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“Don’t be evil” has been Google’s unofficial motto for a long time, but in recent years it’s questionable whether they’ve lived up to the slogan. So we asked you what you
. Here are your best arguments.
Not Evil: As a Big Company, They’re Always Going to Offend Someone
One thing many of you pointed out is that Google’s come under more scrutiny about the evil banner because they’ve gotten a lot bigger since they made that original motto. Our own Andy Orin put it well:
As a company’s size and influence grows and their decisions affect millions of people, it can be a mistake to characterize them as evil because they did something you didn’t like. They are a profit-driven business of course, and not an altruistic NGO working plainly for world betterment, and so everything they do is tied to making a buck. Anyway, as far as evil corporations go, Google is not very evil!
What makes a city a “tech hub”? In years past we thought of Silicon Valley as THE tech hub, since it was the home of so many technology companies. New York and Austin have carved “tech hub” niches for themselves recently by producing more and more successful startups.
But, now there’s a new standard for becoming a tech hub: What does Google think?
On Wednesday Google announced the development of its Tech Hub Network. Initially, 7 cities were chosen to receive Google money, products, and mentors for their startups. In each city there is a partner organization that will have contact with Google, and those organizations will each host a “Googler,” who will share best practices with startup leaders and work to connect them with Google and the other tech hubs.
In true everywhere else fashion, Google seems to have purposely stayed away from cities more often known for technology. But, you’ll probably recognize most of them from the pages of Nibletz. Here are the 7 organizations that were chosen to kick off the Tech Hub Network:
- 1871 (Chicago)
- American Underground (Durham, NC)
- Coco (Minneapolis, MN)
- Communitech (Waterloo, Ontario)
- Galvanize (Denver, CO)
- Grand Circus (Detroit, MI)
- Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN)
“These seven Tech Hub partners represent to us some of the very best-in-class organizations having an impact on startups and helping them directly succeed,” Mary Grove, Google’s director of global entrepreneur outreach, said.
Besides money and mentorship, there’s another, subtler benefit to Google’s presence in their tech hubs: recruitment. As more and more companies choose to stay away from the Valley, more cities are competing for that talent. Google Tech Hubs will have one more edge on other cities when it comes to enticing talented developers and engineers.
“Anytime Google names a city as a place they are going to be, the entire tech community takes notice,” Nashville Entrepreneur Center CEO Michael Burcham told The Tennessean. “I think it will be helpful us as we are recruiting coders and engineers to our city.”
There is money changing hands, but Google says it’s all in sponsorships. As of now, they have no plans to take equity in the startups coming from each city. Still, it’s not a financial wash for Google. Right now, many startups choose to launch in iOS because it’s often simpler to do so than in Android. But, with more Google engineers scattered across the country, it makes sense that we could see an increase in Android launches. (This Android girl is doing a happy dance!)
When big name Silicon Valley companies start to take notice of ecosystems everywhere else, it’s a sure sign that it’s time to “start where u are.”
So you’re a last minute person, a few tickets remain for this startup conference.
CogCubed is a Minnesota based startup that is using an interactive video game platform to help diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a disorder which has affected 5.4 million children since 2007, according to the CDC.
CogCubed uses gaming platform Sifteo, which debuted two years ago. Sifteo is a set of interactive blocks with small screens on them. Developers have programmed them to do a variety of things.
In the case of CogCubed, Minneapolis child psychiatrist Monika Heller and her game developer husband Kurt Roots invented a game where children use one cube as a mallet to hit a gopher that appears on the other three cubes, according to a report in the Star Trubune.
As the game continues, obstacles such as birds and other animals start appearing on the other screens. The player must continue to focus on the gopher.
Roots and Heller have incorporated 70 different data points in the game to discern things like when the player’s attention drifts and if the player is fidgeting. The couple told the Star Tribune that the game can even help improve a child’s attention span.
While a clinical diagnosis would still require a psychiatrist, Heller is hopeful that they can get CogCubed into homes to help parents with an early diagnosis.
“Six to 12 months is the average waiting period to see a child/adolescent psychiatrist [for a comprehensive evaluation],” she said.. “How phenomenal would it be if Mom could have an assessment tool at home?”
CogCubed is awaiting FDA approval for a version of the game that can be used as a diagnostic tool.
They also have data from a study that validates Roots’ and Hellers’ claims. The study at the University of Minnesota matched a psychiatrist’s diagnosis 75% of the time. The current standard, a computer test called “The Continuous Performance Test,” is accurate about 62% of the time according to Heller.
CogCubed has raised $20,000 from Google. They’re also a finalist in the Minnesota Cup.
You can find out more about CogCubed here at CogCubed.com
Summer camp is an iconic American tradition. Even if you’ve never actually been to summer camp, you know the images: lakes, ropes courses, capture the flag, and campfires.
Oh, and arts and crafts, of course.
For the second year in a row, Google is bringing the summer camp arts and crafts experience online with Maker Camp.
Don’t be fooled, though. This is the 21st century, and we’re talking about Google. You won’t see any macaroni birdhouses. Instead, Google has partnered with MAKE Magazine to bring a lineup of intense hands-on projects over a period of 30 days. Each morning, a new project is posted on the camp’s Google+ page, complete with materials needed and instructions. Each afternoon features a Google+ Hangout with a “maker” as well as tips and tricks on cool projects. The week caps off with Field Trip Friday, a video series going behind the scenes of some pretty cool spots. For example, the first week took visitors to Oracle Team USA’s basecamp, where they build the boats that race in the America’s Cup.
This year, each week has a theme. This week’s theme is “Create the Future” and features projects like a light up hoodie and learning to solder. The field trip on Friday will be to NASA, which promises to be pretty cool.
If you’re thinking some of this stuff would be hard to pull of at home, you’re right. In many areas there are “campsites” with counselors facilitating the program. Most of the projects are fairly simple, though, so if you’re in an area without a campsite, it’s still possible for teens to do them on their own. But, teens like to socialize, so they can also hop on the Google+ page to chat with other kids doing the same projects.
“Maker Camp hopes to foster the DIY (do-it-yourself) spirit in young people. We want each camper to see how much there is that you can do and how much there is to explore all around you. Once you begin doing things, you’ll meet others who share your interests, and you can collaborate to work on projects together. We call that DIT (do-it-together),” publisher of MAKE Magazine Dale Dougherty said in a blog post.
Last week I jumped on the Maker Camp website with my 3 boys. Now, at 7 & 5 they are definitely under the age range Google is targeting, and I am certainly not one of those handy moms skilled in any kind of crafts. But, we attempted the “balloon blimp” project anyway. (And by “we,” of course, I mean “I.” Unless you count chattering and jumping on the bed as the boys helping.)
The project was simple enough and the instructions pretty clear. We did need to plan ahead to get a certain kind of balloon and a certain kind of straw, though, which would be hard for a younger teen at home while parents worked. Ultimately, we didn’t really succeed in our project, but that was because my own kids were too impatient to let me try different solutions to make it work.
For the industrious teen, though, the projects at Maker Camp are easy enough to do alone, but challenging enough to require some problem-solving skills. The experience would be enhanced, of course, if they can do it with a group of some kind. Because everything’s more fun in a group.
This whole endeavor is a stroke of genius on Google’s part. They are contributing to the DIY nature of the next generation, which gives them great press. But, this year the program is also intimately wrapped up in the Google+ platform. Last year, more than 1 million campers tuned in, and this year they are hoping for even more. That’s a lot of interaction on the world’s 2nd most popular social network site.
Ok, so it’s not 99 red balloons, but today Google announced that they are beta testing a program in New Zealand that, according to The Washington Post, will connect billions of people to the Internet. The Internet giant has released 30 giant helium filled balloons into the skies over New Zealand. They have 50 people on the ground testing out WiFi that is being beamed from the balloons.
The balloons will move across the stratosphere along the 40th parallel in the Southern Hemisphere where the beta testers will hopefully be able to receive the signal and actually use the Internet.
The balloons were released earlier this week and are said to be transmitting WiFi signals comparable to those found on 3G data here in the U.S.
Partly because the idea is so crazy and partly because it involves balloons, the project coming out of Google’s Project X labs has been appropriately dubbed “Project Loon”.
According to this TechCrunch report, Google engineers will remotely control the balloons using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help predict the ballons flight paths. The engineers will be able to move the balloons up and down to catch the right winds and keep the balloons on their correct flight path.
The main goal behind Project Loon is getting Internet access to the two thirds of the people that don’t currently have it. In fact, in the introductory video (below) they start off by saying that for every one person that has Internet access, two don’t. Google is hoping that Project Loon will bring access to remote areas as well as areas where terrain and other factors prohibit more traditional Internet infrastructure. Some examples maybe jungles, rain forests and even deserts. TechCrunch also speculates that Project Loon could help make the Internet affordable to those areas as well.
You can find out more about Project Loon here and by watching the introductory video below.
Is Itunes Radio the Pandora Killer?
Google just announced a new streaming music service that will allow Google Play users immediate access to millions of tracks streaming. Google is positioning Google Play Music All Access as a music service first, powered by Google technology.
This of course means that Google will use their algorithms and your preferences to deliver recommendations. The user can take suggestions, build suggestions based on what they are listening to, randomize or search. Once Google Play Music All Access finds the tracks the user wants they can immediately start streaming it.
Next, Google Play Music All Access will allow users to turn any track they’re listening to into a radio station that streams the artist’s other music or like artists.
Users can also discover and add tracks to their own list.
A service called Listen Now brings the power of Google to serve up music that you want to listen to now with minimum effort. It will show radio stations that All Access has created automatically based on a users preferences.
These features are all on the mobile device but of course Google Play Music All Access is available with the same feature sets on mobile, tablet and laptop. “Radio without rules” is how they describe the service and it can be as automated or manual as the user would like.
Pricing: $9.99 per month in the U.S. and everyone gets a free trial. It’s launching today in the U.S. and rolling out to other countries soon. If you start a trial by June 30th you’re locked into a $7.99 rate.
Move over Spotify?
The platform, launched in October 2011, uses mobile phones as sensors for tracking location, movement, app activity and extended network of it’s users and communities.
The company won a $355,000 grant from the Kauffman Foundation for winning the accelerator competition.
According to Business Insider, and a subsequent update to their original story, Behavio is being acquihired for talent and the Funf product will remain a standalone side project for Nadav Aharony who worked on Google’s Android team before leaving for MIT to finish his PhD. Alan Gardner and Cody Sumter, Behavio’s other two cofounders will be joining Google as well.
This is a great move for Android’s new head Sundar Pichai, who took over after Andy Rubin switched departments.
Check out more Xoogler startup stories here at nibletz.com
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google said it best last year when addressing a crowd about the Google Science Fair “We’re all scientists here.” Many of Google’s employees are engineers and scientists and spent many a day developing science fair projects to show off at school with a poster board and a cool experiment.
Through Google’s global reach, widely respected brand and technology Google has taken the science fair online and across the world. The contest, now headed into it’s third year, reaches high school aged students across the globe and brings the top 15 to Google’s campus to show off their world changing science experiments to a group of distinguished scientists and judges.
Of course the students also enjoy the thrill of being not only in Google’s campus but visiting surrounding science related places as well. Last year for instance, the students spent some time at the Tesla world headquarters.
Check out the video below where Frodella gives some background on The Google Science Fair.
We’ve got more from SXSWedu here.
This year Google has opened up Google School at the Austin Convention Center. At Google School teachers, educators and innovators can learn about Google in the classroom.
Google offers plenty of products for education. Here at the Google Classroom attendees can see how effective Google’s ChromeBooks can be for students in grades K-12 and Higher Ed.
Google is also offer round the clock programming (or classes) through Wednesday with topics that include Google Earth, 40 ways to use Google Apps in the Classroom, a Google Science Fair, Digital Literacy, Chromebooks in the classroom and much more. You can find an entire list of the programming here at google.com/edu
I just enjoyed a class taught by Jordan Pedrazzo on using Google Apps in the classroom. The focus was on using GMail and also Google Groups as a way to communicate with students and parents. Google’s educational services are perfect for all types of students even those in alternative education.
Check our more of our SXSWedu coverage here.
One of the joys of having a five year old daughter is all of the things we can do together to promote the idea of Santa Claus. For the past few years, one of those things is sitting on daddy’s lap on Christmas eve and tracking Santa Claus as he makes his way around the world on Google Earth and Google Maps. Just last year my daughter started developing an interest in geography which makes the experience a lot more fun and educational.
Two Christmases ago Google also began a service utilizing their Google Voice product that allowed users to set up a call for the child or children in their life to receive an actual phone call/voice mail message from Santa Claus.
Well we learned Wednesday by way of searchengineland.com that Norad has decided to switch their mapping and tracking partner from Google to Microsoft and Bing. Apparently Old Saint Nick took the Bing challenge and Bing won.
NORAD is switching to Bing Maps for their 2D tracking. They are also taking on a new partner in a company called Celsium, that will provide 3D tracking, the way that Google Earth did.
Of course this is a huge win for Microsoft having a customer like Norad to do such an important task. Google wasn’t entirely left out though as Norad will still use YouTube. Facebook and Twitter are also still in the mix.
Microsoft released this brief statement on Tuesday:
This year Microsoft is partnering with NORAD to make following the big red sleigh easier than ever. The Santa Tracker tool is built on the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud computing platform and Bing Maps, and anxious kids can even track Kris Kringle on Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps.
Norad provided the following statement to Search Engine Land:
Google supported NTS [NORAD Tracks Santa] from 2007-2011 and helped increase NTS program awareness across the globe; NORAD is grateful for the partnership and the resulting success. This year, NTS and Google mutually agreed to go in new directions, and we are excited to welcome a number of new contributors, to include Microsoft, Windows Azure, Bing, and iLink-systems, among others, to help us in our mission of tracking Santa. The ability to work with a diverse team of contributors is fundamental to the NTS mission, and we appreciate all of the continued support of all contributors.
At this point in time we’re just happy NORAD didn’t decide to go with Apple Maps, afterall the presents need to get to their children’s houses.
New Jersey video conferencing startup Vidyo has probably outgrown the title “startup”. Their completely scalable video conferencing solutions can be found powering such high profile video services as Google+ Hangouts, NTT, Philips and more. Now it’s been reported that the company is powering the all new video chat feature found in the Wii U game system that debuted in stores across the country yesterday.
Wii U’s video platform can be found in their new improved MiiVerse service and is used with the camera built into the new Nintendo Wii U control pad.
We’re trying to bring video-conferencing to the world,” Vidyo chief executive Ofer Shapiro told Venturebeat.com’s John Koetsier. “We want to carry it to the masses.”