Google's own 'Android VR' headset will rumble with Samsung's Gear VR



Google will reportedly unveil its much-rumored virtual reality headset at its I/O developer conference next week.

The headset, dubbed “Android VR” will supposedly be a self-contained device, according to Peter Rojas, founder of Gizmodo and Engadget, and now entrepreneur-in-residence at Betaworks.

As a self-contained VR headset, Android VR won’t need a smartphone to power it (like headsets like the Samsung Gear VR) or a powerful PC (Oculus Rift and HTC Vive).

According to Rojas, Android VR will supposedly offer a better VR experience than the Gear VR, but not quite as advanced as the Oculus Rift or Vive. Read more…

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Google to pay Arizona folks $20 an hour to 'drive' its self-driving cars



From the “best job ever” department: Google is paying Arizona drivers 20 bucks an hour to test a self-driving car. 

According to the job listing, the drivers (or self-driving vehicle operators, as Google calls it) need to have a clean driving record, no criminal history, a BS or a BA degree and the ability to type at least 40 words per minute. 

The job involves driving 6-8 hours a day in a two person team, five days a week while monitoring the car’s systems with “constant focus” and filling up daily reports. 

“(Test drivers) give our engineers feedback about how our cars are driving and interacting with others on the road, and can take control of the vehicle if needed,” Brian Torcellini, head of operations for Google’s Self-Driving Car testing program, told The Arizona Republic. Read more…

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Google creates 13 emoji to represent working women



Spend any time tapping out emoji and you’ve probably noticed that women are confined to three principal roles: bride, princess and dancer. 

While these are lovely things to be, the limited selection grows tiresome quickly, especially in contrast to emojis that show men as a police officer, cyclist and weight lifter. 

The disparity was recently the subject of a new Always advertising campaign and a New York Times op-ed. Inspired by the controversy, four Google employees have suggested a plan to rectify the imbalance. A proposal released by the company this week suggests adding 13 new female emoji to “better reflect the pivotal roles women play in the world.”  Read more…

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Apple won't end music downloads in 2 years, but it will someday



Apple, which recently launched a music streaming service, will continue to offer music downloads — an industry it helped legitimize — for a long time. The question now is how long is long?

A report surfaced on Wednesday saying plans to terminate iTunes music downloads in two years is “actively being considered and gaining favor” within the company. However, Apple representative Tom Neumayr denied the report to Mashable and other publications.

While the two-year timeline is very unlikely, music industry analyst Mark Mulligan predicts it will happen.  Read more…

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Nissan buys controlling share in Mitsubishi for $2.1 billion



Mitsubishi, days after admitting it had falsified fuel-efficiency ratings, just got snapped up by Nissan.

Nissan Motors announced Thursday that it will be purchasing a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors for $2.1 billion. The buying up of Mitsubishi shares will give Nissan a controlling stake in the carmaker.

The move comes just days after Mitsubishi admitted it had knowingly manipulated fuel economy tests on some of its global subcompact models. Intriguingly, the fraudulent efficiency figures affect Nissan, too, as the two had a technical partnership for several years. This meant Nissan sold rebadged Mitsubishi models as its own. Read more…

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Google has big plans for Project Tango this year, report says



The company is ramping up Project Tango, its technology for 3D-sensing smartphones and tablets, and hopes to eventually make the technology “ubiquitous,” according to a new report in Bloomberg.

That plan is primarily centered around indoor mapping and virtual reality, according to the report, which is on line with what we’ve previously heard about Tango. Project Tango, if you remember, uses a combination of computer vision and motion sensors to create 3D experiences on smartphones and tablets. In addition to the accelerometer, gyroscope and camera that most smartphones are equipped with, Project Tango devices come with additional sensors that enable them to better track depth and motion. Read more…

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