To Google, Or Not To Google

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The Good News: Google will be selling Google Glasses for one day only on Tuesday, April 15th at 6am West Coast time. If you have an extra $1,500, and you want to be among the first to own glasses with a built-in computer, then prepare to move fast. There is a limited supply. Make sure you don’t lose this link. http://google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one

The Bad News: A number of people in and around Silicon Valley are reportedly being assaulted when wearing Google Classes. E Kyle Russell, a journalist with Business Insider, was one of the recent victims who had his Google Classes ripped from his face in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Several weeks ago I wrote about the social tensions in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Companies like Google, Apple, and Yahoo, who pay many of their employees six figure numbers, are gentrifying the areas. The cost of houses, rents, food, transportation, and clothes have all jumped dramatically to accommodate those with money. The gap between the haves and have nots , is getting worse and worse.

Everyday there are demonstrations, marches, confrontations, and town meetings to resolve the situation. There is no quick answer to this situation, so be careful what you wear.

If you think I’m exaggerating, be sure to Google “Google.” You’ll see many stories on this topic.

Scary Being a Google Employee These Days

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Created by Pando.com

For the last few years, Google employees were the envy of seniors like me who had careers in very traditional offices. We never heard of companies that offered the benefits that Google provided: three free meals a day from an international cafe, meditation areas, a game room, TV viewing spaces, ping pong, a never ending list of perks.

All that envy went out the window recently when we heard that anti-Google activists were out in force in the Bay Area to protest the way rich Silicon Valley tech companies like Google have displaced low- and middle-income workers. Since 2011, rents in many Silicon Valley neighborhoods have increased by 40 percent thanks to the kids from tech companies who can afford the fancy new condos and homes real estate developers are building for them.

Not everyone who lives in Northern California makes the same salaries as those at Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Oracle, and scores of other tech companies. Calling themselves the Counterforce, the protestors are also against what the government is doing with our personal data, surveillance, control, and automation.

Google was one of the first to be targeted because the company just rolled out a bunch of new luxury, Wi-Fi enabled buses to shuttle workers from San Francisco to Mountain View, headquarters of Google. Activists claim Google buses are picking up workers at city bus stops, disrupting the already busy public transportation vehicles.

A group of protestors even showed up at the Berkeley home of Google developer Anthony Levandowski, preventing him for 45 minutes from getting to work. He is the engineer who is developing the self-driving car. Protestors held signs that said “Google’s Future Stops Here.”

Whose future are the protestors going to try to stop next and in what city? This could escalate.

Google Contact Lens

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I still feel that Google is one of the most remarkable companies ever. Our lives have changed drastically because of the algorithm the company created. There is nothing you can’t look up in five seconds. In fact, there are certain folks who enjoy being fast-draw researchers. If someone in a crowd brings up a topic or a name that needs clarification, they have to be the first to retrieve the Google explanation. Okay by me.

Google is busy working on many other innovations that are going to be game changers. The self-driving Google automobile and Google Glasses are two inventions that we know about. Just yesterday I learned of one that will help save lives.

Google is testing a prototype constant lens that will help people manage their diabetes. Google said that the contact lens would measure glucose in tears continuously using a wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor. That would be a major breakthrough compared to current random tests.

The company explained how it would work: a chip and sensor would be embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. A pinhole in the lens would allow fluid from the surface of the eye to seep into the sensor.

The company admitted that the development of this product is still in its very early stages, but they have every reason to believe that it will come to full fruition in a few years.

They never cease to amaze.

Yak-Yak

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Anne Wojcicki

In case you haven’t heard, there is some hot gossip in Silicon Valley. Anne Wojcicki, the newly estranged wife of Sergey Brin, founder of Google, has certainly had her fair share of challenges lately.

First she finds out that her husband of six years has been romantically involved with a Google product manager.

Then last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered her genetic testing company, 23andMe, to immediately stop selling its main product, a $99 “Personal Genome Service.” The company has failed to show that the technology is supported by science.

Brin is currently worth $22.8 billion, according to Forbes. He holds nearly $21 billion worth of Google shares.

Technology Grows Up With Us

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A few years ago, I was chatting with friends, who were around my age, about the day we all will not be able to drive anymore. The topic was really about whether we will be smart enough to know when to stop.

Too many older people keep driving even though they can’t see or hear. The other day I thought Eliot and I might have reached that point when our 25-year-old SEL Mercedes all of a sudden lost power when we were driving back home on the Sprain Brook Parkway in Westchester. We had just left a funeral of a dear friend, Irv Shaw, who had died at 99.

We feel the same kind of vulnerability over losing our faculties as when our dependable “wheels” suddenly died. Eliot keeps all our cars in the best of shape, so we were pretty upset to be stranded with cars whizzing by so closely. Two hours later, with the help of a roadside towing company, we were back in business.

We are city people. Automobiles are not part of our daily lives like most folks. Even though we own three cars, two in Miami, we take cabs everywhere. I envision that, some day, someone else will have to do the driving for us.

I just found out that Google has been thinking about the same thing. As we all know, the Internet giant has been working on self-driving cars for quite some time. Now, word has it that Google is thinking about a “robo-taxi” service, a self-driving car that would pick us up and drop us off at various destinations. Google said that, at first, “a human would need to be behind the wheel just in case, but that could easily change as the tech progresses and becomes more reliable.”

As I have said many times before, this is the best time to be in your golden years.

Peekaboo Predictive Search

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We are about to enter a new era of apps. For those of you who are spooked by Big Brother watching you, get ready for apps that will be anticipating your every need. Why should the rich have all the fun?

Behind closed doors, a growing number of startups as well as giant Google are working on the newest advancement called “predictive search.” Simply put, the new technology will be anticipating what you need before you even think of it.

Imagine that you have a dinner date with a friend who lives fifteen miles away. Unbeknownst to you, the traffic is building up on the highway you need to take to get to your destination. All of a sudden, an alert on your cell phone tells you about the traffic jam even though know one knows about the appointment, not even your personal calendar.

The alert didn’t suddenly appear because of magic. New software is being developed that tracks your every move. Okay, here is the scary part. The apps will be reading your emails, scanning your calendar, and tracking your location, all while checking traffic patterns to figure out if you need extra time to drive to your next appointment.

A lot of the predictions are determined by scouring services you already have such as previous calendar entries, emails, social network activity, purchases, and cell phone tracking.

Google Now, which is available on Android and iOS, features predictive search. Users are alerted about dinner reservations, weather, and shopping for food and clothes, all depending on your location. Google Now also offers book, movie, and music recommendations.

Within a few years, the medical and financial world will be the leaders in this area of technology. I can see it now. “Lois, you spent enough for the week” or “Lois, you ate enough today.” I wonder if I will listen. Only time will tell.

If I Had a Baby

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If I had a baby now, I would name it Google. I can’t think of a better name to exemplify “everything possible.”

That is what Google is about. This is the company that is going to take over where Steve Jobs left off. They just keep innovating all the time.

Their latest invention just got a lot of press. I am concerned that you may have missed it in the tech press, so I promised myself I would cover Chromecast in one of my posts. Walt Mossberg, the ultimate tech writer/reviewer/interviewer, played with the new device for a week and then devoted a review to the pros and cons of Chromecast.

The search giant has built a small, inexpensive device called Chromecast that wirelessly streams video and music from tablets, smartphones, and laptops to the TV screen. Chromecast is a small fob. It looks like a USB flash drive that plugs into a standard HDMI port. Every HDTV has one. I’m sure yours has one too.

Chromecast costs $35. Walt Mossberg is going to give you the final word on it. He has been testing Chromecast for more than a week. Mossberg likes it.

Here is what he says in The Wall Street Journal and AllThingsD.

“On my Android test devices, I was able to beam to the TV video from Netflix, YouTube and the Android video and music players — the only Android mobile apps that work now with Chromecast. On Apple mobile devices, the only Chromecast-compatible apps so far are Netflix and YouTube. Both worked fine.”

Mossberg adds,

“All in all, it was a satisfying and easy experience, especially since setup is so simple and, like many people today, I already have a tablet or smartphone in my hands or nearby while watching TV.”

I sure hope Google has made it easy to stream from the web onto to the TV screen. I don’t want any stumbling blocks. I have been waiting for Google to give me an easy solution.

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The Unusual History of the Internet

I wanted to share some interesting facts about the Internet with you today. The information below was accumulated by Business Insider.

What The Internet Looks Like

The World Wide Web wasn’t always a sprawling network of computers circling the Earth. It was first invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 on his NeXTcube from NeXT, the company started by Steve Jobs after he was ousted from Apple.

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The Creation of the Word Internet

The word “internet” first appeared in the “Internet Transmission Control Program” booklet in 1974 as a shortening of the term “internetworking” or “inter-system networking. The entire story is featured in the book “Tubes.”

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A Coffee Pot Inspired the Webcam

Once upon a time, there was only one coffee pot located in the computer lab at the University of Cambridge. The webcam was created to help people working in other parts of the building avoid pointless trips to the coffee room by providing a live 128×128 greyscale picture of the state of the coffee pot on several desktop computers.

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Google Bought the Gmail Domain from Garfield, the Comic Strip

Before its acquisition by Google, the gmail.com domain name was used by a free email service offered by Garfield.com, online home of the comic strip Garfield.

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YouTube’s Trends Map Provides More In-Depth Information

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YouTube is making it a whole lot easier to spot videos that are currently popular on the site.

The new e-map will offer gender and age profiles, shares and views. A scroll bar shows the number of regions where the video is popular.

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