#google

Google Operating System:

"If you use Google Now on your mobile device, you can see certain Now cards on your desktop computer if you’re signed into Chrome, including weather, sports scores, commute traffic, and event reminders cards. Some of these cards may be based on the location of your mobile device. Google Now on Chrome shows a subset of the Now cards you see on your mobile device, which uses your device’s location. You can edit your location settings (Location Reporting and Location History) on your Android or iOS device at any time," informs Google.

Want.

Nest CEO Tony Fadell on the news that Google has entered an agreement to acquire his startup:

When Matt and I started Nest in 2010, we were determined to change our homes and the world around us. Starting a business focused on the lowly thermostat seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but it made all the sense in the world to us. That little device that went unnoticed and unchanged year after year on the walls of our homes was a lost opportunity to save energy and money. We knew we could do better.

Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone. We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship.

As I previously mentioned, I’m incredibly biased here.1 But that doesn’t change the fact that Nest is a remarkable company that was able to take some Apple DNA and translate it into a startup. One working on both hardware and software, no less. It should be surprising to no one that Google saw massive value and opportunity here.

Huge congrats to team Nest as well as my colleagues at Google Ventures.


  1. Though, to be fair, I was a huge fan before I was conflicted. 

Ben Thompson:

Meanwhile, the new entrant may not have all of the required performance – like my Chromebook – but along with that missing performance comes additional simplicity. Paradoxically, the fact the new entrant has less-than-desired performance makes it even better from a user experience standpoint. And, when the performance gets close enough, that user experience advantage makes it an obvious choice over a higher end product that does more, in every sense of the word.

This is a flip-side that most people fail to look at. One man’s feature is another man’s bloat.

The recent rise of the Chromebook suggests it may have hit enough features without the bloat of a Windows machine. A weakness becomes a strength.

More on Microsoft’s Chromebook nightmare, Miguel Helft:

But a story close to home gave me reason to think that Chromebooks are the latest headache for Microsoft, which has struggled to gain traction in phones and tablets at a time when growth in the PC market has stalled. At the public elementary school that my two sons attend in Oakland, the parent teacher association, on whose board I serve, recently decided to purchase 36 Chromebooks for students in the fourth grade. A few weeks later, we received news that the school district would purchase an additional 70 or so Chromebooks — and would upgrade the Wi-Fi in the school so all the new machines could work simultaneously. This allows half of fourth and fifth graders to work on computers at any one time, if their teachers decide it’s appropriate.

What was striking was not so much that a school in an urban district would purchase 100 Chromebooks, but that there was never any discussion of purchasing Windows machines. When an alternative to the Chromebooks was discussed, the conversation was about Macs — of which there are several in the school library, media lab, and some classrooms — or iPads.

While only anecdotal, this sure sounds like the ultimately disaster scenario for Microsoft.

Gregg Keizer:

By NPD’s tallies, Chromebooks accounted for 21% of all U.S. commercial notebook sales in 2013 through November, and 10% of all computers and tablets. Both shares were up massively from 2012; last year, Chromebooks accounted for an almost-invisible two-tenths of one percent of all computer and tablet sales.

Stephen Baker of NPD pointed out what others had said previously: Chromebooks have capitalized on Microsoft’s stumble with Windows 8. “Tepid Windows PC sales allowed brands with a focus on alternative form factors or operating systems, like Apple and Samsung, to capture significant share of a market traditionally dominated by Windows devices,” Baker said in a Monday statement.

Part of the attraction of Chromebooks is their low prices: The systems forgo high-resolution displays, rely on inexpensive graphics chipsets, include paltry amounts of RAM — often just 2GB — and get by with little local storage. And their operating system, Chrome OS, doesn’t cost computer makers a dime.

Even more remarkable: two Chromebooks, one by Samsung and one by Acer, are the two best-selling laptops on all of Amazon (and a second Acer model is #5).

It perhaps took a bit longer than originally anticipated, but The Microsoft Squeeze is now being fully applied.

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.”