Google partners with automobile suppliers to prepare for self-driving cars

Google self driving carGoogle has reportedly been in talks with several major automobile manufacturers in an effort to get their self-driving cars ready for sale by 2020. Some of these manufacturers and suppliers include major players in the space such as Ford, Toyota, and General Motors.

Chris Urmson, director of the self-driving project, cleverly noted that Google likely wouldn’t be able to manufacturer a vehicle better than automobile makers can, so it makes more sense to work with, rather than against, established companies. GM has gone on record saying they would be open to the idea of working with Google, too. Despite getting these partnerships ready, Google still may decide to just create the automated systems instead of manufacturing the entire vehicle.
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Update to Google Maps Android app allows you to share directions [APK Download]

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Google Maps was updated today to version 9.3. You won’t find too many new things, but one notable is the ability to share your directions with others. Just search for a place or address, then select the type of navigation, followed by your route selection. Then hit the three dot menu at the top right, and you will see the Share Directions option.

Tapping on Share Directions will open the normal Android Share Menu, allowing you to share the complete text and Google Maps link to apps such as Gmail, Hangouts, Facebook, or whatever shows up in your Share Menu.

The update won’t hit all devices for several days so we have the APK download link, as well as the Google Play link after the break.


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Project Ara team shares more details about Spiral 2 modular smartphone

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During the second developer conference for Project Ara that is underway, we already learned that the team has dubbed the second iteration of the modular smartphone as “Spiral 2″ and plans to use Puerto Rico as a test market later this year. We now know a little bit more about what has changed in the Spiral 2 compared to previous versions of the device.
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Google’s Play Store eclipses Apple’s App Store in number of apps and developers for first time

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Given the differing business models being employed by Google and Apple in getting their mobile operating systems into the hands of consumers, it should be no surprise that despite a jump start by Apple, Google is ahead in many measures. Even in areas where Apple has a lead, Google is steadily marching toward dominance. An example of this occurred in 2014 according to app metrics tracking firm AppFigures whose latest numbers show Google’s Play Store has surpassed Apple’s store in terms of both number of apps and developers.
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Google Classroom gets its own mobile app filled with tools

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Google Classroom was launched just six months ago and, since then, more than thirty million assignments have been submitted. The platform took over classrooms around the country, eliminating stacks of paper that are no so kind on the environment. Today, Google released an app for Classroom available on both Android and iOS. The app teachers and students to connect in many ways. From the assignment page, a student can take a photo of their work and submit it. Also, the app allows sharing from outside apps to attach images and other items. There is a chance that a student can still view up-to-date information thanks to offline caching. Information is cached whenever the app is opened and an internet connection is present.

Hit the break for videos, screenshots, and download links.


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The Project Ara Developer Conference Keynote starts at 11:00am ET today and you can watch it right here

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The 2nd Project Ara Developer Conference is taking place this week, and you don’t want to miss the keynote which starts at 11:00am ET. With the release of the Ara Modular Developers Kit (MDK), we are that much closer to seeing a consumer product. The keynote could bring us the news as to when, plus a whole lot of other useful information. We have the live stream for you right after the break.


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Google Translate gets instant translation and Word Lens [Updated with APK download]

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As previously reported, Google has made Google Translate more powerful with instant translation and Word Lens, solidifying it as the go-to app for all your translations.

Word Lens will translate street signs or any text instantly. Previously you needed to capture an image to translate. Now with Word Lens, all you need to do is hold your phone’s camera over the text and the translation appears instantly. Even better, you don’t need an internet connection. For starters, this feature will translate English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


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Google partners with its home city, brings electric-powered shuttles to residents

Motiv Power Systems Shuttle Buses

The City of Mountain View, the location of Google’s Googleplex headquarters, just took a large leap forward in public transportation by announcing the commission of four shuttles powered exclusively by electricity. The shuttles were made possible by a two-year fund set up by Google and utilize a power-train designed by Motiv Power Systems.

Motiv’s electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) was created specifically for trucks and buses, making it one of the firsts of its kind to apply electric drive systems to such a category of transportation. Motiv is no stranger to its technology being applied to buses. In 2014, Motiv was the first to design an all-electric school bus and the first in North America to create an all-electric garbage truck.
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