Google bets on massive heat pump system in pursuit of LEED Platinum at new campus

Adele Peters, writing for Fast Company: At a construction site on Google’s new Bay View campus–a few miles from its headquarters in Mountain View, on NASA-owned land near the San Francisco Bay–cranes lift tubing high in the air and drop it into holes that descend 80 feet into the ground. It’s a step that will … Continue reading Google bets on massive heat pump system in pursuit of LEED Platinum at new campus

Salt and antifreeze may be key to longer term solar energy storage at massive scale

Bloomberg’s Mark Bergen reports: Alphabet Inc.’s secretive X skunk works has another idea that could save the world. This one, code named Malta, involves vats of salt and antifreeze. The research lab, which hatched Google’s driverless car almost a decade ago, is developing a system for storing renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted. It can be located … Continue reading Salt and antifreeze may be key to longer term solar energy storage at massive scale

Google’s latest free tool uses AI to turn crude sketches into quality drawings and illustrations

Google Creative Lab, one of the many, many research and development cells within the advertising giant, just released its latest experiment in artificial intelligence (AI) to the public for free. According to the Google Blog: Drawing on your phone or computer can be slow and difficult—so we created AutoDraw, a new web-based tool that pairs … Continue reading Google’s latest free tool uses AI to turn crude sketches into quality drawings and illustrations

Google’s secretive drone research and development program has unintended consequences

Google X — now just “X” — is a secretive skunkworks subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent company that used to be simply known as Google. The company is famous for its “moon shot” experiments where big risks hopefully lead to big payoffs. But are the costs really worth it? Julie Bort, at Business Insider, reveals … Continue reading Google’s secretive drone research and development program has unintended consequences

Solving the User Interface problems associated with Smart Home technology

Smart homes of the future may just as readily respond to instructions sent by text, as the voice-powered interfaces that dominate the early entrants to the market for the Internet of Things in the home. Amazon, Google and Apple all have technologies largely relying on speech recognition, but as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discovered after … Continue reading Solving the User Interface problems associated with Smart Home technology

From 41 Shades of Blue to Material Design: The Evolution of Google’s Design Sensibilities

Way back in 2009, the exit of Google’s then design chief, Douglas Bowman, resulted in an unexpectedly entertaining look at the inner workings of one of the fastest growing companies the world has ever seen. In his eloquently worded goodbye letter to Google, Bowman described his frustrations.

As Google was a company of engineers, founded by engineers, and managed by engineers, even simple decisions become futile exercises demanding empirical knowledge before proceeding. The epitome of this “paralysis by analysis” was highlighted in a New York Times article at the time focusing on Marissa Mayer, who was leading Google’s search team before later leaving for Yahoo. Mayer infamously required empirical evaluation of 41 different shades of blue for a toolbar. Continue reading “From 41 Shades of Blue to Material Design: The Evolution of Google’s Design Sensibilities”

LAUSD gets a surprise early visit from FBI over flawed iPad procurement program

Things seem to have gone from bad to worse for administrators at LA Unified School District over a $70-million iPad program, as the FBI executed a subpoena to seize about 20 bankers boxes of documents this week.

Previously, I wrote about the LAUSD’s decision to end their iPad program amidst allegations of an improper bidding process. According to the story I referenced from the LA Times, it sounded as if district officials had fallen victim to Apple’s notorious reality distortion field. Continue reading “LAUSD gets a surprise early visit from FBI over flawed iPad procurement program”

“Google+ is no ghost town. It is more of a social referral graveyard.”

Last week I was in San Francisco to attend the 2014 PCBC event for home builders. While walking to the Moscone Center from Blue Bottle Coffee, I saw that the line was wrapped around Moscone and was worried I would be waiting hours to get in. Turns out, the line was actually for the Google … Continue reading “Google+ is no ghost town. It is more of a social referral graveyard.”

How Google is hacking work-life balance for its employees and for the rest of humanity

Writing at Harvard Business Review, Google’s SVP of People Operations discusses how Google is hacking the serious issue of work-life balance. Google has always been known to rely heavily on analysis for making decisions (sometimes to a fault). The reason that Google offers the amazing perks to employees—from amazing free food to free onsite physicians, … Continue reading How Google is hacking work-life balance for its employees and for the rest of humanity

Tech industry giants place high priority on sustainability for new facilities

A few recent news stories, primarily out of Silicon Valley, highlight the growing trend among technology companies to embrace cutting edge green building practices. The rapid growth of companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft also means some growing pains for facilities managers. Google The search and advertising behemoth is awaiting environmental review for … Continue reading Tech industry giants place high priority on sustainability for new facilities