Google-owned robotics firm Boston Dynamics is no stranger to creating robotic beasts that can do freakish feats, but their latest robotic quadruped — a 160-pound doglike machine named Spot — takes the crazy factor to an all new level with a smaller, nimbler, more-kickable form factor.
To be perfectly honest, Spot scares the hell out of me. When Elon Musk warned about the possibility of humans becoming slaves to AI, this is what I imagined — legions of weird-looking robots that can go anywhere to hunt you down and put you in your place. Spot doesn’t feature any futuristic weapons to punish his human masters, but the cybernetic canine has some serious skills when it comes to exploring difficult terrain and balancing.
If you don’t think the robot threat is real, here are six GIFs of Spot in action that might change your mind:
Yahoo has been vying for the default search spot in Safari, and 2015 might be the year it finally happens. Photo: Yahoo
Thanks to contractual obligations that are purportedly ending this year, Google’s days as Safari’s search provider could be numbered. And Yahoo wants to take its spot.
During Yahoo’s quarterly earnings call yesterday, Marissa Mayer reiterated her interest in being Safari’s main search engine. “The Safari platform is basically one of the premier search deals in the world if not the premier search deal in the world,” she said in response to a question about Yahoo’s plans for search.
Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt shaking hands at the original iPhone launch event. Photo: Apple
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is the anti-Apple. He’s square where Apple is cool, he’s a sputtering doofus where Apple is collected, and he’s prone to hyperbole whereas Apple tends to undersell its products. For example, Schmidt said in 2013 that Android was more secure than the iPhone (LOL).
Given all that, who do you think Schmidt’s personal hero is? Boutros Boutros-Ghali? Shocker! Wrong. It’s Steve Jobs, naturally. Not that many of those lessons have rubbed off on him, mind you.
A few months after Tim Cook critiqued Google’s entire business model during his interview with Charlie Rose, and Google’s Eric Schmidt dismissed the bestselling iPhone 6 as a Samsung clone, Google has struck again with its latest act of aggression: a double billboard for Google Play positioned right next to a leading Apple Store.
Something much more ambitious than Google Voice is coming.
Pretty soon you’ll be able to buy a Nexus smartphone that works with Google’s own wireless network. The company is close to offering its own mobile phone plans directly to customers, a move that would allow Google to control the entire phone experience from top to bottom.
Chrome’s fancy new look on iOS. Screenshots: Google
Google’s Material Design makeover isn’t just for those running the latest version of Android; the search giant is also bringing it to its slew of popular iOS apps as well. Chrome is the latest to get the fancy redesign, and it comes with Handoff support and further improvements for iOS 8.
Google Play becomes king of the mobile app platforms. Screenshot: Cult of Android
Who says iOS has all the apps? According to new data, Google isn’t just kicking butt when it comes to market share, but also mobile apps as well. The search giant’s Play Store now offers a great selection of titles than the App Store, but Apple fans will argue that quality is more important than quantity.
YubiKey can make online security easy — if it gains widespread adoption. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
LAS VEGAS — Nobody wants to get hacked like Jennifer Lawrence’s iCloud account. Everyone, including Apple, is pushing two-factor authentication in the wake of the high-profile hack that exposed dozens of celebrities nude selfies, but verifying an account login with a code sent to your phone is a total pain.
In the not-so-distant future, we might all be storing two-factor authentication on our keychains.
Yubico is already providing eight out of 10 Silicon Valley companies with a tiny USB dongle called YubiKey that securely verifies an employee’s online identity. You just plug it into a computer and tap it when it’s time to log in. Now that Gmail has started supporting YubiKey on the front end, anyone can use it as the second verification step for getting into their inbox.