Google’s biggest event of the year included the latest on its plans for virtual reality, artificial intelligence and messaging – key battlegrounds in the future of computing. Coverage here of the opening keynote at the annual developer conference and reaction as Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the stage.
By Aliya Ram
Do you think you’re real? Do you think I’m real? Tell me, tin soldier, do you have a heart? As I rack my brains for questions to ask a robot that will probably one day take my job and befriend my child, a colleague tells me that Pepper is like a nine-year-old. You can ask it questions, he says, but you don’t want to freak it out. He means to defuse my excitement, but instead adds to it. A robot as smart as a nine-year-old? Woah. Read more
There’s a saying among consumer electronics start-ups: hardware is hard. Unlike a software or internet company, hardware start-ups have to worry about manufacturing, distribution and inventory, as well as all the working capital worries that go along with them. Read more
Some experts think wearable technology – from sleep monitors to fitness bands – could be the next frontier in how companies monitor their workers, further blurring the lines between our work and private lives.
Over the next four days Sarah O’Connor, the Financial Times’ Employment Correspondent will be fitted out in wearable gadgets while she works, to see if the personal data they generate really would be useful to managers – and whether workers could learn to live with it.
Follow her regular updates via the Wearables at Work Facebook page, where you’ll find her updates, videos, and thoughts on the project. She’ll be tweeting about the project using the #wearables hashtag, and each day, we’ll storify a selection of the Facebook posts and bring it here to the Techblog.
Machines are getting smarter all the time, but could they ever attain the quintessentially human qualities of creativity and introspection?
Demis Hassabis – chess wunderkind, games designer and one of Google’s artificial intelligence whizzkids – thinks so.
He made a rare public appearance this week, speaking on a panel of philosophers and neuroscientists at the London School of Economics, to debate whether the brain is a “predictive machine”. Read more
A German start-up is trying to change America’s reluctance to long-distance ride-sharing by partnering with Uber to make it more convenient, even in the sprawling US.
Munich-based carpooling is launching today in the US with an app that lets drivers offer spare seats to passengers for rides. The model has proven a hit in Europe, with multiple start-ups in the same field, but it has not taken off in the US, where cities are further apart and public transit within most cities fairly meager. Blablacar, carpooling’s French rival, told the Financial Times last week that it would not launch in the US. Read more
Barely two months after Apple admitted it was storing users’ data online in mainland China, reports emerged that hackers have tried breaking into its iCloud data.
Apple representatives in China declined to comment on the reports of the hacking attack, which were posted on GreatFire.org, a group that conducts research on Chinese internet censorship.
The revelations, if true, would be little surprise to China observers. But it would be a comeuppance for Apple whose decision to store users’ data in mainland servers underlined the tenuous balance that foreign tech companies must strike between commitment to customer security and the realities of the Chinese market. Read more
Google faces a lot of questions on Europe’s new right to be forgotten ruling.
Should it notify a news website that it taking down links to one of its stories in its search results? Can famous people remove links to information about them created before they began to make headlines? Should those who fail to understand Facebook’s privacy settings be able remove information held in their social network profile from Google’s search results?
At London swing of Google's advisory council hearings on #rtbf. Unlike the search engine, lots of questions, few answers
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These were among tricky dilemmas put today to Google’s “advisory council”: a group of independent experts advising the company on how to implement the European Court of Justice’s controversial decision in May. The court gave people the right to ask internet search engines to remove sensitive or embarrassing links to websites for queries that include their name. Deluged with hundreds of thousands of such takedown requests, Google wants the council to help develop policies to deal with the most difficult of cases.
Angry Birds may be in free fall but two of the executives most responsible for its success are spreading their wings.
Just days after the company behind Angry Birds cut 16 per cent of its workforce amid disappointing growth, two former Rovio executives are launching their first game backed with $5m of venture capital money.
Andrew Stalbow, former head of strategic partnerships at Rovio and now chief executive at Seriously, said he hoped Thursday’s launch of Best Fiends would be the start of creating a mobile phone-centred entertainment brand. Read more
Apple’s latest iPhone has been has been hailed as the thinnest and biggest mobile device it has created yet. But those qualities may have created an unexpected problem: the gadget may have a tendency to “bend”.
Lewis Hilsenteger of product review site Unbox Therapy has published a video that has gone viral (over 3m views and counting), in which he conducted a not-so-scientific “bend test” on the phone. Using his hands to apply pressure on the back of the device while pulling the edges back, he found that the device was warped.
“Will this happen in your front pocket?” asked Mr Hilsenteger. “That probably depends on how tight your pants are.”
Will the expected launch of a new iPhone later today – and perhaps an “iWatch” – give a boost to Apple’s share price or trigger a decline? Read more
The clock’s ticking on the launch of Apple’s “iWatch” – expected on September 9 – and its Korean rivals are coming out ahead of time with their latest takes on wearable technology. Read more
By Jonathan Soble and Lindsay Whipp
OK, so you know selfies are a thing – who doesn’t? But what about encasing that selfie-taking mobile phone in a case shaped like a Chanel perfume bottle?
Meet the Smelfie (Perfume + Selfie) – a thing, apparently, among women in China. And it hasn’t escaped the notice of product designers at Sony. Read more
What can a company that proposes using drones to deliver goods instantaneously do to impress?
Amazon tried hard with its Fire phone, the first smartphone ever from the e-commerce giant. It sort of succeeds, but the best thing about the phone is the vision of what it could become after a few rounds of refinements and tweaks. Read more
Samsung Galaxy S5 (Getty)
South Koreans consumers will be able to jump the global queue for Samsung Electronics’ new flagship smartphone, after mobile operators put it on sale two weeks ahead of the official launch date. Read more