This Week in Google 290 (Transcript)
Leo Laporte: It's time for TWiG, This Week in Google. Aaron Newcomb joins Jeff Jarvis and me. We're going to talk about the GDC, the Game Developer Conference, some big announcements there, the Mobile World Conference, all the latest Android devices, the future of Google. We welcome back Bradley Horowitz to the Google+ Team. It's all ahead next on TWiG.
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Leo: This is TWiG, episode 290, recorded Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
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Time for TWiG, This Week in Google. The show where we cover all the Googly goodness out there, the Cloud. We throw in a little Facebook, a little Twitter, a little this, a little that, a little geeks bearing news. Speaking of which, Jeff Jarvis is here.
Jeff: Oh, excuse me, I was just reading a little bit of Gutenberg, here.
Leo: A little Gutenberg and the impact of printing. That's not your book. That's somebody else's book.
Jeff: Somebody else's, Stephan Fusen.
Leo: You have written, of course, an Amazon Kindle single called Gutenberg the Geek, which is quite good. I highly recommend it.
Jeff: Thank you, thank you. It's short. That's the benefit of it.
Leo: It's short and cheap, yes.
Jeff: 99 cents. I keep forgetting, it's been there so long, I should just make the thing free now.
Leo: Yes, you could, right? Or give it away? And Geeks Bearing Gifts is his latest. That's available on Amazon as well.
Jeff: Thank you for the plug.
Leo: Reinventing journalism - I saw on Facebook you want to start to talk about what to do to make Facebook a better news outlet.
Jeff: Yes. I did a post about what Google could do for news and what news could do for Google. Next in the series is Facebook. Facebook is already doing interesting things; I talked to them yesterday. They're doing neat stuff.
Leo: Neat. And joining us in-house, Aaron Newcomb is here. He's with NetApp but he's also a regular on many of our shows like All About Android, Floss Weekly. It looks like you brought a game controller just in case you got bored?
Aaron: Well, I know that this is in the rundown today. I don't know if we're going to talk about it but there's some gaming news with NVIDIA. So we can talk about that a little bit if we have time.
Leo: With Shields, yes. Are you a Shield user?
Aaron: Oh, yes. Absolutely, this is mine.
Leo: You have the K1 version?
Aaron: Yes, the first one. The Shield tablet.
Leo: Yes, we'll talk about that in a little bit. In fact, Mobile World Congress going on right now. Mike Elgan is there, Miriam Schwar is there. We've been doing a - I hope you've been watching our live coverage, not only on TNT and TN2, our news shows, but we're also streaming live specials each day. Day two went up and day three will be going up soon. Mike wanders the show floor in search of cool stuff and we did cover live. I got up at 9 in the morning Pacific time to cover the Samsung event. I didn't get up for the HTC event, which was like even earlier. But HTC announced a new version of the HTC 1, it's very much an evolution of the 1, the M9. You guys probably talked about it last night on All About Android.
Jason: Yes, most certainly.
Leo: Love the M9. I'm a big fan, but there's nothing to knock me out there. They replaced that silly ultra-pixel - what was it? 4 megapixel camera on the back with a 20 megapixel real camera? But they put the ultra-pixel on the front. Everyone's doing better selfie cams. You know where I'm a little disappointed? I really thought that we would start to see better audio DAX in phones, high-res DAX this year. I really expected HTC to do it. I thought Samsung might do it. Neither. So that was a little disappointing, because I thought this was going to be the year for high-res music to take off. Not so.
Jeff: I'm waiting for a phone to have kind of a cord-in, stretchy thing so you have a built in selfie stick.
Leo: Yes. Press a button, the phone grows.
Jason: A kickstand. The kickstand thing didn't work out, but.
Leo: They are getting bigger. If you just make them a little bit bigger, you wouldn't - just take a picture from the top. It's out there.
Aaron: Unfortunately, that phone, though, takes up a lot of space. The OS. That's what I've read, anyways, the OS takes up -
Leo: Oh, the 09?
Aaron: Yes, a lot of space. I think it takes up - even though it has more storage space included, it takes up like 30% of the storage, your available storage, is taken up just from the OS.
Leo: That's not good.
Aaron: No, no.
Leo: Samsung, I think, actually has the phone of the show with the new Galaxy S6 Edge.
Jeff: Are you convinced with the double edge?
Leo: Let me - I'll say a couple things. First, it's disappointing that Samsung - really, it was the last holdout for a removable battery and SD cards, you know, the back would come off. But in order to do that, you have to have a crappy, ugly plastic back. So they've gone to this full aluminum design with a glass back of all things. Kind of like the iPhone 4, and so you - but supposedly, better battery life anyway with a better battery and more juice protection in the Exynos processor. It comes in a 128 gb version as well as the 32 gb and 64 gb. So I guess it's okay.
Aaron: It's okay. I still like to have the option - I mean, we've seen this before, right? Nobody's going to need more than 4 gig of memory. We've seen this before. For most people, it's fine. I think for power users like me, I always want to have that extra capacity just so that I can switch stuff out, change things around. But at least they're not giving you a device that's 16 gig and no SD card. That's awful. But yes.
Leo: They've also with TouchWiz - they've continued to step back with TouchWiz. It looks pretty pure Lollipop.
Jeff: But the thing I'm still worried about is even the underlying OS in a Samsung phone, you know, the settings and stuff like that. I just find its logic different.
Leo: It is. It is. Here they're comparing their own two phones, the - I guess that's an S5 with the S6. Or is that a Note 4?
Aaron: Looks like an S5.
Leo: Yes, the S5 new deseign. I think the thing that really is interesting with the S6 really is the Edge. It's not the same as the Note 4 Edge, which I did not like. The Note 4 had two screens, a curved one and a flat edge one. That was a completely separate screen and could do a lot more than the Galaxy S6. You could have screensavers on it and could really set a lot of different things in there. But it didn't work very well. It was upside-down for one thing, which always bugged me. I could never get it to work the way it was supposed to work. This is not. This is one screen that just curves. They're melting the screen and curving it around. So it doesn't actually add a lot of functionality. I guess you can have - because it's a super AMOLED screen, you can have -
Jeff: Yes, you can have these five frames that are constantly on the edge, but I don't use my phone for connecting with people. I mean, I use it more for connecting with information than people.
Leo: Yes, but this is - I think the Edge - that's just using the extra screen real estate for something. The Edge, I think, is about beauty, about design in this case.
Jeff: It is.
Leo: I think it's very pretty, and of course, everybody's worried about the fact this phone is almost entirely glass. Glass back and a curve-edged screen which will make it very vulnerable, although it is Gorilla Glass for - I think that's actually quite lovely. But we'll see.
Jeff: How did Mike and company say it felt?
Leo: Miriam liked it. Miriam was raving about it. I don't know what Mike said. I don't know if Mike liked it or not.
Jeff: But the pricing - we have no confirmation on the pricing?
Leo: No. April 10. But you know, Apple sells a phone, the iPhone 6+, which is $1000 if you load it up. There's a market for that. They sold quite a few of those. So maybe Samsung has decided in addition to the low-end phones they continue to make, they have one really nice phone.
Jason: I think that's what you're going to get out of the Edge. You're going to get a pretty expensive device, probably $800, $900, somewhere around there.
Leo: The Note 4 Edge, I think, is around $120 more than the Note 4. Something like that, for that extra little screen on the side.
Aaron: Yes. I don't know if it's worth it for me. I don't think I would go for it. I mean, unless there's some sort of functionality there that I just can't live without, I don't know. I don't -
Jason: I think it's style points more than anything, yes.
Leo: That's why I want it. I'm a stylish guy. I want it to look good in my hand, feel good. I think it'll feel good. One of the things Miriam - I think it was Miriam who said this. On phones where you're swiping in from the edge a lot, having a curved screen like that where it kind of flows over it kind of feels good.
Leo: That's just a thought. So camera on the new S6 is the same number of megapixels, 16, but they have OYS in it, which the Note 4 had but not the S5, and they have an F19 aperture, very fast lens. That's faster than anything else on the market. So we'll see. It looked very good. They showed low-light performance head-to-head against an iPhone that was really remarkable. Both in stills and video, but that's Samsung's demo.
Here's some news. The demo was normal. There was no Broadway number.
Jeff: Yes, which was great! It was about the product.
Leo: Two of the three presenters were professional women, so the subliminal sexism of previous Samsung events is gone. They obviously are sensitized a little.
Aaron: They're finally listening, yes. I remember the Broadway one, I think you and I did that and -
Leo: Horrible. Embarassing!
Aaron: It was just really bad. [crosstalk]
Jeff: I was there in person, too.
Aaron: I'm glad they're coming around. You need to do that.
Leo: And then at the end, there was no fashion show with weirdly dressed models prancing around.
Jeff: No ridiculous skits.
Jeff: “Hey, let's live life on our phones.” No.
Aaron: I think companies tend to do that. They try to appeal to a broader audience and when they start to have a product that appeals beyond the techie-verse, right, and they want to reach that consumer audience, they start to say, “Well, we need to have - we need to do these things.” Without knowing what those things are. “We need to have Broadway shows to appeal to people.” You know, it's nice to see that they're finally coming around. What typically happens is that people go too far with that stuff without realizing it and it's nice that they're pulling back in and connecting it, hopefully, with their core audience.
Leo: They even said the words, “We're listening,” though they were doing it in reference to the phone. But I think they're also listening to what we're saying about their press events. This is kind of a chase in Samsung. The S5 was such a flop that they realized, “Oh.”
Jeff: I think that's part of it too. They've got a - they've maybe learned that understatement is better than overstatement. Even if you consider Apple, it invented understatement in a weird way. It became a new form of overstatement.
Leo: Now, I talked about this last week because I had received it Wednesday morning in advance of the Mobile World Congress, Motorola sent us this E. Now, this is the other side of the spectrum. Here's a phone that's $150 out the door, the Motorola second-generation E. But it's a great phone. You make some sacrifices. The screen isn't as high-res, it's not as big a phone, but I thought that was a - I think, to me, more people will be interested in this. What that's going to do, I think Samsung realizes it, is if you're going to make a phone that's more than $150, it better be premium. It better not compromise in any way. I think the HTC M9 is that. I think the Samsung S6 is that.
Jeff: The OnePlus One.
Leo: The OnePlus One is starting to look a little utilitarian.
Jeff: It is, but I think what's interesting is it pushed the market. When they said no compromises, they meant it. I think the S6 is a better phone, but it was a heck of a phone for the price and to show you what you can do, and they tried to put in the best of everything they could that was available to them.
Leo: 3 gigs of RAM in the S6, that's not an improvement, especially since they have a 64-bit processor and they could go quite a bit more. They're putting their 8-way new Exynos in there, although it may be in the United States, they use the Snapdragon.
Aaron: That's what they've done in the past, yes.
Leo: That has to do with the system on the chip more than the processor has to - [crosstalk]
Jason: I'm pretty sure they're going to do Exynos.
Leo: Are they sticking with it?
Jason: I'm pretty sure they're sticking with Exynos here, too, yes.
Aaron: Is that confirmed?
Jason: You know, that's a good question. I don't know if it's confirmed. But from what I've read.
Leo: [crosstalk] - chip at all, so. I'm also - let's see, what else? I'm trying to remember. Any other features we're missing? I wish the battery were removable, but I think if they have better battery life, maybe it'll be okay. Oh, fast charging.
Jason: Yes, fast charging. No water resistance.
Leo: Oh, they're using DDR4 RAM. No water resistance, which just shows maybe that wasn't a selling point anybody cared about, either. Some did, but - DDR RAM 4, which is faster, and EMMC storage, which is faster. So we'll have to wait and see, but everybody who's played with the phone in Barcelona says it's really snappy with that fast processor, fast memory and so forth. So we'll see. We shall see.
Jason: It is interesting, though. We're talking about Samsung, you know, making changes and listening. On one hand they did, right? For such a long time, people have been complaining - myself included, about kind of the design aspect of Samsung devices and how I'm not a huge fan of plastic, it feels cheap. So they've gone this other direction and they're putting a lot of focus on design, appealing back, TouchWiz and everything. On the other hand, a lot of their success was built on what they were doing, aside from this year which wasn't so successful. What they were doing included removable battery, included external storage, you know, included water resistance. So they're really kind of betting on the fact that these changes are going to get them back to where they were after such a difficult year for the company.
Jeff: Jason, do you think it could be in a way too timid? “Okay, okay, we'll be like everybody else and we'll just do it more expensively.”
Jason: Yes, that could be it too. I don't know. I'm very curious to see if this works for them because they're really changing a lot after having so many years of doing - you know, of kind of following a particular path. Straying off that path now, big time.
Aaron: It's a big bet. I wonder if, kind of, the - it's just about a flop of the S5. I wonder if that taught them a lesson or they're trying to come back from that, because I think if the S6 is not as popular, then they're in big trouble, right?
Leo: Yes, two in a row would be bad. The Note still sells very well though, which is interesting. The Note 4 was a success.
Jeff: Correct me if I'm wrong, but they invented the “phablet.”
Leo: Yes, they were the first.
Jeff: They pushed the whole market to the giant phone and then didn't know what to do with it.
Leo: It wasn't until Apple Plus that it was okay. Blackberry announced an interesting phone, a five-inch touch screen for only $279. That's the leap. Blackberry does need to do something to leap back into the market. You know the last Blackberry, all touch screen, I had was so god-awful. I'd have to really think twice about this. It will run Blackberry 10 with a five-inch HD display. HD is 720 pixels, though, not - so only 293. Only 293 pixels per inch, only, but I have to say, that's plenty.
Aaron: On a five-inch device, yes.
Leo: Yes, that's plenty. But when you look at the 5.1 inch which has 577 pixels per inch, numbers-wise, it doesn't look as good. I don't know if that matters at all.
Jeff: Every time I see somebody with a Blackberry now, I have to admit that I giggle.
Leo: Yes. 8 megapixel camera, 1080 pixel HD. They're just a little behind. 1.5 gHz, two gigs of RAM. 16 gigs of storage for firmware, does have a microSD card slot. 25 hours, they're planning, of battery life. So, you know, I don't want to leave Blackberry out.
Jeff: You know what I say? Bring back the Trio.
Leo: I don't know why you say that but I'm glad you say it.
Jeff: If we're going to start being nostalgic for some old brands. I loved my Trio. I adored my Trio.
Leo: You know what I loved? My Scion 3A. Now that - of course, it wasn't a phone but you could put a phone in it. Nowadays it would be a phone.
Aaron: I loved my TRS80 at the time.
Leo: You know what I loved? My Atari 400. You know what I loved?
Aaron: We could go on and on.
Leo: Sundar Pichai spoke at Mobile World Congress. Google is going to give details of its US mobile network in the coming months. Yes, Google is going to do a US mobile network. He also talked about the Loon balloons. They're apparently close to launch. That's global internet. “An experimental mobile network in the United States -” They want to do an NVNO that is sitting on top of - we've mentioned this before, the other carriers. In fact, apparently what they're planning to do, although Pichai did not confirm it, he said it will merge cell and WiFi networks in a seamless way. Apparently what they want to do is pick whatever network works the best right now and use that.
Leo: Which would be awesome.
Jeff: My guess is that this is aimed primarily at Kansas City, and Austin and such. Because they keep on saying, “It's small, it's small, it's small.” If they have ubiquitous WiFi around the markets like that, and 90% of the time, you're on the WiFi and only when it fails, when you're out of town, does it do cell.
Leo: Or public wireless does that. That's how our public wireless works. They prefer WiFi and since there's so much open WiFi around now -
Jeff: But you know, it's not really open. That's the problem. The fact that I have to go to - I used to have an app that would sign me into the Starbucks WiFi and it doesn't work anymore. The fact that I have to go to the stupid page. I'm sick of it. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Folks, I want a universal statement, “I'm giving up my rights and my firstborn.” And I'll sign it once and then whenever it hits a WiFi, it says, “He's already signed it, he's already agreed to give us everything.”
Leo: You know, that does work - not that this is a great selling point, but with Comcast's Xfinity service. So if you remember, it was a little controversial if you're a Comcast WiFi customer, that you're router also has this public network aspect. Here in Petaluma, it's a Comcast town. I can get WiFi almost anywhere. Once you sign in with Xfinity WiFi once, that's now a registered WiFi network and you don't have to sign in ever again. I often find I'm on Wifi, mostly because it's not working and I'm like, “Oh, I signed into Xfinity WiFi again.”
Aaron: It's annoying.
Leo: I turned it off. So sometimes you might want to forget it. But as you get better and better with better and better signal, and better connectivity, that's a mesh network. It's very interesting.
Jeff: Or could we have Loon balloons or some other strange thing that they're thinking about? I don't know.
Leo: You saw that Mark Zuckerberg said, “It isn't sci-fi that's going to get internet to the next billion people. It's just carriers doing the job of wiring.” I think he makes a good point. We talk a lot about Facebook drones, Google balloons, it's - you know.
If you want a waterproof Android phone, there still is one. Sony's Xperia M4 Aqua.
Jeff: How long is Sony going to stay in the business, though?
Leo: Well, now that's the funny thing because there was some talk of them exiting the phone business. I think their CEO, some executive said, “We're thinking about it.” Then it was very vigorously denied by another Sony executive yesterday or the day before saying, “No, we're in the business.” Maybe that's as long as the M4 Aqua is available. Then they'll get out of it. I don't know. It's kind of a mid-range phone. It's an 8-bit, octo-core, Snapdragon, 615, Lollipop, two-day battery life, waterproof up to 1.5 meters of freshwater. So no saltwater allowed and chlorinated, not so good. You should rinse it if it gets in chlorine. It starts at a price of 299 Euros. That's about $400 or $500. It'll be available in 80 countries but not the US. Not the US, they're going to stick with their flagship phones in the US.
Jeff: Here's a question for you. Do you think Sony could Kodak? Could Sony die?
Leo: Oh, yes.
Aaron: Oh, absolutely.
Jeff: That's phenomenal.
Leo: I think there's a big chance it might.
Jeff: As important a company that Sony was in the consumer electronics revolution, Jesus. I mean, it's been suffering, suffering, suffering and I keep on just waiting. “Someone will come in, someone will fix it.” But they could actually die.
Leo: They announced, you know, a plan for revitalizing Sony and part of the plan is spinning off - they have been spinning off a lot of stuff. They spun off the music, spun off TVs, I mean -
Leo: By the way, the Samsung phone, the S6, has a new form of payment. Remember, they bought Loop Pay. That's kind of an interesting technology. Jeff Needles uses it. It allows you to hover your phone over a swipe terminal. The phone sends out a magnetic field which is read as a real credit card being swiped, so in other words, Samsung's Pay will have touch to pay but also this swipe capability which will make it the most compatible.
Jeff: It'll work far better, I think, in Europe than here.
Leo: I don't think - do they swipe still in Europe?
Jeff: No, they do the chip card.
Leo: I thought you did chip and pin, yes.
Jeff: But I think those terminals - when you eat at a restaurant in Europe, they come to the table with the device. It's pin but I think they also have a swipe there. I imagine you could also hold it up against that. In the US, there's a hell of a lot of purchases for which this won't matter.
Leo: Well, swiping is going away, I think.
Jeff: How are you going to pay for a restaurant check?
Leo: They'll just get these new touch terminals everywhere.
Jeff: Well, that's a big deal. Every restaurant, every waiter in the -
Leo: Well, they're mandated to. This is all changing.
Jeff: Is it that evident?
Leo: So we're moving to chip and sign by October of this year, no more swipe. So there will be a chip. It won't be necessarily pin-based, you'll still maybe sign. So that sounds like the waiter, if he comes to the table, will touch - I'm getting a new American Express card, it's on its way with a chip in it. I think all your credit cards will be replaced in the next few months with chips. I think that's NFC, right? You tap it. It registers it. You might still have to print out a receipt and sign it, although it's not a - it doesn't mean you can't do chip and pin, it just means they're giving a little more time to get used to that notion. So chip and sign, though, is by October, and maybe chip and pin in many of the places you go.
Leo: So that's to fight fraud, although we'll see how well that fights fraud. But that's why everybody and their brother is announcing these new payment systems, Samsung, Apple and everybody else, because - Walmart. Because they realize all the terminals are going to be refreshed in the next six months.
Aaron: This is a huge opportunity.
Aaron: Everyone's trying to take advantage of it, absolutely.
Leo: Android Pay even exists. Sundar Pichai talked about Android Pay to replace Google Wallet.
Jason: No, to tie in with Google Wallet. Yes, because that would get really confusing, which wouldn't be too surprising, knowing Google. But yes, it's more like APIs for developers to allow developers to kind of tie global payments like this into their apps.
Leo: So they're not going to deprecate the wallet. I'll still be able to use my wallet.
Leo: So it'll provide a secure store. It will have an API. Apps will determine when and where you can use payment cards. The Google system will tokenize card numbers much like Apple and Samsung Pay do. That's one of the real advantages of these payment systems from the privacy and security point of view. You're not giving the merchant your credit card or any personal information, merely a one-time token that they can use to verify you are paying this amount. Google's Android Pay will use NFC for transmission, will support biometric authentication via hardware - oh, that's another thing on the S6. They figured out a way to do touch without swiping - Touch ID fingerprint. Although, I have to say, I've gotten used to the Note 4 and I'm pretty consistent on it. But see, I just did it and it said, “Nope,” I did it a little sideways. You have to do it just right. I do like this and it unlocks Google Wallet, unlocks FastPass. So there already is kind of a standard API for the Samsung fingerprint reader but one that works like Apple's where you just put your finger on it.
Aaron: And you're done.
Leo: Apple's works so well.
Jeff: But you know what, Leo? You know what I don't want on my Nexus 6? A button.
Leo: Right. Well, as a result you have a physical button.
Jeff: That's what I mean.
Leo: That's why Apple has a physical button. That's why Samsung - it justifies Samsung's continued - [crosstalk]
Jeff: It finally does, right.
Leo: Maybe they knew. But Pichai says it's not to compete with Samsung's offering, it's just to give them another choice. I guess it will work with a Samsung fingerprint reader, which is cool. No timeline, I guess we'll find out more at Google IO in May.
Aaron: I am glad that they're stepping this up a little bit. I mean, for a while it was unsure - I was unsure, certainly. I think a lot of people were, with what was happening with Google Wallet. Was it going to go away? I mean, I was really starting to wonder because I use Google Wallet whenever I can because it's more secure. People ask me, “Why do you do that thing with your phone? Why don't you use your credit card?” And I tell them, “There's a pin.” You know, I can revoke things very easily if someone gets my phone or something. But I've been going to stores and it hasn't been working because I guess stores are not subscribing to the service any more or whatever. So I was getting really worried but I'm glad they're stepping this up. I'm glad that they bought Isis or whatever it's called now.
Aaron: Softcard, thank you. Because I think that - and I think the reason they did it was just because they got so worried with Apple Pay. I think that kind of forced Google
Leo: Worried or they saw an opportunity. I mean, I think that just as we said, this is the time. If you're going to put your flag in the sand, this is the time to plant it. You know, Wallet was hurt because the carriers, chiefly Verizon, wanted to use Softcard and said, “Well, we're not going to let you use Apple Pay.” How many times have I installed Google Wallet or tried to on the Android device and it says, “Your carrier does not support it.” But that changed at some point. Now everybody does, right? Have you had problems with Verizon and your Wallet?
Aaron: I have not had problems but I run a custom op.
Leo: So you wouldn't even know if it did.
Aaron: I wouldn't even know, yes.
Jason: Google actually specifically took it into their own hands and changed the way Wallet authenticated.
Leo: They fixed it.
Jason: The secure elements, something along those lines. The details are a little shady. But they basically went around the carriers and said, “Okay, well if you're going to block it there, we're going to do it this way.”
Leo: Good. Whatever happened, I was real thrilled because suddenly my Wallet was working and I put all my credit cards in there. As far as I can tell, it's functionally identical to Apple Pay. The only difference is the fingerprint reader, use a pin instead of the fingerprint reader. I think it's great.
Aaron: Now that's coming.
Leo: Everywhere you use Apple Pay, it works because Touch ID, you know, or whatever it is. Touch to pay is touch to pay. So I'm not sure what's going on and this is not good because consumers need to know with some reliability what's going on. Maybe that's why it almost feels like they've rebranded Google Wallet, Android Pay in the same way they rebranded Google TV, Android TV. Maybe -
Aaron: Google likes to rebrand it's things.
Leo: Well, it is all Android, right?
Aaron: I think that's the more consumer-friendly brand.
Leo: They know Android.
Aaron: People know Android. Google Wallet, that sounds scary.
Leo: I don't know. Don't people trust Google?
Jason: Well, they went - remember, they went the opposite direction when it came to the Market, right? It said Android Market and they went, “Oh, that's too limiting. Our bigger brand is Google and we need to open it, so let's make it Google Play.” SO they're going in all sorts of different directions. That's Google in a nutshell right there.
Leo: Android Pay - I'm being told by the chatroom, it's basically an API.
Leo: In fact, Samsung Pay could incorporate it, could be built on top of Android Pay. So it's just an idea. GDC, we'll talk about that. We're done with Mobile World, right? Anything else to talk about?
Jeff: Oh, just to add, did your correspondents touch the “Huey,” the “Hu-way,” the watch?
Leo: The [Wawa?] Watch? Sapphire display. It's an Android Wear watch, though, right? It's pretty. Did they say a price? Am I getting an ad? 1.4 inch circular display, 400x400 resolution which is higher than most. Snapdragon, 512 megs of RAM, 4 gigs of internal storage, heartrate sensor.
Jeff: No, flat tire.
Leo: Round is great. There's not going to be a lot of room on my wrist because the Apple Watch is coming. They're going to announce it on Monday and ship it.
Aaron: You have two wrists.
Leo: I do have two wrists, but I'm already wearing a Moto 360. So here's C-Net's first look here. So yes, no flat tire. You know, the problem with Android Wear is that the outside may be different but the inside is all the same, right? I guess that's not a problem. You know what you're getting.
Jason: Sapphire crystal on the screen, I think, is a good move. Already on my Moto X I'm getting these little scratches because it turns out when you're walking and stuff, especially when you're as clumsy as I am, you run into things.
Leo: I don't see any scratches on mine.
Jeff: I don't either yet. I am one to scratch.
Aaron: I think they're definitely going for a little bit of the higher end.
Leo: Yes, look at the band.
Aaron: I think that's very smart of them. Hey, look, a watch is typically a higher-end purchase for most people, so let's go ahead and incorporate some high-end features. It's a little bit smaller so it may - it's still really thick, but a little bit smaller, so it may appeal to women more than the huge Moto Watch. I think it looks fantastic to me. I'm really looking at this as a potential watch to buy.
Leo: I'm so bummed that the Apple Watch is iOS only because I have to switch back to iPhone and I've really become fond of Android.
Jeff: Well, we have one of the stories that - it's the opposite problem, though. If you're iOS, you can use Android. Google's going to supposedly make an app so you can use Android Wear with your iOS phone. You want the opposite. You want to hold on to your Android phone and use an Apple Watch, which I think makes sense too.
Leo: Well, you know, the one watch that serves them all is Pebble and they made some big announcements including that they are now the most successful Kickstarter campaign in history. They went back to the well and they got what, $15 million so far for the colored Pebble?
Jeff: All these things. You saw Amanda Palmer is at 13 grand a song on Patreon?
Leo: Jeez. It's a crowdsources world. Let's take a break and we'll come back with more. Mr. Jeff Jarvis is here. Aaron Newcomb. We're talking TWiG. We're done with Mobile World Congress but GDC is very exciting. We'll talk about that and do a little show and tell with Mr. Newcomb. That's going to be fun.
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So what did you bring us, Aaron Newcomb? What did you bring us here? This is a - this is your Shield.
Aaron: This is my Shield tablet.
Leo: Now, this was the tablet to get for the last few months because it has the NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip in it.
Aaron: That's right. It is a fantastic, fantastic tablet. I recommend it for anyone but especially if you want to play games. NVIDIA is really raising the bar when it comes to games because they've added this service called Grid Games. I don't know if you've talked about this before.
Leo: Is that like Steam?
Aaron: These are online - so you've been able to for a while stream games from your home PC, right?
Leo: Like on Live sort of stuff.
Aaron: This is like on Live. So you can actually stream games over the internet.
Leo: So even though the Shield is actually a pretty hefty device, it's still only an arm processor. It's not as, you know, hardcore as your PC. So the server renders the gaming offsite and then streams it to you?
Aaron: Exactly. That's the way it works. We can try to load this up as we're talking about it but I mean, this is kind of - this could be a disruptor, especially with a company like NVIDIA behind it, right? It's not a startup. People know what this is. They're familiar with the NVIDIA brand.
Leo: How much is it?
Aaron: The Shield tablet or the Grid Games? The Grid Games right now are in beta so I'm sure these things will be relatively cheap, right?
Leo: Like $10 a month or something?
Aaron: $10 or something. I mean, they haven't really announced pricing but if you have a Shield tablet, you can actually try this out right now. I'm going to launch Trine 2. What's really cool about this is it analyzes your network and takes a look at the WiFi all the way out to the internet and says, you know, is it working or not. I know that we've had a little bit of issues here today at the brick house.
Leo: We've had some issues today. Yes, it's not going to like it. You do have to have enough bandwidth and low latency to play a game because it's streaming, in effect, from the internet.
Aaron: Yes. We can try to connect and see. But yes, all that is is it streams and then you can -
Leo: But this plays local games pretty good, too, right? That's the point of this?
Aaron: Oh, absolutely. It plays local games great. I've actually used it to play - to do the streaming from my PC and what I do is I bring the tablet out to the living room, plug it in because it's got HDMI on it. I plug it into the TV in the living room so instead of having some - instead of having to connect from the living room back over to my study where my games are running, I can just bring my tablet in there and pull in my controller.
Leo: It's like you're really gaming.
Aaron: Yes. You go pull on your controller and you're playing away. The controller is built really well, we've done reviews on this before.
Leo: So Shield, it turns out, is not just this device. It's a name for products from NVIDIA. They're going to have a whole line. They announced the Shield TV, which is a $200 Android TV set top box. They announced it at GDC. They called “a culmination of a revolutionary TV, gaming console and super computer.” Okay, that's not overselling it too much but I think the streaming games are a big part of that, right? So you'll be able to do the same thing that you're doing.
Aaron: The same thing with that device. That device looks really, really nice actually. I mean, I'm more and more disappointed with my Nexus player. I know, you know, people typically don't like it. I've been using it - we still use it every day but basically only to do Netflix because it's really unreliable. It disconnects from WiFi - I think having a solid device like this that you can hook up to your TV, stream games either from your PC or from a gaming service, the Grid gaming service. I think it's really tremendous and I'm also really excited since I own the controller, you know, I can just use the controller to run the games. I don't have to get anything else. So they're building an ecosystem and I think -
Leo: So there's a free Grid subscription where you can rent or buy games and then there's a paid one that's the all you can play version. You can do either.
Aaron: You can do either one.
Leo: Stream is 1080p, 60 frames a second. That's interesting.
Aaron: The TV device is supposed to be able to stream 4K to your 4K TV.
Leo: Now, it is a lot more expensive than a lot of Android - it's $200. But that's still cheap. That's cheaper than a Steam Box.
Aaron: Exactly, that's what I was going to say. It's cheaper than a PC. It's cheaper than a console.
Leo: A PS3 or an Xbox One.
Aaron: Exactly, and it's supposed to be more powerful than an Xbox 360, for example, in terms of - because they're using, I believe, an X1.
Leo: That's the new chip. The new Tegra that will even be faster and that's a 64-bit chip as well.
Aaron: It's nice to see NVIDIA capitalizing a little bit on their chip technology that they've worked so hard on all these years, building the graphics cards and everything. It's really nice to see them coming around and saying, “Hey, look, we can build devices that can compete based on our-” And the chip really is the thing that sets this device apart from other boxes.
Leo: So look for that in May. The Grid service will probably launch at the same time. It's in beta right now. Good news. I think that's pretty cool. What else is going on at GDC? Google has launched Player analytics and custom native apps. That's for - great, game developers. You know they're going to monetize this everywhere. Here's something called “Nearby Connections.” This is a feature that turns phones and tablets into a controller for your Android TV game. Protocol will be in an update to Google Play service. They're going to highlight Beach Buggy Racing. There they are, Beach Buggy Racing.
Jason: They're all using, basically, their devices as controllers for the Android TV.
Leo: It looks like a WiiU and they're using - it almost looks like they're playing Mario Kart.
Jeff: This is what you want to do with your wife, right, is be able to play games together.
Leo: I want to play games with my wife. You know, Lisa - because, you know, both her son and I are gamers. I have an Xbox One. He has every game device known to man. He plays a lot of games and she feels left out. She says, “I want to play games.” I was mentioning this on Windows Weekly, there. I couldn't really find any good cooperative games, Call of Duty style games for the Xbox One but the Nintendo is loaded with them. So we got a WiiU and that looks so much like Mario Kart, it's funny.
Jason: Yes. It's a great game, by the way.
Leo: Mario Kart 8?
Jason: No, I'm sorry, Beach Buggy Racing which is what they're playing on the Android TV right now.
Leo: The funny thing is, the WiiU basically is a kind of clunky tablet along with a Wii. Why have a clunky tablet? You've already got an Android device. Use that for steering and - that's great.
Aaron: I think it's awesome. They're really capitalizing on the fact that the ubiquity of Android phones and devices, and doing something a little bit different with them. You know, I don't personally like to use my phone as a controller. I've done it before with other things but it's there. Not just the controller aspect, but if you look at Just Dance, for example, with their integration with Chromecast. Everyone can just have - if they've got an Android phone, they can sit down, load up the app and all participate on the Chromecast connection to your TV. I see this taking this just a step further. I think it's great. It's bringing a Wii-like experience into the living room without having to buy the console and get sucked in, so to speak, to the Nintendo-verse, or the Microsoft-verse or the Sony-verse depending on what console you choose.
Leo: So now I want to know where I can get an Android TV. Is it in the TV sets? Are people putting it in their TV sets?
Jason: You could get a Nexus player that has it.
Leo: Nexus is Android TV?
Jason: Nexus player is Android TV. The NVIDIA device that we just talked about, that.
Leo: Sony, NVIDIA, Sharp - here's the Nexus. So maybe I should get this. That's an Android TV device that will - when does this come that I can play games and do all that stuff?
Jeff: You can't now?
Leo: You can get the Nexus player. But when am I going to be able to do all this gaming stuff? I want to play Beach Buggies.
Jason: “In an upcoming update to the Play service.” Don't know.
Aaron: It says it's available in limited beta but allows select partners like Atari to - oh, that's the ad thing.
Jason: So soon but Leo, especially because what you're talking about is doing gaming, I wouldn't recommend you get the Nexus player because it's not -
Leo: Not enough juice. Maybe get this NVIDIA thing?
Jason: Yes, it's a little underpowered and even worse, it has 8 gigs of storage which after system stuff leaves you with basically five.
Leo: The NVIDIA, we should point out, only has 16 but it can expand storage with an SD card. So all right. Maybe I'll wait til May.
Jason: Marswar[?] in the chat room reminded me, Razor has another one that's the same cost, $100, that is definitely from a specs perspective better than the Nexus player.
Leo: It's called a Forge TV. Googlecast is the underlying technology for all this, right, that I'm able to use the cast to interface with this. So this looks like a good one too. Razor's a gaming company. They even make a controller, oh.
Aaron: I like Razor products.
Leo: I have a Razor Boomslang. Remember the Boomslang? I still have a Razor Boomslang.
Aaron: Yes. They make good stuff. I mean, it's pricey but it works.
Leo: All right. We'll - I think we have to - which one do you have, Jason?
Aaron: Oh, you've got it working?
Leo: Oh, he's got the Grid stuff working on his Shield.
Aaron: Oh, this is the Lego.
Leo: So this is streaming from Grid. Well, actually, this is a cutscene right now but it's going to stream the game and that's the super computer in the tagline. The supercomputer is not this, it's the thing it's connected to which is the server. But it's going to stream down Lego Harry Potter and you're going to be able to play it.
Aaron: I don't know if I'll be able to play it because I paired this with mine and this isn't mine. Yes, I did already.
Leo: So now we have to do a review on all of these. We have to get all these new Android TV things. So not the Nexus, you have that already, Jason? You say that's too clunky.
Jason: Nexus player, yes, I'm not a huge fan of the player.
Leo: Maybe the Forge TV or maybe the NVIDIA. I have to say, NVIDIA's got the inside track because they make chips.
Jason: It's a little more expensive but I say it's probably worth that extra price.
Leo: Is the Forge TV available yet? No. So nothing you want is available now. All right and apparently coming soon also from Sharp, TPVision. Even Sony's getting into this game, Sony who made the original Google TV, remember, is going to make a Bravia television set with Android TV built into it. We'll see.
Aaron: No, it's not. Network interference now.
Leo: Our Comcast is really not doing so well. So you're not playing this on the shield, you're playing this on the server. The Shield's just streaming it down to you. On Live went out of business, nobody acquired those assets, right? This is not On Live.
Aaron: That's a good question. I'm not sure what ever happened to On Live.
Leo: It's been around for a year or two, yes. It just went to bed, that's the problem. There you have it in a nutshell.
Aaron: Network's not going to help us out.
Jason: Illustrated the problem with that idea.
Leo: GDC is going on right now, the Game Developers Conference. It's a fun event. I think next year we should go down and do a GDC. That'd be a lot of fun. Interesting, one of the complaints about the Nexus 6 - I don't know if you've noticed this, Jeff or if you've noticed it, Jason. The Nexus 6 was encrypted by default. So when you got it, it was encrypted and a lot of people have complained that's really slowed down file access on the device. Google has decided not to do that anymore. Google is not going to encrypt new Lollipop devices by default but it may be required in future versions of Android so get ready. They very quietly have backed down. I think that they acknowledged - in fact, you saw the benchmarks. There's a huge differential speed on the Nexus 6 because of that encryption. It's because there isn't encryption hardware built into it. You know what? I never really noticed it. You notice it in the benchmark. It wasn't like I was sitting there running my phone and going, “Oh my gosh, this is slow.” But it does make a difference.
Aaron: Well, it should have been a choice, anyway, from the beginning. It's okay to pop up and say, “Would you like to encrypt your device? You may notice a small slow down.”
Leo: You can and Android's always allowed you to do that. You go into the settings. You can't use - you have to have a passcode, either a longer number or password. Then you can encrypt, which I recommend because, you know, otherwise that data is all visible. It's not encrypted when the phone is on, though, so remember, you have to turn it off once in a while.
Aaron: Right, but if your phone gets stolen or something like that, you're protected.
Leo: But Ars Technica notes that the new Moto E we're talking about, which is one of the first non-Google Lollipop devices, is unencrypted. The new Galaxy S6 Mobile World Congress units, not encrypted according to our review editor Ron Amadeo.
Jeff: It appears I cannot turn off encryption.
Leo: No. On the 6, you have to root it and modify it. It's a little shaky with that. Google has backed down a little bit. It needs to support full encryption but it doesn't have to have it turned on.
Aaron: Right, that's the key.
Leo: It should be enabled, should be but doesn't have to be. It is very strongly recommended that you do it according to Google, “As we expect this to change to must in future versions of Android.” But that's fine as long as future hardware supports it with hardware decryption and you have fast MMC or something faster in the storage.
Aaron: It's important to note too that encryption affects compression. Once you encrypt something, you can't compress it really, at all, because the data's basically been scrambled. There's no duplicate data to compress.
Leo: We're going to take a break and then it'll be change log time. Yes, we're bringing back the change log in just a moment. Actually, there's a couple things left for GDC we'll cover too, looking at the rundown. John Carmack says Samsung is going to put all of its might behind the Gear VR.
Aaron: All of its might?
Leo: All of its might.
Aaron: I don't know if I'd recommend that.
Leo: Didn't Carmack work for - yes, for Oculus Rift. Oculus Rift powers Gear VR. So that's why he's talking about this.
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Leo: Time for the Google change log. I was shocked when I went to contacts.google.com and I said, “What is this?” Don't show this yet because it's going to show all my phone numbers and everything. But if you are a Google Contacts user, you might want to go and take a look at it. It's pretty sweet. What do you guys think?
Aaron: I just brought it up today. It does look pretty nice. It's a lot nicer than the old one. Right away, you notice that the - they've separated, and I don't know if this is virtual or in reality, but Contacts used to be under Gmail. You'd click on Contacts and still be in Gmail, but your contacts would show up. It looks like, perhaps, separating Contacts out a little bit instead of a separate app because now it's under contacts.google.com.
Leo: Well, it's always been there.
Aaron: It goes back to Gmail, though, right?
Leo: Well, it's the same one as in Gmail. What I like about this, they've separated it into Starred and Frequently Contacted, which is nice. I think that some of the phones do that. The first thing I see, “You have 86 duplicate contacts. Would you like to merge them?” That's new.
Aaron: It pops right up, which is great. This is a thing people have complained about a long time, the fact that, you know, your contacts come from all these different sources and you end up with all these different versions.
Leo: Oh, it did such a nice job.
Jason: Yes, it really does it very nicely.
Leo: And it did it instantly. Oh my God, I've been waiting for this. Again, I think some phone operating systems offer this. I think Samsung might have but boy, it did that nicely and beautifully. So I don't know - God, it's been how long since they've updated Contacts. I use it like crazy so highly recommended.
Aaron: I was just going to say that the preview - you should be able to go to google.contacts.com/preview and check it out. It doesn't work with Apps accounts, I believe, yet.
Jeff: That's why I was moaning.
Leo: Sorry, Jeff.
Aaron: Sorry for your loss. If you have a Gmail account, it should work.
Leo: So, Jeff, you just don't use your regular Gmail account?
Jeff: No, I use my Apps account which, for god's sakes, that's the professionals and work, and all that. I do not understand why they make us second citizens, A. And B, I'm sorry, I've complained about this before. Even when I'm not signed in to my Gmail account anywhere, I'm signed into my Apps account, it is my account, when I open a new window for various things, it switches to my Gmail. I'm not signed in at all but it switches to my Gmail. So sometimes I'm trying to open a document, somebody sent me a document, and I can't open it because it keeps insisting, “No, Jarvis, you're going to open this in the account where you can't open it. Open it in Gmail.”
Aaron: Yes, that's annoying. What I've found is I get really good at changing the URLs to go to my second, third or fourth user that's signed in so I can get back to the feature that I wanted to do originally because it always defaults to that you, zero, user. So I find myself getting really good at hacking the URLs just to get to the right account.
Jeff: Would you do a little - Aaron, seriously, would you do a tutorial on that, the whole Google+ thing? I'd kill to have that.
Jeff: You know, the thing about this is, and Sundar's in charge of both, on Android, it's easy as pie to go back and forth from accounts. It doesn't confuse the phone, doesn't confuse the OS. It works really well. Within the applications, you can easily switch. I would just kill my Gmail account entirely and switch my Google+ to my Apps, but I have grandfathered stuff. All my Play stuff is on my Gmail account. If you switch it over, you lose all your stuff, so I can't do it. Sorry for the rant.
Aaron: No, it's a big problem. I completely agree with you and I wish that - you know, I was hoping when they brought in Inbox, that would end the - I wasn't so thrilled with the features of Inbox but I was really thrilled because I thought it was going to merge my apps and all of my mail accounts, you know, five, six, seven mail accounts that I have. I thought, “Oh, now I have one place to go to read all my mail from all my accounts.” Then, “No, sorry, you're an Apps user. You can't use Inbox yet.”
Jeff: Uh-oh, you know what, Aaron? Now I'm really stuck. Now when I go to Contacts, it insists on taking me to the preview in my Gmail account. I can't get to the contacts in my Apps account at all now.
Leo: That's not good.
Jeff: I can't switch - “You're not allowed to switch accounts.” I'm stuck. I cannot get to Contacts in Apps. Hello, Google, is anybody there listening? Hello? Okay, now it came up.
Leo: See, they fixed it already.
Aaron: That was quick.
Jeff: No, no, I tried it and it says, “404 error,” because it's insisting on now sticking with the preview because it wants to show me the preview. Google!
Leo: So here's another one that I guess is a way to get you to upgrade your smart phone. Remember, there's an issue with early versions of the Google browser, not Chrome but the Google browser that came in Android, the AOSP browser. It's not secure and Google says, “We're not fixing it.” That's been the case for some time if you're using - when did they eliminate that browser? I think it was in KitKat or maybe even - it must have been KitKat.
Jason: I'm pretty sure it was KitKat.
Leo: But the fix for a long time for pre-KitKat phones was to get Chrome, you just download Chrome and don't use the built-in browser. Use Chrome. Chrome 42 will be the last version to support Ice Cream Sandwich or earlier. So you'll still have Chrome but no more fixes after Chrome 42. I think we're at Chrome 40 right now. So there will be an update or two - let me see, the last version for ICS is currently slated to arrive in mid-April. You will not get any more releases after that. 43 and above will not work on Ice Cream Sandwich. Of course, the version you have will continue to work but it may not be secure, and don't go back to the browser built in on earlier versions of Android because it's really not secure. So go to Jellybean, at least. KitKat, Lollipop, all of them will continue to have support for Chrome. This is something kind of new in the Google space. Microsoft and Apple have always done that, you know, after a certain amount of time, the operating system dies. Google's problem with operating systems in Android is there's too many versions in use all the time. Maybe this is one way they can push that along.
Aaron: I'm assuming that, you know, that's only - I'm looking at the graph here that shows the usage. It looks like there's only 5.9, maybe a total of 13% of the user base is using Ice Cream Sandwich and below.
Leo: But that's tens of millions of people.
Aaron: That's a lot of people but I thought it was going to be a lot higher than that.
Leo: I guess. It's that low, so that's good. Maybe those people will finally get a new phone.
Aaron: Well, or just switch to Dolphin or one of the other - you can use another browser. You don't have to use Chrome, right?
Leo: The problem is, they're not going to know that. By the way, HTC is making a virtual reality headset. We talked about the Galaxy Gear, the Gear VR. I don't know if it's this picture or if it really is, like, honking big. It's called the Vive.
Leo: Maybe she's got a small head.
Jason: It's pretty big.
Leo: That's big.
Jason: But HTC's not going the Samsung route with this. This is a true standalone.
Leo: It's like the Oculus Rift, it has its own screens and all that stuff.
Jeff: You know, folks, you're the gamers. I'm not. Is this stuff going to be a big market?
Leo: No, but I'm alone in saying that. What do you think, Aaron?
Aaron: No, I mean, I - there's potential here and I think that's why everybody's into it, right? There's potential.
Leo: Yes. Facebook spent billions for Oculus Rift. Samsung's doing it. HTC's doing it. Here's my take on it. It is for gaming, I guess, because it's submersive and in games, you do want immersive. You want to, when you're playing Call of Duty - you want to be on the battlefield. But we talked about this on Windows Weekly. I'm so much more excited about HoloLens and augmented reality. Google, by the way, has a solution for that. They've acquired companies and they're developing very rapidly an augmented reality solution. Augmented reality means you still see the world around you but super imposed upon it in the glasses are things, whether they're menu items, controls, a game you're playing, and I like that better.
Aaron: More like a head's up display. It's also able to see infinitely, right? I mean, you can see infinite. I was just talking to some friends of mine from our local maker space, and they're actually - their company designs, they've worked on the James Webb telescope and some other things. So they're into ocular technology, right? They were saying that the, you know, the true benefit here is more in the head's up display and the ability to look out infinitely.
Leo: I think so.
Aaron: As opposed to these Oculus Rift type things that are a little bit limited and make you sick.
Leo: Make you sick and they seal you in a room where you go to another place and you're sitting there, a sitting duck, for burglars. I don't like that. I don't know why I'm so paranoid. This is a deal with Valve that they're doing. These are dual 1080 p screens, which are more than we've seen so far.
Jason: Yes, Nicole Lee, I think, at Gadget, actually had a pretty great review of it today. She just explained her entire experience with it and you read that -
Leo: Did she get sick?
Jason: No, she didn't get sick. In fact, she walked away from it and basically said, “This device has convinced me on VR. I was very skeptical going in and this particular experience is VR done right.” It's interesting because it's HTC.
Leo: That's funny because nobody said that when they saw the Oculus Rift, right?
Jason: But, you know, the Oculus Rift also - I mean, from what I understand, it's kind of a lower-res display. I think as far as VR is concerned, it's all about immersion and being able to escape your reality into something else. If you can get that view to be as clear and crisp as it sounds like we're kind of heading, then it becomes a pretty revolutionary step, I think, in the success of this type of technology.
Aaron: I think it says something, too, that Valve has bought into this, right? Because they've been investigating this type of technology for years and the fact that they've chosen to maybe put their skin in the game with this device - [crosstalk]
Leo: What's interesting is Valve, Jeri Ellsworth was working for Valve when she created their Cast AR, which is an augmented reality gaming solution. When she was fired from Valve along with lots of other people, she went to Gabe Newell and said, “Can I keep Cast AR?” He said, “Yes, we don't want it.” So Valve probably at that point had made the decision, “We're not going to go for augmented reality. We're going to go for virtual reality.” And I think VR makes sense in gaming. I do think it makes sense. This is an immersive thing although Minecraft in the HoloLens looked pretty dang awesome. So HTC and Valve are making the Vive. It'd be interesting to play - I mean, it'd be fun to play Portal in this thing. We're going to skip the Xfinity ad here real quickly, given that Comcast is killing our bandwidth today. Let's see.
Jason: I mean, VR could be as big of a deal as gaming kind of has been, right? Gaming has always been - for the longest time, it's been this kind of passionate section of technology that a good number of people are into but, you know, “It's just the kids. They're into the gaming, blah, blah, blah.” Now it's overwhelmingly mainstream. VR has -
Leo: VR could be more too, like if you could go to Paris.
Jason: That would be neat, I just see it being a huge gaming peripheral.
Leo: Well, it's also going to be expensive, right? I've broken the stream, okay.
Aaron: I mean, ultimately, we all want the Holodeck, right? I mean, that's what I want.
Leo: The Holodeck would be VR. Except wait a minute -
Aaron: Well, it could be AR.
Leo: No, because the Holodeck, you're in it and you're moving around in it. It was a room, right? It wasn't a - you weren't lying in a chair with a helmet on.
Aaron: Right, right.
Leo: You were physically moving through space. So it's technology that doesn't exist is what it is.
Aaron: It just doesn't exist yet. But I think AR is closer, though, right, because AR can take those lines on the wall and then paint over those with something different, right?
Leo: I think that, really, ultimately, VR isn't going to work until you jack in. If I can jack into the metaverse, then maybe I'll play your silly little game.
Jason: This is pretty interesting, though, also, to see HTC kind of spreading its wings a little bit. Being like, “You know, we kind of struggled. We made great hardware. People love us for our hardware. But we still ended up scrambling in tablet/hardware space. Let's try this new emerging trend right now, partner with Valve.” Interesting stuff.
Leo: What do you guys think of the new Google Campus? Are we excited about it?
Jason: I want to go there when it exists.
Aaron: I want to live there.
Leo: Jeff, isn't there kind of an axiom in business that when you start building the massive corporate headquarters, that's the sign that it's the beginning of the end?
Jeff: Well, Apple, too. You know what kind of bothered me, though, Leo? It's that I've been in the buildings. They're absolutely fine buildings.
Leo: Yes, they were.
Jeff: The waste of creating, you know, a landfill out of tearing down those buildings just bothered me.
Leo: “It's a restored national habitat around Permanente Greek near the proposed landing project.”
Jeff: Here's the other thing that occurred to me. So what they're basically doing is putting a dome around the campus so you can't wander around Google anymore.
Leo: You can bicycle inside it and never leave it. It's the Biodome, it's Biodome. Remember that in Arizona?
Jeff: Yes. Drive by Facebook and it's boring as hell outside. Inside, it's Disneyland.
Leo: Now this is the existing Google Campus, right? Which, as you say, works fine.
Jeff: It's a building. It's a building with cubbies, you know.
Leo: They're going to [hoolie?] it, that's what they're going to do. They're going to turn it into hoolie.
Jason: They're - from what they're describe, they are creating modules, building modules that can move so if you're working with a team and you want to coordinate with another team, you module actually moves to another section of the building. What, why?
Leo: It's a hamster habitat.
Jeff: Or when you're working on the Wave team and it disappears, you suddenly get ejected.
Leo: You know, the helicopter comes down, picks up your module with everybody in it and takes you somewhere else. “Goodbye.”
Jeff: The other thing about it is that I've - now I've gone to enough Google stuff out there you end up across 101. People, there's a real isolation, then. You really feel like you're at the kiddie table. The other thing is, I think it's also included an agreement to build housing.
Leo: I think that's how you get these deals done.
Aaron: For the town of Mountain View, you mean?
Jeff: Yes, and that's critical.
Leo: They mention that the canopies will also block pollution. Maybe they're planning for global warming and the end of the Earth as we know it.
Jeff: “Let me in, Google! Let me in!”
Leo: It's like the TV show, The Dome. Look at this.
Jeff: You know, I'll bet somewhere in some world, there, there's the zombie scenario. How to keep zombies out, knowing the geeks.
Aaron: But if you can retro-fit these buildings and make them more environmentally friendly, and save power and lighting costs.
Leo: But are these the existing buildings under this dome?
Jeff: No, no. They're tearing them down.
Leo: It's all brand new. It's Biosphere 3, I'm telling you. Look at that, they have a giant faucet sculpture. “Look at the water they're wasting.” Net zero parking. They want consolidated parking below the building so once you get there, they take your car, they crush it and you have to stay. Your car will never be seen again. It does look beautiful but I'm just saying, when companies get this big and this grandiose, and they spend this much money, like Apple, that is often the beginning of the end, often the peak moment - said the guy who built the million dollar studio.
Jason: How long does it take to build something like this? Are we talking five years, ten years?
Aaron: Decades, yes.
Leo: Not decades! It's nothing like Sagrada de Familia. It's - I mean, this is - first, they've got to get approval. That's what this process is, is getting Mountain View to go along with it. Apple's campus, I think, was a five year build. This can't be that much more complicated.
Aaron: I bet it is, I mean, only because it's so much bigger. If you go for the full view - the full view, the full enchilada, that never happens anyway, right? I mean, this is a rendering. This is something that someone came up with and said, “This is what it could look like.”
Jeff: It's like a concept car.
Aaron: It's only a concept, yes. It's never going to be like this. If they went for the full enchilada, I think it would be more than ten years to get everything done but you're right. That's not going to happen. So, yes, we're probably looking at five years, eight years to get the majority of it done if they choose to go this route.
Leo: I guess they can do it as fast as they want, just hire more people, right?
Jason: They certainly have the money.
Leo: How much do you want to spend?
Aaron: Some of these, like right there, that's why I said it looks like they're repurposing the buildings, right? It looks like they've taken the sides off of the buildings. It doesn't look like they're completely tearing down the buildings.
Leo: I kind of like the notion that these canopies - you're outside but you're also inside, so you don't need walls on the buildings because it never rains. You know, the climate never varies.
Aaron: It is the perfect place to do something like this because it doesn't rain that much.
Leo: Remember, one of the goals Google has is to put its campus entirely on solar and be carbon neutral. This might be a part of that project as well, sure. But they've got - you've got to get rid of hobos, okay? I'm just saying, the hobos are going to love this. It's so big - I'm just joking. But it is so big, I don't know how you'd keep it secure. It looks like you can just - it's not sealed, right?
Jeff: Oh, I'm sure it is.
Leo: Is it? You'd have to go through an airlock?
Aaron: It's a vacuum.
Leo: So if all the oxygen boils off the surface of the planet, we'll still be safe in the Biosphere 3.
Jeff: The front door it actually in New York, then you transfer.
Leo: All right.
Jeff: What's the tube, the fast tube?
Leo: The Hyper Loop?
Jeff: The Hyper Loop, yes.
Aaron: The hyperpneumatic thing.
Leo: Youtube has a billion viewers and no profit.
Jeff: Amazon has a gazillion customers and no profit.
Leo: The problem is that in order to do Youtube, you have to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, bandwidth and hardware. Youtube has revenue, $4 billion in revenue. That's a one-third increase over the year before that but it's 6% of Google's overall sales. But I think we talked about this last week, actually.
Jeff: I don't think Google's worried.
Leo: No. Youtube is an engine for Google. Walmart has pulled out of a deal with Google over shared data.
Jeff: I don't think it's so much an issue over consumer privacy as it is Walmart's privacy.
Leo: Yes. “We want the data.”
Jeff: Google ended up knowing too much.
Leo: “That's our data, Google.” So Walmart had signed up for Google advertising service that showed shoppers where products are available at nearby stores, but a month later, they pulled out over concerns about sharing store inventory and pricing data with Google. So there you go. I'm just looking at quick - oh, what's this about? “Google wants to help you build solar on your house.” I want to do that.
Jeff: It's just the rental deal. It's not a bad deal, right? They own it and lease it to you, and you get the net value back.
Leo: Well, this is nothing new. There's power - many companies do this.
Jeff: Yes, exactly. They're just investing more.
Leo: This is actually in conjunction with Solar City, which is one of these companies. So, yes, that's a good way to do it. The school that I serve on the board is thinking about doing this. The company comes in. They build all the infrastructure, don't pay - charge you anything. You get, effectively, free power and you save a lot of money. Yes, it's actually smart for everybody.
Jeff: My new thought, now that I have ice standing, is I wonder if it helps with snow on the roof.
Leo: Oh, man, in fact, I forgot to ask Paul about this. He posted - he had to have the snow cleared off his roof. He's had all sorts of damage and leakage. Oy. It's a bad winter.
Jeff: We had guys tearing ice off the roof today. I talked to somebody in Connecticut and I said, “Sorry I didn't call you back, that's why.” He said, “Oh, I've got somebody on my roof right now.”
Leo: Good news in Mississippi. Google was being prosecuted by a local district attorney in Mississippi - actually, an attorney general in Mississippi, Jim Hood. Then in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, emails were released that showed Sony had actually approached Hood, saying, “Would you mind going after Google for us?” So the judge has decided, Henry T. Windgate, US District Judge, has temporarily barred Hood from forcing Google to comply with his 79-page subpoena, saying it was an illegal censorship campaign cooked up by Hollywood. Agreeing with Google, the judge said, “Google has the better side of the legal arguments.” Pretty embarrassing, frankly. Hood was trying to figure out if Google was violating Mississippi laws by exposing internet users to drugs and pornography. “Across state lines, these moving pornography accost our state lines.” Project Goliath - Goliath being Google, was revealed in the hack of something. It was something the MPAA was involved in. They found Hood, I can't remember - oh, yes. They got a previous attorney general from Mississippi to lobby Hood to do this. Paid a lot of money.
Google just - we talked about this on Security Now, just bought the entire .app domain. So I guess I Can is selling custom domain names, the GTLDs, generic TLDs, .app is one of them. Google spent $25 million and -
Jeff: That was cheap.
Leo: They bought a number of them. They've applied for .docs, .android, .free, .fyi, .fu, don't worry about .bar - who gets that? And .app - I Can's been gradually auctioning these off. Princess.Tech LLC spent $6.7 million on the .tech domain name last year, beating out Google. Amazon bought .buy for $5 million, .spot for $2.2 million. Google got .blog, and they said, “Well, we're going to make it easier for people to go on Blogger.com without any domain name fooling around.” Just have a .blog address, but the .app, I don't know if they're going to make that public or keep it to themselves.
Aaron: It's another gold rush, I mean we're all old enough to remember when this happened back in the 90s, right?
Leo: Remember sex.com sold for a lot? Everybody thought that the generic .com names like tv.com and sex.com would be worth something.
Jeff: Business.com sold for a lot, I think.
Leo: They were worthless because they were generic. Precisely because they were generic. Turns out google.com was worth a lot more.
Jeff: The other issue, that is, what we found when I worked on newspaper sites is that if your brand is your domain, you've lost all kinds of value because people didn't recall you. But if your domain is generic and you think that's valuable, you can't trademark the brand.
Leo: Can't do anything with it, right. So Google, because they are a registrar, lets you currently register. You know, Hover does this, they have a lot of crazy names. Google has .how, .soy, .mina. They want .dad, .here, .eat, .new. But some of them, I think there was one they were going to keep to themselves. They were just going to own it. I can't remember what that was.
Jeff: .god! .universe! I think it's important to mention, since we had this story last week, Leo, that we talked about in a fair amount. Google was going to ban adult content on Blogger and then not very long after the show at all, a day or two, they decided to reverse that.
Leo: Yes, we had an interesting debate and I mentioned on TWiT that you got involved in a Twitter conversation with a pornographer who said, “We support it because we think it's better for us and for kids if all - if there's neighborhoods where adult stuff is.” If you think about it, if you're in the adult business, you - part of the hassle is all the people trying to shoo you away. So am I characterizing it correctly?
Jeff: That's what he said, yes, but then what's her name, Blue.
Leo: Oh, Violet Blue.
Jeff: Thank you. Violet Blue and others had an entirely different rationale, saying that basically - I think a lot of it is just people who are different in life are going to be discriminated against because they got rid of this. So I think, on a basis of free speech, I'm glad it's still there. Of course, I never look at any of it. Never see it.
Leo: By the was, Steve Gibson just hopped on chat to tell me the domain Google bought and is keeping to itself is .dev.
Leo: So if you're a Google developer, you'll have your own TLD all to yourself. Look at this, on Street View. I don't know, is there somebody doing zip lines on - yes, there is.
Aaron: Yes, they've got the backpack on.
Leo: He's ziplining through the Amazon.
Jeff: I don't think I can look at this, I think my palms will sweat.
Leo: Oh, ziplining is fun. Have you not - of course you'd never want to do this.
Jeff: No, are you kidding me?
Leo: Look at this, he's wearing a backpack on the zipline.
Jeff: I would literally have a heart attack halfway down. I'd just -
Leo: It's fun. We did it in Belize, we had a zipline up the road a piece in the Redwood Forest up here.
Aaron: I've done it many a time. It's very fun. My mom did it. My mom is what, 72, 73?
Leo: It's a little sweaty palm.
Aaron: It can be, especially if you're afraid of heights. You know what scared me more was the - we had to go up. We were in Hawaii and it was the climb up to this huge tree. The zipline part was no sweat but the climb up there on this little rope ladder to get 50 feet in the air, that was the part -
Leo: Yes, we had to belay down and that was scary.
Jeff: No, no, no.
Aaron: Yes, that was a little scary but once you're up there and jump off.
Leo: Here's something you'll really like, Jeff. When you're on top of these trees, you're very high up, hundreds of feet up. They sway about five feet in each direction.
Aaron: It's like being on the outside of a tall building, like whoosh.
Jeff: Not going to happen.
Leo: Now you're going to have nightmares, I'm sorry.
Jeff: I will. Literally, my palms are sweating. The skin response, I can't do it.
Leo: Celebrate good time, Bradley Horowitz is back to running Google+. That is very good news.
Jeff: But notice - I can't figure out the criminology of the wording of it. He said, “Photos and screens.”
Leo: Isn't that weird? He posted this on his Google+. He doesn't even use Google+ by name or mention Hangouts. He calls it photos and streams. Remember that David Bespriss had taken over but Bradley was originally a Google+ guy, right? He was part of the original team, I think.
Jeff: Absolutely but under Vic. So now -
Leo: Vic left. Instead of giving it to Bradley, they gave it to Bespriss, and now I guess it's Bradley.
Jeff: Bradley is so smart and such a good guy.
Leo: He's a great guy.
Jeff: Really a great product guy. Yes.
Leo: But, “photos and streams.” That tells you almost a little bit about what they see Google+ as being.
Aaron: Yes, absolutely. I think they're - I think that the photos especially is the one service that everyone universally loves because they can just set it and forget it. All their photos are backed up. Everybody that I talk to that has used the service tells me a story of when they dropped their phone in the toilet or something happened and they were able to get their photos back, and how great it is.
Leo: I love the Auto-Awesomes. I love the playfulness that they do stuff on special days, like the Hasselhoff summer, whatever that was.
Aaron: Oh, that was funny.
Jason: They need to do something like that again.
Leo: Was that April Fools? When did they do that?
Jason: It was.
Aaron: I've got a picture of my son on the couch, laying on the couch with his phone and David Hasselhoff is next to him.
Leo: Love that. Okay, Bradley, what are you doing in three weeks? April Fools coming up. What are you going to do? Something good, okay? No more of this toilet internet stuff. That's a waste of your energy. Do something fun for your users. Bespriss, or is it Bespriss (pronounced differently), I don't know how you pronounce his name. I don't know if he changed anything at all. I mean, Google+ has just been kind of auto.
Jeff: He was already in charge of all kinds of engineering stuff. I think he just probably - I don't know why they didn't - I guess it was a whole rank thing. I mean, as a friend of mine convinced me, Google is probably like the military and there's all these ranks. So Vic was a brigadier general and you needed a brigadier general to replace him. Then the truth is that Google+ is actually like a base in the Philippines, so I don't know.
Leo: So what's the deal with Hangouts? This is also Hangouts?
Jeff: I can't tell. That's what I can't understand in the -
Leo: This article at C-Net says it's not yet clear what will happen to Hangouts, the communications feature of Google+. In a December talk, Horowitz said, the new leader, “Hangouts is designed as an all-purpose communication tool, mirroring audio, video and text messaging.” I love Hangouts. I live in Hangouts.
Jeff: I do, too. But you know, Leo, I know I'm a Google fanboy and all that. But the fact that I am now on a Mac doing Skype kind of hurts because Hangouts -
Leo: Well, because that's a part of Hangouts, the video conversations. I use it for my texting.
Jeff: I do that too.
Leo: It's the default texting on all my Android phones because I get desktop texting. I make calls with it. It's my phone call feature on the desktop.
Aaron: Google Voice is integrated now.
Leo: Google Voice basically is Hangouts now, right? I really love the ability to draw. I didn't know this was possible. You can do drawings in Hangouts, did you know that?
Aaron: I did not know that.
Leo: This is so weird. If you hover - should I do it on the phone? I can do it on the desktop. The problem is I didn't want you to see phone numbers. Maybe I won't do it on the desktop, maybe I'll make a new one. Let me text you, Aaron.
Leo: Not sure if it's going to show your phone - yes, I think it just shows your email. You don't care about that, do you?
Aaron: No, it's fine.
Leo: So here I am. This is Aaron Newcomb. I could video call you, text you and if I had a phone number for you, it will also allow me to choose SMS or Hangouts. Watch, as I hover my mouse over the right - I didn't know and this has been around for more than a year. A little pen shows up and now I can draw to you. It's going to send that to you and if we're sending text message, it will send as an MMS. Isn't that funny? Nobody knows that but you do know if I type, “Woot,” the little woot man pops up. See? We're drawing.
There are some other ones. What are some of the other little things I could type. Is, “Haha,” one? Oh, I know, “Happy birthday?” Oh, there's a message for you.
Aaron: Oh, I'll bring it up.
Leo: Did you see that, happy birthday! If you just type this in the text - okay, I'm sorry. I'm just easily amused. Did you know that? Did you know ponies? I'm going to send you ponies. What was it - is it /ponies? There, little ponies are running across your screen.
Aaron: Do the happy birthday one again, that was cool.
Leo: It's fun. There's a bunch of these. I'm sure David will add - Bradley will add more.
Aaron: That's cool.
Leo: Pitchforks, that's the other one. Then the peasants are very angry. No, I guess you have to do /pitchforks. Pitchfork salesmen were upset.
Aaron: Forgot the P.
Jason: Itchforks is an entirely different graphic.
Leo: Here come the natives, oh, they're mad. Oh, they're mad. Peasants are revolting. So fun. I love easter eggs in Hangouts. Somebody pointed out, they've got Nix software and all they've really done with it is make Snapstream. But they could incorporate that into photos. Wouldn't that be awesome? Bradley, we're expecting big things of you. Keep up the good work. Okay, anything else before we wrap it up?
John Carmack, I mentioned this, said Samsung will really be throwing it's weight behind Gear VR. Who cares? Apple passes Samsung in quarter four smart phone sales, but I think this number is interesting - 1.9 billion mobile phones were sold last year of all kinds.
Aaron: In one year? That's crazy.
Leo: There's seven billion people on the earth? 1.9 billion. Apparently there's a big problem in Canada. Leonard Nimoy has passed away and it turns out the $5 bill in Canada, whoever that guy is looks so much like Spock that Canadians have taken to drawing hair, eyebrows and a little Starfleet symbol on the collar. These Spock'ed bills are a big problem according to the Toronto Sun. The Bank of Canada is urging Star Trek fans to stop defacing currency. That is Canada's 7th Prime Minister, Sir Wilfred Laurier, who happens to have the strong resemblence to Leonard Nimoy.
Aaron: That's hilarious.
Jeff: That really is. Now, that takes an eye to see that. I wouldn't have seen that.
Leo: Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.
Jeff: No, you can't.
Leo: Apparently there's all kinds. There's quite a few of them. Everybody's doing their own thing. I think the one we showed first was the best, though, because they did the Starfleet emblem and everything. Yes.
Jason: I appreciate that Spocking is now a verb. Spocking your $5 bills.
Leo: That is a tribute worthy of Nimoy, I might say.
Uber is buying a mapping company. HBO has set its price for its cord-cutting version of HBO Go, $15 a month, a little high.
Jeff: Well, it's pretty much what you pay for cable.
Leo: I think that's the upshot of this. You won't be able to cord cut to save money.
Jeff: Oh, no. But you can save everything else. I don't know. If HBO and Showtime were available, then I would start to consider it.
Leo: Yes, but then you're going to have to pay for your internet and by the time you add up all the services, it's going to cost exactly - I guarantee you, they're figuring this out right now. It's going to cost you exactly what you're paying now. You'll go, “Oh, I saves $1.” Or maybe it costs $1 more. It'll be so close. So I -
Jeff: I also wonder if I threaten to cord cut, what they would do.
Jason: They'll do what they did for me and that's - I'm now on my second year of free HBO. There you go. So I got two solid years of free HBO and a bunch of other discounts.
Aaron: I don't know if it's worth it. Is HBO really - I mean, Netflix is still $7 or $8 a month or something?
Jeff: Yes, $9 I think.
Aaron: Yes, so I mean, is it really worth it to get those HBO shows, $15?
Jeff: If you want certain shows. If you want Girls, you want Girls.
Leo: It's the Game of Throne tax is what it is. I am such a fan of wireless charging, it actually helps me determine what phones to get. I was really pleased to see the S6 was going to be doing both Qi and Powermat. Those are competing. I added Qi charging to my Note 4 which doesn't come with it but Samsung sells a relatively inexpensive back. All it does is add a little circuitry. You note that when - most of the Samsung phones have little connectors for that so you just snap that onto the Qi charger, not quite as well as the phones that have Qi built in, but I love Qi charging. Now IKEA is going to build furniture with built-in chargers. Yes.
Jeff: That's the best. Your night table, you just put the phone down and that's it. You know what I really want, Leo? I want a desk with Qi built in. I want a Qi desk.
Leo: Yes, it seems kind of silly to have nightstands. Let's have a desk.
Jeff: I mean, at night you put it on the nightstand. During the day, you just put it next to you.
Leo: Are those lamps that have Qi charging bases?
Jeff: I think so, yes.
Leo: That's nice.
Jeff: Here's the question. Is there a Qi charging laptop?
Jason: That would be good.
Aaron: I think that would be tough to charge.
Leo: It's using inductance and I have a feeling it's just not going to -
Aaron: There's a Qi charging cutting board apparently.
Leo: Why would you want that? Maybe you have a wireless knife, I don't know. Yes, it does look like a cutting board.
Aaron: Doesn't it? They've got it surrounded by food so it's like, “Oh, I'll just chop up my meat and leave my phone on the cutting board.”
Leo: Wireless charging just - I love it. All phones should have it.
Jeff: This is so brilliant, why they didn't think of it before to put it in furniture.
Aaron: Those little pads, you could embed on desks pretty easily. I mean, they should be selling a desk. I don't know why they're not.
Jeff: Well, Richard Gingrich shows off his woodworking projects all the time in bars and stuff. I can imagine he would make that. For that matter, I think wireless is coming to Starbucks but that has to be little elements. Imagine if you went to a bar and the whole bar was Qi. You just put your phone down and it charges.
Leo: I'm sad to say that one of my heroes, Matt Howie, who created Metafilter 16 years ago - Metafilter, we talked about this, was going through an economic crisis of kind. It wasn't making as much money from Google ads and so forth. He's decided to retire.
Jeff: We said he's leaving it in good hands?
Leo: Yes. Because his moderators are still there, it's a community. But you look at it and it really feels like the latter day web, doesn't it? With the good old days. Matt is a sweet guy and I wish him the best.
Jeff: He is a great guy and he's gone through this in the past. He asked this question years ago when I was around it and God bless it, stuck it out and really made something with it. Amazing. So every season, turn, turn, turn.
Leo: If you want a broadcast career, we've got a place for you over here. And this article from Kevin Marks, “Facebook, Twitter and Google+ shun HTML, causing the infographic plague.” I don't know, Kevin. “By choosing images over links, and by restricting markup, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are hostile to HTML.” And it's true, there's a new service that - a new iPhone app that lets you screencap text and put it in Twitter. This is how people are getting around the 140 character barrier.
Jeff: Not only that but I think Medium has it built in so you can do that in Medium now. It is kind of sad.
Leo: That's sad - so wait, 2012?
Jeff: What? Oh, that's my fault, I put it in there.
Leo: No, no, it says on March 4, unless this is an old article. Maybe Kevin just typed the wrong year. “Please provide equal space for HTML.” That's not going to happen. “For authors and designers everywhere, stop making giant bitmaps when well-written text and charts that are well worth the money spent on them.”
Jeff: Well, charts and text that are searchable. You don't know the text that's quoted in Twitter now.
Leo: You could say the same about podcasts. No, this was originally published 2011.
Jeff: Oh, sorry. It was on Medium so I presumed it was new.
Leo: I think he reposted. Nothing has gotten better in three years.
Jeff: New stuff, Kevin Marks' greatest hits.
Leo: You want to rant on -
Jeff: No, just show the cover there for a second. So, Der Spiegel, in German,y had what I thought was an absolutely ridiculous cover. So it has not the CEO of Google but Serge Brin -
Leo: Marisa Meyer, Mark Zuckerberg. Who's this guy to Serge's right?
Jeff: That's Uber, Travis Kalanick and Tim Cook.
Leo: It's Die Weltregierung.
Jeff: Yes, that means, “The world government.” How Silicon Valley is controlling our future. It's just obnoxious. Now, I use the German N-word to describe this and I got accused of violating Godwin's Law. But my real argument is that they were using that kind of rhetoric.
Leo: Right, whenever you talk about ruling the world.
Jeff: Yes. The rhetoric in it is just over the top ridiculous and the thing is -
Leo: Actually, I kind of agree. These guys kind of are - they left out Elon Musk, they left out a few people.
Aaron: They're just pandering to - I mean, a large popular opinion over in Europe, right, though? Isn't this totally pandering to a common fear?
Leo: I for one welcome our new Silicon Valley overlords.
Aaron: I do too.
Leo: I want smart people to run the world, not ambitious politicians.
Jeff: It's going to be a hell of a lot better than Congress.
Aaron: Yes. I'm ready to move into the Google-verse and shun the rest of society.
Leo: I'll live under the dome if that's what it takes.
Jeff: Zombies be damned.
Aaron: Embrace the dome, people.
Leo: But it is the staple. It has been for decades, the idea - in fact, I think that in Neuromancer, corporations run the world, not governments. When you see Steve Wozniak in a Cadillac commercial, you know times have changed. So tell me again, Die Weltregierung. I like it.
Jeff: So we don't need to go on any further rant, but Spiegel just answered me today and talked the whole thing.
Leo: It's a big pass for me. They've been one of the journals publishing a lot of the Snowden material. I'm going to give them a pass.
Jeff: I would have, too. I would have respected them, I just think they're over the top.
Leo: Too much. Yes. Let's move on. We're going to get your tips, picks, number of the week and we're going to do an Inside TWiT right after, Lisa has told me we want to tell the world what's going on at this little business of ours. This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
Our show today brought to you by HipChat. Actually, I do have some updates on our website. That's when I first encountered HipChat. We've been using it with our web design team in Austin, down there at Four Kitchens. They're big. They've got Lassi in house, they use Jira and all that stuff. If you're a developer, HipChat makes a whole heck of a lot of sense. At first, you look at it and go, “That's just instant messenger.” No, it's a whole lot more. It's instant messenger on steroids. It allows you to do document sharing, video chat, screen sharing. It works with 57 services. There's a sense of fun to it, too, much like Hangouts. It has emojis and fun things. It's a great way to stay in touch with a team, especially if that team is spread out. Email, too slow. It's asynchronous. Meeting, oh God - don't. Not another meeting. Regular instant messaging doesn't have all the features that HipChat does, and it even works with GitHub, and Jira, of course, and Zendesk. I have HipChat running on all my systems, all my mobile devices. It works everywhere you are. There's even a great HTML-5 based web version so on a Chromebook, no problem. Easy to use.
We built a HipChat team for our engineering team, our sales team. It's just amazing. Get your team on the same page in seconds. Of course, HipChat has a freemium version you can use free forever but for the next 30 days, you're going to get the full version of HipChat including bonus features of video and screen sharing. You can try HipChat free, no credit card required, at hipchat.com/TWiG. Of course, it supports Linux. Sign up, click on “Start chatting,” to invite a few members and try it free for 30 days. In fact, I want to kind of get it going here so for the first 100 people that respond to this ad, you're going to get 90 days free, three months free. Hipchat.com/TWiG, get on in there. HipChat, your team, your project, in sync instantly.
Aaron: HipChat's cool.
Leo: What do you use at NetApp?
Aaron: We use a combination of things. We use Chatter because the salespeople use Salesforce. We use instant messenger. We use a lot of Sisco tools but what's nice about HipChat is it kind of combines all that stuff. It solves that.
Leo: The other thing is, it's encrypted, so it's a really good choice for a team that is going to be Sony'ed.
Aaron: There's so many things that plug into it, all the tools they plug into. I don't want to extend the commercial, but I've looked at it and it is a really exciting product.
Leo: You know, there's a lot of tension to Butterfield Slack rightnow. Somebody said, “Okay, are you going to use a tool designed by a Lassian, by programmers for programmers, for teams, or are you going to use a tool by a guy who did Flickr and Glitch?” Actually, Slack is cool. But HipChat is what we use and I'm really fond of it. Aaron, you got something you want to - you're doing - I love all the projects and stuff you do and the things you do. Last time you were here, you brought an old-time radio device that was actually a Raspberry. Are you interested in the Windows 10 version of Raspberry?
Aaron: I am interested in it. I'm interested in it, absolutely. In fact, I just did a review for BYB which will be coming up shortly on the Raspberry Pie model two and I forgot to mention it runs Windows 10. But yes, I am interested in it.
Leo: You know what I thought would be fun to do is make a TWiT box. It's like a Steam Box, but it's a TWiT box because it has HDMI on there. Low power, we could charge $40 and plug it in, and you get TWiT on it all the time.
Aaron: You could totally do that and a lot more. A lot of people run XBMC - oh, it's not XBMC any more.
Leo: I think that's what we'd do. We'd put Plex on it or whatever and then have it do other things but it's set up for TWiT.
Aaron: Yes, you turn it on and, boop, there's your show. You could absolutely do it.
Leo: So you're doing refrigerator magnets.
Aaron: I try to bring something because I'm a maker at heart and I'm always making something. I figured we needed to mix it up a bit on TWiG. So I like to bring a project. My project today is refrigerator magnets. Don't throw out those old keyboards. A lot of things we talk about at the maker space is reusing those old electronics. This is a great way to reuse keyboards. They already have the letters printed on them, so why not attach the magnets to the back and use them as refrigerator magnets?
Leo: That's cool.
Aaron: Yes, it's kind of cool and techie, really easy to do. You can pry the keys right off, don't have to worry about breaking them because you're going to reuse them anyway. Basically, you just saw off - after you take the keys out, there will be a little post in the back. You just kind of take that little post off.
Jeff: Amazing how easy that is to break off.
Leo: I know. It's so simple. Well, I've done that to clean keyboards, actually.
Aaron: You just glue on little magnets and you can even recycle these. I don't know about you, but I get these from real estate agents and stuff, they'll always send you a calendar. Just cut up those magnets, reuse the magnets and then put these on your refrigerator.
Leo: Much better.
Aaron: If you've got a couple of keyboards, then you can really start spelling some cool words or doing some cool - it's kind of like the poetry magnets but a little geekier. A little more fun.
Leo: Instructables.com if you want to know more.
Aaron: Just Google “keyboard refrigerator magnets,” there's several good Instructables and links to projects out there that you could follow.
Leo: God bless the hot glue gun. Do you have a favored hot glue gun?
Aaron: No, just about anything. You can even get them at the dollar store, right? I mean, they work fine. So just about any hot glue gun. Mine has hot and not so hot temperature control, which is nice, but just about any glue gun will work.
Leo: Jeff, your number of the week?
Jeff: Well, how do you follow Martha Stewart, you know?
Leo: It's tough.
Jeff: Our Martha. So Rico, Lauren Goode said that Google says that the error rate on Google Voice commands is down to 8%. 92% of the time, they get it right. So she had a fun story where she was watching House of Cards and tried to use it and you know, fine, it's a gimmick.
Leo: You mean you hold it up to Frank Underwood and it does searches?
Jeff: No, it didn't do that. That's too cool. But all the questions she had, she just asked Google. I forget to use voice command and it really does become changing. When I do use it - when I use dictator or ask a question, it really does make life a lot easier and I like this story because it was a whole bunch of questions about House of Cards, plus other things in life. What worked, what didn't and it does work pretty darn well. 8%, that's the number.
Leo: 8% is higher than you think. I mean, so for years, we used programs like Dragon to dictate and it was like 90% accurate. That sounds really good until you realize that means one in every ten words, you have to retype. Suddenly, it's not so good.
Jeff: The problem here, I think, is it just utterly flummoxes on some things. Some restaurant names and stuff. The thing that drives me nuts is I'm driving home and want to order out for food on the way home. I use voice command. I'm not going to type anything. There's two - there's a place around here called Urban Table, there's two of them. There's one near me. I ask for it by town and Google never gives it to me.
Leo: I know. That's frustrating, isn't it?
Jeff: I can't figure it out. I'm giving you the data, Google, why can't you figure this out? They're not perfect, it turns out. That's the revelation of the day.
Aaron: Isn't that weird, we all have our own ways of looking things up to get the right thing? I'm sure we all do that, right? I know that if I type in one thing, it's not going to give me the right thing, so I type in, you know, the name of the restaurant -
Leo: You game Google.
Aaron: Yes, you totally game Google after a while.
Leo: I just yell louder. That doesn't seem to help at all.
Jeff: I know, I have said some very nasty words.
Aaron: We all look ridiculous as we're driving like we have road rage and we're just upset that Google can't hear what we're saying in our cars.
Jeff: I'll bet there's somebody at Google who has a running F-count of people screaming at Google Now.
Leo: Apparently, did you see that article that - who's text to speech was being saved? It was Siri, and a guy - I don't know if it was Reddit or something, but he said, “I work for a company that's going through these audio transcriptions.” There's quite a few of them and they're mining data or something out of them, nothing ominous. But he realized they were actually Siri and that all of that stuff is being saved. He said it's quite entertaining to read the kind of things people say to Siri and apparently, there's a database somewhere. You should be aware of that. The big Fuhrer over the Samsung TVs always baffled me because I was like, don't you know that everybody has to do that? There's no way these devices could do voice recognition effectively without being online. The server is always getting your voice after you trigger.
Jason: Have we talked on this show about the fact that all the Voice searches you've ever done into Google are actually catalogued for you? You can look at all those audio files. What I find interesting about this - it doesn't really creep me out that this happens because I just kind of assume that's part of how the service works and whatever. What's weird is, I've gotten so used to wearing an Android Wear watch all the time, all the random misfires that happen throughout the day, you're talking and it pops up? When you look at the list, you see all of these transcriptions. Some of them are actually transcriptions, like, “OK, Google, search for blah blah blah.” Others are like parts of your daily life, just a conversation you're having or something that you're listening to and it's really interesting to see it in that perspective and be like, “Wow, a lot of things I intend to be passed to Google are and then there's a lot of stuff that I do not intend for Google to have.”
Jeff: I think that there's a writer for the Good Wife watching. There's going to be an episode around that. “Why did the words 'murder her' come up in your Google transcript?”
Leo: I'm almost tempted to play some of these. These are in your dashboard, right? Google.com/dashboard under audio? I think it's under audio because I see here under audio. I don't know if I dare play any of these.
Jason: You'll see - I wonder if some of them are the look and touch.
Leo: How about this, you want to listen?
Leo (audio): OK Google, how many tablespoons of sugar in a 16 ounce can of soda?
Leo: That was at a pizza parlor.
Jeff: You were talking about soda?
Leo: Yes. Here, how about this one?
Leo (audio): Do you want me to come right now or do you want me to stop at the -
Jason: See, that one's intentional. I have tons that are not intentional.
Leo: I don't know if I want to play this. This was at 9 this morning. Yes, you know what, I -
Jason: I know, right?
Leo: By the way, only you can see these and you can delete them. I don't know if people know you can find these. Okay, enough of that. Later - I should have previewed these ahead of time because I don't know what happened at 9 this morning. It was my watch.
Jason: Did you do an intentional - no. Hey, play it real quick. I can play it in preview and let you know.
Leo: No, you just want to know.
Jason: I'm curious.
Leo: You saw my butt yesterday, how much more do you want?
Jason: That's true. No comment.
Leo: We didn't air it but we were showing how the deletion in the new iCloud photos, the new thing Apple is showing off, if you delete one thing, it deletes it everywhere. I had very carefully gone through my photos at home before, because I know I show these on the air so I knew we were going to talk about it. So I went through and deleted anything that was remotely scandalous. But for some reason, there's three pictures of my butt not deleted and unfortunately, Jason saw them all.
Jeff: There's three pictures of your tattoo.
Leo: Oh, maybe that's what that was about.
Jeff: There were pictures of your rump.
Leo: My derrier. A butt selfie, a belfie. So I just wanted to give you an update. Have you played with App Inventor at all, or have your kids?
Aaron: Oh, yes.
Leo: I love App Inventor and I'm loving it more. So on the radio show, I have to hit - it's a network show so I have to hit out-times very hard by the second and I'm kind of late. I was writing a script for AppleScript but it wasn't working anymore. So I thought, “Oh, this might be a good use for my Nexus 7 tablet.” I keep it on the charger so I went to App Inventor. I mentioned this before, you drag and drop pieces of the user interface in the designer and then you go in the blocks. I have to admit, as someone who's written software, I found myself fighting because there's no case statements. I'm building this giant, “If this, then else,” tree but ultimately, I did get an app that really works and it's great. It's very simple. What happens after you build it, you just go here and say “Build.” They'll store it, I think, for a day or two. You have a QR code that you can take a picture of and download it or you can save it to your computer and email it. Actually, I saved it to Google Drive and all my devices have Drive, so I can go and download the app and I have it now. So when it's yellow, it means I have less than two minutes before the break. It goes to red in the last minute. If I'm in a - if I'm talking on the show, it's green. If I'm in the commercial, it's blue. It's a big countdown timer but it was easy to write. I put it on my phone, I can put it everywhere. There's limits with what you can do with App Inventor. It's really designed, I think, more to teach kids how to program.
Aaron: It is. It uses kind of the Scratch methodology.
Leo: If you use things like Tynker, it's a very similar thing. You can actually graduate to this, but I think they've done a great job. See, I only have 30 seconds left. I'm running out of time on the countdown clock.
Aaron: That's awesome.
Leo: It works great. It's something very simple. You're not going to write the next great app on here but believe me, for a little utility - what I think is important is you've got to teach kids and yourselves not to be consumers but creators. Even something as simple as this gives you a sense of mastery over your technology and you're not quite as helpless. Now I've run out of time and we're in a commercial break for 342 seconds. Now, I didn't do the thing were you make it minutes and seconds. I figured this is good enough.
Aaron: That's good enough. That's awesome.
Leo: By the way, by doing that, there's no Print-F. Doing that is actually a little bit complicated.
Jeff: So you just program in the times for the whole rundown?
Leo: Yes. If I wanted to get fancy, I would put little buttons here that would let you, you know - let other people do it. But just the idea is that you could do something so simple. It's really, really great. It's App Inventor and all you have to do is search for App Inventor. MIT hosted - Google developed it originally. MIT hosts it now and it's free to use. What's cool is you're programming on the web. You can do it in Google Chrome. It doesn't - the whole thing is on the web, all your code and everything. It's wonderful.
Aaron: It's quick and easy to get started.
Leo: I love it. Counted down to zero and the bomb didn't go off but this show has. Thank you very much for coming up and joining us, Aaron Newcomb.
Aaron: You bet.
Leo: We really appreciate it.
Aaron: You bet.
Jeff: Always a pleasure.
Leo: You're on the Google+, you're on Twitter. Anything else you want to plug that you're doing?
Aaron: Well, Floss Weekly. I was on Floss Weekly this morning. I said - yes, I kind of coordinated that between Randall and Jason, you know, trying to get that. It was a really fun morning with Randall. If you haven't checked it out, you should go check out Floss Weekly.
Leo: What was the topic?
Aaron: A company called - just pulling it up now, want to make sure I get it right.
Leo: Every Floss Weekly is, these days, been an open source project of some kind. Actually, for the last few years. I love that.
Aaron: This one is a little bit surprising. It's called Crisis Cleanup. It's an open source application for managing after there's a crisis - for managing volunteers, getting them involved with mobilizing, essentially. So you've got the Baptist church, the Methodist church and the Lutheran church. They all want to, you know, help out with some sort of disaster.
Leo: They don't want to get in each other's way.
Aaron: Maybe some of them have facilities to do overnight housing, some of them have food capabilities. So they can basically take this program and run it, and kind of coordinate a little bit better. It's all based on open source.
Leo: I love seeing examples of how open source is being used in business and NGOs and charity. I mean, it's more than just geeks doing databases. No SQL databases, there's a lot of great stuff going on.
Aaron: Check that out. One more thing while I've got the camera. If you were in the Bay Area and you'd like to come to a Maker Faire, we're doing our very own Maker Faire in Benicia. It's the Benicia Mini Maker Fair on March 28 and it's for the whole Bay Area. So if you're in this area and you'd like to check it out, it's beniciamakerfaire.com. Buy your tickets early because there's going to be a line at the door. It's going to be a lot of fun. We've got all kinds of cool stuff there.
Leo: Makers fairs are so great.
Aaron: There's an eight or nine-year-old girl who makes something called cardboard video games. I don't know what that is but I'm really interested to see what she's doing. She's going to be coming out and showing that off, and all kinds of other cool stuff. So check it out.
Leo: We are done. Thank you everybody for joining us, This Week in Google and Inside TWiT coming up in a second. This Week in Google is every Wednesday, 1 p.m. Pacific and 4 p.m. Eastern. Remember, we are going to Daylight Savings Time here in California on Sunday.
Jeff: Also remember next week, for a lot of fans, we're going to be on early.
Leo: So if you are not on summer time yet, we are going to be springing forward - let's put it this way. We're on 2000 UTC, okay? That's all you really need to do. Figure out what your time differential is from UTC and you'll know. Every Wednesday and yes, next week we are going to be early in the morning, 11 a.m. Pacific, 2 p.m. Eastern time, 1300 UTC because we're flip flopping with Windows Weekly. So tune in early if you want to join us live. We love it if you do but I understand a lot of times you can. We have on-demand versions of every show we do on the TWiT network at TWiT.tv/TWiG or wherever you get your podcasts, iTunes and the apps on your phone. There's some great TWiT apps on almost every platform including Roku. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you next time on TWiG! Bye, bye.