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Planet Google

Planet Google

Google Gives Up On Forcing You to Sign Up for Google +

Google's own Google Plus page. (Google Plus)

Poor Google+. Designed to rival social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, it’s been trying to get us to like it for ages — to somehow care about dividing our friends into “circles,” or whatever. But now it might be starting to give up the fight.

Google has recently stopped requiring new Gmail users to sign up for Google+, the Telegraph reports, apparently because they realized that people find it intrusive. Read More

Planet Google

We’ll All Have Self-Driving Cars Long Before We Can Actually Use Them

Doesn't matter if the tech is ready, you still need to map every road before the cars are worth anything. (Photo by Jakob Montrasio)

Every other week, some automotive CEO or founder you’ve never heard of will make news and keep their stock prices stable by guessing at the future of self-driving cars. Late Wednesday night, the robot-fearing space explorer and transportation tycoon Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX took his turn when he told the Wall Street Journal that Tesla would have self-driving cars ready in six years.

“The big car companies have been a lot slower than I thought,” he said.

Mr. Musk is fond of making fanciful predictions and projections about the future of transportation, but saying that he’ll have a self-driving car in six years isn’t as far fetched as, say, a bullet-speed interstate monorail in the sky. After all, Nissan says that they’ll have self-driving cars ready by then, too. Read More

Planet Google

Ingress Now Available on iPhone, Turns NYC Into a Sweaty Sci-Fi Battlefield

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.04.07 PM

iPhone-equipped New Yorkers now have something to do outside this summer besides defend their devices from thieves and sweat to death in this heat. Ingress, an augmented reality game popular in urban areas and previously available only on Android, is now officially available on iOS devices.

Ingress uses geomapping to transform real urban landscapes into a playing field that gets players moving around their city, fighting over portals and collecting resources — a smartphone game that’s played entirely IRL. The game’s sci-fi backstory, which involves an invading alien force that opposing teams of players either welcome or resist, evolves and grows constantly depending how well the real-life teams are doing. Read More

Planet Google

Google Puts Ancient Social Network Orkut Out Of Its Misery

lol bye (Screengrab: YouTube)

Start saying your farewells to Orkut — if you’ve ever even heard of it, that is.

Google is shutting down Orkut, the outdated social network the company launched 10 years ago. Starting today, the site will no longer accept new accounts. Current Orkut users (we hear they’re out there somewhere) will have until Sept. 30 — the site’s official closing date — to export all their precious photos and posts. Read More

Planet Google

Today’s Google Doodle Designed by 11-Year-Old New Yorker

Ms. Zhang, after learning she'd won. (Screengrab: YouTube)

When we opened Google’s homepage this morning, we noticed today’s Doodle was one of the most colorful and intricate we’d ever seen. Then we learned it was designed by an 11-year-old.

For the past seven years, Google has hosted an annual Doodle 4 Google competition, which asks kids from kindergarden to 12th grade to design an invention that would make the world a better place. This year’s winner — chosen from more than 100,000 submissions — was 11-year-old Audrey Zhang from New York. Read More

Planet Google

Google Glass Eye Doctor Backtracks After Speaking Out About Eye Pain

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.45.45 AM

Since we reported statements from Google’s consulting optometrist about the eye pains associated with using Google Glass, things have been, well, rocky. Over the past week, we’ve had a series of contentious discussions with Google — it’s almost started to feel like a bad breakup.

As soon as our story went up, Google called us with their complaints — problems with tenor, tone and attitude. They’ve also offhandedly claimed that we took the doctor’s quotes “out of context,” but when we’ve asked for exact examples of what they meant, we heard nothing back. While we understand their feelings from a PR perspective, Google hasn’t been able to contest a single fact reported in our story. Read More