Apparently, Google has always known that the California DMV wouldn’t allow it to test self-driving cars on the road unless they have manual controls and a backup driver onboard. The company has just revealed in a new Google+ post that its latest prototypes (designed to live without the now-vestigial controls) can accommodate temporary steering wheels and controls, as seen above. Once testing’s done, folks working on the self-driving car division can easily remove the steering wheel and any manual control they’ve had to add. Convenient, right?
Some of that prototype testing will take place at Moffett Field, home to NASA’s Ames Research Center. Unlike its California-bound cars, though, those slated to hit the federal property’s roads don’t need to have manual controls at all. According to Google, its private test track simulates traffic lights, construction zones and even wobbly cyclists to create a busy street environment. In fact, a month or two after their initial testing (that’s slated to begin three to six months from now), the prototypes don’t even need to have backup drivers onboard. Google started leasing Hangar One and its surrounding air field at Moffett earlier this year, so it’ll at least have a ton of parking space for its diminutive, cartoon-like vehicles.
The rumors were true: Microsoft is buying Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. Crazy, right? That’s not all that happened today though. Go ahead and spice up your Monday with Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours. You know you want to.
Google’s as-you-type search suggestions have only offered the tiniest bit of help so far. They can handle basic math, but they won’t answer questions that require more than a few numbers. However, that might soon change. Chrome for Android now has an experimental feature that answers some of your queries before you’ve even finished asking. Switch it on and you can get the weather, historic dates and other valuable info without ever seeing Google’s usual results page. While the feature isn’t all that vital when you have access to Google Now, it may save you the trouble of switching apps (or leaving the page you’re on) when you just want to get a small factoid. There’s also no hint as to when Google might make the feature standard on Android or bring it to the desktop, but let’s hope that an upgrade comes soon — it could save a lot of unnecessary keystrokes.
Shazam just got an awesome new feature that allows you to instantly purchase a Shazam’d track from the Google Play Store directly from your Android device.
Once your Shazam a song you’ll see a new button that will take you instantly to the Google Play Store where you’ll be able to purchase it and listen to it as part of your Google Music All Access subscription.
The update is out now, so hit the the link below to update Shazam now.
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Google and a number of partners on Monday introduced the first three smartphones to operate under the Android one banner. Designed to deliver low-priced devices to as many people as possible, the Android One line is a collaborative effort between carriers, hardware makers, and more. Powered by MediaTek’s MT6582 (quad ARM CortexTM A7) processors, the phones offer consumers many of the essentials needed in a smartphone experience.
They have high-quality front- and rear-facing cameras. And for all those pictures, along with your apps and videos, Android One phones will have expandable storage. We also added features that people in India will find particularly useful, like dual SIM cards, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio.
The first three smartphones being announced are the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream UNO. Priced around Rs 6,399 ($105 U.S.), the trio are shipping with Android 4.4 KitKat but will also pick up Android L updates later this year. As is the case with the Nexus line, Google will maintain the updates, skipping the time and efforts needed for wireless providers.
The future of Android One
In addition to the new smartphones, Google is also announcing new hardware and component makers under the Android One umbrella. Looking ahead we should anticipate devices from companies such as Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. In terms of expanded market availability, Google anticipates Android One products in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka over the remainder of 2014 with more to come next year.
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As predicted, Google has just revealed the first Android One phones at an event in India today. Micromax, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles are the companies working with Google at launch, all three launching new handsets this morning. What can we expect from an Android One device? Karbonn, for example, is launching the “Sparkle V Red,” (pictured below) which comes with dual SIM slots, a 4.5-inch display (480 x 854), a 5-megapixel primary camera, 1GB of RAM and, importantly, the latest version of Android (KitKat).
The Android One initiative is Google’s big push into developing markets. India is a huge growth opportunity for smartphones, and Android One is designed not only to make more affordable handsets (the new ones will cost around 6399 Rupees — about $100), but it’s also a way of bringing a better Android experience. There are plenty of cheap devices that run the operating system, but they suffer from lack of updates. With One, Google can manage the software updates directly, ensuring a much better, consistent experience. The three new handsets should go on sale later today.
As if Android apps hitting Google’s Chrome OS wasn’t enough excitement for Mountain View’s operating system for one week. Now, you can play movies stored in Google Drive via the OS’ video player app on your Chromecast. According to Googler François Beaufort, doing so is pretty easy too: simply open the Files app, select a video clip from Drive and hit the sparkly new Cast icon. Voila, cloud-stored videos are now viewable on the biggest screen in your house and even more media functionality for your Chromebook. Of course, since this is in the developer channel there might be a few bugs here and there — if you spot ‘em be sure to let the Chromium team know.
Source: François Beaufort (Google+)
Ever since Google announced that it’s complying with the European Commission’s “right to be forgotten” ruling, it’s been inundated with requests to take down all sorts of search results. Many of those sought to bury negative reviews or write-ups, but in this particular case, the search result Google took down was neither negative nor damaging. In fact, it used to lead to a five-year-old article published on Worcester News, which called the piece’s subject (an artist by the name of Dan Roach) “excellent” and “very talented.” That’s right — you can apparently ask Google to remove anything from its results pages in the European Union, even if it’s not dangerous or offensive… and maybe even if it’s helpful to some people. Worcester News editor Peter John was so dismayed by what happened, that he called it “the most absurd and silly piece of censorship” when he talked to The Guardian.
If you’re wondering, it was likely Roach himself who asked the tech giant to remove a link to an article that describes him as a brilliant artist, based on the statement he gave Worcester News. Roach, who’s now fully experiencing the Streisand effect, said: “The decision to ask for the link to be removed from Google was based on no more than a wish to highlight my new work, rather than the old.” John, however, couldn’t help but question why the request was granted.
He told The Guardian:
An artist wanting to remove part of his back catalogue did not strike us as the sort of principle that the European court of justice had in mind when it came up with the right to be forgotten ruling. Would Google remove early Hirsts or Monets on request?
To be fair, Google itself was opposed to the EU Commission’s ruling from the start, but it had no choice but to comply.
Source: Worcester News
Still surfing the web from an old-school Mac? You may want to upgrade shortly. Google has revealed that it’s launching the finished 64-bit version of Chrome 39 for OS X this November, and there won’t be a 32-bit fallback (like there is with Windows) from that point onward. As the search giant explained when it unveiled the Chrome 38 beta, the bulk of Mac users have 64-bit systems — it should be safe to move to the newer code without leaving too many people behind. That’s cold comfort if you’re hanging on to a first-generation MacBook Pro, but the upgrade should finally give most Mac fans a version of Chrome that’s as fast and secure as their computer will allow.
It’s Friday, folks. You made it. But before you checkout for the weekend (i.e. Destiny-filled all-nighters), take a look at all our news highlights from the last 24 hours.