Former researcher previously led Google Glass and Google Contact Lenses teams
What started with a social media message turned into confirmation that Amazon has made a high-profile hire. Babak Parviz, formerly of Google as part of their Google X division, has been hired into an unspecified role with the Internet retailer. Parviz's replacement as the Google Glass lead was announced in May as Ivy Ross.
Balloon-based networking project upgrades to LTE, extends flight time
Google is stepping up its efforts in Project Loon one year after first announcing it, by performing more testing. The high-altitude balloon-based network project recently tested the scheme's effectiveness in Brazil, including the effect of the equator on balloon launches, and the use of LTE technology instead of Wi-Fi for potentially faster cellular connections.
Project Loon working to provide Internet access in remote areas
Google is working on a way to provide Internet access around the world, using balloons. "Project Loon," the latest "moonshot" project out of Google X Labs, will use a number of balloons to create a high-altitude network, with the aim of users getting 3G-speed Internet connections in the most remote parts of the world.
Safety testing, insurance legalities biggest problems
Google's experimentation with driverless cars could become a commercial product within the next three to five years. Despite the optimism, the company faces stiff opposition from regulators and insurance companies before it can be put into production, with safety concerns and other legalities being the main stumbling points.
Rare public photo practically a 'who's who' of Silicon Valley
An unusual photo was posted to Facebook showing a CEO dinner gathering -- hosted by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer -- that included a significant number of tech CEOs from a wide array of companies, and notably included Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple's SVP of Design. Ive was perhaps the only non-CEO at the table, but was seated next to Mayer in the rare, candid shot. Attendee Mike Cassidy -- of Google X, the experimental project arm of Google -- posted the photo, which includes executives from Dropbox, Path, Twitter, Yelp and more.
Governor Brown signs bill, calls it 'science fiction'
California governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law legislation establishing safety and performance regulations for the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles on state roads and highways. The Associated Press reports and Google confirms that the governor signed SB1298 in a ceremony at Google's Mountain View headquarters. Speaking at the bill signing, Governor Brown said the emergence of autonomous cars meant that "today we're looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow's reality."
Google gauging demand for self-driving cars
Google's automotive technology lead Anthony Levandowski revealed on Wednesday to the WSJ that he had been on a trip to Detroit to gauge interest from car designers in its self-driving car technology. While there were "millions of miles" to go in testing a truly safe system, it wanted partners in the industry to have cars available within the next ten years, and possibly "much sooner." The approach wouldn't just be confined to pre-installed systems and could involve aftermarket add-ons or subsidizing the cost entirely to make it up in revenues for Google's usual services.
Google HUD glasses may reach production
Google's rumored heads-up display glasses should become real this year, insiders maintained Tuesday. Multiple staffers told the New York Times that the Android-based glasses would go on sale in 2012 and cost as much as typical smartphones, which the newspaper interpreted as between $250 to $600. Google was being careful to phrase the project as a public experiment and not an attempt to fully establish a new category.
Apple and Google work on iOS and Android wearables
Both Apple and Google are working on wearable devices that would be be companions to or even replacements for their smartphone platforms. Leaks from inside Apple claimed to the New York Times that a "very small group" of those on its campus were using prototypes that could send information back to an iPhone or other device. One of the more exotic ideas was a supposed curved-glass iPod that would use Siri for some of its commands.
Google X labs working on driverless car, more
Google has a secret facility that could lead to commercial uses of driverless cars and other high technology, sources uncovered late Sunday. According to a New York Times report, one such project involves a driverless car. An unnamed source said the car would be built in the US, and could be subsidized with ads that played in front of a driver for local businesses as they drive by.