Google providing higher speed networks to Starbucks. This would be fun in my neighborhood. Of course, when they turn off my phone because they wish to control precisely what I do with it, my favorite company will have bitten me. But it sounds so good. Is Google now Apple on control? Say it isn’t so.
Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Coffee shop + Internet—it’s a pairing that many of us have come to rely on. WiFi access makes work time, downtime, travel time and lots of in-between times more enjoyable and productive. That’s why we’re teaming up with Starbucks to bring faster, free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months. When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.
Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available. The free Internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without Internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks.
We’ll start rolling out the new networks this August. We appreciate your patience if it’s still a little while before we get to your favorite Starbucks—you’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.
Posted by Kevin Lo, General Manager, Google Access
I was less excited by the issue of Google’s losing web search ground, as the fact that simple search engines are losing ground. It is inevitable; however, and not doom and gloom for anyone. As more people use the Internet, and more granularity is important, there are better communities for specific areas. One engine, one site, will not rule them all.
Disclaimer: I am not an avid Facebook user, I use Google a great deal, I have a Polyvore and Pinterest account, and I love Google Now. And I will miss Goodreads when I leave.
The nature of search is changing, especially as more people search for what they want to buy, eat or learn on their mobile devices. This has put the $22 billion search industry, perhaps the most lucrative and influential of online businesses, at its most significant crossroad since its invention.
No longer do consumers want to search the Web like the index of a book – finding links at which a particular keyword appears. They expect new kinds of customized search, like that on topical sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Amazon, which are chipping away at Google’s hold. Google and its competitors are trying to develop the knowledge and comprehension to answer specific queries, not just point users in the right direction.
People are overwhelmed at how crowded the Internet has become – Google says there are 30 trillion Web addresses, up from one trillion five years ago – and users expect their computers and phones to be smarter and do more for them. Many of the new efforts are services that people don’t even think of as search engines.
Amazon, for example, has a larger share than Google of shopping searches, the most lucrative kind because people are in the mood to buy something. On sites like Pinterest and Polyvore, users have assembled their favorite things from around the Web to produce results when you search for, say, “lace dress.” On smartphones, people skip Google and go directly to apps, like Kayak or Weather Underground. Other apps send people information, like traffic or flight delays, before they even ask for it.
People use YouTube to search for things like how to tie a bow tie, Siri to search on their iPhones, online maps to find local places and Facebook to find things their friends have liked. And services like LinkedIn Influencers and Quora are trying to be different kinds of search engines – places to find high-quality, expert content and avoid weeding through everything else on the Web. On Quora, questions like “What was it like to work for Steve Jobs?” get answered by people with firsthand knowledge, something Google cannot provide.
I just got The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as a gift and I wondered how someone who knows nothing watches this movie. Then I found this.
This infographic is here to help you sort out the differences in the inhabitants of Middle Earth, both large and small. It was posted on Yahoo! Movies and it’s there to give moviegoers who are unfamiliar with J.R.R. Tolkien’s work a sort of visual guide to the characters they’ll encounter in the films. In the Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit, elves (Elrond once again being played by Hugo Weaving in The Hobbit) are, besides humans, the tallest of Middle Earth’s races and they’re also immortal and never sleep.
For more fun info on Middle Earth and its people have a look at the infographic below and have a great day! [Via]
Reg Hardware Awards 2012: The Winners…
…and The Loser
Almost 17,000 votes were cast by Reg readers when we asked you all to name the best – and the worst – tech products of 2012.
We asked you to tell us which kit you though most warranted a Reg Hardware Award from shortlists in a variety of categories: laptop, tablet, e-reader, home entertainment device and smartphone, but we also asked you to pick your favourite technology retailer, media service provider and mobile service provider.
We know you like your games, so we asked you to choose the best game of 2012 and to select the classic title you think most worthy of a place in our Antique Codeshow Hall of Fame.
Finally, giving you the rein, we asked you to name the best technology product of 2012 – and the choose the worst, to receive our decidedly uncoveted Rusty Dodo Award.
All your votes are in, and we’ve totted up the tallies, so here are the winners.
Laptop of the Year
Apple MacBook Pro 15in with Retina Display
Runners Up Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Samsung Series 7
Tablet of the Year
Asus Google Nexus 7
Runners Up Apple iPad 4, Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Smartphone of the Year
Samsung Galaxy S III
Runners Up Apple iPhone 5, LG Google Nexus 4
E-Reader of the Year
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Runners Up Amazon Kindle, Asus Google Nexus 7
Home Entertainment Product of the Year
Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview DVR
Runners Up Sony KD-84X9005 84in ultra-HD TV, LG 55LM960V 55in Smart TV
Tech Retailer of the Year
Runners Up Ebuyer, John Lewis
Media Service Provider of the Year
Runners Up Freeview HD, Sky
Mobile Service Provider of the Year
Runners Up EE 4G, O2
Game of the Year
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Runners Up Borderlands 2, Dishonored
Antique Codeshow Hall of Fame Award
Runners Up Half-life, Carmageddon
How did the voting go? In most cases, the winner in each category was clear, garnering two or three times as many votes as its nearest rival. There were exceptions: in the Media Service Provider of the Year vote, Netflix was ahead of Freeview HD by a relatively small margin, not much between the top three e-readers, but only a handful of points separated the major Mobile Service Providers. Likewise, Half-Life scored almost as many votes as Lemmings in the Antique Code Show Hall of Fame voting, but the small blue suicide squads just clinched the award. Maybe next year, Half-life fans?
And now for Product of the Year. We got some interesting, possibly sanity questioning suggestions, most notably "the Olympics opening ceremony", though there is a certain logic to it. Less so "fish fingers" and "Jaffa Cakes" – both tasty items but not what we were really after. El Reg‘s Editor was particularly tickled by the suggestion "Lewis Page Bullshit Generator v2" – as was the girlfriend of the (chap?) who voted for "my partner’s rampant rabbit".
There were lots of votes for various Apple items and an assortment of Samsung-branded kit appeared on the list, but after totting up the numbers and adding in extra ones for folk who mis-spelled the names, we can announced that the Reg Hardware Product of the Year 2012 is the:
Google Nexus 7
Honorable Runner Up Raspberry Pi
The votes for the Rusty Dodo Award comprised pretty much the same products that appeared in the Product of the Year list – though we notice the latter did not include Windows 8, which did make the list of products you think are a bit duff. Again, pretty much every recent Samsung tech toy garnered at least one vote, but again by totting up all the suggestions and variations on a theme, the Rusty Dodo Award 2012 goes to: