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Take a Test Drive into the Future with this Look at Google's Self-Driving Car That Will Hit the Road This Summer: VIDEO


Google embarks on next step in its automotive future this summer with the debut of its prototype self-driving vehicles on the streets of Mountain View, California.

Writes Chris Urmson, Director of Google's Self-Driving Car Project:

CarWe’ve been running the vehicles through rigorous testing at our test facilities, and ensuring our software and sensors work as they’re supposed to on this new vehicle. The new prototypes will drive with the same software that our existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs uses. That fleet has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since we started the project, and recently has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week. So the new prototypes already have lots of experience to draw on—in fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience. 

Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and during this next phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles, and to uncovering challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle—e.g., where it should stop if it can’t stop at its exact destination due to construction or congestion. In the coming years, we’d like to run small pilot programs with our prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this. If you’d like to follow updates about the project and share your thoughts, please join us on our Google+ page. See you on the road!

See what the future has in store, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Impact Of Pro-LGBT Ad Campaigns Could Help Normalize Depictions Of Queer Lives

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Last year when Burger King rolled out its limited edition Proud Whopper many people raised their eyebrows in alarm. The concept behind the brightly wrapped burgers was a simple one: despite being clad in rainbow wrappers, the burgers were indistinguishable from their regular counterparts.

The campaign was rolled out in a single San Francisco market during the city’s 2014 pride parade, but it the move drew the attention of people from across the entire country. Innocuous as the LGBT-themed campaigned may have seemed to some, others saw it as a calculated bid for queer dollars meant to distract the public from corporate misdeeds.


Other companies like Bertoli and Honey Maid have expressed their support of LGBT rights through ad campaigns of their own and much to the same ends. Big brands know that appealing to queer customers is good for business, but according to a new report from Google’s analytics blog Think With Google the impact of their corporate might be even more beneficial than previously thought.

“Pride advertising isn't just about acknowledging and embracing the LGBT community,” the report reads. “It's an opportunity for brands to speak their own truth and take a stand. And when they do, consumers, especially millennials, appreciate it and respond in kind.”

Both Honey Maid and Burger King saw increased and lasting spikes in brand engagement with their target audiences including millennials and people up to the age of 54. While the impact of corporate engagement might seem insignificant in the fight for LGBT rights, large brands have the ability to promote positive images of queer people and families.

A large number of straight and gay people are still uncomfortable with seeing public displays of affection between gay people. One of the easiest and most impactful ways brands could participate in changing that could be through more successful advertising campaigns that embrace and celebrate LGBT lives.

Over 100 Tech Leaders Call for Nationwide LGBT Non-Discrimination Protections: LIST


The list of technology industry leaders calling for nationwide protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity continues to grow, HRC reports.

“The unified message from these business leaders is clear: Pass LGBT non-discrimination protections and pass them now,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Until legislators finally step up to the plate and take action, this issue is not going to go away. It’s time for elected officials to listen to the overwhelming voice of fair-minded Americans demanding equality for their LGBT loved ones, friends, and neighbors. No American should risk losing their job, be denied housing, or refused service simply because of who they are or whom they love.”

New recent cosigners of the call to action include leaders from YouTube, AppNexus,, Consumer Electronics Association, Hotsuite, Google, Uber Technologies, Intuit, Facebook, GoPro, Cisco, Pinterest, Pandora Media, Yahoo!, Logitech, and many others companies.

Read the full updated list of leaders and the full statement, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Magic Leap Is Bringing Us One Step Closer To The Augmented Reality Of The Future: VIDEO

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Augmented reality has long since been one of the most promising visions of the future presented by Silicon Valley. As cell phones have grown more powerful and wearable devices have become more ubiquitous, that vision has come increasingly closer to realization. In a new video originally meant to be screened at South By Southwest, Magic Leap, a company specializing in AR and backed by Google, shares a little bit of the software its been working on.

Most forms of AR--like Microsoft's HoloLens--are a virtual overlays projected onto physical objects that can only be seen through a digital lens. Magic Leap’s take on the tech showcases a literal first person shooter game in which static physical objects become weapons that can be used to fight enemies in a video game.

Magic Leap also shows a few brief moments of interacting with e-mail as if it were a tangible thing and sending it with the flick of a wrist. It’s difficult to say just how close this concept video is to what Magic Leap may eventually bring to the consumer market, but the company’s PR director says that the Magic Leap team is playing a version of this game around the office right now.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Spot The Robotic Dog Is Here To Give You Nightmares About The Robot Uprising - VIDEO

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Do you remember BigDog, Boston Dynamics’s terrifying (but also cool) quadruped robot designed to assist soldiers through unfavorably rough terrain? Of course you do; it’s been haunting your nightmares of the robot uprising. Never one to leave well enough alone, the Google-funded company is back with a smaller, more nimble version of its canine-like robot they’re calling Spot.

Spot, like its larger relatives, moves around using a system of four articulated legs, an on-board computer, and an array of sensors that allow the machine to adapt to its surroundings much in the same way that an actual animal would.

As uncanny as it is to watch Spot dressage-trot its way through Boston Dynamics HQ, it’s difficult not to be impressed at the moments in which its behavior very closely resembles that of a living animal.

As Neel Patel explains in Wired, much of the life-like behavior showcased in the video is a natural outgrowth of Spot’s programming that’s designed to allow it to respond to external stimulus. In those moments where the two Spot units bump into one another, the machines attempt to correct the collision by orienting themselves in relation to one another. Programmatically, Spot’s making sure to move unencumbered. Visually, however, it looks like they’re purposefully trying to move together.

If the Matrix has taught us anything it’s that we should all consider investing in handheld electromagnetic pulse devices.

Check out footage of Boston Dynamics’s newest four-legged terror AFTER THE JUMP...

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Google Edits Translate To Remove Homophobic Translations For 'Gay'

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Google’s translating feature recently caught the attention of All Out, an LGBT crowdsourcing platform, after it was discovered that the search giant suggested slurs such as “poof,” “queen,” and “faggot” as synonyms for gay:

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“Imagine learning English and being taught to say hateful insults instead of neutral language for ‘gay,’” The call to action reads. “Google Translate - used by over 500 million people every month - was suggesting slurs as synonyms for the word ‘gay.’”

Google, which in the past has been highlighted for its commitment to workplace LGBT equality, swiftly responded to the more than 50,000 people who signed the petition with a frank apology.

“As soon as we were informed we immediately worked to fix the issue,” Google said in a statement. “We apologize for any offense this has caused people.”


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