Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Google’s Self-Driving Vehicle - More Gadget than Car?

About the author:
Beth Kelly is a freelance writer and blogger based in Chicago, IL. After graduating from DePaul University in 2011 she traveled throughout Southeast Asia teaching English, today she’s saving up for her next adventure and writing as much as she can in her free time. Find her on Twitter @bkelly_88

Flying cars and various other automatic automobiles have been the stuff of dreamers for decades - until now, when they really might be just around the corner (provided the reader lives in Mountain View, CA). Self-driving cars, which can navigate through traffic without any input from the driver, are currently being tested by Google. After extensive testing using automobiles supplied by third parties, Google has debuted its own prototypes, which can now be seen puttering around on public roads throughout the city.  

These cars feature an extensive array of sensor technology, cameras and other equipment that can observe conditions all around the vehicle, replicating the behavior of our own five senses.
Using data collected from these sources, the car creates a virtual model of the road, nearby vehicles, cyclists and all other objects in the vicinity. It then adjusts its speed and lane position accordingly, making turns and completing all other functions normally performed by a human driver.

While sitting in a car that drives itself may strike some as spooky or scary, most people who have had the opportunity to ride in one of these vehicles quickly became acclimated to the experience. These cars are programmed to act cautiously and to obey all the rules of the road. Google’s safety record attests to the dependability its autonomous fleet: the company’s vehicles have driven about a million miles during previous testing and have only experienced a handful of accidents (12 at the time of this article). Google spokespeople have stated that none of the accidents resulted in injury and that they were the fault of other motorists, not of the self-driving cars themselves. As the programming is further refined in coming years, car accidents could become freakishly rare events instead of a leading cause of death as they are today.

Only once these cars have fully been integrated onto public roads and into the “Internet of Things” will we comprehend their vast potential for change. Capable of communicating across wireless platforms, each of these small vehicles are essentially computers with wheels. Technological research company Gartner expects that there will be 250 million cars on the road by 2020 that are connected via wireless. Google seems to be preparing for this eventuality as it has developed Android Auto for use in cars and is rumored to be working on a more sophisticated OS that will be embedded directly within automotive hardware.

Taking this into account, we can speculate numerous ways in which the autonomous vehicle stands to impact the tech industry, as well as society more broadly. Merging Google’s new mobility tool with other devices within the IoT ecosystem will open up new and unforeseen avenues for convenience and connection. While wearables, home security and automation, and automobiles may stand alone for now, experts predict more cross-pollination as each area continues to expand.

The three most significant developments for personal enrichment in the 20th century have been the automobile, the personal computer and the Internet. As we move forward into the 21th century, it seems like they will all be fused together within Google's vehicles, creating a diverse marketplace for expansion. Robot taxis, unmanned delivery vehicles and on-demand rental cars are all likely applications of this technology. One can imagine combination automobile/offices, allowing small businesses to handle all their transportation, data storage, communications and other needs right inside their vehicles with no need for expensive real estate or landline phone and network infrastructure.

A few people in the automotive industry dismiss self-driving cars as a fad or as something that most drivers won't be terribly enthused about. Most industry insiders, however, realize the potential that these developments bring to the industry. The seriousness with which auto manufacturers contemplate these new advances is evidenced by the fact that many of them are working on their own models. Audi, Jaguar and Land Rover, Nissan and Mercedes-Benz are just a few of the big names developing their own iterations of the self-driving paradigm.


There are significant resources being invested today in cars that operate themselves. Even in the unlikely case that Google's efforts falter, plenty of other firms are ready to take up the slack. One way or another, completely automatic transportation machines will change the way people commute, communicate, and carry out almost every aspect of their lives. 

Mail me for Guest Posts in dilipstechnoblog.com (dilipgeoffrey@gmail.com)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Facebook officially launches its 2G-friendly Lite app for Android in India and the Philippines

Facebook has officially launched its Lite app for Android users in India and the Philippines. It’s designed to provide the social network’s core experience reliably on spotty and slow mobile connections.

The app has been in testing since January in various emerging markets, and was soft-launched earlier this month in selected countries. Facebook claims it has 114 million active mobile users in India.
Facebook says its Lite app is quicker than its main mobile app over 2G because its servers take on the burden of optimizing content.

The app weighs in at just 430 KB, making for a quick download. It includes push notifications, messaging and ads, but doesn’t support video for now.

The interface is simplified and offers snappy performance across the board. For someone like me who’s not a heavy Facebook user, it does a good job of letting me check in without slowing down my phone and hogging resources.

The company says it will roll out the app in other markets over the coming weeks and months.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Top 5 Online Games of 2015

About the author:
Caroline is a technology enthusiast who loves writing about all kinds of technology. She regularly writes about gaming, gadgets and the latest technology news.

The online gaming market just keeps growing and growing. With hundreds of titles to choose from, ranging from old favorites to new kids on the block, it’s hard to decide where to start. Here's a look at the top 5 online games of 2015:

1. Dota 2
Does anyone still realize the name stands for "Defense of the Ancients"? More to the point, does that even matter anymore? This may have started out as the sequel to a Warcraft III mod, but it's long since shed its connection to its illustrious predecessor. As a standalone game, Dota 2 reigns supreme; even though it's now more than two years old, there's still little to touch it, with player numbers nudging one million at the busiest times. Refreshingly, it also boasts one of the friendliest communities around. If you're willing to show respect to experienced players, there's plenty of help to get you started.

2. The Crew
Everyone loves a good racing game. There's little better than slamming your virtual pedal to the equally virtual metal and burning away your rivals. Ubisoft's entry into the genre goes for the jugular with an adrenaline-fuelled experience that leaves you feeling as though you could drive around the world without a break. Crucial for a game like this, the car selection is exciting and varied with real differences between each model. The visuals are utterly beautiful with almost lifelike locations; while the combination of set missions and customizable content give The Crew a nicely balanced feel.

3. League of Legends
Wherever Dota 2 goes, League of Legends goes with it. There may be people who are equally devoted to both games, but you wouldn't know it; such is the ferocity with which each title's fans defend their chosen champion. It certainly beats Dota 2 in terms of player numbers, partly because it's been going strong since 2009. A stalwart of the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) world, League of Legends -- "League" to its lovers and "LOL" to its haters -- has a particularly notable prize tournament scene with the very best players taking home hundreds of dollars.

4. Guild Wars 2
Yes, it's another MMO, but don't get the idea that you've seen it all before because you haven't. This is a game where what you do and how you act in-game really make a difference to the outcomes. Your strategies will evolve; you'll find yourself having to discard carefully mapped-out game plans and formulate others on the fly, and there's a winning combination of intriguing storylines and good, old-fashioned fighting. You can team up with other adventurers to take on a dungeon or opt to follow your own personal story. GW2 has become a true phenomenon on mobile platforms and looks set to retain its allure for some time to come.

5. Minecraft
You didn't really think we'd forget this one, did you? It may have been around the block several times by now, but that's no matter. After all, blocks are what Minecraft is all about. The fanbase is enormous -- and enormously loyal -- while regular updates and enhancements keep things ticking over nicely. Microsoft's acquisition of the game a few months ago did lead to a certain amount of confusion and concern in Minecraft circles, but the ship seems to be steady now. There will always be a place for a game that's easy to learn yet brutally hard to master. This is that game.

Quick Tip

But before you jump online to start gaming, make sure your information is protected. Many online gaming services have suffered data hacks, so storing your details online without a VPN (Virtual Private Network) could prove dangerous. This is especially important if you are using a public or unsecured Wi-Fi connection.

VPNs protect your personal details by using encryption, which scrambles the data that you are sending and receiving online. So if anyone tries to hack into your device while you are gaming, they will be prevented from doing so. Online gamers are often concerned about VPNs slowing down their connection speed when gaming, but scouting the best VPNs for online gaming will keep your data safe and your internet connection fast.

Mail me for Guest Posts in dilipstechnoblog.com (dilipgeoffrey@gmail.com)

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