Steven Levy:

Mission Control also lets Loon engineers terminate flights. Two days earlier, Google had conducted its first New Zealand test, launching five balloons. After successful passes over the South Island, the balloons had continued east. Two wound up in the waters off New Zealand’s coast, the payloads recovered by a waiting Googler at sea. DeVaul’s tablet now shows that others are making quick progress across the Pacific. Google would eventually terminate the flights, because the company hadn’t gotten around to informing the authorities in Chile about the possibility of high-altitude Internet balloons invading its airspace, and decided not to risk an international incident.

Another bold, ballsy bet. More compelling thoughts by Kevin Fitchard as well.

As a culture we have moved into a realm where the consumption of news is a near-constant process. Users with smartphones and tablets are consuming news in bits and bites throughout the course of the day — replacing the old standard behaviors of news consumption over breakfast along with a leisurely read at the end of the day.

Richard Gringras, Senior Director of News & Social Products at Google, talking to Wired about why they decided to kill off Google Reader.

In my own case, this is absolutely accurate. I used to sit in front of Google Reader all day, every day. Then Twitter came along and I just stopped doing that. Most of the news I consume now gets pushed to me from Techmeme or a few other sources via Twitter on my various iOS devices.

I also get a ton of value out of things like Flipboard (which I do read “leisurely” in the morning) and services like Pocket and Instapaper.

In a way, this reminds me of the cable television situation. I have moved from a bundled approach where I get everything from every source dumped in my lap to a à la carte approach, where I choose what I want.

The next evolution of this will be the Google Now approach Gringras hits upon. But I think that will be pretty complicated to get right.

Marguerite Reardon:

Google offers only two tiers of service for its residential broadband service: a 1Gbps service for $70 a month and a 5Mbps service that is free with a $300 fiber installation fee that can be paid for over two years. While the 1Gbps service is slightly higher than the $40 to $50 most consumers pay each month for broadband, it’s still a better value.

Those other services priced at that amount generally only offer 5Mbps to 10Mbps of download speeds and even slower upload connections. Providers that are offering 100Mbps of broadband service are charging $300 or $400 a month. At $70 for 1Gbps, Google Fiber is simply a better value. It offers 10 times the capacity for less than a third or a quarter of the cost. Even providers that can offer 1Gbps of service are charging over $1,000 a month for that service.

Newsflash: if you offer an amazing service in a sea of shitty ones, people will not only pay for it, they’ll beg for the option to pay for it. This tends to create “moneymakers”.

Cantrell, an Engineering Manager at Adobe, has a lot of good thoughts on the product as it is, and as it will be. Of note:

Even wristwatches were once widely thought to be a threat to masculinity. It wasn’t until soldiers started strapping their pocket watches to their wrists because it was much more practical than having to remove them from a pocket that wristwatches started to gain acceptance beyond frivolous feminine accessories.

Will Glass be the product to take off here? Who knows. What I do know is that it’s ridiculous how many times a day all of us reach into our pockets…

Steven Levy interviewed Ray Kurzweil about his new role at Google. On the topic of having the courage to follow your convictions:

Levy: What’s the biological basis for that kind of courage? If you had an infinite ability to analyze a brain, could you say, “Oh, here’s where the courage is?”

Kurzweil: It is the neocortex, and people who fill up too much of their neocortex with concern about the approval of their peers are probably not going be the next Einstein or Steve Jobs.

Tero Kuittinen of BGR:

It is hard not to admire Sanjay Jha’s cool genius in handling Motorola’s sale to Google. He leveraged Motorola’s old sales contacts in Asia and Latin America to push nondescript models into sales channel, creating an illusion of international traction during 2010 and early 2011. He created a shadow play of a healthy AT&T relationship, feeding expectations of substantial sales growth for Motorola’s business in the United States. For a brief time, Motorola seemed like a company in healthy shape.

Then Google announced its intent to buy Motorola in the summer of 2011 and the glamor flaked off like glitter lipstick from a Chicago prostitute in dawn’s cold light.

Eric Schmidt, speaking with Alan Rusbridger of The Guardian:

"There’s a lot of discussion in the world about the two billion that are connected," he says. "We spend all day talking about the issues of e-commerce and start-ups and globalisation and so forth, and we forget that the majority of people are not online and that they will come online, the majority of them in the next five years.

It’s going to happen very fast. It’s going to happen in countries which don’t have the same principles that we in America have from the British legal system – around law and privacy and those sorts of things. All sorts of crazy stuff is going to happen. Human societies can’t change that fast without both good and negative implications.”