can build a payments service on top of Android. So, in places like China and Africa we hope that people will use Android Pay to build innovative services.
Google is closing its engineering office in Russia, but will continue to have employees in the country to focus on other areas. Google declines to comment on the reason for the closure or how many employees will be affected, but says it is still committed to its users in Russia.
We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them.
A Glass Explorer, Spencer Kleyweg, reports that the Google Glass Basecamps in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and New York are closing. The Basecamps served as a place for Glass users to get support for their devices, as well as for potential customers to see the device demonstrated in person. Google does not release a statement regarding the closing.
Google teams with Abbvie and Calico in order to develop new treatments for diseases prevalent among the elderly. Arthur Levinson:
Our relationship with AbbVie is a pivotal event for Calico, whose mission is to develop life-enhancing therapies for people with age-related diseases. It will greatly accelerate our efforts to understand the science of aging, advance our clinical work, and help bring important new therapies to patients everywhere.
Google provides the option to speak with your smartphone. The feature to chat with your phone is called Google Now and is available for download in the app store for both Android and Apple devices.
Once you sign up and register, Google guesstimates your interests with Google Now “cards” that show up in the Google app, spotlighting everything from weather, local movie showtimes, articles Google thinks you’ll be interested and upcoming concert info.
Google sends a letter to European data regulators saying they find it too challenging to enforce the ‘right to be forgotten’ regulation a European Union court established. The ruling says that people should be able to request that inaccurate search results about them be removed from search engines. However, Google says in the letter that people often misrepresent their situation to get legitimate results removed:
Some requests turn out to have been made with false and inaccurate information. Even if requesters provide us with accurate information, they understandably may avoid presenting facts that are not in their favour.
Google is making web pages load faster with a new image format called WebP, which shrinks the size of graphic files by 35%. So far, Google has changed the Google Play store and Chrome Web store to the new format, while Facebook, Netflix, and eBay have begun supporting it. At its I/O developers conference last month, Google announced that it has converted most of YouTube’s thumbnail images to WebP, improving the site’s load time by 10%. Google says that alone has saved users a cumulative 140,000 hours each day.
The European Comission announces that Google agrees to classify games that offer in-app purchases as paid instead of free, even if they do not require any payment upfront. This is done to comply with a European Commission guideline set to prevent children from accidentally making in-app purchases:
Google has decided on a number of changes. Implementation is underway and will be completed by the end of September 2014. These include not using the word “free” at all when games contain in-app purchases, developing targeted guidelines for its app developers to prevent direct exhortation to children as defined under EU law and time-framed measures to help monitor apparent breaches of EU consumer laws.
Google announces a new mapping tool that makes it easier to measure distances on Maps. The new feature allows the user to see how many miles a road trip covers. It is currently possible to get distance information with Maps via Directions, My Maps, or Maps Labs functions, but the new feature promises to make it easier to access the data.
Overland Park, Kansas, approves an agreement to bring Google Fiber to the city. The service delivers Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (that’s 100 times faster than most U.S. connections), allowing an entire album of music to download in under six seconds, or an entire movie to be downloaded in 38 seconds. Google Fiber came to Kansas City in 2012, and a limited amount of surrounding cities also have the service in place. The other two US cities with the service are Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. The service costs $70 a month, or $120 with TV service.
Google notifies Google Ad Words advertisers that they will no longer show ads that contain sexual imagery including, but not limited to, hardcore pornography; graphic sexual acts including sex acts such as masturbation; genital, anal, and oral sexual activity. The company says it’s made this decision to no longer allow porn ads:
as an effort to continually improve users’ experiences with AdWords.
Google withdraws the humanoid robot it bought from a Japanese design firm, SCHAFT, from the Pentagon’s DARPA Robotics Challenge so they can work on a commercial version. The robot is 4 feet 11 inches tall and uses a capacitor instead of a battery for power, giving it more strength than other robots.
Andrew Paterson, senior technology officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK, writes in a blog post that businesses using Glass are subject to laws in the country regarding how data is stored and secured:
Organizations must not lose sight of the fact that wearables must still operate in compliance with the law and consumers’ personal information must be looked after.
A Google spokeswoman responds:
The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated clearly signals it’s in use and makes it a fairly lousy surveillance device.
Google announces that they are bringing select Android applications to Chromebooks, starting with Evernote, Vine and Flipboard. Users can nominate their favorite Android applications to be released for Chromebooks.
Google announces the launch of Google Domains, a by invitation only service that will help small business find, register and manage their domain names. The service is now in the beta testing phase. This new venture puts Google in competition with companies they have partnered with in the past, the largest being GoDaddy.com. The pricing information has not been made public at this time.
Businesses will be able to search, find, purchase and transfer the best domain for their business — whether it’s .com, .biz, .org, or any of the wide range of new domains that are being released to the Web.
Google introduces Google Auto Link (GAL), an in-car system that will be able to sync with Google Android smartphones. The system will rival Apple’s current Apple Car Play. It is the first product developed under its new partnership with Open Automotive Alliance. The partnership includes Audi, Honda, General Motors, Hyundai and chipmaker NVIDIA Corp . Developers who attend the Google I/O Conference in late June will be able to view the interface and a demonstration.
Google removes the ISIS app ‘Dawn of Glad Tidings’ from the Play store after it is widely reported by media. The app, which posts ISIS-created content including hashtags, links and images over users’ Twitter accounts, has been available for around two months and has been downloaded thousands of times. Google spokesman:
We remove any applications that breach our community guidelines.
Google names its first certified partners for the Glass At Work program. These partners include APX, AugMedix, Crowdoptic, GuidiGO and Wearable Intelligence. The companies will work to integrate Google Glass for business as well as medical uses. APX Labs’ app will provide business professionals with real-time enterprise data. Augmedix will provide medical professionals with a system to make patient visits efficient. Crowdoptic will create an app that will detect broadcast events in various categories. GuidiGo will work with museums and cultural institutions to enhance visitors’ experience. Wearable Intelligence will create an app for various categories including energy, manufacturing and healthcare. The Glass At Work program will allow the companies to co-brand as well as list on the program website.
Google Hangouts adds the ability to draw in your chat window. The tool is similar to Microsoft Paint and allows drawings on blank canvas as well as over pictures. The addition is currently only available to Google+ users.
Google announces a new tool for business owners called Google My Business. The tool allows businesses to update all of their information in one system. After information is input, the app populates it in Google Search, Google Maps and Google+. This helps businesses get found more easily in the search engine. The app also provides businesses with insight into the background of their viewers, by giving them some tools from Adwords Express. A mobile application will soon be available.
Audrey Zhang of New York wins the Google Doodle art contest. Zhang’s drawing will be animated and displayed on the search engine’s homepage. The doodle, entitled Back to Mother Nature wins out of 100,000 submissions. The scene shows a system that can convert polluted water to clean water for both humans and animals. About her doodle, Zhange comments:
I was thinking that if we didn’t have water, we couldn’t live.
In addition to her work on display, Zhang will receive a $30,000 college scholarships and a $50,000 grant for technology towards her chosen school. Google also will donate $20,000 towards clean water in Bangladesh.
Google creates the Open Automative Alliance to bring the Android system to cars. The companies in the alliance include Google, GM, Honda, Audi, Hyundai and Nvidia. The group’s focus is to integrate Android into the entertainment system. They will develop new features that will allow developers to add car modes to the apps. The alliance plans to launch the first cars in late 2014.
The founding partner announces he is leaving Crunchfund:
Google Ventures sits in a truly unique space within the venture capital industry. They have the resources to make investments at any stage, but more importantly, they have the talent and knowledge required to do so. The partnership is brimming with experience when it comes to starting companies, building products, and scaling.
The firm also has teams in place to help with basically everything an entrepreneur could ever need. These are the highest caliber people in their respective fields all working under one roof to help the portfolio.
The Open Handset Alliance, a collection of 34 firms including T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola, announces they plan to collaborate with Google to develop Android. They hope it will be the first open platform for mobile phones. Google CEO Eric Schmidt says:
Today’s announcement is more ambitious than any single ‘Google Phone’ that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models.
Eric Schmidt, chief executive at Google, expresses that mobile advertising is twice as lucrative as traditional online advertising:
What’s interesting about the ads in the mobile phone is that they are twice as profitable or more than the nonmobile phone ads because they’re more personal.