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6
Dec

How to control Sonos through Spotify


Sonos has released the over-the-air software update that allows users to play music directly from the Spotify app, rather than just through the Sonos app.

Until now, Sonos users were required to sign into their Spotify Premium account via the Sonos app in order to search for songs, albums or their Spotify playlists and play them through their Sonos speakers.

  • Sonos tips and tricks: Get the most out of your multi-room system

The new update means that while Sonos users can still use the Sonos app, they will also be able to use the Spotify app itself to stream music to any or all of their Sonos speakers.

Here’s how to control Sonos through Spotify.

Setting up Sonos and Spotify

To enable your Sonos speakers to appear on the Spotify app, you’ll need to follow the instructions below.

Open the Sonos app
Click on the three lines in the top left of the app, which is the main menu
Update your Sonos system to the latest software
You’ll be prompted to “Set up Sonos Account”
Type in the full email address associated with your Sonos account (it gives you a hint)
Open the email and set a new password
Sign into your Sonos Account in the Sonos app when prompted
Go back into the main menu within the Sonos app
Click on Control Sonos from Spotify and turn it on
Open the Spotify app and you’ll see your Sonos speakers listed in the Devices Available tab. If they aren’t individually listed, it might be because they are grouped.

Play a song/album/playlist on Sonos through Spotify

To play a song, album or playlist on one of your Sonos speakers through Spotify, follow the instructions below.

Open the Spotify app
Open the song, playlist or album you want to play
Tap on Devices Available at the bottom of the screen
Tap on the Sonos speaker you want to play the song, album or playlist on

Grouping/Ungrouping Sonos speakers through Spotify

You won’t be able to group Sonos speakers through the Spotify app directly as this requires intervention from the Sonos app. The option is there if you click on the three dots next to each Sonos speaker in the Devices Available list though, it just takes you to the Sonos app.

Once you’ve grouped the speakers you want to group within the Sonos app and pressed “Done”, you’ll be transferred back to the Spotify app automatically. From here, you’ll then be able to control the overall volume of the group of speakers, but not the individual speakers within the group.

To ungroup speakers, the same instructions apply and again, you’ll be automatically transferred between the Sonos app and the Spotify app.

This Sonos update also brought Trueplay tuning to the Playbar. You can read more about Sonos Trueplay, what it is and how to do it in our separate features.

  • What is Sonos Trueplay and how does it work?
  • How to tune your existing Sonos speaker with Trueplay to make it sound better
6
Dec

What is Sonos Trueplay and how does it work?


Sonos Trueplay is a software feature that will allow anyone who owns a Sonos speaker to tune it specifically to the room it is in. In a similar way to how someone might tune a professional hi-fi system, Sonos essentially brought this technology to the average consumer in an easy to manage and understand format.

There are plenty of factors that affect the way a speaker will sound when placed in a room. The idea of Trueplay is to recognise these factors and calibrate itself accordingly in order to sound as good as possible with these factors considered. In the words of the company’s vice president of product marketing, Tom Cullen, Trueplay allows people to achieve their design goals with the “sound of snobs”.

Here we are looking at a breakdown of what Sonos Trueplay is, what it does and how it works.

What is Sonos Trueplay?

Sonos Trueplay is designed to allow you to put any Sonos speaker wherever you want. You could place a Play:1 behind the curtain or a Play:3 in a cupboard and the idea is that it shouldn’t matter in terms of the sound output.

The company says you shouldn’t have to think about where you put a speaker. You should be able to put it wherever you choose and Sonos makes this more possible with Trueplay.

  • Sonos tips and tricks: Get the most out of your multi-room system

How does Sonos Trueplay work?

In order for Trueplay to make your Sonos speaker sound as good as it can in the environment it is in, you have to go through a tuning process. Unlike other tuning processes though, Trueplay takes around two minutes and while it makes you look a little silly for these 120 seconds, it’s very simple and easy.

The Sonos app will prompt you to start tuning and after following the steps, it will eventually emit a series of test sounds. These sounds are made up of three properties – brown noise, pulse sounds that allow for echoes and a sweep of frequencies.

The microphone in your iOS device detects how these sounds react to the room you are in by measuring how the sound waves reflect off the walls, furnishings, glass and other surfaces. This information is then used to determine the layout of your room and the tuning will take place automatically.

Sonos says the speaker knows what it should sound like and Trueplay tells it what it doesn’t sound like, allowing it to tune itself to sound better. The company also says that Trueplay won’t change anything that doesn’t need to be changed.

What do you have to do to tune Sonos Trueplay?

As we mentioned, the app will prompt you into steps. The room you are tuning needs to be as quiet as possible in order for the process to work, but Sonos has added algorithms that will cancel out noises such as a dog bark.

There is a video in the app to show you what to do, but when the sounds we referred to above begin, you’re required to hold your iOS 7 or above device in your hand and move it up and down, whilst walking around the room.

You need to make sure you walk around as much of the room as you can, but not too quickly and you also need to make sure your arm is moving up and down as the video shows you, otherwise the sounds will stop and the app will tell you to try again.

It takes 45 seconds to do the actual tuning bit if you do it right and you won’t need to do it again unless you move the speaker into a different room. Even in a power cut, the speaker will remember the room configuration.

  • How to tune your existing Sonos speaker with Trueplay to make it sound better

What do you need to tune Sonos Trueplay?

Sonos Trueplay requires an Apple device that runs on iOS 7 and above. It can be an iPad, iPhone or an iPod Touch and you only need it for those couple of minutes we mentioned earlier to do the setup. If you are on Android or Windows and have no Apple devices in your house, you’ll need to invite an iOS buddy round and ask to borrow their device for a few minutes to get Trueplay setup.

Sonos is working on making Trueplay tuning work with Android devices but there is currently too much variation in Android devices when it comes to the microphones. The company says that even the same device on a different carrier will deliver varied results and therefore it is taking longer to configure.

Is Sonos Trueplay worth doing?

All of our Sonos speakers have been tuned and the difference is noticeable. We had a couple of demos with Sonos Trueplay when it was first announced in November 2015 and both times, we also noticed a big difference after the speaker had been tuned to the room and its surroundings. A Play:1 was placed in a cupboard and when Trueplay was turned on, there was certainly a noticeable improvement in the sound output.

It doesn’t take long to do, it’s very easy to do and if it is going to make an existing speaker better, then why not?

Which Sonos speakers are compatible with Trueplay?

Sonos Trueplay is available for free for all Sonos speakers, comprising the Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 and new Play:5. The Playbar is also compatible as of the 6 December 2016 software update.

  • Which Sonos speaker is best for you? Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 or Playbar
6
Dec

Pokemon Go and Starbucks to team up for 8 December special event


Pokemon Go has made a number of changes in recent weeks and months since its heyday in the summer of 2016. We’ve recently seen the nearby feature launch, Ditto added and we’ve seen changes to a whole range of game mechanics too. 

Leaks coming from Reddit tell us that there’s a huge Pokemon Go and Starbucks deal on the horizon, kicking off in Starbucks stores on 8 December. 

The evidence behind this leak is difficult to ignore, as it’s the instructions for baristas about how to make the special edition Pokemon Go Frappuccino. Don’t get too excited, it’s a vanilla Frappuccino with raspberry and blackberry.

Reddit

The more important change is that a number of Starbucks will be changing to PokeStops or Gyms. This won’t be every store, but the leak specifies “majority of company-operated stores”.

There’s another line that’s important, and it reads as: “Starbucks is collaborating with Pokemon in their new update”.

The deal with Starbucks is fun, but it’s the suggestion of a larger Pokemon Go update that’s got fans into a froth. In early November, code for generation two Pokemon characters was spotted in the game and so far there’s been no unveiling of those chaps.

With a number of special events so far, like Halloween, and a general increase in Pokemon types around the place, we’re eager to see the gen-2 update roll out. Wouldn’t that be the greatest Christmas gift of all, aside from a raspberry and blackberry Frappuccino? 

There’s no word on whether this is US only, or an international deal for Starbucks.

  • How to use the Pokemon Go Nearby feature
  • Pokemon Go: How to raise your XP level, power up and evolve your Pokemon
  • Pokemon Go: Best Pokemon with highest CP
  • Pokemon Go review, or The Trials and Tribulations of a Pokemon Go addict
6
Dec

Google’s mobile app gets a streamlined news feed


Google would love for its flagship, search-focused app to be the first thing anyone tapped after unlocking their smartphone, so the company is making a few changes to the app’s front page in order streamline how you get your information. Starting with today’s update, Google has helpfully broken up the information cards on the main feed into two main categories: current topics and upcoming events.

Now, instead of one lengthy feed below the search box, opening the Google app presents you with one tab for all the news, sports, detailed weather and other topics it thinks you care about, as well as a second tab for all your upcoming trips, calendar appointments and important emails. Google says the feed will get smarter and more relevant the more you use it, but you can also update your interests in the app settings. The Upcoming tab will also deep-link into things like boarding passes, flight info or even package tracking information.

According to Google, the update lands on the Android version of the app today, and the same features are “coming soon” to the iOS version.

6
Dec

‘Altered Beast’ and ‘Streets of Rage’ coming to film and TV


Sonic the Hedgehog has apparently opened the floodgates on Sega adaptations. Sega Group’s production arm is teaming with Fear the Walking Dead producer Circle of Confusion on adaptations of ’80s and ’90s classics Altered Beast and Streets of Rage, according to Variety. Beat ’em up game Streets of Rage pits your rogue cop against big city crime boss Mr. X, while sidescroller Beast features a resurrected Greek Warrior that transforms into powerful werecritters after defeating a suite of villains.

Sure, the plots are cliche, but so are zombies, and The Walking Dead team made that work. Anyway, it’s more about tapping our childhood nostalgia, and those titles were among the most popular on Sega’s Mega Drive/Genesis platforms. “We look forward to seeing the centurion from Altered Beast rise from his grave, and the Streets of Rage heroes Adam, Axel and Blaze fight to take their city back,” said Stories International CEO Tomoya Suzuki.

Ironically, the original Altered Beast arcade version finishes with a cut scene showing that everything was just a movie, so we’ll be interested to see if they break that fourth (or fifth) wall again. Sega is also looking for partners on titles like Virtua Fighter, Crazy Taxi and Shinobi, and there’s no word yet on which studios or broadcasters are taking on Altered Beast and Streets of Rage. In other words, don’t expect to see them on the screen anytime soon.

Source: Variety

6
Dec

The Novint Falcon: Haptic joystick turned futuristic sex toy


I’m standing in the studio at Engadget’s San Francisco headquarters, holding the remains of a pulverized, cream-filled doughnut. The pastry’s sticky, off-white filling clings to the shaft of a bright pink vibrator, taped to the end of a silver, cone-shaped device with three arms that come together at a point and a horseshoe-shaped base. This disembodied robot boob is the Novint Falcon, a one-time game-changing game controller turned teledildonics legend.

NSFW Warning: This story may contain links to and descriptions or images of explicit sexual acts.

Kyle Machulis, hardware engineer and sex-tech enthusiast, is here to reenact a demo he posted to YouTube in August 2007. He may have been the first person to strap a dildo to the failed haptic game controller, but he wasn’t the last. Since its debut, the Novint Falcon has popped up in tech demos for VR sex suits, adult social networks and as a next-level cam-site interface. So how does a device go from PC-gaming sweetheart to would-be sex-toy wunderkind?

Nearly two years after its announcement, the Novint Falcon seemed poised to change the way we game. The alien-like controller, with its origins in a national laboratory, promised to bring sophisticated haptic feedback to your desktop, allowing users to actually feel the games they played.

It had been a bumpy road to market, but by the summer of 2008 Novint had picked up a number of major licensing deals, secured distribution through big-box stores like Best Buy and managed to impress the gaming and tech press through demos at CES and GDC. The headlines were largely positive, but no one was ready to call it a success just yet. After years of refining its vision and business model, the company had landed on a play for the video game market that could bring industrial-grade haptic controls to consumers worldwide. It just needed to secure another round of funding first.

“It really makes you feel like you’re in a game. It’s the first time you really are the character instead of just controlling the character,” Tom Anderson said.

In its short lifespan, the Novint Falcon was used in medical, industrial and architectural training and visualization. Heavyweights like Chrysler, Mobil, Chevron and Lockheed Martin adopted it, but according to Novint founder and CEO Tom Anderson, the vision for the company had always been consumer applications. Video games presented the perfect interface to introduce a device that Anderson speculated would “fundamentally change computing.”

“At the time, people said we were crazy, you know, these are $15,000 advanced robots — there’s no way that you’re going to take this down to a consumer price point,” Anderson says. “But to make a long story short, we did. We took the price down from $15,000 to under $150 to manufacture them and manufactured them in quantity in China.”

The company had a tough go during the dot-com crash but managed to stay afloat. Now, with its eyes set on the gaming market and a device that could be sold for roughly $250, Anderson and his team were ready to make a play for the consumer market. It was time to show the public what this thing could do.

“For video games, it’s an amazing technology,” Anderson says. “You can feel a gun recoil, you can feel a golf swing, you can feel every bump a car goes over when it slams into something in a racing game. It really makes you feel like you’re in a game. It’s the first time you really are the character instead of just controlling the character.”

The tech and gaming press echoed Anderson’s enthusiasm after the device made its round on the trade-show circuit.

NovintFalcon-NoDildo.jpeg

The Novint Falcon, before the dildo.

Joystiq called the Falcon an “ingenious piece of design,” and then-Engadget columnist Ross Rubin said it was “one of the most promising PC interface peripherals to come along in years.” Everyone seemed to agree: The Falcon was a good thing that could only get better.

Even with a warm reception from the press, mainstream adoption would be an uphill battle. Not only was the Falcon significantly larger and more expensive than most controllers, it was also lacking the most important element: games. The device was introduced to market with a handful of fun but rudimentary mini-games and a port of Half-Life 2, but without big-name titles, it was going to be hard to drive mass-market appeal, and without a strong user base, it was near-impossible to secure integration with big-name titles.

“We’d go to a game publisher and say ‘I want you to support our new device,’ and they would say, ‘It’s amazing but come back to me when you have a million install base,’” Anderson says.

In order to break free of the “chicken and egg” conundrum, Novint started buying up the “3D-touch rights” to major video-game franchises. “We were buying something off of them they didn’t even know they had: the sleeves off their vests,” Anderson says.

The first publisher to take the bait was Electronic Arts.

“When we closed with EA everything was going perfectly, really,” Anderson says. “We were hitting all of our milestones, all of our investors were happy, we were about to get much broader distribution. We were talking to the consoles as well. They said, ‘If you can get game support, then we want to carry you with our devices.’ PlayStation, in particular, when we told them about the EA deal, we were ready to move forward and get support for the PS3. So everything was coming together perfectly.”

According to Anderson, Novint closed the deal with EA in May 2008. But it was already too late. The Great Recession was well underway and by the beginning of 2009, Novint was operating with a 10th of its staff, sales were weak and funding had all but dried up.

“We found ourselves in a car we couldn’t continue to put any gas in,” Anderson says. So he merged with ForceTek, which was looking to use the Falcon’s 3D touch technology to create a haptic exoskeleton. The time had seemingly come and gone for the Novint Falcon and Anderson exited the company soon after.

Years before, however, a floppy, purple silicone dildo had signaled a new direction for the Falcon. The semi-hard phallus haphazardly strapped to the end of the device’s three, rotating arms stabbed aimlessly into thin air, foretelling an unexpected if unwanted future for the one-time game-changer.

When Machulis repurposed his Falcon as a desktop fuck machine and posted a video of it to his blog, Slashdong, in 2007, he may have unwittingly set the stage for its reinvention. Machulis, who was working as an engineer on Second Life at the time, had been following the development of the Falcon over the years.

“I was and to this day — it’s something like 9 years old now — am still enamored with it, Machulis said. “It’s such an amazing experience, especially for the cost.”

“It’s made to go in your hand, not in your butt,” Kyle Machulis said.

Machulis got his hands on the device before its consumer debut and created a simple proof-of-concept program he now calls “crude and stupid.” He’s not wrong. The program takes advantage of the device’s force controls to thrust back and forth in a sort of wild stabbing motion, like a drunk teenager aimlessly thrusting his way through his first time. In the demo video he posted to YouTube, a bright purple, anatomically correct dildo is strapped to the end of the device, taking advantage of the modular control knob that would have allowed gamers to attach a gun for first-person shooters, for example.

The Falcon may look like a sophisticated robo-fuck machine to the untrained eye, but as I found out during our doughnut demo, it lacks the precision and force to properly penetrate a pastry, much less a contracted human orifice. That’s not to say it couldn’t be the proverbial “hot dog in a hallway,” but where’s the fun in that?

“It’s made to go in your hand, not in your butt,” Machulis says, pointing out that in order for the Falcon to operate with any level of precision, it has to communicate with the computer running the application thousands of times per second. But technical limitations only partially explain why the Falcon has yet to take off as a legitimate sexual aid.

In 2013, six years after Machulis’ video hit YouTube, a company called Happy Haptics Inc. announced plans for an adult social network called FriXion that would allow users to communicate with their genitals anywhere in the world. The company painted a picture of an adult Facebook that leveraged the Falcon outfitted with either a vibrator or a sex sleeve like a Fleshlight, for remote sex. The company promised one-on-one as well as group teledildonic experiences.

Happy Haptics released a number of proof-of-concept demos of its own, showing users manipulating the devices by hand to simulate sex and called on beta users to test out the social network. Then, in July 2015, the company went dark. It stopped updating its Facebook and Twitter pages with no warning. Soon after, Machulis reported that FriXion had been named in a patent suit along with a handful of other teledildonics companies for infringing on a vague patent covering any “method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks.”

FriXion was foiled by a patent troll going by the name of TZU and it seemed the Falcon was doomed to the annals of vaporware. But like an old dick fortified by Viagra, the Falcon just won’t quit. In 2014, Motherboard called a modified Falcon “The Robot That Makes Virtual Sex Feel Real.” It was referring to a demo of the device by Japanese sex toy outfit, Tenga. The company strapped one of its signature sex toys to the device and synced it to an XXX anime video game that users would experience in virtual reality. Vice’s Brian Merchant admitted that he hadn’t actually penetrated the contraption, but seemed optimistic about its potential. He said his “brief encounter with Tenga’s wiry gadget was enough to see a glimpse of the future of onanism.”

Earlier this year, a totally not real and NSFW virtual-reality sex suit reignited the public’s fascination with the device. It turned out to be an April Fool’s joke by Illusion VR, the company behind Tenga’s earlier anime sex simulator. I described it in an earlier column as a clumsy combo of “the Novint Falcon, a Tenga sex sleeve, a pair of silicone breasts, what appears to be a Gear VR and a white spandex bodysuit covered in black velcro straps and power cords.”

Despite the ridiculousness of the thing and the no-duh timing of its release, major online news sources were beside themselves about the possibility of a full-body, haptic sex suit. Unfortunately for the Falcon, the Illusion VR hoax was just that.

While Tenga and Illusion were busy selling a fantasy to a public thirsty for sex robots, Chris Johns and his wife Tabitha Rae were building on a dream that put the Falcon at the center of its modest Madison, Wisconsin-based cam operation, Doitchrisyle.com.

According to Johns, the couple has gone through the appropriate channels to avoid a suit with TZU, and after a recent server crash is rebuilding its site to allow users to have virtual sex with Tabitha and a small stable of other performers Johns refers to as “virtual girlfriends.” Johns plans to sell sex-toy ready Falcons to customers, who will be able to manipulate a performer’s device using their own, or vice versa.

DoitChristyle.com, which debuted at AVN in 2014, currently contains a grid of lingerie-clad models and the promise of a “hot and sexy new website, coming soon.” Johns says he has a limited supply of “less than 10,000” Flacons that will be available for purchase to VIP customers when the site relaunches at an undisclosed date. While he acknowledges it is no longer in production, Johns is confident that the Falcon will rise again.

“The select people that we have had try this experience have absolutely loved it — even the performers,” Johns says. “Quotes like ‘I’ll never use my hand again’ have been mentioned several times.”

He echoes the enthusiasm I’ve heard repeated ad nauseam since I first heard of the Falcon. Whether it’s being used as an industrial simulator, a haptic game controller or a futuristic sexual aid, just about everyone agrees, you just have to try it to understand its potential. Nearly 10 years in, however, potential is just about all the Falcon has to offer … potential, and a mutilated chocolate doughnut.

6
Dec

Solar beads can make some very cool lamps and flashlights


Conventional solar panels aren’t exactly the prettiest objects on the planet, which is why companies like Tesla, SRS Energy and SunTegra have been focusing on blending this technology into roof tiles. As for those who don’t have a roof or land to spare, Japan’s Kyosemi Corporation has come up with an alternative solution that can let windows and glass walls soak up solar power as well.

The magic ingredient? Just a web of “Sphelar” solar cell beads — each with a diameter of 1.2 mm — lined up inside any transparent substrate, meaning it can come in any shape or form while letting light travel through the gap between beads. Better yet, due to the spherical nature of these cells, they can capture light from almost any angle — to the point where they can deliver a higher cumulative output than their conventional counterparts, according to the company.

To showcase this technology, Kyosemi has taken two Sphelar-powered portable lighting products to Kickstarter: the water-resistant Sphelar Lantern and the Sphelar Stick flashlight. Both devices feature a clear acrylic base with a cylindrical web of Sphelars on the inside, which is both prettier and more effective than a tiny flat solar cell.

With its Sphelar side facing upward on a clear day, the Lantern takes four to six hours to be fully charged, then flip it around (hence its hourglass shape) to let it shine for about four hours; and if needed, there’s also USB for faster charging. The aluminum Stick, on the other hand, requires more patience due to its much smaller volume — we’re talking about just 30 minutes of usage from a six- to eight-hour charge, but it does have the capacity to store up to four hours worth of juice; plus its brightness is rated at 34.20 lumens which is much higher than the Lantern’s 5.72 lumens.

Admittedly, this cool-looking technology comes at a price. The Sphelar Stick already starts at $129 (available in silver, navy, green or copper; a wooden stand is included), whereas the Sphelar Lantern is asking for at least $349 (walnut or hard maple). There are really only two ways to talk yourselves into this: You either really dig these designs, or you genuinely want to support this forward-thinking company; or both. And at the end of the day, some people do spend even more money on designer products, anyway.

Source: Kickstarter

6
Dec

Dropbox saves whole folders for offline viewing on mobile


Look, it’s not hard to save Dropbox files for offline viewing on mobile. But when you need to make sure you have access to a bevy of documents for work or school wherever you go, the app’s latest premium feature sounds like a useful addition. The service has launched the ability to save whole folders offline with just a couple of taps. By doing so, you can load all the files it contains on a smartphone even if you’re on a train, a building or in remote areas with no WiFi and spotty mobile internet.

It also helps that the app keeps whatever is in that folder synced — if a co-worker or a classmate uploads a new file or updates one, you’ll get access to it as soon as your phone goes online. Like we said, though, this is a “premium” feature that you can only access if you have a Dropbox Pro, Business or Enterprise account. We’re afraid you’ll have to upgrade if you only have basic Dropbox. The feature will go live on the latest version of the Android app within the next few days. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, keep an eye out for its rollout to iOS devices early next year.

Source: Dropbox

6
Dec

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 may ditch the headphone jack


With Apple, Motorola and others releasing phones without 3.5mm headphone jacks this year, there’s been a looming question: will Samsung follow suit? Like it or not, SamMobile sources claim the answer is yes. Reportedly, the Galaxy S8 will rely solely on its USB-C port for sound — if you want to use your own headphones, you’ll likely either need to use an adapter (no guarantee that you’ll get one in the box) or go wireless. But why make the move, outside of being trendy?

The tipsters don’t have an official explanation, but there are a few advantages that might come with ditching the legacy port. It would create more room for a larger battery, more sensors, stereo speakers and other upgrades that aren’t as practical right now. Alternately, it could let Samsung slim the S8 without having to make significant compromises on other features. That’s not much consolation if you like to listen to music while you charge your phone, but you may well get something in return for this sacrifice.

You might not have too much longer to learn whether or not the rumor is true. In recent years, Samsung has introduced new Galaxy S models at or near the Mobile World Congress trade show, which kicks off February 27th in 2017. SamMobile is confident that the S8 will show up there, although it’s not an absolute lock given the possibility of delays. Whenever it arrives, it’s safe to say there will be an uproar if there’s no 3.5mm jack. Some people swore off the iPhone 7 precisely because it didn’t have a native headphone port — what happens if their main alternative doesn’t have that hole, either? They may have to either buy from brands they previously hadn’t considered, or accept that conventional audio jacks are a dying breed in mobile.

Via: The Verge

Source: SamMobile

6
Dec

Google expects to run solely on renewable energy in 2017


Google has made it a point to run as much of its business on renewable energy as possible, and it looks like the company is close to reaching its ultimate goal. The internet pioneer now expects that all of its offices and data centers will be relying on purchased solar or wind power by some point in 2017. This isn’t the same as directly powering facilities with eco-friendly energy (logistics and the nature of electrical grids makes that difficult), but it does mean that Google is funding enough projects to offset its massive power demands — 5.7 terawatt-hours in 2015.

To help mark the milestone, Google is also increasing the transparency of its green energy plans. It’s publishing an Environmental Report that outlines how well it’s doing, and it’s running a dedicated environment website that showcases its efforts to reduce energy use and otherwise protect Earth. Also, this doesn’t mean that Google is resting on its laurels. It’s broadening its purchases to make sure that renewable power is available every hour of every day, and it plans to shift more of its attention to buying energy in the regions where it operates.

The plan scores environmental and marketing points, of course, but Google also believes it makes financial sense. The costs of solar and wind power are falling dramatically, and their prices are much more stable than carbon-based sources like coal. If Google can both lower the overall price of energy and reliably predict the costs of running a given facility, it stands to both save money and eliminate anxiety over price surges. And the company is quick to emphasize that it wants the whole planet to run on clean energy. While it isn’t alone in spurring the use of renewable energy (Apple has been a prominent advocate of green power, for example), its efforts could go a long way toward making the technology accessible in places where it just wasn’t an option before.

Via: New York Times, The Verge

Source: Google Blog, (PDF)

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