This Week in Google 287 (Transcript)
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Leo: This is TWiG, This Week in Google, episode 287 recorded Wednesday, February 11, 2015.
I Hate Them Green Bubbles
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It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google, the show where we talk about Google, the Cloud, Facebook and Twitter. Jeff Jarvis is here, professor of journalism at the City University of New York, CUNY. Plus, Jeff Jarvis on the +, buzzmachine.com on the blog.
Jeff: The good news, the really good news is coming up.
Leo: It's kind of a good news, bad news day. Daily Show, we're losing what's his name, John?
Jason: Oh, that guy.
Leo: I've forgotten his name already. Do you remember the name of the guy who preceded him on the Daily Show?
Leo: Greg Kilbourne, right. But what we lost on the Daily Show we gain for one brief, shining moment. Gina Trapani is here! Yay!
Leo: How are things going?
Gina: Things are good, things are good. I miss you guys.
Jeff: We miss you.
Leo: Miss you terribly.
Gina: Really happy to be here today.
Leo: How are things at ThinkUp?
Gina: Good, things are good. We got some press this week. Fast Company included us in their top ten most innovative companies in social media, so that was nice. We've just been hacking through the night, snipping a lot of code. Things are going well but I do miss you guys a lot. In fact, I've been far away from Google news. A lot in the run down, been a lot going on it seems like.
Leo: Yes, there always is. Why do you still have to write code? Isn't ThinkUp done?
Gina: You know, our current issue is that Amazon payments decided to sunset the payments product that we used and that Kickstarter used. So at some point, I think it's June 1, we stop being able to collect payments from our subscribers, which effects our business slightly. You know, Kickstarted moved over to Stripe and we've been evaluating different options. We're actually moving to Amazon's new product which they pitched us on. So I've been sort of deep in the thick of writing billing code, which is the worst kind of code to write. I so much more enjoy product development.
Leo: Thanks, Amazon.
Gina: Yes, thanks, Amazon. You know, it's one of those risks. We've talked about this on the show before about kind of depending on a particular API or particular product that's not your own, right? But it was interesting to me to that Kickstarter moved over to Stripe because even Kickstarted doesn't want a store credit card. Even a company as big as Kickstarter, they've been hacked in the past and they do not want to be responsible for storing credit cards. So that's kind of interesting.
Leo: Some good insights, look at this one. Eight days without a picture, I haven't posted a photo on my Twitter – actually, this is Facebook, in my Facebook stream in eight days. So it would be a good idea to find something to share. I had one more tweet this week than last week, 13 tweets. I'm pretty consistent anyway. You can see what your most popular tweet was. You know what's really fun? Going back four years, my most popular tweet was when I was in Argentina, about to go to Antarctica. You know what's really sad is I unfortunately post some of my images on PicPlease, which has since gone out of business.
Gina: Yes, that's a product going away.
Leo: So this is a picture of us – of Wozniak and others finding out we don't get to go to Antarctica. It was a great picture, gone forever.
Gina: That's a bummer.
Leo: So that's really frustrating when stuff – but I guess it's the way of the web. We just kind of assume that everywhere that we're storing pictures is going to go on forever. Fortunately now, I store all my images on Google+. I figure Google will be around but also, on Microsoft's OneDrive and Dropbox. I figure, of the three, somebody's going to stick.
Gina: It's going to stick around, going to stick somewhere.
Leo: One of them. 33% of my tweets had “I, me, mine.” That's good, it's an improvement. It's only a third.
Jason: I came in somewhere close to 70% this last time. I was like, “Oh, that's harsh.” I need to back away from myself.
Leo: Biggest time for tweeting, biggest response, 3 and 4 p.m. That makes sense. That's good. So late afternoon tweets are good for me. Oh, crap.
Jeff: I like the – oh, what's the matter?
Leo: I said the word “great” more than any other word on Twitter this week. Last week, “help.” Help!
Gina: Help! You're very positive, I like that, Leo.
Leo: Somebody once told me, I think it was a 12-step program, that there are only two prayers. “Help me, help me, help me,” and, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” “Great” is close. Well, thank you everybody for coming back and doing it. Guess what? This is the tenth anniversary of Google Maps – February 8, 2004 was the launch of Google Maps and it's fun to look. But this is what it looked like when it launched in the original early days of – the web looked so crappy those days. But we didn't know, did we?
Gina: So crazy. That doesn't feel like that was that long ago.
Leo: Look at the underlined links.
Gina: Look at those blue links. Just look at those blue links.
Leo: And they turn to purple when you click on them, right?
Gina: Yes. That's like browser default now. That's like zero CSS, zero styling.
Leo: This is what it would look like if they had no styling. Wow.
Gina: You know, Google Maps, it's so funny. At the time, when they launched it, it was very much like Google Search where I was just like, “Mapquest works. What do we need another mapping tool for? What do we need another search tool for? What do we need another web-based email product for?” Right? But it was one of those things that Google just knocked out of the park. Fun fact, Google Maps was started by the brother team Lars -
Leo: The Rasmussens.
Gina: Right, who went on to do Wave.
Leo: And then went on to Facebook, right?
Gina: Yes, and then went to Facebook.
Leo: Isn't Lars CTO or something?
Leo: There he is, Lars Rasmussen. He's at Facebook now. I don't know what his title is. Ten years ago, boy, that's a fast ten years. By the way, interestingly enough, our anniversary for This Week in Tech is in April.
Leo: I want to get – anybody, if you're a designer and you watch the shows and you'd like to help us out, go to our website TwiT.tv, look at the logo. I'd love to modify that in some way so that it says “ten years” or something. Yes, like that. In fact, if you want to just email and I'll send you the Adobe Illustrator versions of that and you can play with it. I'd love to round the site. I was thinking one of those curly banners with little birds carrying it.
Jason: Or maybe just a party hat on top.
Leo: A party hat! Ten years of TWiT – [crosstalk]
Jason: No, don't do that. Don't do that.
Leo: - playing our tenth anniversary TWiT, which will be in April this year.
Gina: That's incredible, Leo. That's incredible longevity.
Leo: For a podcast network, yes.
Gina: Well, I think for any kind of web-based company. But for any kind of startup, web-based company, I think it's huge. I remember when Gawker turned ten, I was talking to Nick about it and he was like, “God, I feel old. You know, you see these little companies getting snapped up within a year and I feel like we're just this old company plodding along.” Even though Gawker is not that at all. I actually really respect and aspire to be one of the companies that sticks around for ten years. Gosh, I hope ThinkUp makes it to ten years, that would be amazing.
Leo: How old is ThinkUp now?
Gina: Well, we've had a couple of different forms. If you go from the day we established the LLC, that was July of 2013, I want to say. So it'll be two years in July.
Leo: Did you write ThinkUp yourself first, right?
Gina: Yes. It was called Twit-alytic. It was a weekend project. I bought the O'Reilly, hacking the Twitter API book and spent like a weekend. Literally, it still had bits of sample code from that book for years in it. You know, it underwent a few different forms. It was named a couple different things. It was called Think Tank at one point that was a nonprofit funded by – we had a MacArthur grant. But we funded the LLC in July of 2013. So I've got another eight years to go before I reach your milestone, Leo. That's a lot to be proud of.
Leo: I'm very proud of it and the team we have. I'm trying to think if anybody's been with me – well, Frederick has since almost the beginning, and Tony Wang has since almost the beginning. So there are a few people who are still here. It's fun to look at the Christmas card and watch it grow.
Gina: Oh, I love the Christmas card. Yes.
Leo: So what do you think, Gina? Actually, this is timely. The announcement that Google is going to start, once again, re-indexing tweets. They got the fire hose.
Gina: They got the fire hose. I actually hadn't heard that. Man, I need to come back on the show.
Leo: You're missing all the big stories. So I'm actually of mixed opinion. I'm sure Jeff is as well because we both would like some of the tweets about us to be buried forever.
Leo: I don't know what the deal was. I don't think we still know what the deal was between Twitter and Google. They used to have the fire hose, remember? They used to search tweets then all of a sudden, they stopped.
Jeff: Google+ started around then.
Leo: But now, apparently, there's been a deal sometime in the first half of the year, after more than two years of not doing this, Google is going to start once again putting tweets into search results. Bloomberg reports that Twitter gave them access to the fire hose. We don't know what the deal was.
Jeff: The presumption is that Google paid for the fire hose, that Twitter generally – I know, don't you hate that? Twitter got more -
Leo: I've got a mayonnaise commercial because the stupid webpage I was looking at auto-runs a mayonnaise commercial. Stop it. It's killing the page, too. All right.
Gina: So what's your objection? You feel like you want tweets to go away? I mean, the library of Congress gets the Twitter archive. At some point, their -
Leo: That's fine. I don't care about that. Here's my objection.
Jeff: Nobody looks at that.
Leo: Here's my objection, that somebody will search my name and not only find all the good stuff that I do, my blog and stories about me in Wikipedia. They'll find tweets about me.
Gina: I hear you.
Leo: I don't want some of those to surface because I get a lot of nasty tweets.
Gina: I'm sure you do but you also have some nasty websites too, right?
Leo: Well, that's not a big deal because nobody links to those. Those don't show up in search. How is Google going to rank these tweets? Because it's not going to be using page rank.
Jeff: I think it's more of a – I saw some come in and it was a sample. It was a couple of tweets in a search result.
Leo: But how do they choose them?
Gina: It seems like they should rank them. If they have access to the fire hose and they're getting API results, number of retweets, number of favorites, number of followers by the author who posted them, whether or not the author is following the person. So presumably, Google is going to use those signals to rank those tweets. I mean, if a tweet gets a couple hundred favorites, I imagine that would rank higher.
Leo: That would be fine with me. I got no problem about that. But do we know? How do we know?
Gina: This isn't any different from Twitter's search itself, right? It just exposes it to a larger audience.
Leo: I don't care about that because I think if you're going to Twitter and searching for tweets about me, that's fine. But it's a little different if you go to Google and you search for my name. I feel like the stuff that's on Twitter is so ephemeral anyway, this is giving it more weight, perhaps, than it deserves.
Gina: Yes. It's sort of the eternal debate about whether or not to log IRC conversations, for example. People go into a chat room and I think a lot of people use Twitter like a chat. It's the idea that these are just ephemeral, short messages that you type off the cuff.
Leo: IRC content shouldn't be in search.
Gina: You know, it's funny. The ThinkUp community had this big debate, “Do we log IRC channel?” Some people didn't like the idea that it was logged. “Look, I'm just dropping in for some quick help, I don't want this to be on the web forever.” But others argued, “Hey, there might be conversations that happened here that might be helpful to someone else in the future.” It's all about – what we're talking about here is the expectations, right? You don't expect that tweets are going to show up on Google because they don't and they're so fast. They happen so quickly and they're more like chat, but that's changing now. As far as I'm concerned, if they're in the library of Congress, then tweets are tweets. They're out there and they're permanent whether or not we want them to be. So I kind of feel like it's good for Google.
Jeff: Here's my question, though. So the debate we have a lot of the time – I say that Google can't own content, can't pay for content. So if you're a German publisher, do you look at this deal and say, “You paid for tweets, why don't you pay for us?” Or is this different?
Leo: That's a good question.
Gina: That's a really good question.
Leo: Because it's definitely in Twitter's interest. Not only would the get the revenue but in a way, this – I mean, that's what this Bloomberg post says. It draws more people to Twitter, right, and helps grow Twitter?
Jeff: Right. So in a sense, it should be without revenue. But Twitter does charge for its fire hose. It allows Google to buy it but I just see some oil on that slope.
Leo: It's funny because Twitter's former chief operating officer, Ali Roghani, according to Bloomberg, was against renewing the Google agreement. He wanted to keep more control over Twitter's content. Anyway, this is an interesting story. By the way, notice the new Bloomberg business?
Jeff: It's nice.
Leo: Yes, look at this. As I scroll, look at the top. There's a little -
Jeff: You're almost done, almost done, keep going, Leo.
Leo: - line showing how far I am into the article. Is that weird?
Jeff: I like that.
Leo: I just noticed that. That is bizarre.
Gina: It's too similar to the progress bar of whether or not a page is loaded. So I was like, “Oh, is this page not loaded?”
Leo: I wouldn't do that. Besides, what is it saying? Is this information I want, how far down? I've got a scroll bar that tells me where I am on the page.
Gina: It seems like it's just a horizontal scroll bar.
Jeff: But the scroll bar might include comments and other stuff.
Leo: It does. Scroll bar includes ads and this does not. Well, maybe it does. I don't know.
Jeff: Maybe it does, actually.
Leo: It stops right here.
Jeff: You know what it's trying to do? It's the infinite page so it's trying to get you to go to the next page.
Leo: Oh, now it's reset. I'm in a new page.
Leo: Oh, that's even weirder. I don't know why we got into this – because my mind's on web redesigns because we're -
Jeff: Yes. Have you solved their problem, Leo?
Leo: Yes. We had a great meeting today, we've got it all figured out. I feel really good about it. We're working hard to make – I think it's going to be a beautiful new website. The challenge is, we're doing some stuff that people just haven't done much in the past, things like a public API for our content. That's a big, big chunk to chew off.
Gina: The old canary in the coal mine. It's brave. But it's good.
Leo: Oh, I feel good about this and I know some of our audience watching and listening right now, if we had a public API that you could say, “Give me all the shows that talked about Lollipop in the last five days,” and you could generate an RSS feed of your very own, maybe even give it to friends, that would be something that I think people are very interested in. That's the kind of thing we can do with the API.
Jeff: The Guardian has a public API of its content and it sets conditions for its use that are interesting.
Leo: We'll have rate limiting. You know, I'm learning so much about stuff. That's what's fun for me. But you go through an API provider that there's a document of the API. The API provider authenticates users of the API so you'd have to create a code and get an API key, as you've seen, whenever you -
Leo: Then there's some rate limiting and we can figure out how that works. We don't want somebody sucking all our bandwidth with their custom program. It's interesting, really cool. There's so much stuff. The web is moving so fast that it's hard to even imagine putting a place in the sand and saying, “We're going to do it.” Because the tide comes in and now you've got to get a new place. It's very interesting.
Gina: That's true and once you become an API provider, you start to realize why other API providers have limits in place.
Leo: We'll see. I may live to regret it but we'll see.
Jeff: I'm fascinated with the sites that have started without homepages and then now without sites, right? Vox and – wait, not Vox. Yes, Vox and Courts and Martial Projects started without homepages. Now you have Content.ly with no site, really. NowThis News has gotten rid of its site entirely, it just lives on the internet wherever it lives.
Leo: I don't understand. So what you're saying is there's no front page, but there are pages of content?
Jeff: No. Not for NowThis News. Let me see how this works.
Leo: How do you get to NowThis News then?
Jeff: It comes to you. I mean, it has a page – like and follow NowThis News everywhere. So you get it on Twitter, on Facebook, on Youtube, wherever.
Leo: That's interesting.
Jeff: They just made this change last week.
Leo: So I can't follow them on the web but I can get their apps or go to tumblr.
Jeff: So it's the service without the site. No site.
Leo: This is something. We've been talking about this on TWiT, because Nick Bilton wrote an article in the New York Times about Snapchat. He's become a real advocate of Snapchat. This is the Snapchat homepage and by the way, this is also nothing because you need the app. But these are all brands that are posting stuff on Snapchat, including Yahoo News. Katie Couric's doing a newscast on Snapchat. Maybe that's where Brian Williams could go.
Leo: Oh. Hey, Brian, the good news is, 24 hours later, no matter what you say, no one knows.
Gina: No one's going to remember.
Leo: There's no record. I know, I feel bad because I like Brian.
Gina: I do too. I feel bad for him.
Leo: What do you think, Jeff? You're the journalism professor. Wait a minute. Let's take a break before you say anything. Let's do an ad. I'm actually really curious. Look, anything's in our purview, right? This show, we can do anything we want. So let's talk about it because that's an interesting question, was the punishment too harsh, too lenient. What did he do? Let's talk about that when we come back. Of course, lots of Google stuff including the return of the change log for one day only, a one day engagement. I like it.
And Google has announced it's not just a search engine any more. Udi Manber has moved on. We'll tell you why that's important. There's a lot actually, Google IO coming to town.
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I wish I could find this, it was the funniest little cartoon. Oh well. That's the problem when people tweet you.
Jeff: If only you could search for it on Google. Hey, Leo.
Leo: You're right. If only there were a way. Oh well. So what did Brian Williams do, first of all, Mr. Professor?
Jeff: As I think David Carr at the New York Times said, “He gilded the lilies so much it turned into a different flower.”
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All right, so he gilded the lily to the point where there was no lily to be found.
Jeff: Right, and of course, he misremembered. It was a great Twitter meme, right? There was a picture of Brian Williams on the moon under the hashtag #BrianWilliamsMisremembers.
Leo: I feel like, though, that was the kind of mis-remembery that could have been accidental.
Jeff: It could have. The problem was how the story changed and how it amplified over time. Then I think that – [crosstalk]
Leo: Brian Williams, he started as the anchor of MSNBC's nightly newscast and I worked with him at the site at that time. In fact, I was on the show a few times and he was part of our launch of the site. My virtual reality character David Null interacted with him. I really liked Brian a lot. I thought he was funny, I've seen him many times on Letterman and Fallon. He's wry, funny. He seems smart and most importantly, for a news anchor, he seems like he has integrity. He started anchoring NBC's nightly news 15 years ago, ten years ago? It's been a while. I feel like it's more than ten years ago. He's currently the highest-rated news anchor in the United States. He's our generation's Walter Cronkite, if you will. He makes $10 million a year, just signed a new five-year contract.
Jeff: Well, not this year he's going to.
Leo: That's leading up, that's the who Brian Williams is. And disclaimer, I don't know him. I didn't hang out with him but I've worked with him and always thought he was great. So he was talking about two things, right? One was his experience in Iraq.
Jeff: Right. Thought he was shot down by an RPG in a helicopter. Turns out, not so much the case. Some debate as to whether or not he was behind that helicopter. Some say it was a sandstorm but in any case, it definitely wasn't an RPG.
Leo: And in 2006, when he said this, by the way, I'm told that the pilot who was flying the helicopter ahead of him that was shot down by an RPG wrote to NBC News and complained, said, “No, no. He was in the one half an hour behind me.” Williams is quoted as saying, “I looked down the tube of an RPG as it took us out of the sky.” Okay, that's one.
Jeff: He kept bringing it up, bringing it up and it got bigger and bigger, worse and worse. He thanked the guy who saved his life when he got shot down by the RPG and the pilot's just kind of had it. Then there's some debate about – I think there's still a debate about his coverage of Katrina. Did he see a body float by? Did he get dysentery? They said there was no dysentery when he drank some water. Or, did he just have too many beignets?
Leo: You know, I thought he said he saw a body float by in the French Quarter and of course, there was no flooding in the French Quarter.
Jeff: Well, there was some but then was there enough for a body to float by? There's a picture of him standing there with the water barely up to the soles of his shoes. So the point at the end – there's a couple of things. One is, from now on, when Brian Williams goes out and covers a big story, what's going to happen? We're all going to question everything he says. He's suspect. How is that going to affect his reporting? Two, I think he and NBC both waited too long, weren't transparent enough, didn't really dig into the story. My friend Jay Rosen says, if he was really the managing editor at NBC News, he should have really dug into his own story. He should have been interviewed by people. He came up with a statement and then kind of all hid.
So of course, he was suspended for six months without pay, thus he'll only make $5 million this year. Lester Holt is in his place. Now, the problem I have with this – I wrote a piece on Medium about it this morning. The problem is that they're treading water for six months, number one. Number two, I think it's an insult to Lester Holt, who I think is very good, though I happen to know they don't think he has enough personality. But that may be good right now. But you could have an African-American sole anchor on a nightly news show and they're not doing that. He's just there as a placeholder, which I think is insulting. No matter what -
Leo: We should explain that during the investigation, Williams recused himself from the nightly news and Lester Holt, who is the weekend anchor, filled in. NBC did an internal investigation which apparently was entirely done by people who know and love Brian Williams. The decision was to suspend him for six months without pay, $5 million. But the implication is that he'll come back as the anchor of NBC nightly news in six months.
Jeff: I don't believe that's going to happen.
Leo: When I heard this and I heard that he had suspended himself, I said, “That's it, you're never going to see him on nightly news again.” I still believe that's the case.
Jeff: I believe that's the case. I talked to – I happened to be sitting in Starbucks and ended up in a conversation with a crisis PR person. I asked her, “What would you advise NBC for Brian Williams?” She said, “Take him off, lie low. Have him come back and do a couple really big interviews in a few months and test the waters.” For all I know, she advised this but I don't think that works.
My argument today is that NBC is already kicked in the kidneys. They have the opportunity to really reinvent TV news now. I fear they're not going to, but they could make the NBC nightly news into all kinds of things. Start with the punchline that was all over Twitter yesterday, “Comedian Brian Williams and News Man Jon Stuart Trade Places.” Turn it into – get rid of the commodity news that we all know and like Vice, do stories we haven't seen. Wow us with your narrative and journalism. Turn it into a town square for America and have civilized, smart debates. Explain really difficult stories for us. Get rid of the show entirely. Go digital first and serve everybody on digital, on mobile to use the show as a byproduct and emotional vehicle. There's all kind of options for how they could remake TV news. TV news badly needs to be remade.
Leo: You've been saying that for some time.
Jeff: We've done events at CUNY on this and I'm going to do some more events on this. So I think there's actually an opportunity for NBC here but what is NBC doing? Instead, they're in a self-imposed limbo, like a Star Trek episode, trapped in the glass of the screen and not changing it for six months. What is that going to do to the reputation that they have? What does that do to the show? What does that do to Lester Holt's reputation? What does that do to Brian Williams' reputation? I think that's the worst that could happen and they've got to do something bold now. The question is, Comcast owns half the damn world. Google owns the other half. Is there anybody with any guts in Comcast to say, “You know what? Yes, we make money on it. But the audience is dying, over 60 years old, we're fighting for the exact same audience with ABC and CBS. Let's do something new and let's turn this into an opportunity.”
So that was my very helpful suggestion today.
Leo: I mean, it's certainly not related to the Brian Williams incident but it is an opportunity to rethink what nightly news is. Something that's probably long overdue although obviously still makes them a lot of money.
Jeff: Well, they wouldn't do it as, number one, don't rock the boat and don't mess with it. I have full disclosure here -
Leo: Well, now they have to because they have to figure out what to do.
Gina: Six months from now. They bought themselves six months, right?
Jeff: Well, Gina, that's what I'm saying. I don't know that they really did. I think that everybody's going to see it as just, as I said, treading water, on hold, nothing new there. They're not going to do anything bold in those six months. I think they've got to be bolder and faster.
Gina: I agree. I just think that they're probably in panic mode right now. When you're panicked, incomplete and frozen in fear, that's not the time you're emboldened to make a – you know, upend the whole thing. But they bought themselves a little bit of time. I mean, I agree. Six months from now, I would be very surprised if he came back on the air and everything was just the same. They're probably going to make some changes, right? But they had to buy themselves some time.
Leo: Is there any precedent for this, Jeff? It seems like this has never happened before.
Jeff: Well, there was Dan Rather on 60 Minutes.
Leo: Yes. By the way, Dan stood up for Brian, which I thought was nice.
Jeff: Yes, yes. Gina, let me just push back on that for a quick second. Yes, I think you're right. I think they're in panic mode. But when they're number one and making money, that's when they are least likely to disrupt themselves and do anything.
Gina: That's true.
Jeff: There's a moment where you say, “Oh, WTF? We sucked the egg, man.”
Leo: “Got nothing to lose, here.”
Jeff: They're not in that mode yet but somebody at Comcast could be. Somebody there could say, “You know, well, let's send in something new here.”
Gina: You're right, you're right. I think it probably depends on how much money they make and whether – how well they think they can spin this and recover from it, back into the status quo.
Jeff: The problem – [feedback] In full disclosure, I attended a couple of NBC news executive off-sites. I didn't get paid for it, goddamn them. But I found it interesting. It was off the record so I'm not going to reveal anything particularly, but the impression that I took away – I'm talking about, “Oh, my book, the new relationships for news, new forums, new business models, new this, new that.” They're in a different business. The entire business – you know, it's Brian, Brian, Brian, Brian. It's a star business entirely. They don't think that we watch the news, they think that we watch Brian. And so that became a single point of failure, as we like to say in the tech world, for the entire business. He tripped and the entire thing trips. So there's a fundamental business problem here and that's what they've got to realize.
Leo: It's kind of antiquated, though, on the other hand, to put that burden of voracity on a person when we have news sources – many, many, many news sources making crap up every minute or exaggerating. Of course, you have a fall guy, but isn't this – I mean, we're in a new era and the notion that there is a news source of record any more is kind of meaningless, isn't it? I mean, the days when Walter Cronkite could say, “We've lost the war,” and that would be it. Nixon said, “Oh, crap,” or Johnson said, “Oh, crap, we've lost the war.” Those days are all gone.
Jeff: Gina, when was the last time you watched evening news?
Gina: I mean, I used to visit my grandfather-in-law and we would watch -
Leo: It would be right after Lawrence Welk and right before Jeopardy.
Gina: He would – I'm not exaggerating, he was 93 and we watched 60 Minutes together. That was a thing that we did together. I mean, maybe five years ago before he passed. I don't watch nightly – my mom when she cooks. I mean, everybody that I know that watched nightly news is well over 65, 70.
Leo: I don't watch it.
Gina: That's just the thing. When I was a kid, growing up, that was my mom. She had the 5 o'clock news on while she was making dinner. That's not part of my life at all. But to go back to the news of record and this idea of this one person – I mean, right now, the thing that compels people, compels an audience, is a personality and story, right? So we love Brian Williams because he is a trusted person. He's a personality and he was telling a story, and obviously, trying to make it more compelling. This whole thing reminded me a little bit of the Mike Daisy thing that happened when he was telling the story about Apple. Of course, he's not Brian Williams but I remember being so absolutely outraged that this guy could stretch the truth so far that it no longer resembled anything that was actually true. But I think that he – that Daisy is a storyteller at heart and embellishment is part of storytelling. It's about creating this narrative and creating this emotional pitch for an audience and bringing them along. I know, I'm a writer. I do it.
Leo: There's no material – what he lied about, or made up or exaggerated, is probably the right word, didn't have any material impact on the news itself.
Gina: It didn't and I'm sure in a lot of ways, Brian felt like he looked down the barrel of an RPG even though, you know. Right, he was like, “Wow, I was half an hour behind or following a helicopter that got shot at. That could have been me.” I've made these connections in my mind. Even when I look back at 9/11, which has become this big traumatic thing for me, I think – you know, it's funny. I did a talk at XOXO about my 9/11 experience and I did the Google Street View from the corner where I was standing. I swear that my memory is that I could see the towers burning but I couldn't see the Freedom Tower from the current Google Street View. That was just my memory. I mean, our memories change and you superimpose images that you see after them, and every retelling, it changes. So I really feel kind of bad for him because I know how this works and how this happens. I mean, you could say that he was malicious because he was trying to embellish, and make the story more compelling and build up his own personality to make it seem like he was more important in the middle of it than he actually was. Maybe that was part of it but memory is a weird, strange thing.
Leo: Also, you know, the quote, “I looked down the barrel, the tube, of an RPG that had been fired at us,” was not as part of the nightly news, but was in an interview with a student – a Fairfield University student TV network. It wasn't exactly on his nightly news show. The story did change. He apologized, saying, “I confused what happened.” He was riding in the helicopter behind the one that was hit and he confused the events of 12 years ago. But I think the issue is that the story changed more than that.
Jeff: That's really it. I think it's the reaction to it. I think you're very right, Gina. I mean, I worry about this too. I think about me and 9/11 and where I was, what I saw.
Leo: We all do that. It's normal.
Jeff: Yes. But, I mean, David Carr, again, tried to say that what he did didn't have an impact on what he does for a living and I'm sorry. I've got to disagree there. One should try to hold one's self to a higher standard. At the same time, he's human and at the same time, I go back. Part of the problem is TV. Jay Rosen, again, said somebody from TV tweeted him and said, “You've got to understand that on television, the correspondent doesn't actually do much of the journalism at all. The producers and these other people do but they may not take credit for anything. The correspondent takes it on.” That's what they do and you're right, Gina. They're about trying to make compelling narratives and you can see how he got carried away, but I can also see how once exposed, and not having dealt with it in a very forthright way, it affects his credibility and thus, the credibility of the network.
Gina: That's true. I think that's true. They definitely didn't handle it well, but I mean, look. It's the human reaction to it, too. “I made a mistake, oh, how can I cover this up? It wasn't so bad.”
Jeff: Absolutely. And I think that's really important too. I always say, I always credit blogs with having – Craig Silverman wrote a wonderful book called Regret the Error. I wrote the foreword for it and as I did that and I thought about it, I remember in my early days of journalism, you're right. The last thing you ever wanted to do is admit you made a mistake. The most shameful things were perfect. What blogging taught me – you know, the first time I made a mistake, and erased it and got slapped for it, I learned a lesson about how to make mistakes openly. The primary lesson I learned was that when you correct yourself, you don't reduce your credibility. You enhance your credibility.
TV doesn't know that. When was the last time you saw a correction on TV before Brian Williams? It never corrects itself. It doesn't have that ethic that we now take as our norm.
Gina: That's so funny yet so true. At Lifehacker, one of the earliest, most difficult editorial decisions I ever made is that we never pull a post and we show any edits that change the content. You know, a typo we would fix without showing we changed a typo. But if we had published the wrong piece of information, we would strike it out and then do a dated update. That was tough and it was tough for me because I didn't want to, forever and ever, be a note that we made a mistake when we first published something.
A particularly painful situation we had, we were putting instructions on how to edit your Windows registry, which can really bork a machine. We screwed up the instructions and I felt like a complete jackass. You know, my first response was, “Oh, let's just change it and not acknowledge it.” But there were a bunch of comments from people that said, “You guys got this wrong.” It's true. In blogging, we see the Wikipedia revisions, things like GitHub, where you see things are a work in progress and they get changed and fixed. TV doesn't really have that.
Leo: Does it make any difference that he didn't do this on the nightly news, but the exaggerations always occurred with interviews by student reporters, David Letterman or Alec Baldwin?
Jeff: Why was he being interviewed? Because he was on the nightly news.
Leo: But – all right. I think you're right. I think the damage to credibility means he probably -
Jeff: I get the point. But – [crosstalk]
Leo: It's not like he lied on nightly news at all, ever. These were in later recollections in kind of more personality-driven venues.
Jeff: But he did it in a huge stadium, you know. That's the issue. He did it in very public places using his fame and notoriety. Listen, if he lied to his wife about where he was last night, that's their business. That doesn't affect his credibility. If he lies in public … again, [0:43:31?] too, I think he's a good guy. I don't think he did this maliciously. I don't think he tried to say, “I'm going to hornswoggle the world here.” But I still have to go back to, it affects his credibility.
Leo: He's probably inflating – there's a couple of possibilities that he was inflating his own reputation, which would be bad, or that he really wanted to make it a more interesting story because he's on Letterman and it has to be more interesting because he's on Letterman than just a news report. Anyway, I feel bad. I guess there's nothing more to say.
Jeff: Let it be known that nothing wrong has ever been said on the TWiT network, though.
Leo: Maybe that's why I feel so bad for him. I make up crap all the time.
Gina: That's the thing. I've never told any kind of embellished story, no exaggerations, nothing.
Jeff: You know, actually, the problem with being every week is that when I do screw up and I have screwed up on this show, often. I have to remind myself to remember for the next week, “I should correct myself.” That's not easy to do.
Gina: The post-TWiG walk home is always filled with, “I wish I had said this,” or, “I wish I had said that a little bit differently.” Just look at the inner mind of a host and it's like, “Damn, I should have said this. I wish I had put that a different way.”
Leo: Udi Manber, who is a name you might recognize, has left Google. He had nine years at Google and then later at Youtube. He joined in 2006 from Amazon. He founded the A9 Lab, which was Amazon's attempt to create a search engine and then – in fact, one of the reasons I recognized the name was because he's featured in Bradstone's Everything store. He went to Google, led Project Knowl, which was kind of like a – Knowl as in short for knowledge. It was a database of information that didn't really take off. He helped create Helpouts, using Hangouts, which is actually a great and very little used, I think, Google Hangouts feature. Then he worked on Youtube search most recently. He's going to the National Institutes of Health, which is cool.
Jeff: And other departures, Krishna Bharat, who created Google News as an extra project just announced this weekend on Google+ that he's leaving after 15 years. And what's his name? The head of knowledge who jumped off – who set the new record for jumping off. He left too.
Leo: Oh, really?
Jeff: What's his name? I don't have the knowledge of his knowledge.
Leo: Who jumped out of the thing with the thing, set the new record for skydiving while looking down the barrel of an RPG over Hurricane Katrina, I believe.
Jeff: Oh, what's his name?
Leo: I can't remember it. Google IO, May 28 through May 29, we're going to have to go through this rigmarole again of getting you guys in. Gina, I don't know if I can leverage your in.
Jeff: I think as long as Gina comes back full time, she can get into Google IO.
Gina: You guys are killing me. Well, Leo, I was going to say to you, I would be happy to be of service in whichever way. If it would be easier for me to watch the stream and cover the stream with you remotely?
Leo: I think we'll have that, yes.
Gina: I will absolutely, at minimum, do that.
Leo: I presume, Jeff, you're planning to go, right?
Jeff: If they let me in. Notice, this year it's Thursday-Friday. That's different from Wednesday-Thursday in the past.
Gina: I'm going to throw an application in just to see.
Leo: Of course. Actually, if it's Thursday-Friday, so will I. Maybe I'll get Mike Elgan to – see, he wants to go, I know, and Jason, you want to go, don't you? Of course you do.
Jason: I have gone quite a few years but you know, every single year it's the same song and dance, right? Right up until the bitter end, we're in a cold sweat and somehow it happens.
Leo: March 17, 9 a.m. Pacific, tickets go on sale. But that really is meaningless information because if it's anything like in the past, tickets will sell out within a few seconds, literally.
Jeff: There's some reference to a lottery.
Leo: They did a lottery last year, didn't they?
Gina: There's an application process and the people they offer tickets to, it has no bearing – like, the order in which you order or apply has no bearing on who gets the tickets. So it isn't going to be this rush where everyone is refreshing their web browser. It doesn't need to be.
Leo: That's kind of cool, did you see that? This is very material design, isn't it? This is the Google IO page. Here's the countdown. It looks like a cut out, pasted pieces of paper counting down. 33 days until registration begins, so yes.
Gina: Speaking of paper, I love the new lower third here, Leo. I like the blue lights. You got material.
Leo: Who did that, did Anthony Nielsen do that?
Jason: I believe so.
Leo: We've gone material on our album art. You know why we had to do that is the person on the album art abandoned us.
Gina: We have some residual feelings. We're going to have to talk about this, Leo.
Leo: No, no. It's okay. It's okay.
Gina: You still like me, I still like you.
Leo: I still love you. That's the problem. If I didn't like you, it wouldn't be a problem.
Jeff: This is an unrequited podcast.
Gina: You guys are too kind.
Leo: Alan Eustace, thank you, Virgil in the chat room. Alan Eustace is the name.
Jeff: Thank you, thank you.
Leo: Google IO, two days of inspirational talks, hands on learning and a chance to hear more about Google's latest developer products. Developers really want to go to this, right, Gina? This is where you find out what's going on.
Gina: Yes. You want to go. You want to go to IO because you know you're going to get some mad goodies that no one else has. You know you're going to get to be in the room – listen, there have been a couple IOs that have been amazing. The Wave demonstration, I wasn't actually at that IO but that's when I decided I would start going. The sky diving with Google Glass was amazing, to have an opportunity to get that. You've got to remember, before anybody had Google Glass, Google Glass was really exciting. You know, Android ware, you're just first on some really, really cool technology. So if you're a developer, you definitely want to go.
Leo: Google is doing IO extended events for developers who can't get to IO or don't get tickets. So you'll be able to attend livestreamed sessions, local developer demos, hack-athons and more. They do intend to stream the keynote, as they have before, and they say select sessions as well. So I think they really understand that not everybody can get to IO.
Jeff: I feel a little guilty taking up a chair as a non-developer but I also find it just so telling as to what they're doing and how they're thinking.
Leo: Jason, turn on the audio on my laptop because I just noticed on the website, there's this little slider thing. When I tap it, it says, “Chrome experiment ahead. The experiment features Web GL and web audio APIs. You might want to grab headphones.”
Jason: I have your audio up.
Leo: “Make some noise.” I just clicked, oh. [audio plays] What am I seeing?
Gina: The IO site is always so nerdy.
Leo: There's always something in here. There's a keyboard. Get ready to record? I'm playing. [audio continues] That sucks. What should I do?
Jason: Scroll up and down?
Leo: Scroll. I can't scroll. Okay, now arrow in upper left, oh. So you guys have already played with this, huh? Jason?
Jason: I actually haven't played with this. I knew there was something going on here but I hadn't checked it out yet.
Leo: Move the big circles, whoa, so that they get hit by the dots. Every time they get hit by the dots, you get a drum beat.
Jason: This is very similar to an app called Node Beat.
Leo: Oh, you've seen something like this?
Jason: There's an Android app called Node Beat, we had it on All About Android years ago.
Leo: This is great, look at this.
Jason: It's similar to this in some ways.
Leo: Look, this changes the beat.
Jason: What's very interesting here is that this is all happening inside the browser, right?
Leo: This is Web GL. So this is the Google IO site and I just happened to click a link. So what else can I do, I ask you? So should I record my -
Gina: “Get ready to record.”
Leo: I am such a nerd but this is so cool. They always do this, always have something, right? In a way, it a little bit telegraphs the kinds of things we're going to see. So what does this thing do? Oh, this is like a rubber band machine. [audio continues]
Gina: Man, that is crazy that's happening in a browser. That is all HTML.
Leo: So these are like rubber bands and you put them in the peg holes. Then what happens?
Gina: You can play them.
Leo: Then I have to strum them. See, I don't know how hard or easy this is to do. But I bet you this is a lot of agile points to develop, that's all I'm saying. A lot of agile points here.
Jason: We need this functionality built into the new TWiT site, that's all I'm saying.
Leo: I'm going to call our developers and say, “Guys, I need the -” Okay, should I record? All right.
Jeff: I think you can get a new TWiG theme this way.
Leo: This might be the new TWiG theme.
Jason: This is TWiG.
Leo: Wait. Does it have a higher pitch if I stretch it more? Oh, I can't. Yes. [audio continues] Now what? I already did this one. Did this one. That's it. Now what do I do? Let's pause. Share song, reset default, exit experiment. So it's just a little instrument thing.
Gina: So this is really cool but my cynical response to this is that every year, the IO site has some crazy, cool Chrome experiment with this insanely dynamic, neat functionality and Google does make beautiful Chrome experiments. You just don't see anybody else making anything like this, you know what I mean? It doesn't feel like it's working. I think this is a really cool showcase of what's possible. I just don't see a whole lot of uptake on it, unless I'm looking at the wrong sites. Maybe there are browser-based games and things that I'm just missing.
Leo: I can tell you right now, knowing what I know about the cost of web development, this is the last thing I would ask for. Oh, incidentally, can we have a Web GL experiment in our website, please?
Jeff: Do you think one person made that?
Leo: Probably, right? It probably took them all year. Somebody is saying that this is going to die when HTML-5 comes along. Isn't this HTML-5? It's a Web GL plugin.
Gina: Yes, Web GL is a plugin.
Leo: Web audio API would probably be an API within HTML-5, I would guess. But I think you'd have to have – in other words, this only works in Chrome right now because no other browser supports – or do any browsers besides Chrome support Web GL? That sounds like a Google-y thing to do. Ask Google, Web GL support. I wonder how we could figure that out. Browsers that support Web GL. Apparently some browsers do, here's a table, IE 11 and up, Firefox 35 and up, iOS Safari 8.1 and up. Huh.
Gina: Chrome is way ahead, there.
Leo: Light green is partial support, red is no support, dark green is full support. So Opera is a partial support. Safari – actually, Safari on the desktop, partial support. Safari on iOS, full support, oddly enough. This is interesting.
Jeff: Wait, Chrome for Android is partial support?
Leo: It's harder to do. If you want Web GL on a mobile device, get an iPhone, oddly enough.
All right, moving along. We'll all try to go to Google IO. We'll certainly cover the keynote or notes live. Thursday-Friday is great. Thank you, Google. Usually they've overlapped with This Week in Google but now that'll be out of our way and we'll be out of their way. Google has added a virtual Genius Bar, have you seen this?
Jeff: I think Genius Bar is trademarked, surely?
Leo: Yes. They're actually using Helpouts. It's called Google Device Experts.
Gina: It's kind of like Mayday from Google, right?
Leo: Yes. So employees involved with a service toll, tech crunch – it's been in testing since November. Google spokesperson has said, “We're in a limited trial of an experimental support feature, gathering feedback, not yet ready to share a full plan.”
Jeff: Is this the thing we called that day on the show?
Jason: No, it's different.
Leo: This is in the Devices section of Google Play. So you're on the web, in Google Play's Devices section, click the “Help” icon on the top right corner and then, under “Contact Us,” there will appear a video call button. That will give you a Google Hangouts with a Google expert who can help you.
Jeff: So we can't call anybody now?
Leo: We could try it. They say you can share your screen, so this is very much like Mayday, isn't it? Let's go to play.google.com and see what we can do. I don't think it's rolled out yet, I think it's something they've spotted. So there's Devices, here's Help. Video call, how can we help you? What do I need?
Jason: Broke my Nexus 6.
Leo: “Can I use -” Yes. No, no. “Can I use -”
Gina: Skype on Chrome OS.
Jeff: Oh, yay.
Leo: “Skype on Chrome OS?” Start a video call. Wow.
Gina: Sorry, I didn't mean to troll them but why not?
Leo: You're the first one here, ready to join. I think - “Would you like to share your screen?” We have to kind of tell – don't show this. We have to tell them we're doing this before we actually do it somehow. Share my screen. “Google Hangouts is sharing your screen with plus.google.com. You're screen sharing, present to everyone?” They hear my audio but no one is coming in the room.
Jason: They're getting something out of the microwave.
Leo: Oh, hey! How you doing? Can I – don't play his audio yet. I'm on a podcast called This Week in Google. My name is Leo. I'm wondering if I can show – we're showing people this new feature, if I could show people your screen and we could record your voice? But Doug, before I can show this, I need your permission to record it.
Doug: Go for it, Leo.
Leo: All right, thank you, Doug. So everybody's going to see you, now. I have nothing confidential on my screen, so go ahead and look at it.
Doug: Thank you for sharing your screen. I saw that you had a question about using Skype on Chrome OS.
Leo: Yes, can I?
Doug: Currently, Skype is not supported on Chrome OS. There are, however, great alternatives for video chatting on Chrome – on Chromebooks, as well. As well as communication apps that are available on the Chrome Web Store, including Hangouts. Are you familiar with Hangouts?
Leo: I am. We love Hangouts. In fact, this is Helpouts, isn't it? Isn't that what we're using right now?
Doug: We're actually on a Hangout right now. I know it's kind of similar to Hangouts but we're actually just straight up on Hangouts right now.
Leo: I see. Doug, are you a Google employee or are you a third party?
Doug: I work at Google. We're here in beautiful Mountain View.
Leo: You're in Mountain View? I love your set. That looks so cool with the Android stuff there.
Doug: You know, we are very Google-y here at Google.
Leo: How many of you are there doing this?
Doug: I know we do have a small team. I wouldn't be able to put a number to it, though. I'm really bad at math and accounting.
Leo: That's okay. But there are other people and you're all kind of near each other doing this?
Doug: Kind of. I'm not too sure how big the team is but I do have my own team here and we all are a team of device experts.
Leo: Were you a Google employee before this or were you hired specifically to do this kind of support?
Doug: You know, actually, because you're kind of our press, we do kind of -
Leo: You can't talk to me, I understand. Doug -
Doug: I do have a link for you, if you like. It's press.google.com.
Leo: I'm familiar with that and I apologize for ambushing you. That's why we asked you ahead of time.
Doug: Not at all, if I can help spread the word, I'd be happy to.
Leo: You are.
Jeff: That's exactly what we're doing.
Leo: Lots of people now are going to try this out and I love, Doug, how you shared that link with me and it was in a little window down here I could just click to go to press.google.com. That was cool. This is really neat.
Doug: Thank you, I'm very glad you like it, Leo.
Jeff: Doug, would you like to be a co-host at This Week in Google?
Leo: We could hire you as a host at This Week in Google. We've got to replace Gina here. Hey, it's very nice to meet you, Doug. I really appreciate it.
Doug: Thank you. It was really great talking to you, Leo.
Leo: It's a great demo of what you guys can do.
Doug: Thank you very much. If you ever need help, go ahead and shoot us another Hangout.
Leo: I love it. Bye, Doug! That is so cool.
Gina: He was a good sport.
Jason: That never gets old, calling Google support on this show never gets old.
Leo: I know you did it first on All About Android.
Jason: No, I think it's great. I think it's awesome. I would imagine you guys are as impressed as I am, because for the longest time, Google and support have not been two words associated with good, yet both of these times that we've done it on this show, the response has been super quick. I'm sure if we would've dived in with a pretty hardcore question, we probably would've gotten a good answer. I'm pretty impressed.
Leo: By the way, he did not refer to a notebook or anything, not that I could see. He knew the answer.
Jeff: Right. He wasn't doing an, “Oh, page 78 of the script.”
Leo: So you do that by going to the Play Store and clicking the ? Icon. Under “Contact Us,” there's a video call, at least there was on mine. There's also live chat and phone, and that is impressive for people who have in the past said, “Oh, I don't know. I can't get support from Google.” Now, they don't do this for Gmail and stuff like this, although he did answer a question about Chrome OS. Wow. That is sweet. Well, they sell Chromebooks here. They sell products here that cover the entire spectrum of Google's stuff.
Jeff: Now, if I'd been obnoxious, I could've asked whether there's any possible use for my Google Glass.
Leo: Wouldn't that be interesting because Glass is still available in the Store and -
Jeff: No, it's not. You can't buy it.
Leo: I think they would still support it if you asked.
Jeff: Just for the record, anybody listening from Google, don't get the guy in trouble for not going to press first. He was a great demo of the product. This was a wonderful thing to do. He was wonderful.
Gina: I felt like he, at the appropriate moments -
Leo: He handled it beautifully. I think it was good for people to see, in real time, what it looked like to make a call, how long it took. I apologize, we're in the state of California, which is what they call a two-party state. We cannot, in any way, broadcast the audio or video of the call until we have permission. Unfortunately, in order to do that, we had to turn it up a little bit so I could hear it. So we can edit that out or something. So the live audience got a little leak of something that they shouldn't have. But I thought he did very nicely. He could have said, “No, you can't. If you're press, I'm sorry, I can't talk to you.” But I think it was appropriate that he did what he did. We got a very good idea of what could happen.
Jeff: The great thing is, Google is indeed human. There is a human face of google.
Leo: Very human. Nice, I liked him. Fun. He was standing up, which is impressive. That's an interesting – that's a conscious choice, right? Obviously he's not standing right now. He's waiting for somebody else to call.
Gina: He's obviously standing on a set with lighting and background, certainly better than mine with the sun setting and my light changing. He was ready and set up. Although, that was device support, right? He said, “I'm support for devices.” What I'd like to see is somebody whose Gmail account was shut down because of a Terms of Service violation, or somebody's AdSense account is in some sort of suspended state. I would like to hear the script or response to, “Hey, I can't log in to my Gmail account, I'm locked out. What happened?”
Jeff: What's interesting too is, having that employee in Mountain View, that's a very high expense item.
Leo: No kidding.
Jeff: Real estate and such, that's interesting. Maybe it's just a test and they're figuring it out, but that surprises me. But good, that's what they need to do.
Leo: Chickenhead21 in our chat room says, “You should show this to Comcast.” Oh, Comcast. Actually, I want to show Comcast Google's new robotic doll.
Gina: Oh, this thing is so cool.
Leo: Boston Dynamics, that's the one that did that crazy running robot. They've got a new one called Spot. Google owns this company, so – oh, he's so cute! Notice, by the way, the previous running robots had big long wires attached to them. This guy does not.
Jeff: Now he's wireless, yes.
Leo: Look, he's coming to bother people. They just ignore the dog. No big deal.
Jason: We see this all the time.
Leo: Look, he kicked it!
Gina: I feel so bad about them kicking this dog.
Jason: I know what you mean. This one right here, I'm like …
Leo: On ice!
Jason: That wasn't nice to do to the robot.
Leo: But that shows you how – I don't want to say anthropomorphic because it's a dog, but how realistically you kind of assume this is a live creature. It's not. It's just a machine. You kick your computer all the time, right? It's just a computer with legs.
Leo: Walking on ice, on gravel, look at this. Again, can we hear audio?
Jason: I have audio up but I don't know if we're -
Leo: I don't know what we heard with the other robotic dog.
Jason: Is there a volume in the player?
Leo: Maybe I don't have the player turned up. Oh, yes. Let me turn on the audio, let's see. [video plays] Pretty quiet, must be electric.
Jeff: [crosstalk] – for a wheelchair, what would that be?
Leo: Didn't the guy who created the Segway create a wheelchair that could go up stairs like that?
Jeff: That's right.
Leo: It can run along – oh, that's so cute!
Jeff: That looks like Storm Troopers marching.
Leo: Soldier dogs.
Gina: Those do look like Storm Troopers.
Jeff: I'm not sure I like that.
Leo: “We're coming for you. Here we are, human. Puny humans. Fire rocket guns.”
Jeff: The future of war.
Leo: Yes. That's pretty terrifying, actually.
Jason: God, what would you do if you had an army of those things headed right toward you?
Gina: I don't know. I just want it to carry my groceries home.
Leo: Remember, Boston Dynamics – before they bought Boston Dynamics, the company did have, in fact, some defense contracts. So this is – what is that, a pig? It's a motorized pig. So I think Google said that whatever existing contracts they had, they would continue. “No robots were harmed,” show this. “In the making of this video.”
Gina: It knows that the kicking is disturbing.
Leo: So this has got to be electric. They've come a long way.
Jeff: What was that noisy one? Was that a gas engine, the noisy one?
Leo: That was the one that looked like a pig.
Jeff: But why was it noisier? Was that because it was a gas engine?
Leo: I think it must have been, yes. [audio continues] Wow, it's got LIDAR on the head, see that spinning thing? That's how it sees.
Jeff: Who needs a self-driving car when you have a self-driving robot?
Gina: It's just sort of sad how it gets back up and keeps going.
Jason: “Go ahead, kick me again. That's cool.”
Gina: “Just kick me again, man.”
Leo: These robots have four minutes battery life, so all you have to do is run for four minutes and you're okay. Wow.
Jason: I could watch these for hours.
Leo: I know. We're actually re-running the video just because we like it so very, very much.
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Jason: Do you think maybe it might be time for some trumpets of some sort?
Leo: I didn't even think of that.
Jason: You want to?
Leo: Gina, could we do the change log?
Voiceover: The Google Change Log.
Leo: Our live studio audience is applauding, all three of them.
Gina: It's music to my ears. You guys have not – have the trumpets been retired?
Leo: Yes. We don't do the change log without Gina Trapani. Gina Trapani is here with the latest from Google.
Gina: Google takes on Yelp elites with its new local guides program. This is a new feature in Google Maps where you can opt in to become a local guide if you go to google.com/local/guides. It's a program that's meant to encourage people to go out and post well-written, informed reviews for local places. Basically, you opt in to become a local guide and you get a couple of benefits. You get access to a special email newsletter, an opportunity to join Hangouts with other reviewers, host an attend special events, moderate local guides Google+ communities. Google just gives you a couple of goodies here and there for beefing up their reviews. So if you're into that, like I said, google.com/local/guides. It's very similar to Yelp's elites program.
If you're looking for a little bit more Google Drive storage, you can get 2 gigabytes of extra Drive space for free by completing Google's security check up. This is just a little quiz, it seems like, I haven't had the chance to run through it myself, that basically checks to make sure that your Google settings are up to date, your security settings and privacy settings. So you'll run through a couple of checks that will make sure -
Jeff: It's very simple. I did it, it takes two seconds just to make sure you have a backup phone number and email address in case you get hacked, make sure it shows you where your authorizations are so that you can review that and get in the habit of it. It's very simply.
Gina: Yes. It looks like this is just stuff that you should be doing anyway but Google's just sweetening the pot a little bit by offering this extra 2 gigabytes.
Jeff: My view is, I think if you do two-step authentication, they ought to send you a T-shirt.
Gina: Yes, seriously.
Leo: This was for Safer Internet Day. That's kind of neat. We talked about that on Sunday because Larry Magid was one of the guys behind it and was down there at Facebook with Sheryl and a bunch of other people to promote this. So thank you, Google, for participating in Safer Internet Day.
Gina: Yes, it's great.
Leo: It also shows how much 2 gigabytes has been devalued.
Leo: “We'll give you 2 gigabytes.”
Jeff: It's like a [1:15:44?]
Leo: Yes. So I've got – I didn't even have to do anything. I just got three check marks because I'd already done that.
Gina: Boom, boom, boom. Oh, because you recently had said, “Yes, my recovery information is correct. My recent sign-in activity looks good.”
Leo: I do that all the time.
Gina: So wait, does it check to see if you T factor enabled? That seems kind of advanced.
Leo: It should – they're not requiring that you do that, which is too bad.
Gina: The T factor, it's a lot.
Leo: Heck yes.
Gina: I think it's a lot to expect of regular, normals still.
Leo: They also have this nice Safety Center that shows you how to prevent cyber-crime, manage your privacy, safety and security. Then there's safety tools here. These are all the tools that Google offers. This is great, love this.
Gina: Well, speaking of Google giveaways, if you've got a Chromecast, Google wants to give you $6 in Play Store credits.
Jeff: And it works.
Leo: Did you do this?
Jeff: Two Chromecasts, two $6.
Leo: Oh. I have three Chromecasts.
Jeff: You get $18.
Gina: Nice, yes. So you just have to be on the network that your Chromecast is and if you go into the Chromecast app on iOS or Android, you can go to the “Check for offers” button. It's in the Hamburger menu, I believe, and if you check for offers, there's often a few different things in there. But this offer is, basically, a $6 gift card to Google Play. I guess they're hoping you're going to rent a movie for Valentines Day or buy something from the Play Store.
Leo: Didn't we get something just when we bought the Google Chromecast originally?
Jason: Yes, at this point, the Chromecast, at least in the US, has paid for itself.
Leo: I'm ahead. I think I've made money on it.
Jason: I've been pretty impressed with how loosely they're giving away content. X-men, also, if you log in to the offers page with your Chromecast, they're offering the first X-men movie for free in HD. A bunch of free content that they keep giving away.
Jeff: Pretty cool.
Leo: Just real quickly, if you have T factor turned on – I just redid the security check up. They do have you go through the T factor settings and verification. So I actually have five check marks to check. Oh.
Jeff: You're super safe.
Leo: It's worth doing this though, because it does remind you of what apps you've permitted, what Android devices you're using and things like that. It's good to do this. How do we get our $6?
Gina: $6, you want to go into the Chromecast app on your mobile device and you should be connected to the same network that your Chromecast is on. I think, look, the reality is that these giveaways – they really want people to use the Play Store more and I think it's about movies and TVs more than it is about apps or devices. So if I had an extra $6 and I had never bought from the Play Store before, I might rent a movie, right? Then once you start to amass a library in the Play Store, it's like, okay, at this point, I've got libraries. I've got iTunes videos that I purchase. I've got Amazon Prime, Instant Video. I've got Google Play. “I know I have this movie, but which one is it?” You have to check, you know, all the different places.
Leo: Is that it?
Gina: That's it. That's all I got.
Leo: Play the Trapanis! The Trapani timpanies.
Gina: The Trapanis.
Leo: We call them the Trapanis now. Play the Trapanis. That's the Google change log. Oh, we missed it. We miss it and it's nice to have. See why we like the change log? Look at that. You made us money, you got me gigabytes, really good.
Gina: Thank you to Jason for putting that together because I was utterly unprepared. So thank you, Jason.
Leo: Jason is good. You know what? Jason, unfortunately, he's so good that I've stopped doing any work at all.
Jason: It's all right. I have my sources.
Leo: I just go, “Duh, what happened today?” and he tells me. It's great. Here's one that Jason – actually, you guys talked about last night, I think.
Jason: No, we didn't. This one actually popped up today.
Leo: What's up with Android ware? What's the story? Research firm Canalis says, “Only 720 thousand Android ware watches were shipped in the last six months of 2014.” That's the same period that Apple sold 114 million iPhones. You can pretty much guarantee that they'll sell more than a million Apple watches in the first day, I would guess. Does this mean Android ware is, as research analyst at Canalis says, not very good?
Leo: No, you dope. We love Android ware. In fact, I think it's very good. He says the battery life is one of the reasons it hasn't taken off, arguing that Google should have further streamlined the mobile operating system so they could last longer.
Jeff: [crosstalk] – gets me through every day.
Leo: I don't think longer than a day. I don't know where that comes from. I've heard real people say it too but don't you plug in your phone at night when you go to bed? Don't you put your watch on the stand at night when you go to bed? I mean, it's just what we do now. Oh, you have a Pebble, Chris. Chris is shaking his head. But you have a Pebble and your Pebble can't do doodly did diddly squat. It's not even in color and you don't have a sweep second hand.
Jeff: You don't have a touch screen.
Leo: Or a touch screen, and you can't talk to your Pebble. I think that, actually, Android ware is really good.
Jeff: I think it is too.
Leo: Well, we shall see.
Jeff: Jason's note in the log – it's your note, right?
Leo: Jason made a great note, yes. He said, “Compare that to the number of iPods sold. In 2001, it was 125 thousand, one-eighth of that or one-sixth of that.”
Jason: I mean, between 2001 and 2002, iPods sold 725 thousand units, which is roughly about the same as this. You know, in two years, and they're comparing it against the iPhone, which, you know – they're a different category. I just don't know if it's a very fair comparison to compare a watch, which is an accessory that ties to something, versus an iPhone that is full.
Leo: I do have to say, though, the comparison that will be more relevant and important is in April when the Apple watch comes out. You know – I even -
Jeff: All the lemmings are going to run to the store.
Leo: I even switched to an iPhone so I can get used to this so that I can buy the Apple watch when it comes out.
Jeff: Well, then you have Tim Cook – I thought these quotes were a little obnoxious. He gave a keynote this week and he basically said, “There's no such thing that you'd call a smart watch yet.”
Leo: I don't think that's fair. I think that the Moto 360 is great.
Jeff: I do too. They also said that, “Sitting is the new cancer.” So your Apple watch is going to buzz at you and bug you if you sit for too long. No thanks, Apple. No.
Gina: “Sitting is the new cancer?”
Leo: You can turn that off.
Jeff: I know, but I thought it was obnoxious.
Gina: Well, they'd be making Jobs proud. I mean, you know, that kind of trash talk is what Apple does. I just added to the rundown, my friend, Paul Ford wrote a piece on Medium, actually, it's called, “It's Kind of Cheesy Being Green.” I didn't even know this and I do use iOS a little bit, he was pointing out that when you use iOS and you get an iMessage from someone else using an iOS device, the bubbles are blue. But if someone is using another operating system -
Leo: Shame on them.
Gina: The messages are this bright, bright green. He did this search on Twitter of people basically saying that they hate green and if somebody texts them back and it's green, they judge them. They'd never date a guy who's in green. Which of course, is ridiculous, right? But he was saying that he really feels like Apple sort of reinforces this weird class war. There's this great line in the last paragraph, “It would probably be one line of code to change the color to reduce the tension between the blues and the greens to make it possible for a broke dude stuck on Android 4.1 Jellybean to mack on a rich girl with an iPhone 6 without her knowing that he's not in the same ecosystem.”
Leo: That is a really interesting point. I don't think Apple is trying to diss the other phones, they just want you to know that this is an SMS message versus a web-based, internet-based text message, right? So the blue means that it came over the internet, it didn't come from your cell carrier's SMS system.
Gina: Right, and that's true, you could argue that. I was like, “Well, it's an SMS versus an iMessage,” but it is really a pretty strong indicator, “Oh, this person is iOS or not.” Right? You know, when you get a green message – and it's interesting that it's green because Android is green. I had no idea that people didn't like the green bubbles, that it was such a different -
Leo: Look at these tweets! People are so mean.
Gina: People are mean, right? Mean.
Leo: “It's so awful, but I stopped trusting a person once I texted them and it's green bubble.” Oy.
Gina: It's a little bit how I feel when I encounter someone with an AOL email address, right? Like, hm?
Leo: Yes, that's a good point.
Gina: We all do it. We all have these brand associations and judge people a little bit by them, right?
Leo: Sarah tweets, “I'll never seriously date a guy who texts with green bubbles. I'm sorry, but never!” Elvin, which what kind of name is Elvin? Elvin Broquette says, “When she text you back even though you got green bubbles, you smile like Leonardo DiCaprio.”
Gina: I think it's like a disease. “I've got green bubble disease.”
Leo: “I've got green bubbles!” “'Do you respect me even though I'm on Android?' Uh, not really now that I think about it.” Wow. Wow! Wow.
Gina: A nod to iPhone. I had to share this piece.
Jeff: Thank you. That's funny.
Leo: Hysterical. Medium does, by the way, a very nice job of formatting this and making it pretty. Is that very easy to do?
Jeff: Very easy, you use embed.ly so you don't put any embed codes, you just put the URL of the thing you want to embed in, and it puts it there.
Leo: And these are the Twitter cards, so it automatically knows Twitter cards.
Jeff: I think Medium and Twitter probably talk once in a while.
Leo: Yes, because it's Ev Williams. I've heard he had something to do with Twitter.
Gina: There are a couple people in common there.
Leo: By the way, Edd Dumbill we love. He is a deep data guy and an O'Reilly guy, he's been on our shows. So he's the one who actually discovered the green bubbles.
Gina: Oh, it was Edd.
Leo: It was Edd. 2Legit2quit, “I can't deal with you if you still have green bubbles.”
Gina: “Can't deal. Can't deal with you.”
Leo: No, that's stupid. People will find any reason to be discriminatory. Green bubbles.
Gina: We're still living in the, “I'm a Mac,” “I'm a PC,” era, right? The hipster kid and the business dude, yes.
Leo: Although, okay, I'm just going to say -
Gina: Oh boy, here we go.
Leo: Not that I'm using the iPhone – there's two things that are great. One is that Touch ID really works and that's really nice to unlock stuff. The other is that Messages is – now, it's totally wrong because it only works with people who have iOS and OS 10 devices but it is a nice way to communicate. You can do audio, I mean, it's really a nice system.
Gina: It's similar to Hangouts. I've never used iMessage.
Leo: It's better than Hangouts.
Gina: It's better than Hangouts? How?
Leo: I wish Google would add some features. Well, for instance, say, I'm going to send a message to Lisa. I could, of course, text an iMessage and if I tap in the text field, I'll get a keyboard. Just like Hangouts, I can attach a file. But look at this – see the little microphone here? If I press it, I can start recording a message to Lisa and then swipe up, and it sends it. You can't do that on Hangouts.
Jeff: Well, I can use Hangouts to type it for me without needing to go through the trouble of listening to the darn thing.
Leo: No, but did you see how fast that was? Look at that and it's much easier.
Jeff: I use Hangouts' dictation all the time.
Leo: This isn't dictation. I'm sending her the audio.
Jeff: No, I'm saying I prefer dictation because I would hate to have to listen to the darn audio thing.
Leo: So Lisa, do you prefer dictation or do you love hearing these great messages from me, like mwah!
Leo: Then I send it. See?
Gina: You two, you're disgusting.
Jeff: Spare us the newlywed. Ugh!
Gina: Jeez. That's old married people.
Leo: Okay, all right.
Jeff: Public displays of affection, jeez.
Leo: Disgusting! Disgusting! No, but I do use Hangouts, which is a second-class citizen on the iPhone. But it's not a completely second-class citizen. But I find that little audio thing really sweet.
Gina: Yes, well, you're an audio guy.
Leo: Without any additional feature, I can just do Messages on the desktop with a laptop or the iPad, and those all work together. But it's only when somebody is on a Mac, which is frustrating. I guess I could SMS somebody.
Gina: Oh, but then you'll get green bubbles.
Leo: “I hate them green bubbles.” Samsung is going to make a new Galaxy smart phone, which I presume they'll announce next month at Mobile World Congress with not one, not two, but three screens. This is a story from, again, Bloomberg Business Week. We'll see a lot about phones.
Jeff: How three? You've got the main one, the curved one – what's the third one?
Leo: There will be a curve on the left.
Jeff: Oh, both sides, right. Here's the problem, the reason I like the one curve – I never know, easily, which is upside down and right side up when I pick up the phone by feel. But you really know that, it really does make sense. They ought to leave it on one side.
Leo: Samsung got a lot of attention doing the right thing, I think, which was putting in a disclaimer in its user manual for the TV – Samsung Smart TVs, some you can talk to. Mine, you can talk to. It says, in the disclaimer, if you enable voice recognition to interact with your Smart TV using your voice, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted along with information about your device, including device identifiers, to a third-party service provider, Nuance Communications, that converts your voice commands to text and to the extent necessary, provide the voice recognition features to you.
Google does the same thing when you say, “OK, you know who.” Oh, sorry. When you say, “OK, you know who,” Google will – the phone's not always sending it to Google but as soon as you say, “OK,” or, “Hey, Siri,” and press the button, it sends that back to Apple or Google. In this case, Samsung doesn't have a voice recognition department so they send it to Nuance, who, by the way, provides a lot of the recognition for Apple as well. Samsung will collect your interactive voice commands only when you make a specific search request to the Smart TV, like clicking the activation button on your remote or screen, and speaking into the microphone on the remote control. Now, Samsung says, “Don't worry, it's not ominous. Calm down.” They do not monitor living room conversations and of course they don't.
Jeff: But the wording in the yield before was -
Leo: It kind of implied that.
Jeff: Well, it was translated badly, I think, and yes. It implied that suddenly, everything you say – because it said, “Be careful.”
Leo: That was the interesting thing and I think that was actually Samsung trying to do the right thing and warn people. We talked about this with Steve Gibson yesterday on Security Now. I think that it's probably good to disclose what you're doing and even to say, “Hey, if this bothers you, turn this feature off, because if you say sensitive things, it could be sent up to our servers.”
Jeff: It probably is discover-able in your divorce.
Leo: Maybe, maybe not. I don't know.
Jeff: No, I mean, they want to limit their liability.
Leo: They're erring on the side of caution.
Leo: But as you and everybody else knows, if you have an Xbox One in your living room and you say, “OK, Xbox,” it then starts listening and sends the content back to Microsoft. If you say, “OK, G-O-O-G-L-E,” it will start listening or your browser will start listening and send the stuff back to Google. That's how these work. They don't constantly stream it because that would be prohibitive. I don't know. I feel like Samsung kind of got -
Jeff: Okay, Leo, here's – there's this security sheet now, that everybody is supposed to put tape over the camera on their laptop. I think it's ridiculous, right? So is this the same kind of thing, that everybody should chop the ears off their TVs?
Leo: Well, it's very easy, and I think to Samsung's credit, they explained it and said, “And you can turn it off. Here's how you turn it off.” I actually have turned it off on my Samsung TV, not because I'm paranoid or worried about privacy but because I don't – it's not a useful feature for me. But I love the Amazon Echo, we played with that. Same thing, when you say the word, “Alexa,” it wakes up, takes notice and then it'll answer your question. It does that by sending it back to Amazon. None of these devices can do it locally, they don't have enough brains, certainly not your TV. However, this one, I don't like.
I don't know if this is true, but a number of Samsung Smart TVs, and I am one, I haven't seen this. They say that their TV sets have started to interrupt their movie viewing with a Pepsi ad.
Gina: What? Oh.
Leo: They're dynamically inserting ads – if that's the case, I'm going to throw my $9000 curved OLED TV out the window and cry.
Jason: I'll be standing outside your window with arms wide open.
Leo: You bought the TV. There's no reason – many TVs, the Panasonic Veer also has banner ads, some of which play movies on the interface and you can disable some but not all. But for it to insert an ad into a movie I am watching …
Gina: From your hard drive. These are people watching a movie from Plex.
Leo: From Plex. Samsung said, “We are aware of a situation that has caused some Smart TV users in Australia experience program interruption in the form of an advertisement. This seems to be caused by an error and we are currently conducting a full and thorough investigation into the cause. It's only happening in Australia. We'd like to apologize.” I have to say, I don't use Plex, but I've never seen a Pepsi ad inserted to any of my content on my Samsung Smart TV. It might have to do with Foxtel, I don't know. There should not be ads on your TV anywhere because you bought it. It's just a matter of time, I suppose. Let's see, anything else?
Good news, we talked yesterday about the ProPublica article. Verner Koch, who is a German who has, since 1999, been mostly the one guy who supports GPG Tools. I use it, I love it. It is an open source version of PGP encryption for your email and it could be used to sign other things, encrypt other things. The article by Julia Angwin was just – it kind of broke my heart. He created a new privacy guard, actually, in '97 and since then has been almost single-handedly keeping it alive with patches and updates from his home in Germany. “I'm too idealistic,” he says. “In early 2013, I was about ready to give it all up and take a straight job but then the Snowden news broke and I realized this is not the time to cancel.” Thank goodness. He's been making about $25 thousand a year since 2001. He did launch a fundraiser in December which has raised $43 thousand.
Here's the good news. When this article came out, the Linux Foundation gave him a one-time grant of $60 thousand. Facebook and Stripe each pledged $50 thousand a year to GPG Tools and donations flooded his site. He almost immediately reached his funding goal of $137 thousand.
Gina: Oh, that's great.
Leo: So he's now got $300 thousand more to support his efforts and he deserves it. By the way, apparently there's a launch – this is the deep space observatory, a Space X launch which has been scrubbed twice. It looks like they're going to be able to do it this time. [video plays]
Jason: Kind of timely because Google just confirmed $1 billion to Space X.
Jeff: Elon Musk is just the coolest.
Leo: I'm getting all these people who are saying, “I had no idea I was a blue bubble.” Or green, there you go. They got the Discover off.
Jeff: When is this supposed to come back on to the barge?
Leo: When is it supposed to do that?
Jason: An hour.
Leo: An hour, that's the launch vehicle after it gets whatever.
Jeff: [crosstalk] – its time.
Leo: It's a deep space weather satellite which I think, as I remember, is going to be in space four times the distance to the moon? Three times the distance. It's at the La Grange point, ah, okay, which is roughly 750 thousand miles out. So that's cool. The deep space climate observatory, successful launch, very nice. Congratulations Space X and yes, Google is an investor in Space X, we just learned. $900 million into Space X's $1 billion round. So that's pretty much 90%.
Gina: So basically, the whole round.
Jeff: A few people were allowed to follow on, is what that means.
Leo: That's nice, good for them. Google and Fidelity … by the way, for their $1 billion, they get about 10% of the company so I guess that values the company at $10 billion. So Space X did that launch vehicle, not the Discover satellite. That's a government satellite but the government paid Space X to put it into space, successful launch. I don't know what they're going to announce but Google and Mattel have a thing coming up.
Sorry, I've got to turn my phone off. I'm getting all these bubbles all of the sudden. I'm sorry. It's for a major international toy fair this Friday. Mattel invites you to view what's possible with an exclusive announcement and product debut. Then at the bottom, Mattel and Google. Do you think it's Google Cardboard?
Gina: It sounds Cardboard-y to me.
Leo: Does Mattel make that 3D viewer, the Viewmaster? The Viewmaster 2.0. Or it could be a tablet. There's lots of things it could be.
Jacob: They've got Viewmaster in the invite, so -
Leo: That's what this is. “View what's possible,” of course. Duh.
Jason: Maybe it's a tablet shaped as a Viewmaster.
Leo: Wouldn't that be great? Cardboard, which was really the most interesting giveaway at the last Google IO – it really hasn't been exploited well enough, I think.
Jason: I think Google's kind of stepping up a little bit. LG just announced that buyers of the LGG 3 now get free LG's own version of the Cardboard viewer and it's made of plastic. So I don't know what you call it when Cardboard is made of plastic. But more and more we're seeing it and we're seeing more apps for it as well.
Leo: I love it.
Gina: It seems like they could make a simple app that you could pull on the magnet and it switches to viewer.
Jason: I mean, it kind of already is a Viewmaster, really.
Leo: Yes, that's the little magnetic thing and then there's RF or NFC in here that triggers the program to run. This is the one Gina built in her lap as she was driving up from Google IO without even looking at the instructions. That's why it's not really quite …
Gina: It's not quite put together so well. I refused to look at the instructions, I was like, “I will figure this out. I will unfold this thing.”
Jeff: I loved watching that. That was the greatest.
Gina: It wasn't very graceful but I got it done.
Leo: I wish I could've seen it.
Jeff: I was so impressed. It was determined Gina, the maker.
Gina: Yes, determined Gina could have done that a lot more efficiently if I'd just read the instructions, if I had RTFM.
Leo: No, no. You did it perfectly. So the idea is that you have to have an Android phone. You put the Android phone in here and suddenly you get a new world view. It actually is the coolest thing they handed out at Google IO. I know you guys got two Android ware watches but this is the coolest thing.
Jason: It's awesome when the coolest thing from Google IO only costs like $7 to buy on the internet, you know? everybody can get one now.
Leo: All right, let's take a break. We've got a tool, a number and yes, Gina's tip or thing, whatever, coming up. We've missed you, Gina.
Our show today brought to you by my razor. See how smooth, baby smooth my face is? That's because I know a guy name Harry. Harry's razors, we've been talking about him a lot. I love it. If you go to harrys.com, you can take a look at the best deal in shaving out there. Shaving, who likes to shave? Nobody does, especially if you have a bad or dull blade, or heaven forbid, you're so cheap that you're using those disposable razors. Actually, I don't blame you. When a Gillette blade in the drugstore could cost as much as $4, it's tempting to go get the 69 cent Bic, but I'll tell you what, it's bad enough you have to scrape your face with a super sharp blade every day. To do it with a badly made super sharp blade is ridiculous and to spend $4 is ridiculous. Harry's solves this by giving you the best razor blades I've ever used, better than anybody else's for about half the price of those big brand names.
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Gina Trapani, my little tip from you – we've missed all those great tips. You've been collecting them, no doubt.
Gina: Oh, yes, indeed. In fact, I had the bad luck of having to Google “stomach flu” recently because, you know, a two year old in daycare. It turns out that Google is adding health-related information into the knowledge graph. So if you take your phone, for example, and search for tonsillitis or laryngitis, gastroenteritis, whatever, 'tis the season to get sick, you'll get a card with a bunch of information about the condition, how contagious it is, whether it's self-treatable or self-diagnoseable, what ages affect it. This is exactly what we were talking about earlier, that Google's trying to give you the answers right there. They're an answer service, right? They're not a web search as much anymore.
Leo: That's great.
Gina: Yes, really, really nice way to quickly – for those of us who like to self-diagnose by searching, by scaring the heck out of yourself by searching symptoms and illnesses, Google's there to help.
Leo: I've noticed my doctor tells me less now. He just assumes I'm going to Google it. Do you notice that? Like they don't have to give us all the education. They used to spend a lot of time – and I was very bored, where they would say, “Let me explain what this all means.” Now they say, “Hey, you can google it.” Fine.
Gina: It's true.
Leo: I don't mind that, as long as you go to somewhere reliable or you use, now, Google's knowledge graph because they have actual physicians reviewing it and so forth.
Jeff: Which I think is great, and I think it's important and it's the right thing to do. However, you know it's going to be controversial.
Jeff: WebMD's stock went down.
Leo: Oh. Because Google is competing with WebMD.
Jeff: So the argument could be, “Oh -” – because Google's trying to do this because they're trying to avoid us seeing irresponsible information and I think it's the right thing to do. But it's Google entering further into content.
Jeff: I don't know that there's any ads associated with it. I don't know if they'll be making money on it.
Leo: It's knowledge graph, I don't think it's going to be.
Jeff: It is important, it is. I agree with all of that but mark my words, somebody with a German accent is going to complain.
Gina: Google's blog post about this says, “1 in 20 Google searches for health-related information,” so we're all looking for information about why we feel a certain way, or our kids. That's amazing.
Leo: Jeff Jarvis, your number.
Jeff: So just a minor little thing here. Where did I go with it? A Scottish researcher named Ronald McDonald – insert laugh track here.
Leo: “Ronald McDonald!”
Jeff: Yes, all the better, says that – now I've lost the screen. You can predict elections based on Google searches.
Leo: Well, that's not the first time we've heard this, right?
Jeff: No, but I think it's starting to get interesting to me – plus I didn't have any of the numbers, so I'm late to standards this week. But I thought it interesting that TV gets accused of having an impact on elections because we're not supposed to reveal the polls until they're closed. But basically, one way or the other, between [536 Ezra Klein?] and all these tools now, we're going to get better, and better and better polling to an extent that says that, you know – the question is, will people stop going to vote?
Leo: Because Google already told them who's going to win?
Jeff: Yes, exactly.
Leo: That doesn't make sense because the only reason that information works is because people are googling the candidate or the measure, so if people stopped getting involved then it would stop working. I don't know.
Jeff: I don't know. I didn't say it was my best number.
Leo: What was the number?
Jeff: There's numbers in it.
Leo: There is no number! I've got a number, you want a number? 998. Ask me what that number has to do with?
Jeff: How about your end up going to spend that many thousands of dollars on your website.
Leo: No. Oh God, no.
Gina: No, no.
Leo: No. Wait till you see the new website. You tell me then if it was worth a quarter of a million dollars.
Jeff: Oh, Leo.
Leo: How much does it cost – see, it's my fault because we went to a really big, great firm that does sites for big companies and of course, as soon as I told people this, everybody and their brother who watches the show said, “I could do it for you for $15.93,” and stuff like that. Wait. You tell me – I think you're going to see every dollar on the screen. We'll see.
Gina: I can't wait.
Leo: You'll see. Because the tricky thing that we're doing and the thing that's kind of expensive is we're doing an API.
Jeff: Which is good.
Leo: Then the website calls the API – it's just one of many consumers. I really feel like we need to get past the notion of a webpage, especially for podcasts.
Jeff: Yes, you do.
Leo: Yes. Yes, we will have a beta test and actually, we're going to have it sooner than we thought so stay tuned, we will be looking for beta testers. My number, 998, though, doesn't apply to that. It applies to the number of Chrome experiments. So the newest, we just played with which is the IO 205 experiment but I realized, we've probably talked about this before. But if you are using a Web GL capable browser, preferably Chrome, that there is a place you can go. Chromeexperiments.com, where you can see all of the experiments collected into one place. It is a Google page, so these are all approved experiments. You don't have to worry about, you know, the harm that these could cause. They actually do a nice job. They show you the website it's from, the QR code you could use so that if you're on a phone, you don't have to enter in any URLs. If you're on a browser, though, you can try these. Here's one, “Pop the bubble, release the fish.” This is called Traveling Fish. It's loading very slowly but there's quite a few. That's probably because it's a feature. Oh, “Web GL attractors' trip.”
Gina: I'm glad this site is proving me wrong. I was saying that nobody but Google makes these things, so -
Gina: I was dead wrong.
Jeff: Look at the Helvitica Clock 2.
Leo: This is fun. I'm going to go home and take some shrooms. Let me – what is it, the Helvetica Clock? All right. Whoa, dude. Helvitica Clock 2.
Jeff: I'm guessing the sequel is Comic Sans Clock.
Leo: Wouldn't that be funny? Here you go, Helivitica Clock 2. Wow, that is a pretty render of the digits and each new time crashes into the previous time. That's hysterical. So that's showing Web GL because it's showing the physics engine as well as the 3D rendering engine, because you have to predict how these things would fall in real physics.
Gina: And unfortunately, it doesn't look at all like the time because there are no colons and it's a 24 hour clock but once you know it's a clock, okay.
Leo: This is 152 and seven, yes.
Gina: No, it's 3:20, right? 15 and 20, is that -
Leo: Oh, sorry. What time is it? 1520, duh. Okay, now I get it. That is kind of – I could stare at that forever.
Gina: It is mesmerizing.
Leo: There's lots of these, quite a few of these. So if you were kind of intrigued by the Google IO thing, oh, you ain't seen nothing yet. Here's some volume metric particle flow. Enjoy.
Gina: Oh boy.
Leo: I want to thank you for – you can change the particle count, the speed, the turbulence, the color. Wow. I don't know what this is good for but let's increase the number of particles. Ooh. How about a million particles? I am animated two million particles right now on my -
Jason: Yes, looks like you might be -
Gina: Oop, and your browser is stuttering.
Leo: “I don't want to, please stop!” But that's a lot of calculations.
Jason: Yes, it really is.
Leo: Wow, that's pretty impressive, actually, that it could animate two million particles like that and the shadow. This is actually a good way to test your computer and see where it chokes.
Gina: Who needs speedtest.com?
Leo: This is a good benchmark. What's nice is the code for this is actually visible on the site so you can see how he did it.
Jason: Turn the color wheel. Well, it's – never mind.
Leo: It's a GitHub. “Git it, git it.”
Jeff: Some people have too much time.
Jeff: Ooh, NYC Taxis, A Day in the Life.
Leo: Oh, let's see that. Is that on the first page?
Jeff: No, just look for NYC. I think it's in alphabetical, or not?
Leo: Doesn't seem to be but I can search NYC. It's a Google page, you can search. NYC Taxis by Chris Wong.
Gina: This is going to be good.
Leo: A Day in the Life begins. These are – that's an MT taxi. A taxi, whoa. Going to the airport, JFK, going back. Wow.
Leo: So this is a single taxi on August 9, 2013, life in the big city.
Gina: Hey, that's neat. That's really neat. If only taxis were actually that fast.
Leo: I know, look at that. Wow. Look at that.
Gina: Down the Westside highway.
Leo: This is pretty cool actually. You can see the fares, how many passenger, $169 in fares, 66 passengers. I can load another taxi. So I don't know where this data comes from. It's, by the way, five minutes per second sped up 300x.
Gina: Do taxis broadcast their GPS data? That's interesting, maybe?
Leo: I don't know where it gets the data.
Jeff: There is and I don't know what the -
Leo: Poor guy. He's stuck in hell at the airport in Newark. He's waiting, circling, waiting, no fare, waiting, he decided to go home? No, he's just floating around the airport and looking. There, he decided to go home and said to heck with that. “I'm not going to get a fare.” Poor guy.
Jason: He's not rushing, either.
Jeff: New York Taxis can't pick up at Newark.
Leo: What's he doing there.
Jeff: He must have dropped somebody off. Now he's in the Holland Tunnel.
Jeff: [crosstalk], Leo. Up above, you can speed it up.
Leo: I did speed it up. It's now nine minutes per second.
Jeff: I've got 17 minutes per second, it's really zapping.
Leo: I think he's on a break.
Jason: A four-hour break.
Leo: This guy fell asleep. Whoa, there he goes. “I'm awake!” Holy camoley, holy cow.
Jason: “Oh, that's right, I'm supposed to be driving.”
Leo: This is a great video. This is like Tron. These are fun, aren't they? Web GL. Maybe it isn't dead.
Jeff: My cabbie had 48 passengers, $713 total revenue. That's a hard day, man. $77 – [crosstalk]
Leo: Well, he doesn't get to keep it all, right? How much does he keep?
Jeff: I don't know.
Leo: This guy had 126 passengers, $719, $72 in tips, so he gets to keep that and probably gets to keep a few hundred. That's not bad.
Jeff: It's hard work.
Gina: It is tough work.
Leo: Map Box and Hiroku, and there's a blog post so you can see how it was done. That was really cool. That is really cool. Wow. There are some smart people in the world and we're glad. You know who one of them is? Gina Trapani. We love -
Gina: It is so great to be back.
Leo: We love you, Gina.
Jeff: Don't leave! Lassie, don't go.
Leo: This is hard enough on her. The poor woman really does want to be here. I know you do.
Gina: I do. I love being here.
Leo: But you've got a startup and you can't be spending time with us when you've actually got a job to do.
Gina: I do enjoy it very much. It was really cool to be back and thanks for having me. I'll be back in a few weeks.
Leo: Please go to ThinkUp.com, sign up. If 1000 people signed up for ThinkUp, I think Gina will be back tomorrow. I swear to God. I mean, right? If enough people said, “Boy, that Gina Trapani. She's great. I should sign up for ThinkUp.” If 1000 people did every time you're on, I think we'd see more of her. So folks, you know what to do. Sign up.
Gina: I've heard from TWiT viewers that they've signed up for ThinkUp. They're not big social media users but they signed up and subscribed because they wanted to support me, which is just incredible and I'm thankful to hear. Thanks to the TWiT audience for being so supportive, I really appreciate that.
Leo: You get it free for two weeks so there's no reason not to.
Gina: Yes, and we just released a really cool new developer tool if you go to blog.thinkup.com. You can design your own Insight. We've got this whizzy-wig, load up a webpage, pick your color, image and avatar and you can write your own Insight. It's been kind of a fun little thing.
Gina: Yes. It's the Insight Creator.
Leo: Okay, can I be honest? That's the kind of thing Gina does when she's not here is she gets to do stuff like this. That is really neat.
Gina: Right, so you can choose a bar chart, a pie chart, which network, types of things like that.
Leo: Oh, Instagram. When are you going to do Instagram?
Gina: We are working on Instagram right now and are hopefully going to have it out in the next few weeks. So I'm really excited about that. It's in testing right now, internally, so really excited about that. So if you design an Insight using this kind of editor, you can write the headline and body, choose an avatar and then there's a button at the bottom that says “File a ticket,” and it automatically will create a new GitHub issue. You can save it and we'll see it, and you can kind of propose it for development. So a lot of fun, yes.
Leo: Neat, neat, neat and ThinkUp is so great. One more time, I'll show you my Insights from ThinkUp. It's really fun. I can't wait to get my Instagram in here. That is great.
Gina: Yes. I'm really excited for Instagram, super excited for Instagram. It'll make the stream so much nicer, because it'll be photos. There will be a lot more photos, a lot more visual and Instagram doesn't really have a whole lot of analytics available to it, unlike Twitter and to some extent Facebook. So it'll be fun to add that to the product.
Jeff: Did you see Amazon's giveaway?
Leo: No, what did they give away?
Jeff: Anybody can give away something. You can set a limit and say, “If I get 1000 new Twitter followers, the 1000th person will get a book.”
Leo: You just – wow. Amazon.com/giveaway, run promotional giveaways to create buzz. Wow, that's so smart of them.
Jeff: Isn't it?
Leo: You select a price, set up the give away, get a link and you can share the link on your – so you could say, “For my 10000th follower.” Then for the entry, win or lose is fun and simple with immediate results. Amazon collects, of course, all of their personal information and then ships a prize directly to the winners. Wow, that's kind of cool. I'm going to have to do some of that.
Jeff: Jeremy Kaplan's on that.
Leo: I'm going to have to do something like that.
Jeff: It's perfect for TWiT.
Leo: Yes. It hardly costs you anything. I'll give away Gutenberg the Geek, it'll only cost me a buck!
Jeff: That's right. What I want to know is if we get enough new followers, we get Gina back.
Leo: How can we get Gina back? We've got to really strong arm this. No, that's mean. That's mean. She has a job to do and Anil Dash is going to kill you, Jeff Jarvis. Stop trying to poach my -
Gina: I'm feeling the love.
Jeff: Leo and I are just puppies looking for love.
Leo: We're not looking for love, we're looking for Gina.
Gina: You guys have been doing pretty well without me. You've had some awesome, awesome guests, Matthew and Matt. I'm going to be back in a few weeks. It's going to be good. It's been great to be here today. I do miss you guys and I'm thrilled that you're still having me on the regular even though I abandoned you.
Leo: You didn't abandon us, I want to make that very clear that we understand. We love you and to get you once a month is great, so thank you and I appreciate it.
Gina: Awesome and thank you.
Leo: Ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Jarvis from his professorial lair, his ivory tower high about Times Square at the CUNY City University of New York journalism school. Great to have you.
Jeff: Wonderful to be here.
Leo: Always a please. We do this show every Wednesday, 1 p.m. Pacific, 4 p.m. Eastern Time, 2100 UTC. You could be in the studio audience for any of our shows but we do ask that you email just so we know. There are some studios, like my office, that don't have a lot of room but even if you don't email us, just show up and if we can accommodate you, we will. We just can't guarantee you a seat unless you email .
You can also watch live on our stream at TwiT.tv, and you can also get on demand versions of every show after the fact, both audio and video available at TwiT.tv/twig wherever you find your podcasts are aggregated and distributed by the interwebs. Thanks for joining us! We'll see you next time on This Week in Google.