#google

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.

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.