Google Fiber coming to your city, with its promise of gigabit Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than what most of us currently put up with, is about as awesome as winning the lottery often enough to buy Time Warner Cable yourself and using all of the company's resources to funnel a connection to your house and yours only. Thus far the service has only appeared in a few parts of the country, namely Kansas City, Austin, and Provo.
"Many people don't realize … the majority of the world is not connected to the internet. How do we get cost-effective, inexpensive, and reliable connectivity to the remaining 5 or 6 billion people who don't have it?"
Chief Technical Architect Rich DeVaul poses this question in introducing the technology behind Project Loon – the newly (officially) announced project from Google X that aims to bring internet connectivity to "rural, remote, and underserviced areas," as well as those affected by natural disasters.
Everyone's favorite mesh networking startup Open Garden today announced its 2.0 refresh at LAUNCH festival, having allegedly already served 2.1 million installs since version 1.
Readers would be forgiven for not remembering exactly what Open Garden is, or why it's interesting – we last covered the app in its beta stage.
Basically, the idea behind Open Garden is to create ubiquitous internet access by linking various smart devices together and sharing a common internet connection in a mesh network.
Much like keyboards (which we covered last week), browsers are a dime a dozen. Google ships one browser with Android (in more recent versions, that's been Chrome), which most manufacturers then replace with their own proprietary version. And then there are the dozens (if not hundreds) of third-party browsers available on the Play Store.
A couple of days ago, we ran a story about a circulating rumor that Google had expressed strong concerns with the launch of an Acer phone powered by Chinese Internet firm Alibaba's Aliyun OS. As the post explained, Alibaba claimed that Google had warned Acer that releasing the CloudMobile A800 could result in the search giant "terminating its Android-related cooperation and other technology licensing with [Acer]." These rather strong words led to speculation over just what the issue could be with Aliyun, and whether Google had issued the warning at all.
We've known about Google's plan to roll out its very first fiber optical Internet and cable service in the twin Midwestern cities for months, but today the full scope of Google's plans has been revealed on the fiber.google.com page. The options are staggering, the technology is drool-inducing, and the extras are enough to make even Google I/O attendees jealous.
Surfing the web while on the move has become a reality thanks to mobile internet over 3G or LTE. However despite yearly advancements in its technology, the reliability of mobile networks remains lackluster.
A solution to ubiquitous connectivity has come in the form of blanketing various cities with wireless hotspots. For example, in Singapore the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) have initiated the Wireless@SG program which aims to provide wireless hotspots all across the island.
Skype, a hugely practical video (and internet) calling solution, got an update today, bringing the app to version 126.96.36.1997 and bringing a few key improvements to the table. The most noticeable improvement in this release is an updated (and enhanced) call interface, adding functionality and panache to the screen every user sees when placing or receiving a call.
Besides an updated call screen, the latest release also adds much-needed video call compatibility with Samsung's Epic 4G Touch (Sprint's version of the Galaxy SII), as well as enhanced call quality.
To shopaholics' delight, Internet superstore Buy.com quietly graced us with its official Android app this evening. After playing with it for a few minutes, I found it to be quite similar to Amazon's shopping app, including a prominent search box, product listings, Buy buttons, account management, barcode scanning, and voice searching.
All in all, not bad for the initial release, but considering the account management is just a wrapper over their mobile site, it's nothing to write home about either.