Google Street View Finally Captures Missing Austria

Google Street View Finally Captures Missing Austria

Google’s Street View cars on Thursday started taking images in Austria, the only EU country along with Germany to remain largely absent from the popular online service showing 360-degree pictures of places around the world.

The project, launched in 2007, lets computer users view panoramic street scenes on Google Maps and take a virtual “walk” through cities.

The photos are processed in the United States, where details such as faces and registration plates are automatically blurred before being published on Google Maps.

Some countries have been reluctant to grant Google access because of worries linked to data collection.

In 2010, Google had begun to roll out its service in Austria and neighbouring Germany but was ordered to halt operations over alleged privacy breaches.

The company admitted that vehicles had accidentally recorded personal data from wireless networks.

Although Austria lifted its temporary ban a year later, Street View decided not return to the alpine nation — until now.

The fresh start was timed to coincide with Street View’s 10-year anniversary, Google said in a statement.

Cars equipped with special cameras will tour Vienna, Linz and Graz until November.

“The official launch of Street View in Austria is expected to happen in six to twelve months,” Google Austria spokesman Wolfgang Fasching-Kapfenberger told AFP.

Under Austrian law, Street View cars will only be allowed to capture photos but not videos.

The service still has a very low penetration rate in Germany, which has some of Europe’s strictest privacy laws due to the abuses under its Nazi and communist dictatorships.

As a special concession to privacy concerns, Germans can have their homes or businesses pixelated, as well as opt out of the service altogether.

 

 

 

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Google Street View Can Now Be Used to Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View Can Now Be Used to Explore the International Space Station

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The imagery already available in Google Street View
  • The astronaut captured imagery over six months
  • Space constraints posed difficulties in capturing imagery

Google Street View in search giant’s Maps service is one of those features that has given users a much better idea of various locations around the world than satellite imagery ever could. Moving forward leaps and bounds, Google Street View now allows users to see the International Space Station (ISS) as close as they can see the streets of London from their homes.

The search giant has launched a new option for Google Street View that allows users to see the 15 connected modules of the ISS. Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), spent six months on the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer to capture the Street View imagery, Google said in its blog post.

“The mission was the first time Street View imagery was captured beyond planet Earth, and the first time annotations – helpful little notes that pop up as you explore the ISS – have been added to the imagery,” Google said. While this is certainly an interesting option for users, Pesquet explained that due to the constraints of living and working in space, Google’s usual methods of capturing Street View couldn’t be used.

“Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS,” he said.

Post this, Pesquet sent the still photos captured by him to the Earth where they were stitched together to create panaromic 360-degree imagery of the ISS.

As pointed out in a report by TechCrunch, when the imagery was being captured, one of Space X’s Dragon vehicles was parked at the ISS. This means that users can also see how the cargo is supplied to the ISS. You can check out the new imagery from space already from Street View section on the company’s website.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Forget Samsung, Google Pixel XL 2 will also feature Always On display

Forget Samsung, Google Pixel XL 2 will also feature Always On display

While the image hinted towards an almost bezel-less display on Google Pixel XL 2, fresh information has popped up regarding the device. According to a report by XDA Developers, the Google smartphone will arrive with an ‘Always On’ display mode, multiple display profiles, and ability to use squeeze features even when the screen is not active.

The Ambient display feature that will work in the same manner as it does on Samsung’s new smartphones. The highlight of the Always On Display is the ability to have the display enabled but display just a little information to show you the updates. This means it will also display useful information and notifications when the handset is not active. To remind you, this feature was spotted in the code of the Android O Developer Preview 3. So albeit indirectly, it was suggested that the upcoming Pixel smartphones, which will be running Android O, would sport this feature.

On the downside, this feature is believed to incur some extent of battery drain. This feature could have been included at the beginning itself but if Google does not push through, there will be numerous ways to get the same via the third-party apps.

In addition, Google has also been rumored to include sRGB mode into the display settings. Previously, this mode was only accessible through Developer options. Apart from that, there is likely to be an option called “Vivid Colors”.

[“source-gizbot”]

Google Stakes Its Future on a Piece of Software

Early in 2015, artificial-intelligence researchers at Google created an obscure piece of software called ­TensorFlow. Two years later the tool, which is used in building machine-­learning software, underpins many future ambitions of Google and its parent company, Alphabet.

TensorFlow makes it much easier for the company’s engineers to translate new approaches to artificial intelligence into practical code, improving services such as search and the accuracy of speech recognition. But just months after TensorFlow was released to Google’s army of coders, the company also began offering it to the world for free.

That decision could be seen as altruistic or possibly plain dumb, but nearly two years on, the benefits to Google of its great AI giveaway are increasingly evident. Today TensorFlow is becoming the clear leader among programmers building new things with machine learning. “We have significant usage today, and it’s accelerating,” says Jeff Dean, who led TensorFlow’s design and heads Google’s core artificial-­intelligence research group. Once you’ve built something with TensorFlow, you can run it anywherebut it’s especially easy to transfer it to Google’s cloud platform. The software’s popularity is helping Google fight for a bigger share of the roughly $40 billion (and growing) cloud infrastructure market, where the company lies a distant third behind Amazon and Microsoft.

The head of Google’s cloud business, Diane Greene, said in April that she expects to take the top spot within five years, and a core part of Google’s strategy for catching up is to appeal to the sudden enthusiasm about artificial intelligence in industries from health care to autos. Companies investing in the technology are expected to spend heavily with cloud providers to avoid the costs and complexity of building and running AI themselves, just as they pay today for cloud hosting of e-mail and websites. Customers like insurer AXAwhich used TensorFlow to make a system that predicts expensive traffic accidentsalso get the benefits of the same infrastructure Google uses to power their own products. Google says that means better performance at competitive prices. S. Somasegar, a managing director at venture fund Madrona who was previously head of Microsoft’s developer division, says TensorFlow’s prominence poses a genuine challenge to Google’s cloud rivals. “It’s a fantastic strategyGoogle is so far behind in cloud, but they’ve picked an area where they can create a beachhead,” he says.

Inside Google, TensorFlow powers products such as the Google Translate mobile app, which can translate a foreign menu in front of your eyes when you point your phone at it. The company has created specialized processors to make TensorFlow faster and reduce the power it consumes inside Google’s data centers. These processors propelled the historic victory of software called AlphaGo over a champion of the ancient board game Go last year and are credited with making possible a recent upgrade that brought Google’s translation service close to human level for some languages.

TensorFlow is far from the only tool out there for building machine-learning software, and experts can argue for hours about their individual merits. But the weight of Google’s brand and its technical advantages make its package stand out, says Reza Zadeh, an adjunct professor at Stanford. He originally built his startup Matroid, which helps companies create image recognition software, around a competing tool called Caffe, but he dumped it after trying TensorFlow. “I saw it was very clearly superior in all the technical aspects, and we decided to rip everything out,” he says.

Google’s tool is also becoming firmly lodged in the minds of the next generation of artificial-intelligence researchers and entrepreneurs. At the University of Toronto, an AI center that has schooled many of today’s leading researchers, lecturer Michael Guerzhoy teaches TensorFlow in the university’s massively oversubscribed introductory machine-learning course. “Ten years ago, it took me months to do something that for my students takes a few days with TensorFlow,” says Guerzhoy.

Since Google released TensorFlow, its competitors in cloud computing, Microsoft and Amazon, have released or started supporting their own free software tools to help coders build machine-learning systems. So far, says Guerzhoy, neither has as broad and dedicated a user base as TensorFlow among researchers, students, and working coders.

[“Source-technologyreview”]

Google Glass, Apple Newton, Nokia N-Gage Make It to ‘Museum of Failure’

Image result for Google Glass, Apple Newton, Nokia N-Gage Make It to 'Museum of Failure'

HIGHLIGHTS
Google Glass has made its entry to the Museum of Failure
Joining it are the Apple Newton and Nokia N-gage
The Museum of Failure is open to the public in downtown Helsingborg
Google and Apple are not synonymous with failure but in the risky business of innovation, anything is possible. At Sweden’s newly opened Museum of Failure, Google Glass and Apple Newton are two such devices that were either ahead of their time or the results of some bad ideas.

Founded by clinical psychologist Samuel West, the museum that opened on June 7 to the public has over 70 failed products and services from around the world.

“We know that 80 to 90 percent of innovation projects, they fail and you never read about them, you don’t see them, people don’t talk about them. And if there’s anything we can do from these failures, it’s learn from them,” West told CBS News.

The list has Nokia “N-gage” device, Orbitoclast Lobotomy (medical instrument), Harley-Davidson Perfume, Kodak Digital Camera, Sony Betamax and Lego Fiber Optics, among others, the information available on the Museum of Failure website stated.

Developed and marketed by Apple Inc starting 1987, Newton was one of the first personal digital assistants to feature handwriting recognition. Apple shipped the first devices in 1993.

Initially considered as innovative, Apple founder Steve Jobs directed the company to stop the production of Apple Newton devices in 1998.

 

According to reports, Newton devices ran on a proprietary operating system called Newton OS. The high price and early problems with its handwriting recognition feature limited its sales.

Google Glass, an eye-wearable device, created a storm when the company handed over a prototype to a few “Glass Explorers” in 2013 for $1,500 (roughly Rs. 1,00,000).

The optical head-mounted display became available to public in May 2014 but was discontinued in 2015 owing to privacy and safety concerns. The device, however, is now gaining momentum in the medical industry.

Nokia made “N-Gage” mobile device and handheld game system that ran on Series 60 platform on Symbian OS. The device, released in October 2003, was discontinued two years later. “N-Gage” suffered from a poor gaming library.

The Museum of Failure is open to the public in downtown Helsingborg.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Google Home support coming to LG’s Music Flow speakers

LG’s Music Flow speakers are based on Google Cast (now “Chromecast built-in”) and on its site, LG specifically shows a home with a multi-room setup. Yet, while both Sonos and B&O products work with Google Homeand Google Chromecast Multiroom, so far, LG’s Google-specific models do not. However, it looks like that’s changing soon: An LG representative saidon the company’s product forums that both Google Multiroom and Home support are coming “before the end of February.

Music Flow owners were starting to get a bit testy about the Chromecast features missing from the device, especially after Sony unveiled Google Multiroom support for its X77 speakers. That level of fanaticism over speaker features may have taken LG by surprise, so it decided to integrate both Home and Multiroom support and release it in a new update. “We have prepared Google Multiroom functionality … and we decide[d] to update Google Home at the same time,” a representative said.

With Multiroom, you’ll be able to use Chromecast from a phone or other device to cast to groups of speakers around your house, while Google Home will let you order songs by voice. Both those updates should make your Music Flow speakers a lot more useful, and they’ll be delivered by an over-the-air update in February.

[Source:- Engadget]

Siri vs Google Assistant: The Battle of the Smartphone Assistants [Infographic]

Siri vs Google Assistant: The Battle of the Smartphone Assistants [Infographic] | Social Media Today

Virtual assistants are set to become a much bigger part of our every day process in 2017 and beyond. Already, Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are changing the way we interact around the home, and newer tools like Google Assistant and Facebook’s Messenger Bots are looking to expand that capacity to more of our everyday interactions.

Indeed, Google reported last year that 20% of mobile searches are now voice queries, underlining the shift. This is not just an advance in technology, this a whole new user behavior, one the next generation will grow up with, making it even more ubiquitous.

But right now, the option is growing, the uses cases are only just starting to take shape. So which of the current leaders in mobile personal assistants perform better – Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri?

 

 

[Source:- socialmediatoday]

Russia Asks Apple, Google to Remove LinkedIn From App Stores

Russia Asks Apple, Google to Remove LinkedIn From App Stores

Accusing LinkedIn of flouting local laws that require Internet firms to store data on citizens within the nations borders, the Russian authorities have asked Apple and Google to remove the professional networking site app from their online stores.

Recently, a Russian court blocked the Microsoft-owned LinkedIn service for breaching the country’s data protection rules.

According to The New York Times, Apple has confirmed that it was asked to remove its LinkedIn app in Russia about a month ago.

“However, Google has not confirmed if it had removed LinkedIn in Russia but said that it adhered to Russian local laws,” the report added.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn responded that the company was “disappointed” with the decision by Russian regulators to block the service.

“It denies access to our members in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses,” Nicole Leverich, a spokeswoman for LinkedIn, was quoted as saying.

LinkedIn has several million users in Russia.

Earlier this week, Apple removed the New York Times from its app store following a request from Chinese authorities claiming the app was in violation of regulations.

China is known for banning digital sites like Facebook and Google that it believes harm its national security or promote misinformation. The Wall Street Journal’s Chinese-language site has been blocked since 2014.

 

 

[Source:- Gadgets360]

Google Changes Algorithm, Scrubs Neo-Nazi Site Disputing Holocaust in Top Search

Image: The Google search page appears on a computer screen in Washington on Aug. 30, 2010.

Google is weeding out the hate after coming under fire for allowing a neo-Nazi site to appear as a top result when someone searches for whether the Holocaust happened.

As of Monday, users reported that they no longer saw a white supremacist site appear at the very top of the results, mixed in with sites for Jewish museums and ones that show the Holocaust was real.

“Understanding which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right,” said a Google spokesperson, who did not explicitly mention the controversy.

Google has recently “made improvements” to its algorithm that will instead surface “more high-quality, credible content on the web,” the spokesperson told NBC News, noting that the search algorithm will continue to be tweaked over time.

This latest change occurred after a report that the Breman Museum, a Jewish heritage museum in Atlanta, was relying on an advertising grant from Google to pay to have its site appear higher in Holocaust denial search results in order to combat the presence of a white supremacist site. The cost of the grant amounted to up to $2 per click to divert users to the museum’s site, a museum official told The Guardian.

It’s not the first time Google has altered its search algorithm, which uses different factors to determine which pages rank higher in the results — a trusted enough method to propel the site to become the biggest and most influential search engine in the world.

In 2010, Google said it changed its algorithm after a New York Times report found that an online eyeglass business was taking advantage of bad reviews that garnered it a high ranking, in turn giving it more business. Google at the time was hush-hush about how it changed its algorithm, saying it wanted to continue to make it hard for “bad actors” to find a loophole.

Google’s technology was changed again after people spoke out about how typing in “are Jews evil” in the autocorrect function resulted in offensive terms. Also, when people searched “who runs Hollywood?” the result, “Jews,” was scrubbed last year. Google said its algorithm incorrectly gave “authority” to a site that suggested so because it was linked to over and over again.

But Heidi Beirich, intelligence project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Tuesday that Google has a long way to go to “clean up its act.” While searching for “did the Holocaust happen?” no longer shows one white supremacist site at the top, searching for “is the Holocaust real?” still provides a site up high that claims it’s a hoax.

Beirich said the center met with Google earlier this year after they were alarmed to find a site about Martin Luther King Jr. was actually a front for white supremacist ideology.

“Facebook is getting slaughtered on the fake news front, but in many ways, this Google problem is more insidious,” Beirich told NBC News. “People might assume that what they’re getting is vetted, and that certainly is not the case.”

She suggested that Google not deal with these issues as one-off controversies but, instead, put together a task force that looks at the systemic problem of hate speech online.

“You can go down a rabbit hole of hate because they’re going to keep providing it to you,” Beirich said.

Jessie Daniels, a sociology professor at Hunter College in New York specializing on racism online, said search engine companies are not under any obligation to give people unfettered results that uphold false and racist beliefs.

She added that the spread of birtherism, which falsely claimed President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, was allowed to thrive online because of the propping up of certain search results.

“Google doesn’t have to make the secret sauce of its algorithm public to make changes,” Daniels said. “They can certainly say if your site promulgates hatred against an entire group of people … we’re not going to serve it up to users.”

 

 

[Source:- NBC]

Google, BMW and Tesla’s driverless car tech supplier Bosch sales on a high

Google Car Lexus

German manufacturer Bosch claimed automated driving systems will bring it 1 billion euro worth of annual sales by next year.

Bosch has a team of technologists that are developing refined embedded systems to improve autonomous driving.  This includes “more powerful” variations on the minicomputers  that are currently installed in modern cars. It already has a succesful radar and sensor arm which boasts Google and Tesla amongst its customers

The company behind driverless car tech

This sales boost is due to a consumer shift toward safety and fuel efficiency, the Stuttgart firm claims.

It sold more than 50 million surround sensors for driverless technologies last year – to customers including BMW – and believes this will double again this year.

Dirk Hoheisel, member of the board of management at Bosch, told Reuters that the company expects to make its 10 millionth radar sensor in 2016.

Google’s driverless cars

He also confirmed that Bosch is assisting Google with its driverless car project. It supplies the powertrain and sensors for the tech giant’s 48-strong fleet that are currently being tested in California, US.

The search engine leader has selected Austin, Texas as its latest test driving spot and one of its driverless Lexus sport utility cars is roaming the roads. The car, which has a driver on board, is driving around a few square miles north and northeast of downtown Austin.

Similarly to the UK, Texas has no restrictions regulating autonomous vehicle use or testing. State politicians recently proposed legislation that would encourage driverless car testing with some government oversight but Google and an automotive industry trade group opposed the measure.

The company’s cars have been involved in “14 “minor” accidents since Google began testing self-driving vehicles in 2009, but Google claims each were due to human errors, not the driverless technology.

Bosch is also creating a standardised platform for developers to work on and allow companies to connect to it with their development tools.

 

 

[Source:- Techworld]