Last week there was a bit of hubbub among the still-tiny population of Google Glass users, after Google sent out packages to the Explorer program. A few of them spotted UPS packages coming in through the My UPS service, and speculation ran wild. What could this 1-pound package be? A free Nexus 4? Keys to one of Google's self-driving cars? A golden ticket for admittance to the Google X Dream Factory?
"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.
Here's a nice nugget of new for Google TV fans - we know you're out there. There have been rumors of an update to Sony's stylish NSZ-GS7 model (more colloquially known as the "Internet Player") for some time, and now they've made it official via the company blog. The NSZ-GS8 will be available for $199 starting in July, the online Sony store and the usual retail suspects. For the moment, Sony is selling the older model with a $30 discount, bringing it down to $169.99.
After two years on the market, Google Wallet has failed to gain any kind of meaningful foothold in the mobile payment world. That's the gist of a new report from Bloomberg Businessweek, slamming Google's mobile and NFC payment service as a "money pit" and unlikely to succeed against existing and upcoming competitors. Among the publication's chief complaints are $300 million in investments and acquisitions, and hundreds of developers on staff, all for less than 10 million downloads in the Google Play Store.
Google's Wallet-powered peer-to-peer payment service launched to rival Paypal was announced on May 15th and came with an interesting promotion: waived fees for transfers funded by credit cards. This promotion was recently (possibly today) adjusted quite drastically, and now only payments less than $250 aren't charged fees. Additionally, we now know that the promotional period ends on June 29th.
Left: terms before; Right: current terms
Typically, credit card-funded transfers are charged a fee of 2.9% with a minimum of $0.30, but for a previously undefined "limited time," Google decided to foot the bill in hopes of attracting initial users.
The Google Glass Explorer program is all about experimentation, hacking, and learning. With that in mind, Google has already posted the factory image for the XE6 update from earlier today. Hooray for openness! You know... if you're lucky enough to be in the super-exclusive Explorer program.
Google is pushing a new monthly update to Glass owners with some pretty incredible improvements to photo captures along with a few other not as exciting things. The update follows version XE5 from May 8th and, as you might have guessed, is numbered XE6.
Here is the full changelog provided to us by the Glass team:
Google Glass update version XE6:
- Better photos through Glass
- Voice annotate your photos and videos when sharing
- Improvements to On-Head Detection.
Who's excited for Redbox Instant Streaming? ...Anyone? Though the digital streaming arm of the popular DVD rental service is noticeably behind, well, everyone, customers who've paid their money can now stream movies directly to their Google TV units, thanks to the new app. Redbox Instant is available for download now. By the way, don't be misled by that "by Verizon" tag on the app title - you don't need to be a Verizon Wireless or Verizon FiOS subscriber to use the app.