Tag Archives: Google+

Google Results Now Include Your Local Library’s Ebooks

Google just made free legal ebooks much easier to find. Search for a book, and in the info bar on the right, under the buying options, Google lists local public libraries that have the ebook. (On mobile, tap the “Get Book” tab.) If you’re a library member, you can borrow it right away, right on your device. It feels like magic. Here, try it with Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend.

This function has been a long time coming. People have been searching for free ebooks for years, enough that Google usually autosuggests “PDF” after any search for a book title. (Search for a TV show and it adds “streaming free.”) That’s probably one reason Google recently added this legal option.

 

Here are some differences: The library bought its ebook legally, so you’re supporting the author. That alone is a great reason to go legal. Now that stealing books is so easy, the publishing industry relies on readers to do the right thing.

That means putting up with some limitations, of course. You can only borrow the book for a couple of weeks at a time (though many systems let you renew).

And depending on your library’s collection, you might be able to load it on your Kindle or in iBooks, or you might need to use a proprietary app. These apps vary wildly in quality; Libby is sometimes even better than the Kindle app, while NYC’s SimplyE is awkward and buggy. Even within the same library system, different books might require different apps.

Source:

https://lifehacker.com/google-results-now-include-your-local-librarys-ebooks-1819619447

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Google commits $1 billion in grants to train U.S. workers for high-tech jobs

The nature of work is changing on a global level at a rapid pace. Sure, it’s not the first time work has been dramatically impacted by technology, but the growth of automation, robotics, AI and the like have the potential to displace jobs at an unprecedented rate. And Google will almost certainly be one of the driving forces behind that transformation.

The search giant has regularly expressed a desire to help stem some of that negative impact, and now it’s putting its money where its mouth is to the tune of $1 billion. CEO Sundar Pichai announced Grow with Google at an event earlier today in Pittsburgh, PA. Over the next five years, the initiative will commit $1 billion to nonprofits aimed at training American workers and helping build business.

The location of the event will not be lost on anyone who has followed Pittsburgh’s growth over the last few decades. The Steel City has long served as an ideal example of an economy that’s rebounded from the brink of disaster. In Pittsburgh’s case, technology was a primary driver, thanks to Carnegie Mellon, which has helped transform it from post-Rust Belt depression to one of the country’s leading tech hubs. These days, the walls of Pittsburgh’s former factories house cutting-edge innovations in fields like robotics and autonomous driving.

Pichai noted in his address that the city also holds special meaning for him. “It was the first city I saw in America when I came here 24 years ago,” he explained. “I was here before the internet really took off, but the city was already changing. The number of high-tech jobs had doubled.”

 

The company is committing $10 million to Goodwill as part of the initiative — the largest Google.org has committed to one organization. That money will be used to help launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator, aimed at preparing the American workforce for high-tech jobs. Grow with Google also will take the form of a national tour hosted by libraries and community organizations aimed at bringing training and career advice directly to local towns and cities. That’s part of the company’s goal of committing one million hours to employee volunteering over the next five years.

“At Google, our mission is to make sure that information serves everyone, not just a few,” Pichai explained in the address. “A child in a school here in Pittsburgh can access the same information on Google as a professor at Carnegie Mellon. In the end, the internet is a powerful equalizer, capable of propelling new ideas and people forward.”

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Google commits $1 billion in grants to train U.S. workers for high-tech jobs

Google signs agreement with HTC, continuing our big bet on hardware

Of the three most influential companies in smartphone design, Nokia fragmented into a million pieces after being bought out by Microsoft, Apple is still going strong, and Google just bought the third with its $1.1 billion deal with HTC. The reason why Google acquired what looks to be the majority of HTC’s phone design and engineering team is simple, and it’s been obvious for over a year: Google is serious about becoming a hardware company.

Early in 2016, Google created a new hardware division and re-hired Motorola chief Rick Osterloh to run that group. A brief few months after that, the company was plastering the streets of Europe and the US with billboards trumpeting the arrival of the first “Made by Google” Pixel devices. Why do we refuse to acknowledge what’s right in front of our eyes?

Google is going to war against the iPhone.

It sounds preposterous given the number and quality of apps that Google produces for Apple’s iOS ecosystem, but the iPhone is a direct threat and counter to Google’s overarching goal of being ubiquitous on every internet-connected device. Apple’s voice assistant Siri searches the web using Bing rather than Google, and Apple Maps was created explicitly to shake off Apple’s dependence on Google Maps.

Source:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/21/16343342/google-htc-deal-apple-iphone-war

Google will now show you what ebooks are available in your local library

Google has added a new feature to Search that will show you if your local library has the ebook you’re looking for in stock. If you’re old like me and didn’t know that you could borrow ebooks, well you can, and many libraries across the US have a digital collection that you can borrow from.

Now you don’t have to bother searching through what’s likely an archaic library website — Google will do all the legwork for you. The company says the feature is now available on both mobile and desktop to users in the US.

Source:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/18/16330324/google-ebooks-search-available-local-library

Google debuts Tez, a mobile payments app for India that uses Audio QR to transfer money

After several weeks of speculation and leaked details, today Google officially unveiled its first big foray into mobile payments in Asia. The Android and search giant has launched Tez, a free mobile wallet in India that will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online, and for person-to-person money transfers with a new twist: Audio QR, which uses ultrasonic sounds to let you exchange money, bypassing any need for NFC.

“Send money home to your family, split a dinner bill with friends, or pay the neighbourhood chaiwala. Make all payments big or small, directly from your bank account with Tez, Google’s new digital payment app for India,” Google notes in its information portal about the new app.

Tez is Google’s play to replace cash transactions and become a more central part of how people pay for things, using their mobile to do so. But it’s also a chance for the company to push out some new technologies — like audio QR (AQR), which lets users transfer money by letting their phones speak to each other with sounds — to see how it can make that process more frictionless, and therefore more attractive to use than cash itself. More on AQR below.

Tez is launching today on iOS and Android in the country and will see Google linking up with several major banks in the country by way of UPI (Unified Payments Interface) — a payment standard and system backed by the government in its push to bring more integrated banking services into a very fragmented market. There will also be phones coming to the market from Lava, Micromax, Nokia and Panasonic with Tez preloaded, the company said.

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Google debuts Tez, a mobile payments app for India that uses Audio QR to transfer money

Google launches a new certification program for mobile web developers

Google today launched a new certification program for mobile web developers. As the name implies, the Mobile Web Specialist Certification is meant to help developers show off their mobile web development skills, no matter how they learned them. The program joins Google’s existing certification programs for Android developers, cloud architects and data engineers.

Taking the open book test will cost $99 (or 6500 INR in India) and consist of a number of coding challenges and a 10-minute exit interview, which allows you to explain why you chose a given solution to solve your exam questions. You’ll have four hours to complete the coding challenges and you can take three stabs at the exam if you don’t pass in your first attempt. Some of the topics covered here include basic website layout and styling, progressive web apps, performance optimization and caching, as well as testing and debugging.

Google also offers a study guide to help you prepare for the exam.

Once you pass the exam, you will get “a digital badge to display on your resume and social media profiles” (for reasons I can’t explain, Google notes that you can even use this badge on your Google+ profile…). This isn’t about some digital badge, of course. The main idea here is obviously to give developers a way to highlight their skills to potential employees. Given that this is an untested program, though, it remains to be seen how these certifications will actually influence hiring and interviewing decisions.

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Google launches a new certification program for mobile web developers

Google and Walmart Partner With Eye on Amazon

Google and Walmart are testing the notion that an enemy’s enemy is a friend.

The two companies said Google would start offering Walmart products to people who shop on Google Express, the company’s online shopping mall. It’s the first time the world’s biggest retailer has made its products available online in the United States outside of its own website.

The partnership, announced on Wednesday, is a testament to the mutual threat facing both companies from Amazon.com. Amazon’s dominance in online shopping is challenging brick-and-mortar retailers like Walmart, while more people are starting web searches for products they might buy on Amazon instead of Google.

But working together does not ensure that they will be any more successful. For most consumers, Amazon remains the primary option for online shopping. No other retailer can match the size of Amazon’s inventory, the efficiency with which it moves shoppers from browsing to buying, or its many home delivery options.

The two companies said the partnership was less about how online shopping is done today, but where it is going in the future. They said that they foresaw Walmart customers reordering items they purchased in the past by speaking to Google Home, the company’s voice-controlled speakerand an answer to Amazon’s Echo. Walmart customers can also shop using the Google Assistant, the artificially intelligent software assistant found in smartphones running Google’s Android software.

Walmart customers can link their accounts to Google, allowing the technology giant to learn their past shopping behavior to better predict what they want in the future. Google said that because more than 20 percent of searches conducted on smartphones these days are done by voice, it expects voice-based shopping to be not far behind.

“We are trying to help customers shop in ways that they may have never imagined,” said Marc Lore, who is leading Walmart’s efforts to bolster its e-commerce business. He came to Walmart last year after the retailer bought the company he founded, Jet.com.

Google is a laggard in e-commerce. Since starting a shopping service in 2013, it has struggled to gather significant momentum. Initially, it offered free same-day delivery before scrapping it. It also tried delivery of groceries before abandoning that, too.

If Amazon is a department store with just about everything inside, then Google Express is a shopping mall populated by different retailers. There are more than 50 retailers on Google Express, including Target and Costco. Inside Google Express, a search for “toothpaste” will bring back options from about a dozen different retailers.

Google said it planned to offer free delivery — as long as shoppers met store purchase minimums — on products purchased on Google Express. Google had charged customers a $95 a year membership for free delivery. Amazon runs a similar program called Amazon Prime, offering free delivery for members who pay $99 a year.

The partnership with Google represents one of several steps that Walmart has taken over the past year to strengthen its online business.

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Google May Be Building Smart Headphones

Google’s next major hardware product may be designed to bring the company’s smart assistant closer to your ears. Code in one of the company’s Android apps indicates that it may be building, and getting ready to launch, smart headphones that offer direct access to the Google Assistant, according to a report from 9to5Google.

Traces of the new product, code-named Bisto, first surfaced in April in the Google app for Android. They were subsequently removed, but recently reappeared, and now give us a pretty good idea of what Bisto will be about. Among other things, the app now contains the following description:

“Your headphones have the Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. It’s your own personal Google, always ready to help.”

Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Additional lines in the app suggest that Bisto may not just be a simple pair of earbuds or anything similar to Apple’s Airpods, but instead a pair of over-ear headphones with external buttons that offer access to a variety of functions. The device will be able to read notifications, and users will be able to access the Google Assistant and ask questions, similar to the way they can do with their phone, or a Google Home speaker.

It also appears that Google didn’t include an always-on microphone with the product, which means that users won’t be able to talk to the assistant with a wake phrase like “Okay Google.” Instead, input is being triggered by physically pressing a button on the left earcup. This may be due to privacy concerns, but foregoing the always-on mic should also help to conserve the device’s battery.

It’s likely that Google would introduce Bisto later this year when it also officially unveils the next version of its flagship phones. Last year, Google held a hardware event in October to officially unveil the Pixel phone as well as the Google Home and Google Wifi products.

Source:

Google May Be Building Smart Headphones (Report)

Google adds allergy forecast info to mobile search results

One antihistamine or two? Google is making sure hay fever sufferers can answer that question in double quick time, thanks to the new addition of pollen measurements in search results. Plug an allergy- or pollen-related query into your Android smartphone and search results will now include a simple breakdown of current and predicted pollen levels. The new type of rich card result is populated by data from The Weather Channel, and as always, you can get more detailed info by tapping on the card itself.

Search within the Google app and you’ll also be prompted to turn on notifications. Your phone will hit you with a reminder if the pollen count is creeping particularly high in your area so you can dash to the nearest store and grab a pocket-pack of tissues before you start streaming from every facial orifice.

Source:

https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/16/google-allergy-mobile-search/

There’s a place at Google for you,’ Google CEO tells girls at coding competition

After canceling a town hall meeting intended to address the fallout from an anti-diversity memo, Google (GOOGL, +1.24%) CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized the importance of women in tech jobs while speaking at a coding event for girls at the company’s campus.

“I want you to know there’s a place for you in this industry,” Pichai told a crowd of young women on Thursday, according to the Verge. “There’s a place for you at Google. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You belong here and we need you.”

 

Pichai was speaking at the Technovation awards that honored teams of young women coders from all over the world. The months-long competition involved teams of girls developing apps to solve issues in their communities.

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“At Google, we are very committed to building products for everyone in the world, and I think to do that well we really need to have people internally who represent the world in totality,” he said. “So it’s really important that more women and girls have the opportunity to participate in technology, to learn how to code, create, and innovate.”

His comments follow an explosive week at Google after an employee circulated a memo slamming the company’s diversity efforts and saying that women may not be as good at tech jobs as men due to biological differences. The software engineer, James Damore, was fired by Pichai on Monday. The document sparked a heated debate inside and outside of the company on sexism and diversity in Silicon Valley.

Google canceled the scheduled town hall Thursday after concerns that employees were being harassed after their questions were leaked online, according to Recode. Pichai told employees he still plans to address their concerns about the company.

Source:

http://fortune.com/2017/08/11/google-sundar-pichai-coding-women/