Alphabet’s driverless car company—Waymo—announced an “Early Rider” program for its driverless cars. The company has invited the general public to apply to be part of the program, saying “We’re searching for early riders in parts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. Come join us in making it safer and easier for everyone to get around!” The feel-good video below features a family that participated in small-scale tests, and Waymo said it would accept a “limited number” of additional participants in the expanded program. Alphabet CEO Larry Page has been an enthusiastic pursuer of driverless car technology since before Google, and Waymo’s goal is to launch a ride-hailing service based on its driverless platform. Apple, Didi, Uber, and a variety of other tech companies are all invested in a similar vision. Waymo’s testing in Arizona is a sharp reminder that a driverless future is marching inexorably closer. You can apply at Waymo’s site.
Word on the street says the iPhone 8 won’t ship until October or November. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to share their thoughts on potential iPhone 8 production issues, plus they dive into Apple’s satellite expert hires from Google.
Apple has hired away a pair of Google’s top satellite experts, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Citing unnamed sources, Mr. Gurman reported that Apple hired John Fenwick, who previously led Google’s spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, head of satellite engineering at Google. They are part of a new hardware team at Apple headed by another former Googler, Dropcam cofounder Greg Duffy.
There they are. The five tech giants: Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon. FGAMA. They’re all doing well. But if one had to predict which one won’t be around in 50 years, which one would it be?
John humbly predicts.
Google updated its Google Maps app for iOS Monday. Version 4.30’s chief new feature is turn-by-turn directions on the lock screen courtesy of a Directions widget. With that widget, users can arrow through each direction in any active route from the lock screen or the Today view (swipe left on the Home Screen). Users can also send their location via Google Maps through iMessage. Both features give Google Maps a dramatically more integrated experience in iOS, erasing some of the pain points of not being the built-in Maps service for Apple’s mobile operating system. The Directions widget will need to be added to your lock screen, while the location feature is available through iMessage. The update is free, meaning you remain the product.
Apple will still be here in 2075, according to company co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Google and Facebook will be alive and kicking, too. Woz made his prediction over the weekend ahead this year’s Silicon Valley Comicon and its “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075” theme.
The education market is very price sensitive. Three players are in a pitched battle for the right-priced personal computer: Apple (iOS), Google (Chrome OS + Android), and Microsoft (Windows 10 Cloud). These OSes and their implementation on hardware, plus the right kind of marketing and staying power, could determine which company seizes the hearts and minds of schools and students.
Several things have become clear regarding AIs in our lives. There is little regulation. AIs can be manipulated in clever ways. Small devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo have very indirect business models so that they can be priced for the middle class, but have hidden drawbacks. John wonders where all this will lead with family service robots if Apple doesn’t step in and do it right.
Google has a new “A.I experiment” called AutoDraw that can turn even ugly scrawls into proper line art. Or, more specifically, it will look at ugly scrawls and suggest actual line art you might have been aiming for.
Hey, are you a proud owner of Google Home who got all pissy when you found an ad inserted your morning summary? Well, suck it up, buttercup. Bryan Chaffin argues you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.
Get this: someone is slipping malware into Android devices while they’re still in the supply chain. Security firm Check Point found evidence that malware, adnets, spyware, and even ransomware was installed on some 36 Android devices before customers touched them. Devices from Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, ZTE, Lenovo, Asus, and Oppo were included in Check Point’s report. Bryan Chaffin explains.
Mazda announced Monday that it will (finally) add support for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto technologies. Cars.com reported (via AppleInsider) that Mazda was short on specifics, but that support for both platforms will be retroactive with models that have Mazda Connect. That platform first appeared in in the 2014 Mazda3. There’s no specific timeline for the rollout, but Mazda made the announcement as part of the 2017 introduction of the Mazda CX-5 (pictured below). The company did say a “potentially minimal hardware addition” may be necessary, but it didn’t explain what that might be or how much it will cost. Cars.com also noted that once Mazda is on board, Toyota will be the last major holdout to support these mobile connectivity platforms from Apple and Google.
Google released a new video app called Uptime. The release is significant, in part, because it’s the result of the company’s 20 Percent Time program that allows some employees to spend 20 percent of their time on other projects. Released through Google’s internal incubator Area 120, the app is part social media platform and part video viewer with hooks to YouTube.
Manage your 3rd-party external “Retina” display, use custom icons for each mounted volume, use private browsing to keep your various Google accounts from conflicting, and move your Dock to make better use of your screen real estate. Folks, that’s just the tips section of this week’s episode. Listen for much, much more!
A cool website called BookBub offers eBook recommendations. You can choose from a variety of book genres you’re interested in, including Mysteries, Thrillers and Action; Romance; Fiction; Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror; Teen and Young Readers; and Nonfiction. BookBub specifically suggests eBooks that are on sale. I’ve used BookBub for a couple of years, and I’ve gotten eBooks as low as US$0.99. It displays eBooks from Amazon, Google Play and iBooks. BookBub has an iOS app, but that version only shows iBooks offerings. If you sign up via the website, you’ll also see Amazon and Google offerings. After you select the genres you like, you can get a daily email with eBook deals.