Archive for the “Google News” Category

Google Wants to Make Wireless Airwaves Less Exclusive, Cheaper

Google Inc. wants to make the wireless industry less exclusive by facilitating the use of cheap airwaves to lower the barriers to entry, a top executive said Tuesday.

The comments by Google executive Milo Medin came a day after the company acknowledged it plans to launch a U.S. wireless service of its own, and underscore the Internet company’s interest in reshaping an industry long controlled by Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc.

Google is pursuing at least two separate routes to expand wireless service. One is the conventional wireless offering it is planning to detail in the coming months. The company said Monday the service will be on a small scale and represent an effort to demonstrate new technologies.

The project that Mr. Medin discussed at a technology conference in New York on Tuesday is separate. He’s backing the FCC’s proposed Citizens Broadband Radio Service, which would free up a large swath of inexpensive airwaves that anyone could use. Mr. Medin said Google wants to build a database and act as traffic cop to help such users as schools, hospitals and local governments exploit some of those airwaves.

Google has said it isn’t looking to supplant the big carriers, and Verizon’s and AT&T’s enormous scale means they can’t easily be dislodged. But Google’s idea of easily available spectrum and small-scale networks does directly threaten the model of expensive spectrum and vast networks that currently underpins the industry.

“Anybody now could be an LTE operator,” he said, referring to the faster wireless broadband service touted by the big carriers.

AT&T spokesman Michael Balmoris pointed to a filing the carrier made in August that supported opening up the airwaves for private use immediately while the database idea is “tested and refined.” Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said the company supports using a database to assign spectrum rights and to keep users in compliance with FCC rules.

More broadly, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo was asked about Google’s upcoming consumer wireless service at an industry conference Monday. He said the carrier would see how the market responds.

Google is reacting to a wireless industry model that has pushed the price of spectrum sharply higher in the U.S., closing off the business to all but the biggest companies. An FCC auction that closed in January drew bids worth $45 billion, twice what many analysts expected, forcing cellphone companies to borrow billions of dollars and sell some of their assets pay for it.

Those high costs have helped shield the industry from competition. But they could become less of an issue as new technologies are brought to bear, said Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the disruption that the carriers will likely see over the course of the next few years,” Mr. Chaplin said. “This is a technology-driven industry; these companies better learn to start behaving like technology companies.”

The spectrum Google hopes will be freed up is around 3.5 gigahertz. The FCC has yet to make a decision on the spectrum. If it does open it up, Google hopes to coordinate use of the airwaves by building a centralized database. The system would let all sorts of users set up their networks over small areas without having to buy expensive wireless licenses.

Verizon’s finance chief said Monday the company stopped bidding in some markets in the recent spectrum auction after costs soared. The company is instead emphasizing technological solutions that make better use of its existing airwaves, deploying more “small cell” antennas, for example, and using the same 3.5 gigahertz spectrum that Google is considering.

March 4, 2015 Posted Under: Google News   Read More

Google buys written language translation startup

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SAN FRANCISCO: Google on Friday confirmed it has bought a startup specializing in using smartphones to translate signs, billboards or other written words in real time.

 

 

Quest Visual and the technology built into its Word Lens application will become part of a Google team devoted to developing translation features and services.

 

 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed and Google declined to make any comment on the record.

 

 

“With Word Lens, we´ve seen the beginnings of what´s possible when we harness the power of mobile devices to see the world in your language,” Quest said in a blog post.

 

 

“By joining Google, we can incorporate Quest Visual´s technology into Google Translate´s broad language coverage and translation capabilities in the future.”

 

 

Word Lens uses smartphone video cameras to “read” words in one language and translate them into another almost instantly without need for network connections.

 

 

Versions of the application have been tailored for smartphones powered by Apple or Android software as well as for Google Glass eyewear that links to the Internet.

 

 

The news came as Google this week began letting anyone in the United States buy Glass, priced at $1,500 a pair.

 

 

Google has promised lower-priced, fashionably versions of Glass in the not too distant future and has been prepping the market for their arrival.

 

 

Fashion industry veteran and jewelry artist Ivy Ross will take charge of Google´s Glass efforts beginning Monday, according to the California-based technology titan.

 

 

“I look forward to answering the seemingly simple, but truly audacious questions Glass poses,” Ross said in a post at Google+ social network.

 

 

“Can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it?”

 

 

Her resume includes stints at Calvin Klein, Swatch, Coach, Mattel, Bausch & Lomb, Gap and, most recently, Art.com.

 

 

The decision to open the “Glass” test, or beta, program on Wednesday to anyone with enough money and curiosity came about a month after a one-day sale of the eyewear to the public. (AFP)

 

May 18, 2014 Posted Under: Google News   Read More

Google doodles molecular structure for Dorothy Hodgkin’s 104th Birthday

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Today, Google celebrates British chemist Dorothy Hodgkin’s 104th birthday with a Doodle. She is particularly known to discover three-dimensional biomolecular structures. Hodgkin had discovered the molecular structure of vitamin B12 and bagged the Nobel prize in Chemistry. At that time, she was the third woman to win the prize.

Hodgkin was also known for enhancement of X-ray crystallography technique. It is a method to determine the three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. She used large punch-card operated tabulators to analyse the patterns by reflected X-rays. One of her most influential discoveries is the confirmation of the structure of penicillin. The Google Doodle shows the same structure, which is also on display in the Science Museum in London.

Born on May 12, 1910 in Cairo, Egypt as Dorothy Mary Crowfoot , she had a passion for chemistry from a young age. She had started studying chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford at the age of 13. In 1937, she married Thomas Lionel Hodgkin.

When Hodgkin turned 24, she began experiencing pain in her hands and was later diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. In July 1994, she died due to cardiac stroke at her home in Warwickshire.

May 12, 2014 Posted Under: Google News   Read More

US ‘anti-Russian’ missile shield may threaten nuke reduction, officials warn

ARCHIVE PHOTO: The USS Monterey military vessel is seen docked in the Black Sea harbour of Constanta, 250 km (155 miles) east of Bucharest June 7, 2011 (Reuters / Bogdan Cristel)

ARCHIVE PHOTO: The USS Monterey military vessel is seen docked in the Black Sea harbour of Constanta, 250 km (155 miles) east of Bucharest June 7, 2011 (Reuters / Bogdan Cristel)

Moscow believes that the US has intensified its effort to create a Europe-based anti-missile shield and is increasingly certain that it is targeting Russia. If the situation deteriorates, US-Russia nuclear reduction agreements may be at risk.

Russian concerns over the ABM shield, which the US is building in Eastern Europe, claiming that it is meant to stop ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran, were voiced Tuesday by both the military and diplomats.

“Unfortunately, I have to state that our partners from NATO have effectively rejected any expert dialogue on the antiballistic missile defense issue and substitute it with political slogans,” said Sergey Koshelyev, the head of the Defense Ministry’s department for international military cooperation.

“This situation and the latest statements from the alliance leadership only make us more certain that the ABM system is an anti-Russian capability, which will only grow stronger in time,” he said.

A Standard Missile-3 Block 1A interceptor as it is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a test on February, 13, 2013 in the Pacific Ocean (AFP Photo)

A Standard Missile-3 Block 1A interceptor as it is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a test on February, 13, 2013 in the Pacific Ocean (AFP Photo)

The assertion was echoed by statements from the Foreign Ministry. Russian Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov said that in Moscow “we feel the symptoms of the work on various segments of the AMD system being intensified… And those symptoms are more frequent that they used to be.”

“This proves our initial concerns that the system in its final form is designed to block not only limited threats, as it was claimed. To a much degree it will be formed, designed and built to try and devalue the Russian strategic nuclear deterrence,” he told RIA Novosti in an interview.

Ryabkov warned that such developments may affect the New START treaty between the US and Russia on nuclear weapons disarmament.

“Fundamental for this treaty is the link between strategic offensive and defensive weapons. So the development of the AMD may in the end affect negatively the prospects of preserving of the treaty,” he said, adding that so far the treaty is strictly observed by both sides and that Moscow has all reasons to believe that its reduction goals will be fulfilled by the 2018 deadline.

The warning comes days after the US rejected the latest Russian proposition on defusing the conflict of the anti-missile system. Russia insists that US should take legally binding obligations not to use the European AMD system to undermine Russia’s nuclear capabilities.

The rejection was expected, especially considering that the US downgraded most lines of cooperation with Russia, except for those beneficial to America, as part of its response to the Ukrainian crisis.

Meanwhile the European AMD system made a new step in mid-April after the US Navy decided to deploy the second generation of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB missile, interceptor projectiles that are part of the antimissile shield.

“The SM-3 Block IB’s completion of initial operational testing last year set the stage for a rapid deployment to theater,” said Taylor W. Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems, the producer of the interceptor missile. “The SM-3’s highly successful test performance gives combatant commanders around the world the confidence they need to counter the growing ballistic missile threat.”

The Obama administration scrapped the Bush-era plans for European AMD and replaced it in 2009 with the so-called Phased Adaptive Approach. While initially viewed as a positive sign of possible compromise, in practice the move resulted in US is continuing to develop the system and stonewalling Russia’s objections.

May 7, 2014 Posted Under: Google News   Read More