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Planet Google

Planet Google

Sunbathers and Day Drinkers, Beware: Google Snapping Street View Pics in Central Park This Week

(Photo: 1x57.com)

Planning to sunbathe topless in Central Park this week? You might want to make sure you’re okay with having your voyeur-friendly moments played out across the Internet. Turns out Google has mounted some cameras on a dorky-looking bike and is inspecting “every nook and cranny of the 843-acre park” this week. Quick, hide that open canister!

Of course, Google insists that they will blur out faces and other identifying details as they do for all street view photos, so teenage couples that treat the park like the urban equivalent of the backseat of their parents car are safe from prying eyes.

Your move, Chuck Schumer.

Planet Google

Googles Goes On the Offensive In Washington: $5 M. in Lobbying and a Republican Lead

Ms. Molinari (www.harrywalker.com)

Adopting the mantra “don’t be evil” has a way of inviting extra scrutiny, and and in recent months Google has faced questions about its Street View practices, privacy policy revamp, and even its CAPTCHAs. But the New York Times reports that rather than sit quietly, the company has launched a lobbying offensive, shelling out $5.03 million in the last three months alone. Then there’s the fact Google has a former GOP Congresswoman Susan Molinari commanding its troops in D.C.

If that seems like quite a lot of money, that’s because it is. It’s 240 percent more than the company spent over the same period last year. The number looks even bigger when you line it up next to what other tech companies spent: It’s more than Apple ($500,000) or Microsoft ($1.79 million) or even Verizon Wireless ($4.51 million). Read More

Planet Google

World So Beholden to Google That Old Things are New Again

google_domination_1

In college, this reporter once took a “new media” class where the professor let loose a terrifying edict: As homework, we would not be allowed to use any Google products for the entire week. That meant no Google search, no Gmail, no Gcal… nothing.

The experiment was supposed to teach us just how reliant we were upon one company for many of a college student’s basic needs, like learning, communicating and organizing.

It was not the darkest hour of this reporter’s life, but it was a very, very dark one. Read More

Planet Google

Google’s New York City Office Went on a Hiring Binge and Added 750 People in 2011

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The Wall Street Journal devotes considerable inches today to covering Google’s expansion in New York City. In 2011, the tech giant added about 750 employees to its Chelsea outpost, bringing the total number of employees here up to 2,750.

About half of those new staffers are from acquisitions. Google acquired four companies, also in New York City, last year.

While the company overall grew 33 percent from 2010 to 2011, Googleplex East expanded by 38 percent. The Journal called it, “the most prominent example of a technology company shifting its focus toward New York. “

It reminds us of what one former city official said after Facebook’s big presser about vague plans to start an engineering hub in New York. “Thank you? I guess,” said the source, contrasting it with Google who just “all of a sudden had 1,400 engineers.” Read More

Planet Google

Betaworks CEO John Borthwick: ‘Google Has Taken the Blue Pill’

Hello, Neo. Do you know who this is?

Some of the top minds in the startup world have been sharing deep thoughts in plain sight on the Internet for anyone to see. Your host for this chance to peer across the dinner table of the tech elite? The conversation platform Branch. (For when 140 characters and an @ is not enough . . . is an imaginary tagline we’re toying with.)

The startup, originally launched as the group blogging service Roundtable in New York City picked up early traction from industry insiders and recently reemerged with a shiny new interface.

Conversations stem from a particular question, like this one from Twitter/Obvious Corp’s Evan Williams wondering about the downside of parallel entrepreneurship. That line of questioning yielded a particularly compelling series of responses from Betaworks CEO John Borthwick, PayPal CTO Max Levchin, MySpace CEO Mike Jones, and former Mozilla CEO John Lilly, with an invitation for Fred Wilson to join. Read More

Planet Google

Google’s New Terminator Glasses Bring the Future to Your Goddam Face

minority-report

You know when people say ” . . . not until they figure out how to put computer chips in our brains”? Well this is one step closer. We would smash our iPad 2 on the floor right now if we could get our money back and spend it on this instead.

Yesterday evening, the New York Times‘ Nick Bilton reported that Google is planning to put its heads-up display [HUD] glasses, which “stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time,” to the public by the end of the year at somewhere between $250 and $600. Read More