We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Autonomous vehicles have been a part of tech culture for so long that it’s hard to realize that only a handful of people have actually ridden in one. So it was with great surprise that our very first Lyft ride out of our Las Vegas hotel on Sunday night was in a “self-driving” vehicle. Lyft partnered with Irish auto-parts-company-turned-autonomous-vehicle-startup Aptiv (formerly known as Delphi) to offer CES attendees and Vegas commuters the option to ride in one of their 30 “self-driving” BMW 5 Series. Continue reading We Were Passengers in a Las Vegas ‘Self-Driving’ Rideshare

Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Google launched a pilot for Hands Free, a mobile wallet application that allows a buyer to use her phone for purchases without taking it out of her purse. The pilot, conducted in the southern San Francisco Bay area, is available in a few stores and designated McDonald’s and Papa John’s locations. The cashier’s system can detect the user’s phone; to close the transaction, the user asks to pay with Google and gives her initials to the cashier. The cashier can also detect if the user is the same person in the Google profile. Continue reading Google Launches Pilot Program for Hands-Free Mobile Wallet

Google Expands Access to its Educational VR Field Trip App

Google has released a beta Android app for its Google Expeditions Pioneer Program that allows educators to bring their students on a virtual reality field trip. The VR content includes immersive educational experiences in locations such as Machu Picchu, Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and Buckingham Palace. Students use Google Cardboard headsets to view the content while the teacher can use a tablet to guide their students through the location and monitor where each student is looking. Continue reading Google Expands Access to its Educational VR Field Trip App

Groupon Experiments with Online Storefronts for Selling Goods

Groupon may offer much more than a collection of coupons. The company is currently offering discounted products through a new initiative called Groupon Stores. Retailers can set up an online store on the Groupon site to sell their goods, which must be at least 5 percent cheaper than the normal prices. Groupon will take a 15 percent commission of the retailers’ sales. The company is testing the new marketplace model as a way to continue growing its Goods business. Continue reading Groupon Experiments with Online Storefronts for Selling Goods

New Google Now API Could Impact the Future of Android Apps

Google will release an open API for the Google Now dashboard/personal assistant, which will allow developers to integrate their apps into the service. Android users might one day be able to get all of the relevant information from Google Now without ever having to open the apps. Currently, Google Now only pulls notifications from Google-based apps like Maps and Search, but another 40 third-party apps are in a pilot program to integrate their apps with Google Now. Continue reading New Google Now API Could Impact the Future of Android Apps

Apple Rolls Outs HealthKit Pilot Program at Leading Hospitals

Apple has launched a pilot program for its HealthKit service with some of the nation’s top hospitals and medical facilities. The service is designed to help physicians better monitor their patients through the use of health-recorded data such as blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and exercise habits. Doctors can access the data from an iPhone or iPad and use it to detect and address early medical problems. Meanwhile, Samsung and Google have also introduced health services of their own. Continue reading Apple Rolls Outs HealthKit Pilot Program at Leading Hospitals

UK Police Fight Piracy by Replacing Online Ads with Warnings

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) of London has partnered with Project Sunblock, a content verification company, to help take down copyright infringing websites by replacing ads with warnings. The warning, which notifies site visitors that the site is under criminal investigation, serves as an alternative to when an advertisement from a Project Sunblock client is about to be placed on a piracy site. This solution helps keep respected brands off illegal sites. Continue reading UK Police Fight Piracy by Replacing Online Ads with Warnings

Mobile App eBay Valet Handles the Selling Process for You

Auction and shopping site eBay is taking its Sell For Me service mobile with the launch of eBay Valet, an app that lets eBay handle every step of the selling process. The new iPhone app, designed and developed by the Israel Innovation Center, helps to determine an item’s value and list it online, and even handle the shipping once it is sold. Both the Web-based eBay Sell For Me and mobile eBay Valet are designed to make the online selling process more approachable for buyers and sellers. Continue reading Mobile App eBay Valet Handles the Selling Process for You

Microsoft Has Plans to Bring More Internet Access to Africa

Unlike Google, Microsoft is not trying to connect the entire Earth by using drones or balloons. Instead, the company hopes to utilize television white space, an unused part of the broadcast spectrum, to provide more Internet access to people living in Africa. After running cost-effective pilot programs in the U.S. and Kenya, Microsoft has found that the challenge for Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative is to persuade governments to lift regulations to allow them to utilize white space. Continue reading Microsoft Has Plans to Bring More Internet Access to Africa

New Model: YouTube Launches Paid Subscription Channels

Google’s YouTube yesterday unveiled its much anticipated paid-subscription channels, that will enable some of its video content partners to charge a monthly fee for access to programming. The channels could become a new revenue stream for the video site and its content partners. The subscription model has attracted producers who have been seeking an option to YouTube’s online advertising model. Continue reading New Model: YouTube Launches Paid Subscription Channels