Google buckles under pressure from Russia, will open Android to other search engines

Google buckles under pressure from Russia, will open Android to other search engines

Android, often seen as the much more open and flexible mobile operating system alternative to Apple’s notoriously strict iOS, is now being forced to open up even more, at least in Russia. A lengthy battle between Google and Russian anti-competition watchdog group FAS began two years ago has finally culminated in Google relenting. The company will loosen restrictions on Android’s built-in search engines to allow for Russian competitors a share of the pie.

Android’s heavy reliance on Google services is to be expected, but in 2015 the Russian antitrust group — officially the Federal Antimonopoly Service — ruled that Google was breaking the law by forcing users to lean on Google for search. The ruling was the result of a complaint filed by Yandex, a Russian competitor to Google that runs the largest search engine in the country as well as web mail, news, maps, and other services.
Google’s settlement of the issue comes with the condition that Android will no longer lock down the search engine to Google, and must allow users the ability to change it if they want from within the Chrome web browser. Google will also loosen its exclusivity of the default apps on Android devices sold in Russia, potentially allowing for Yandex and other regional competitors to muscle in and replace the built-in apps with their own versions, depending on user preference. Reuters reports that the agreement will remain valid for at least six year and nine months, and the settlement will still cost Google a whopping $7.85 million in various fines.

Google is testing Google Hire, a tool for managing the job application process, with outside companies

Google is testing Google Hire, a tool for managing the job application process, with outside companies


Jordan Novet / VentureBeat:

Google is testing Google Hire, a tool for managing the job application process, with outside companies  —  Google has finally begun to provide hints about the app that’s been under development by Bebop, the startup created by VMware cofounder Diane Greene that Google acquired in 2015.

Apple and Google alums have unleashed self-driving food delivery robots in San Francisco

Apple and Google alums have unleashed self-driving food delivery robots in San Francisco

Tthe next time you place an order on Yelp’s Eat24 food delivery app in San Francisco, you might just get a text that reads: “Are you okay with having a robot delivering your order?”

On April 12, robotics startup Marble will unleash its fleet of shopping-cart-sized, self-driving robots to take over some of the work done by human couriers at Yelp Eat24, the food-delivery service bought by Yelp for $134 million in 2015. The bots ferry food from restaurants in the Mission and Potrero Hill neighborhoods to customers nearby.

Marble, which has a team that includes former employees of Apple and Google, is the first company to bring on-demand delivery robots to the streets of San Francisco. The startup faces competition from Starship Technologies, which has smaller robots that began making food deliveries in Silicon Valley in March, as well as Dispatch, whose delivery robots were spotted learning the streets of San Francisco in February.

Business Insider visited Marble’s headquarters to see how the bot works. 

Before they tackled the challenge of getting people’s ramen noodles delivered faster, the cofounders of Marble robotics startup set their sights a little higher — in space.

Matt Delaney, Jason Calaiaro, and Kevin Peterson met at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, where they worked on self-driving space robots for the DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition that’s credited with launching the original autonomous vehicles.

Source: Business Insider

They pursued their separate interests over the years. Calaiaro and Peterson won contracts with NASA to design and build spacecraft for exploring the Moon, while Delaney went on to work as an engineer at Apple. They reunited in 2015 to develop a delivery bot.

The trio joined forces with Harrison Shih, a Google alum who helped launch and manage Google+ among other products, and who is now head of product and operations at Marble.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Google’s web-based AutoDraw uses machine learning to replace scribbles w/ stock images

Google’s web-based AutoDraw uses machine learning to replace scribbles w/ stock images

Google’s latest A.I. Experiment is not only a fun and clever tech demo, but it also makes for a useful drawing tool. AutoDraw leverages machine learning to replace your scribbles with illustrations from talented artists in order to quickly draw something.

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Filed under: Google