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Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google

At 6:40 in the morning, a klaxon horn sounds three times. “Gas!” a man in a hard hat and fluorescent vest yells out. There’s a hissing noise, and the helium starts flowing. From the tanks stacked like cordwood on a nearby truck, the gas moves through a series of hoses until it’s 55 feet up, then through a copper pipe and into the top of a plastic tube that hangs down to the ground, like a shed snake skin held up for inspection. It’s a Wednesday in late June in…

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Encyclopdia Britannica Wants to Fix False Google Results

In January 2014, Google made a fundamental change to its search product: It started showing answers to user queries directly in so-called snippets, no further clicks required. But what started out as a time-saver has morphed into a repeated source of misleading and outright false information, thanks to Google's frequent reliance on untrusted sources. The product has, among other things, declared that Barack Obama is the "king" of the United States and reported that dinosaurs are being used to trick people into thinking the world is millions of years old.…

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Say hello to Google One

Google is revamping its consumer storage plans today by adding a new $2.99/month tier for 200 GB of storage and dropping the price of its 2 TB plan from $19.99/month to $9.99/month (and dropping the $9.99/month 1 TB plan). It’s also rebranding these storage plans (but not Google Drive itself) as “Google One.” Going forward, you’ll also be able to share your storage quota with up to five family members. Brandon Badger, Google’s group product manager for Google One, told me the team looked at how people use the storage…

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Duplex shows Google failing at ethical and creative AI design

Google CEO Sundar Pichai milked the woos from a clappy, home-turf developer crowd at its I/O conference in Mountain View this week with a demo of an in-the-works voice assistant feature that will enable the AI to make telephone calls on behalf of its human owner. The so-called ‘Duplex’ feature of the Google Assistant was shown calling a hair salon to book a woman’s hair cut, and ringing a restaurant to try to book a table — only to be told it did not accept bookings for less than five people. At…

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Maps walking navigation is Googles most compelling use for AR yet

Google managed to elicit an audible gasp from the crowd at I/O today when it showed off a new augmented feature for Maps. It was a clear standout during a keynote that contained plenty of iterative updates to existing software, and proved a key glimpse into what it will take to move AR from interesting novelty to compelling use case. Along with the standard array of ARCore-based gaming offerings, the new AR mode for Maps is arguably one of the first truly indispensable real-world applications. As someone who spent the…

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Google, Alibaba Spar Over Timeline for ‘Quantum Supremacy’

Google’s quantum computing researchers have been planning a party—but new results from a competing team at China’s Alibaba may have postponed it. The China-America corporate rivalry on an obscure frontier of physics illustrates a growing contest between nations and companies hoping to create a new form of improbably powerful computer. In March, Google unveiled a chip called Bristlecone intended to set a computing milestone. It could, Google said, become the first quantum computing system to perform a calculation beyond the power of any conventional computer—a marker known as quantum supremacy.…

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Google Maps goes beyond directions

Google today announced a new version of Google Maps that will launch later this summer. All of the core Google Maps features for getting directions aren’t going away, of course, but on top of that, the team has now built a new set of features that are all about exploration. “About a year ago, when we started to talk to users, one of the things we asked them was: how can we really help you? What else do you want Google Maps to do? And one of the overwhelming answers…

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8 big announcements from Google I/O 2018

Google kicked off its annual I/O developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. Here are some of the biggest announcements from the Day 1 keynote. There will be more to come over the next couple of days, so follow along on everything Google I/O on TechCrunch.  Google goes all in on artificial intelligence, rebranding its research division to Google AI Just before the keynote, Google announced it is rebranding its Google Research division to Google AI. The move signals how Google has increasingly focused R&D on computer vision,…

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Android blatantly copies the iPhone X navigation gestures

Google unveiled some of the new features in the next version of Android at its developer conference. One feature looked particularly familiar. Android P will get new navigation gestures to switch between apps. And it works just like the iPhone X. “As part of Android P, we’re introducing a new system navigation that we’ve been working on for more than a year now,” VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke said. “And the new design makes Android multitasking more approachable and easier to understand.” While Google has probably been working on…

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Causes of Death: Google vs Media vs Reality

Click image to see larger version In a recent post on reddit, a group of students at UCSD published a series of fascinating charts comparing the actual causes of death in the United States versus what people searched on Google and what was discussed most in mainstream media. Using data from the CDC (199-2016), Google Trends search volume (2004-2016), The Guardian’s article database and The New York Times’ article database; authors Owen Shen, Hasan Al-Jamaly, Maximillian Siemers, and Nicole Stone created the charts seen below. The updated work was inspired…

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Microsoft is switching from a gun emoji to a water pistol, too

Finally, consistency, and safety.Image: emojipedia Cross-platform consistency, and gun sense, has taken hold in the emoji universe. Microsoft announced on Friday that it will be switching its gun emoji to a water pistol. The change came two days after Google rolled out an update that replaced its gun emoji with the colorful water pistol toy. Facebook also confirmed to Emojipedia on the day of the Google update that it was in the process of making the switch, too.  SEE ALSO: Everyone (except Microsoft) is using the water pistol emoji now…

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Google Chrome finally makes annoying autoplaying video shut up for good

Thank you, Google Chrome.Image: AFP/Getty Images Google just gave us a very long overdue gift: the ability to browse in silence. That’s because Google Chrome will finally mute annoying autoplaying videos by default. The update, part of Google Chrome 66, launched today for the browser’s desktop and mobile apps. SEE ALSO: Google Clips review: AI is not ready to be your photographer With the update, you’ll no longer have to manually mute sites that autoplay videos with sound. Instead, Chrome will block the videos from playing altogether (note that videos…

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Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you | Dylan Curran

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look Want to freak yourself out? Im going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it. Google knows where youve been Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where youve been from the very first day you…

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Cryptojackers used YouTube ads to secretly mine cryptocurrency

Image: Peter Dazely / Getty Images YouTube is turning passive viewers into cryptocurrency miners, and Google isn’t happy. The issue became apparent earlier in the week as complaints surfaced on social media claiming that YouTube ads were raising red flags in anti-virus software. A service called Coinhive was hijacking a viewer’s CPU and using its power to mine crypto. SEE ALSO: CryptoCelebrities are the newest irritating kid on the blockchain A Friday blog post from Trend Micro, an international cybersecurity company, confirmed the sharp uptick in Coinhive use earlier in…

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As David Lettermans first Netflix guest, Barack Obama warns against the bubble of social media

David Letterman seems to be taking the title of his new Netflix show very seriously: On the very first episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, he’s joined by former U.S. President Barack Obama. The episode has plenty of funny moments, like Obama ribbing Letterman about his nearly Biblical beard. But they cover substantive political topics, too — not just during the onstage interview, but also in Letterman’s walk across Selma’s famous Edmund Pettus Bridge with Congressman John Lewis. In fact, Letterman seems to be treating…

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