Why Google Is Doubling Down On VR Division

More than a year and a half after Google introduced what still looks more like a mockup of a virtual-reality device than a real virtual-reality device, it’s finally getting real on VR. But not for the reason most people seem to think.

Today, Google confirmed that it has created a new virtual-reality group headed by Clay Bavor, a vice president for product management who has headed apps such as Gmail, Docs, and Drive–and Cardboard, the cheapo device that turns a smartphone into a crude but surprisingly effective VR headset.

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The assumption by many observers is that Google is playing catch-up to Facebook’s Oculus, which just released its high-end Rift device, and other VR headsets such as the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR introduced last fall.

But Google is playing a rather different game than Facebook, in particular, and other makers of VR devices. For one, it’s betting that smartphones will be the route to a mass market for virtual reality. (Samsung is also betting on the smartphone, but only its own smartphones, at least for now. If you have an iPhone, or any Android phone besides two Galaxy S 6 models, you’re out of luck.)

Cardboards can be had for less than $10, which makes them not only cheap enough to be impulse purchases, but cheap enough for many companies to give them out free. The New York Times, for instance, gave out 1 million of them to subscribers to jumpstart its move into VR content. As primitive as they look, it has been clear–and now is even clearer to everyone–that Google has been putting serious thought and effort into Cardboard.

Given the Oculus’ high price–$600 plus a capable enough personal computer at a cost of at least $1,000–it will not be a mass consumer device anytime soon. Moore’s Law will change that sometime down the road, but not for at least a year or two, maybe more.

What Google aims to create is a critical mass of users–tens of millions and eventually hundreds of millions–for virtual reality content that will keep its advertising system humming for decades to come. In that sense, it’s not really competing with Oculus, which for the foreseeable future will be mostly for hard-core gamers.

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Lenovo and Google partner on first 3D-sensing Project Tango smartphone

Remember Project Tango, Google’s 3D-sensing smartphones and tablets? It looks like the long awaited consumer version of the handset was just made official.

Lenovo is working with Google to make the first consumer version of a smartphone that uses Project Tango technology, the two companies announced Thursday during CES. The handset will be released during the summer of 2016, Lenovo says.

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Project Tango uses a combination of computer vision and motion sensors to create 3D experiences on smartphones and tablets. In addition to the accelerometer, gyroscope and camera that most smartphones are equipped with, Project Tango devices come with additional sensors that enable them to better track depth and motion.

When these sensors are combined with custom computer vision software, the resulting devices are able to create augmented reality experiences that would not be possible with the typical smartphone or tablet. Games, for instance, can be more immersive while other apps allow you to more accurately visualize digital content overlaid onto your surroundings.

A Project Tango app called Car Visualizer, for example, allows you to use a Project Tango tablet as a “window” to view and interact with a virtual car by moving the device around your surroundings.
Of course, as with any new platform, developers must create apps that are customized to take advantage of Project Tango’s capabilities, even though the devices run Android. There are already more than a dozen Project Tango-ready apps in Google Play, since Google began giving developer kits for Project Tango tablets last year. Google and Lenovo are also launching an app incubator for interested developers to encourage the creation of more apps for the platform ahead of the smartphone’s release.

Details of what the device will look like, how much it will cost or exactly when it will go on sale are not yet clear, though Google showed off some design renderings, pictured above, of what the Android-powered device could look like. Lenovo also revealed the handset will be equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 processor.

Until now, Project Tango, which was first introduced in 2014 by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, has been limited to research projects, prototypes and developer kits. The summer release of the Lenovo smartphone will mark the first time it will make it into consumer hands.

Google, Govt Of India, May Soon Provide Internet Connectivity Via Large Floating Balloons

google balloon

Google approached government to set up the Loon project and Drone-based Internet transmission. Government has approved testing of Loon project only as of now. A committee under chairmanship of Secretary, DEITY, has been formed to work on it,” an official source told PTI.

Google may initially partner with BSNL for testing this technology by using broadband spectrum in 2.6 Ghz band.

When contacted, a Google spokesperson refused to comment.

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The technology, used for 4G services, has potential to replace mobile towers as it can directly transmit signals on 4G mobile phones.

As per Google, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE or 4G.

To use LTE, Project Loon partners with telecommunications companies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able to access the Internet everywhere directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices.

Google uses solar panel and wind to power electronic equipment in the balloon throughout the day.

The source said that Google may operate as technology service provider and not as internet service provider.

“The DEITY committee is looking at various aspects to facilitate test like identifying locations, coordination with various agencies. Under the Drone project, Google had plans to transmit internet on ground using 8 big solar powered drones but that has not been cleared by government yet,” sources added.

How To Generate A 3D Hologram From Your Phone

HOLOGRAM

For those who love a DIY hack, here’s a quirky one that’ll turn your phone into a 3D projector. Technically it’s not really a hologram producer, but delivers similar results. And it gives you a fresh perspective on everyday junk, and the wonders you can achieve with it.

And if you really want to improve your product just follow the “helpful” comments below the post that immediately went viral.

Anyone can now download the iOS 9 beta

ios-9-beta

The beta, which comes a day after Apple seeded iOS 9 beta 3 to developers, offers adventurous users a chance to check out iOS 9 on their iPhones, iPod touches or iPads before it is officially released this fall.

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To access the consumer beta, sign up with their Apple ID at beta.apple.com.

If you’re planning to do so, remember— as with the previous OS X public betas — that you’re installing beta software on your device. At this point, the software is stable enough to test, but Apple still recommends users install it on a secondary iOS device.

It’s also recommended that you backup your iOS device to either iTunes or iCloud before installing it. This way, you can be sure you have backed-up copies of your app data, photos and other media files — just in case something goes wrong.

Apple will be issuing updates periodically to iOS 9 over the next few months. Users who sign up for the consumer beta will be able to upgrade to the final version of iOS 9 when it ships later this fall.

iOS 9 brings a new News app on iPad, advanced battery savings feature for power management, a new multi-tasking design and enhanced Siri features.

Stay tuned for our hands-on with the iOS 9 public beta, including looks at the new News app, later today.

Source: http://goo.gl/YxFUZ5

Windows 10’s Wi-Fi sharing feature is really clever, but just got a bad rap

Windows-10

Microsoft is rebutting claims that an upcoming Windows 10 feature could leak your Wi-Fi password to strangers.

A new feature on Windows 10 called Wi-Fi Sense allows your Outlook, Skype and Facebook contacts to automatically access your Wi-Fi network. For example, rather than having to ask a friend for the Wi-Fi password at their home, the feature would sense you are trying to access the same network as your friend, who already has the password, and lets you automatically join the network.

While this is Microsoft’s intention, a report circulating on Friday said Wi-Fi Sense grants your contacts’ friends access to your network, too. The worry, in theory, is that a hacker could befriend someone you know and gain access to sensitive information.

But a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that this is false. The feature does not “reveal passwords or allow your friends to share your Wi-Fi with their friends, nor does it put your personal information at risk.”

Microsoft also said a Wi-Fi Sense connection will grant access only to Wi-Fi, not to computers or other devices on the network. Users who feel uncomfortable with the feature can choose not to share their connections with contacts, or can completely opt out by adding “_optout” to their network’s name, disabling Wi-Fi Sense on the connection.

Wi-fi Sense is meant to fix the inevitable awkwardness of entering a friend’s network password into your computer or phone. Wi-Fi passwords tend to be long strings of random characters unless the owner goes out of their way to set it up differently. And it works both ways: if you use Windows devices, and know others who do too, their Wi-Fi network information is automatically stored on your products.

The feature debuted on Windows Phone 8.1, but because Windows Phones aren’t as popular as iOS or Android devices, it’s not as well known. The feature, now bundled with Windows 10, could be widely adopted after the new operating system officially launches on July 29. Right now, it’s available on the desktop as part of a Windows 10 public preview.

Read more technical articles by Anand Mishra Star Infranet