Google Gave $100,000 to Help the Homeless Shower on a Bus



Here’s a whole different kind of Google bus — one that could help change the lives of San Francisco’s most needy.

San Francisco nonprofit Lava Mae just unveiled a trial version of a bus that provides showers for the 6,400 homeless people who live in the city by the Bay. It was funded in large part by a grant from Google, which gave the project $100,000 as part of its Google Impact Challenge.

Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval, a marketing veteran and recent transplant to San Francisco, said such a mobile sanitary station was essential for the “human rights” of the city’s homeless population, and would help lift them up out of what often seems like a hopeless situation Read more…

More about Google, San Francisco San Jose, Us World, and Us

The "Rickmote Controller" Can Hijack Any Google Chromecast

redletterdave writes Dan Petro, a security analyst for the Bishop Fox IT consulting firm, built a proof of concept device that’s able to hack into any Google Chromecasts nearby to project Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” or any other video a prankster might choose. The “Rickmote,” which is built on top of the $35 Raspberry Pi single board computer, finds a local Chromecast device, boots it off the network, and then takes over the screen with multimedia of one’s choosing. But it gets worse for the victims: If the hacker leaves the range of the device, there’s no way to regain control of the Chromecast. Unfortunately for Google, this is a rather serious issue with the Chromecast device that’s not too easy to fix, as the configuration process is an essential part of the Chromecast experience.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google In The Running To Turn NYC Pay Phones Into Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

8140128977_66ba057c82_z A New York meeting providing information to companies interested in offering free Wi-Fi access counted Google among its attendees, according to a new Bloomberg report. Others at the event included IBM, Samsung and Cisco, but Google’s ambitions regarding blanketing the U.S. with free or affordable Internet connectivity could be a good reason so suspect it’ll submit a compelling… Read More

Everybody’s Racing for Connected Cars



Apple’s got CarPlay, Google has Android Auto and Microsoft has Windows in the Car — but which connected vehicle is closest to the assembly line?

In our latest Mobile Minute video, we take a look at the tech players contending for our dashboards.

Apple‘s CarPlay gives iPhone-owning drivers music, directions and text messages, but its strict approval process means that apps must first meet CarPlay and App Store requirements.

Google‘s Android Auto stays true to its sleek new material design interface, though it’s leaning on leaders of its Open Automotive Alliance to get it out of the gate. Read more…

More about Google, Iphone, Videos, Android, and Apple

Schools Are Gobbling Up Chromebooks: 1 Million Sold in 3 Months



iPads are still the apple of educators’ eyes, but Google Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular in the classroom.

Schools purchased more than 1 million Chromebooks — budget laptops that run Chrome OS — in the second quarter of 2014, Google announced on Monday.

The announcement reflects a larger trend among educators looking to bring low-cost laptops into schools to help facilitate learning. HP also recently announced it would bring to market a budget Windows laptop for $199, and $249 laptops from Acer and Toshiba were announced, giving Microsoft Windows machines direct competitors to Chromebooks. Read more…

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New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

jfruh writes While several U.S. judges have refused overly broad warrants that sought to grant police access to a suspect’s complete Gmail account, a federal judge in New York State OK’d such an order this week. Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein argued that a search of this type was no more invasive than the long-established practice of granting a warrant to copy and search the entire contents of a hard drive, and that alternatives, like asking Google employees to locate messages based on narrowly tailored criteria, risked excluding information that trained investigators could locate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Determining Ad ROI, Attribution Is Nearly Impossible



Yes, you always knew it and now there’s proof – from Google and Microsoft no less.

The paper is called “On the Near Impossibility of Measuring the Returns to Advertising” and is about a year and a half old.

For those of you who do not have the time (I’m looking at you — all of you!) here’s the TL;DR version:

Using 25 online field experiments, representing $2.8 million in ad spend, Randall A. Lewis (economic research scientist, Google) and Justin M. Rao (economic researcher, Microsoft) showed that you cannot measure the causal impact of choice variables on profit even given access to reliable signals. Read more…

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With 1M Sold In The Last Quarter, Google’s Chromebooks Are A Hit With Schools

black-white-chromebook During its earnings call this week, Google announced that it — and its partners — sold a million Chromebooks to schools in the last quarter. Overall PC sales worldwide were about 76 million in the last quarter, according to Gartner’s latest numbers, so a million Chromebook sales just to the education market is a pretty good number. Read More

Google Maps App Will Show Cyclists the Flattest Route



It’s about to get easier for cyclists to use the Google Maps app to plan the best route.

Google is rolling out an update to the Android version of Google Maps that will incorporate elevation information into cycling directions and improve voice commands during navigation.

The new feature will enable cyclists to see a quick overview of the elevation changes for suggested routes and allow users to compare the elevations between multiple routes. That means cyclists will be able to choose the flattest (or, if they prefer, steepest) route

The latest version of the app will also improve the app’s navigation features with the addition of voice commands. Users will be able to speak commands and ask questions — such as “What time will I get there?” or “What’s my next turn?” — while in navigation mode. Read more…

More about Google, Google Maps, Android, Tech, and Cycling

Google To Stop Describing Games With In-App Purchases As ‘Free’

An anonymous reader writes After a series of investigations, lawsuits, and fines over how in-app purchases are advertised and communicated to users, Google has agreed to stop labeling games that use in-app purchases as “Free.” This change is the result of a request by the European Commission to stop misleading customers about the costs involved with using certain apps. “Games should not contain direct exhortation to children to buy items in a game or to persuade an adult to buy items for them; Consumers should be adequately informed about the payment arrangements for purchases and should not be debited through default settings without consumers’ explicit consent.” The EC notes that Apple has not yet done anything to address these concerns.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.