Google Fi wireless services extends support for several more phones

The Google Fi wireless service, also known as Project Fi, has announced it will now make its service available for three more mobile phones. A report from TechCrunch on Wednesday noted that now the Moto G6, as well as the LG G7 ThinQ and V35 ThinQ will be added to the service.

As the report indicates, the Google Fi service was originally only available for the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 as well as Google’s Nexus 5X and 6P phones. In addition, the Moto X4 and Android One models were able to use the service which switches between cellular networks to give the best signal possible for a particular area. The Google Fi will switch between T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular but only with the specific phones mentioned.

Google first launched Project Fi in 2015 as a way to offer better mobile services and prices for data use. One of the main selling points behind the Google Fi plans is the “bill protection” aspect of their payment plans. Customers pay $10 per gigabyte of data used up until six gigabytes is reached. Once that amount has been reached, the customer’s $60 charge allows for continued unlimited data use for the rest of the month. In an example from the Project Fi website, calls and texts are just $20 per month, with the potential for a bill as low as $30 to $40 a month based on overall data usage.

Google has seemed to carefully choose which mobile phones will work with their service. The new G7 and Moto G6 phones have been mostly well-received in terms of their overall reviews. It’s being said at the moment that of all the supported phones, the Moto G6 is the “most affordable” of all the options on Google Fi. The Moto G6 is a 5.7-inch phone with 32 gigabytes of storage that currently sells from $199 after the price was reduced by $50.

Uber makes new panic button available for U.S. app users

On Tuesday, Uber officially made good on a promise made in April to release a panic button for United States passengers using their app and service. The panic button officially went live as part of the app’s controls, allowing app users to directly call 911 from within the app. The move comes as a response to the safety concerns that have been raised with regards to the popular ride-sharing service.

 

The Verge reported on Tuesday that the app home screen now has a “safety center” menu including the new emergency button. Riders can swipe up on that safety center icon and tap on “911 assistance” to use the panic button. After confirming they intended to make a call to 911, the call goes through to the emergency dispatch service. The new feature was rolled out in the United States after initial testing was done in India with the Uber service.

 

While the panic button that has been released in the United States is intended for passengers using the app, there are plans to also give Uber drivers a similar feature. The idea is to cut down on bad behavior from both passengers and drivers as part of the Uber ride-sharing experience.

 

Uber will also be testing out a “911 integration pilot” in select markets. The feature will be able to give location and trip details for a rider to the 911 dispatcher to help cut down on location accuracy issues from US 911 dispatchers. Among the cities that will receive the location sharing testing will be Charleston, South Carolina; Denver Colorado; Naples, Florida; as well as Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee.

 

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is using the new safety features to try to help improve the company’s poor record in that area. There have been incidents reported involving drivers including a lawsuit where a female passenger was raped by an Uber driver in India. In London, the city declared that the company had a “lax approach to safety” and said they would not give the company a renewal for their license. However, after an appeal, Uber is still able to operate within London. In addition, plans for the company’s autonomous driving cars have been halted after a pedestrian was hit by a self-driving Uber car in Tempe, Arizona.

 

Khosrowshahi has said the panic button, location sharing features, and better driver screening will be “just the beginning” as Uber addresses its safety concerns.

Guwahati Railway Becomes the First Fully Solar Powered Station in India

India is gradually charting into eco-friendly territories after building its first fully solar powered railway station. The redesigned Guwahati railway station is located in the middle of Gawahati, Assam, India and has an array of interconnected rooftop solar panels that altogether hold up to roughly 700 kilowatts. This amount of solar energy is sufficient enough to power the entire station including the colony area, coach depot, a portion of the Indian Railways and all of the Northeast Frontier Railway. The historic Guwahati railway station first opened 118 years ago and today, it amazingly takes in more than 20,000 passengers per day.

While the Gawahati railway hails as India’s first fully solar powered train station, the country has launched its first fully solar powered airport, Cochin, back in 2016. The Cochin airport has a tens of thousands of solar panels that have a total capacity of over 48,000 kilowatts. The solar energy efficient Gawahati railway station was funded by CONCOR, a division of Indian Railways. The engineers at Central Electronics were the ones that completed the million dollar project and hopefully they will initiate more fully solar powered stations in the future.

Solar energy produces zero air and water pollution, but its expensiveness is what mostly shies people away from converting to it. India isn’t letting the costs deter it from creating a more environmentally friendly place to live. The country has already started building the world’s largest solar energy park called the Pavagada. This solar park is expected to generate approximately 2,000 megawatts of pure energy. When the Pavagada solar park is completed, it will be able to power more than 700,000 households in southern regions of India.

The Support for ‘Red Alert for Net Neutrality’

Small and large tech companies have decided to support the Net Neutrality Red Alert, which is a movement that is pioneered to convince the U.S Senate to vote to overturn the FCC repeal on regulations of net neutrality.

The industry spoke loudly against Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman’s plan to repeal the net neutrality protections of the Obama-era. If these regulations are repealed, ISP’s are going to charge people even more to access the usual services we are enjoying now. There is going to be a split in traffic, where we are going to have slow and fast lanes where the first party services will have priority over the others.

This is a growing drama that will not stop playing like a game of table tennis. “Last Week Tonight” is claimed to have taken down the FCC’s comments section, while other claims stated that there were bots that used the comments to promote an illusion that Americans were supporting the aspect of net neutrality repeal which practically is not the case. There are very many organizations that came up to oppose the plan of the FCC, but the commission did not change its objective.

Since then, there have been regulations on net neutrality that have been implemented by individual states to create a system that is similar to the neutral system. Although this approach has its own downfalls because there are states that will offer advanced protections on net neutrality, while others will survive on their own, the only way to achieve a comprehensive net neutrality set of rules is by overturning the repeal by the FCC.

There is an ongoing fight by Fight for Future to overturn the FCC’s repeal, and that is why an announcement was made that was named Red Alert for Net Neutrality. This alert will be placed on participating websites on their websites to alert users about it. This alert will spread so that people can make their voices heard.

Google “Pausing” Allo

Google has announced that its messaging app called Allo is being “paused.”

Anil Sabharwal, who is the new head of the company’s communication group, said that not only was the company pausing Allo, but that all its personnel would now be working on a different messaging app called Android Messages. Some analysts believe that Google needs as many resources as possible on Messages to make sure that it is ultimately successful.

In effect, Allo suffered from a lack of users, making it an ineffective competitor against the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Sabharwal indicated that the app simply did not gain enough traction among users. At least not as much as they had hoped. They thought — when they started developing the app — that they would be building something that millions of people would not only use but get excited about. But he said that at this point the company does not see the app being on that kind of trajectory.

For those who use and depend on Allo, all is not lost. The app will still work, and Google is even saying that it will support it in some undefined way. The company actually has not made a final decision about what it will do with Allo, if anything. Sabharwal said that they wanted to be fair to users of the app, and that they did not want to make any rash decisions about it at the moment. Though, he added, the company had immediate needs when it came to Android Messages, and that is why they made the move.

For those who use Duo, which is a video chatting app Google launched at the same time that it launched Allo, the news is better. The company says that it is satisfied with how Duo has grown. The app, which is available for both Android and iOS, is steadily gaining users. As long as this continues into the future, the company will continue to develop it.

Square Buys Zesty to Help Caviar: Tech and Catering Mashup

Who would’ve thought catering and technology could fuse together? The wise executives at Square realize technology can go with anything including catering. Square intends to purchase the startup known as Zesty. Zesty focuses on an app designed to build up catering customers for businesses that otherwise couldn’t gain a foothold in the market.

Square truly sees solid earning potential with this app. If the company didn’t, then no serious thought would go into purchasing the startup.

Apps sharing similarities to Uber and other gig economy concepts seem to be growing tremendously. With Zesty, business concepts change and grow to another level. Instead of trying to connect freelancers with work, Zesty allows already established businesses to expand in the market. Specifically, restaurants can increase the scope of their business endeavors to include catering.

Launching a catering business isn’t exactly easy. Through Zesty, a pathway opens for business owners to perform catering jobs without significant financial expenditures.

Currently, Zesty is based in the single city of San Francisco. Square assuredly believes the company has the potential to grow. Relying solely on one city for business reflects too much of a risk considering the purchase price for the startup.

Zesty also heavily stressed connecting restaurants with corporate clients. Catering corporate events likely comes with high fees, and these fees may deliver the profit margins Square would be interested in seeing grow.

Square already owns a food delivery service known as Caviar. Caviar for Teams, a subdivision, deals with catering corporate events. Zesty could drive up business for Caviar hopefully delivering even more profits for Square if things work out. No real reason exist why things wouldn’t work out.

Nokia’s Acquisition Pushes Home WiFi

Smart home technology is exploding, and Nokia is moving in on that action by providing mesh WiFi solutions for the home. To achieve this, the company acquired Seattle-based Unium late last week and the deal is expected to close before the end of the first quarter. Unium’s tech includes mesh WiFi gateways, home-based mesh WiFi, beacons, and software solutions that optimize solutions.

Unium’s past clients include Google Fiber and the Department of Defense. The company understands how to deliver secure WiFi to remote regions. Nokia gains this technology and expertise with the acquisition. Industry experts expect Nokia to leverage this and other recent acquisitions “to add more value to [Nokia’s] business.”

Nokia’s Fixed Network business group president Frederico Guillen told reports, “With Unium inside, our Nokia Wi-Fi solution will deliver an unmatched user experience, going beyond what standard mesh Wi-Fi solutions deliver today.”

Home WiFi users typically experience dead zones, overlap and unexplained drops in areas of the home, especially homes with thick walls or those in rural areas. The rise of smart home technologies has brought these difficulties to prominence. Users investing in smart home technologies and smart home assistants can be disappointed in the lack of coverage in certain areas of their homes. Nokia’s mesh WiFi is one way customers can use their new technologies to their fullest potential.

Nokia’s entry into this area of tech is evidence of its mission to “deepen” its relationship with carriers. The company has also acquired Comptel that provides “software-based data solutions.” Such a relationship will ensure that Nokia is the go-to provider of powerful, secure, home internet that is compatible with a variety of partners. Nokia’s current home WiFi customers are able to continue contracts with their original carriers using plug-and-play solutions.

How 3D Printing is Poised to Revolutionize

Initially viewed as little more than a novelty, 3D printing is a technology that promises to make a sweeping impact across many different industries. From medical applications to industrial manufacturing, the latest trends in 3D printing promise a valuable glimpse into the many changes and possibilities that may be just over the horizon. Streamlining, upgrading or even outright replacing conventional production methods will soon allow manufacturers to enhance their output and efficiency while drastically reducing their overhead and operational costs.

Made-to-Order Parts and Components

Conventional methods of component fabrication often required numerous resources and entailed a production process that was both time and labor intensive. Ordering raw materials, machining parts on-site and putting the finishing touches on any components utilized during the production of end-line consumer goods typically involved a number of cost and logistical obstacles. For many businesses that have been unable to overcome production limitation, 3D printers that are able to produce finished metal goods and high-quality parts and components more quickly and for less overall cost promises to be a real game changer. Eliminating the delays and costs needed to machine parts or assemble production components will soon allow both new manufacturers and more established businesses to take advantage of an expanded range of options, choices and solutions.

Streamlined Production

Inefficient workflow processes can impede the overall efficiency of an organization. More convenient and affordable ways to fabricate the items and resources they need ensures that manufactures will be able to streamline their production process in order to boost output and optimize their profitability. 3D printers that are able to work with a wider range of materials and substances are likely to revolutionize many aspects of manufacturing within the near future. Businesses that will have the opportunity to print what they need rather than fabricating parts and components through conventional methods will be able to enjoy a number of key benefits.

A $500 Million IPO Is Planned for Dropbox

There have been many discussions among Wall Street experts over the past few months about the possibility of Dropbox going public. It would seem that day has finally come. The company that is headquartered in San Francisco has contacted the SEC and filed for a $500 million initial public offering. The company allows people to share data. However, it was launched as a free method that people could use in order to securely store various files like music and pictures. “DBX” will be the ticker symbol associated with the company when it finally appears on Nasdaq.

Dropbox experienced revenue of more than $1 billion last year. This was above industry estimates. There are currently more than 11 million people who pay Dropbox to store their files. More than half of these people reside outside the United States. The company has experienced very steady growth over the past few years. This is very good new considering that there are many other companies that offer a similar type of service. However, Dropbox has done a very good job of marketing itself as a cheaper alternative for data storage. This has helped them steal many customers away from their more expensive competitors.

There were many stock market analysts who thought that Dropbox should have filed for an IPO two years ago. However, company executives did not feel the time was right to make a move of that magnitude. It appears as if their patience is going to pay off in a very big way. The announcement was a surprise to many people on Wall Street. Dropbox did not give any advance warning about filing the IPO. There are several of the largest financial firms in the United States who will be underwriting the IPO. People in more than 180 countries use Dropbox on a regular basis.

How Self-Driving Vehicles Will Revolutionize Urban Design

The sweeping changes mad possible with self-driving vehicles may extend well beyond commercial application and the influence this technology is expected to have on the transportation industry. From the largest commercial trucks to the smallest passenger cars, having growing numbers of self-driving vehicles on the road will have a major impact on urban planning and city design. Having to rethink urban development from the ground up may be the only way developers and planners will be able to keep pace with autonomous vehicles.

Congestion, Traffic and Parking

Traffic patterns are expected to undergo a rapid evolution thanks to vehicles that drive themselves and those that are able to operate without the need for human occupants. Certain routes, roads and areas may see a steep rise in the total volume of vehicles and traffic while other locations may experience a sudden drop off. Removing human drivers from the equation can also eliminate many of the most common and significant causes of traffic congestion. Even dedicated parking areas and structures may no longer serve a useful purpose as self-driving vehicles that have been stored off-site can easily routed to pick up passengers regardless of their proximity or surroundings.

Other Advances in Transportation Technology

Autonomous vehicles are not the only emerging technology that may serve to reshape urban environments. Other transportation technologies, such as emission-less vehicles, next-generation public transit systems and even aerial delivery drones may all have a role to play in shaping the ways cities are designed and built. Overcoming the limitations of existing city layouts and making the necessary changes and infrastructure upgrades needed to maximize the potential benefits made possible with self-driving vehicles is an important undertaking. Widespread access to more efficient and convenient transportation solutions is expected to make a big impact on the way tomorrow’s cities and urban areas are designed.