#google

Mat Honan:

Google’s native apps, on the other hand, were pretty great. I loved Glass for (very basic) rapid-fire email replies. The navigation stuff was aces. And the Google Now for your face is incredible — its ambient location awareness, combined with previous Google searches, means extremely relevant notifications come to your attention in a way they just can’t on a smartphone, unless you wear your smartphone on your face. If you want to know what Glass is really, really good at, it’s Google Now for your face. You are so going to love Google Now for your face.

Google Now on your phone is fantastic. Google Now even more accessible, whether that be on your wrist or yes, your face, seems like one of the few ways it could be even better.

Also interesting:

Glass kind of made me hate my phone — or any phone. It made me realize how much they have captured our attention. Phones separate us from our lives in all sorts of ways. Here we are together, looking at little screens, interacting (at best) with people who aren’t here. Looking at our hands instead of each other. Documenting instead of experiencing. Glass sold me on the concept of getting in and getting out. Glass helped me appreciate what a monster I have become, tethered to the thing in my pocket. I’m too absent. Can yet another device make me more present? Or is it just going to be another distraction? Another way to stare off and away from the things actually in front of us, out into the electronic ether? I honestly have no idea.

I thought Honan’s take on Glass was both fairly critical and also forward-thinking (with some actual context). And funny. Great piece.

Burkhard Bilger:

The Google car has now driven more than half a million miles without causing an accident—about twice as far as the average American driver goes before crashing. Of course, the computer has always had a human driver to take over in tight spots. Left to its own devices, Thrun says, it could go only about fifty thousand miles on freeways without a major mistake. Google calls this the dog-food stage: not quite fit for human consumption. “The risk is too high,” Thrun says. “You would never accept it.” The car has trouble in the rain, for instance, when its lasers bounce off shiny surfaces. (The first drops call forth a small icon of a cloud onscreen and a voice warning that auto-drive will soon disengage.) It can’t tell wet concrete from dry or fresh asphalt from firm. It can’t hear a traffic cop’s whistle or follow hand signals.

And yet, for each of its failings, the car has a corresponding strength. It never gets drowsy or distracted, never wonders who has the right-of-way. It knows every turn, tree, and streetlight ahead in precise, three-dimensional detail. Dolgov was riding through a wooded area one night when the car suddenly slowed to a crawl. “I was thinking, What the hell? It must be a bug,” he told me. “Then we noticed the deer walking along the shoulder.” The car, unlike its riders, could see in the dark. Within a year, Thrun added, it should be safe for a hundred thousand miles.

I’ll repeat: “The car, unlike its rider, could see in the dark.”

Quentin Hardy:

Google closed up 14 percent on Friday, at $1,011.41, after a better-than-expected earnings release late Thursday. The jump brought its gain since its initial offering to roughly 1,100 percent. During the same period, the shares of Amazon.com rose 830 percent. Samsung, which makes smartphones as well as the chips that go into many other manufacturers’ devices, rose 760 percent. And Apple leapt a staggering 3,300 percent. By comparison, the overall Nasdaq composite rose 120 percent, while Microsoft — 10 years ago the most feared giant in technology — gained just 28 percent.

While I largely think the stock market has a bit too many forces at play to serve as a good barometer, at a high level, this data seems pretty telling.

Eric Johnson:

Google’s mobile augmented-reality game Ingress, which has found a small but passionate audience on Android, is also coming to Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, but not until next year.

Ingress product manager Brandon Badger confirmed the iOS plans in an interview yesterday with AllThingsD. The game launched into closed beta last November, and so far has racked up about one million activations, with hundreds of thousands of active players every month on Android phones.

We’ve been dancing around “augmented reality” gaming for a long time now. Ingress may just be the thing that makes it tip.

Hyperbolic headline aside, a good primer on LLVM by Cade Metz. Also worth noting that its key author, Chris Lattner, has worked at Apple for the past eight years:

In short, LLVM let you do whatever you wanted in building a compiler — and that’s why Apple hired Chris Lattner in 2005.

With LLVM, Apple had the technical means to build a compiler that suited all of its needs, and it could merge this compiler with the rest of Xcode — truly merge it — without open sourcing Xcode and sharing its proprietary software with the rest of the world.

Lattner declined to be interviewed for this story, saying that Apple frowns on employees talking to the press without approval. But it’s no secret that LLVM is now at the heart of Apple’s development philosophy, largely replacing the old GCC compiler, which isn’t as flexible or as powerful as LLVM — and lacks a permissive license.

Thanks to Lattner’s online resume and other sources, we know that LLVM is “deeply integrated” with Xcode, and that it was used to build the latest versions of Mac OS X and iOS. What’s more, it’s used to compile graphics code, in real-time, on iPhones and iPads, perhaps hinting at where the company will take it in the future.

Seems like a smart hire, way back when.