Author Archives: Chris Davies

Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear and Android Community. Based in San Francisco, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

Amazon Echo adds Google Calendar support

Amazon Echo adds Google Calendar support

Amazon's Echo home assistant has quietly added another talent to its PA abilities, with a new update integrating Google Calendar with the cylindrical speaker. The firmware upgrade, which will be automatically pushed out to Echo units in the wild, allows limited voice control over calendar events and scheduling: you can ask the gadget to give a summary of what's on the agenda for that day, or just request a reminder of the next scheduled event.

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Project Soli could be Google’s riposte to Apple’s Digital Crown

Project Soli could be Google’s riposte to Apple’s Digital Crown

Wearables may bring your digital life to your wrist but that doesn't make it any easier to interact with, a problem Google believes it may have solved. Handiwork of the Google ATAP team, the internal skunkworks cooking up new and innovative hardware and software like Jacquard and Ara, Project Soli is the first ever radar chip capable of tracking gestures while also small enough to fit into a smartwatch or a phone. While it may only be eight months old, it's already poised to dramatically shake-up how we use small-screen devices.

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Google Project Vault bakes super-security into microSD

Google Project Vault bakes super-security into microSD

How much trust can you squeeze into a microSD card? If you're Google ATAP, the search giant's outlandish research arm, it turns out the answer is "a huge amount." Today at I/O the ATAP team revealed Project Vault, a full security computer packed into a microSD form-factor, and which if plugged into a phone, PC, or even an Internet-of-Things device could allow for entirely encrypted communications without the host device ever seeing what's being discussed or worked on. Best of all, Google is releasing the whole thing as an open-source project.

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Google and Levi’s team on Jacquard touch-sensitive clothes

Google and Levi’s team on Jacquard touch-sensitive clothes

Google's ATAP team promised to blow our socks off at I/O 2015, and Project Jacquard is how it plans to do that, a new conductive fabric that can track touch. Intended to bring new types of sensing and control to clothes, furnishings, and other areas which might not normally be electronically connected. And, while we've seen conductive threads woven through materials before, Project Jacquard goes further than most, including a partnership with one of the biggest names in fashion.

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Android Pay hands-on: Google wants your money

Android Pay hands-on: Google wants your money

Android Pay is coming, and it's impressively streamlined compared to the overly-complicated and feature-bulging Google Wallet. Officially revealed alongside Android M at Google I/O today, the mobile payments system supports both NFC for dropping virtual cash out in the wild, and in-app integration for retailers wanting to enable easy payments. I grabbed a Nexus 6 and a Nexus 5, both equipped with pre-release versions of Android Pay, to go shopping on Google's dime.

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Inside Google Photos: A super-smart cloud for your memories

Inside Google Photos: A super-smart cloud for your memories

Google Photos isn’t the first cloud photo storage service, or the first media management platform, but first impressions suggest Google has raised the stakes with its smart new system. Announced at Google I/O today, and further detailed in a later session by Bradley Horowitz along with the rest of the Google Photos team, much of the near-magic is what’s going on behind the scenes, such as how it uses landmark recognition to fill in missing geotags, intelligently deals with diminishing storage on smartphones, and even differentiates dogs.

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Google+ isn’t dead, but blood has been shed

Google+ isn’t dead, but blood has been shed

Remember Google+? Google’s social network has long been the butt of jokes, positioned first as the Facebook killer for the whole family but failing to hammer the killer nail into Zuckerberg’s empire. Turns out, though, that Google+ isn’t going away, though the broadly-misunderstood network is certainly going to change according to VP of Product Bradley Horowitz speaking at Google I/O today.

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Apple buys augmented reality specialist Metaio

Apple buys augmented reality specialist Metaio

Apple has apparently acquired augmented reality firm Metaio, a surprise purchase of a specialist in computer vision, tracking, and even "virtual Holodeck" tools for developers. The news suggests Apple is adding to its portfolio of computational vision technology, potentially following in the footsteps of companies like Facebook - which acquired Oculus - and trying to catch up on new interface paradigms. With Microsoft looking to push augmented reality more into the mainstream with HoloLens, it's possible that Apple is looking to do something similar with iOS or OS X, though the Cupertino firm was not the prime suspect in an acquisition bid.

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This is GoPro’s crazy 16-camera Google Jump rig

This is GoPro’s crazy 16-camera Google Jump rig

GoPro has been busy lately, first showing off a spherical rig yesterday and then following up today with this, a 16-camera 360 Array to work with Google Jump. The first example of a Jump-compatible rig for recording entire panoramas of footage, the 3D-printed framework holds more than a dozen GoPro cameras and, optionally, a microphone with them, so that users can capture everything going on around them and share it on the new YouTube service.

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