This Week in Google 257 (Transcript)
Mike Elgin: It’s time for TWiG, This Week in Google. Leo’s off today. I’m Mike Elgin, TWiT’s news director. Jeff and Gina are here. And we’ll be talking about the future of Google, the future of privacy. And we’ll talk about the growing power of Google and the other big tech companies as well. And just what should be done about it, if anything. All that and more coming up right now on TWiG.
Net casts you love from people you trust. This is TWiT! Bandwidth for This Week in Google is provided by Cache Fly at Cachefly.com.
Mike: This is TWiG. This Week in Google, episode 257, recorded July 9th, 2014
This episode of This Week in Google is brought to you by Nature Box. Order great tasting delicious snacks right to your door. Forget the vending machine and get in shape with healthy delicious treats like coconut date energy bites. To get 50% off your first box, go to naturebox.com/twit. That’s naturebox.com/twit. It’s time for TWiG, This Week in Google. The show where we talk about Google and the cloud. Leo’s on vacation, I’m TWiT’s news director, Mike Elgin, filling in for Leo this week. We have the usual cast of characters, Jeff Jarvis, the professor of journalism at City University in New York. And he’s coming in from the said City University of New York.
Jeff Jarvis: Are you calling me a character?
Mike: And this is a very character-building show, so I don’t blame you. Jeff is the author of Public Parts, What Would Google Do, and Gutenberg, the Geek. Three very awesome books, which I loved reading. And he blogs at buzzmachine.com and everyone should go and read that blog all the time because it’s really great. And also, Gina Trapani, the creator of thinkup.com, host of TWiT’s All About Android, and founding editor or Life Hacker. And Gina, Life Hacker, you had an interesting inspiration for that name, didn’t you?
Gina Trapani: I did. This guy named Danny came up with this phrase called life hacks. And he did a talk back in 2004 and we loved the idea. And we launched a site based on it. So I kind of owe him a big part of my career.
Mike: Danny O’Brien, and in related news we have Danny O’Brien on the show today. Here to talk about a really interesting article he wrote this week. Thank you so much for joining us, Danny.
Danny O’Brien: No problem at all. Oh my goodness, I’m compressing beautifully here. This is what I look like in real life.
Mike: We like that hostage video kind of vibe. I like that.
Danny: The newspaper that you can’t actually make the date out on.
Mike: Well anybody who watches this and doesn’t want to remember it, you have the right to forget it. That’s our topic today. We want to bring you on because you wrote an article, Danny, called Rights that are Being Forgotten. A play on the European Union’s right to be forgotten ruling. And you and Jillian York wrote this really interesting piece that talked about some of the other things that are being sacrificed in the quest for privacy in Europe under this ruling. And we would like to talk about it with you for a few minutes, if you’d like. Now it’s your day off and I appreciate you coming on today and joining us on your day off.
Danny: It’s totally fine. I like talking about this sort of stuff on my day off. We wrote the piece because I think this is one of those examples where there are considerations about privacy, considerations about free speech and sometimes they butt against one another. And I’m concerned with the way the right to be forgotten has been interpreted in the decision. And by Google, because I think Google has a lot of leeway on how it might implement this stuff. It has meant that the variety of free expression has been kind of missed. And I think that’s going to become a bigger problem as more and more companies feel they have to adopt protocols to take into account this decision.
Mike: Now you talked about three victims of this ruling and I’d like to go through them, if you don’t mind. The first one is that the first victim you said of this ruling is Google’s implementation of the ECJ’s, the European Court of Justice’s decision. Which is transparency under censorship, what did you mean by that? How is transparency under censorship being victimized here?
Danny: So let’s go back to a million and one years to 2001. Google in its early idealistic phases was bumping into some of its first challenges as a big search engine. And that was, people in the U.S. coming along and demanding that content be taken down or particular links be taken down. And one of the most controversial of those cases was the Church of Scientology, which up until then had already attracted quite a reputation on the internet as being an organization big enough and concerned enough to demand that content be removed. So Google was trying to work out how to deal with these take-downs. And what I thought was an interesting precedent in big companies, in that Google took down the content because they were legally obliged to do so in the United States. But they put a little message at the bottom saying, you typed in this search term and we’ve had to remove some of those results. And click here to find out more. And you clicked there and you went to chilling effects. A great site that actually lists the court orders and the MCA take-down requests that led to this moment. So you can get an idea of why things have been censored, who was doing it, and what the extent was. Something was missing that you knew was missing. Google has done a similar thing with the implementation of this European Court of Justice requirement. But they skipped on this. Actually what they do is that they put that notice at the bottom of search results in Europe. But they put it there, everything that looks like a name. So if you typed in Danny O’Brien into Google, there will be a little message saying, something might have been removed from this search. And the fact that’s not the case. Now I’ve had to request, but not enough Danny O’Brien’s in this world. It’s just that Google has placed that on every single name request.
Mike: So as Donald Rumsfeld would say, it used to be a known-unknown. And now it’s an unknown-unknown. And that’s a real problem. Now if you’re just joining us, we’re talking with Danny O’Brien, who is a technology journalist and civil liberties activist. He’s also the electronic director Frontier Foundation. Why do you suppose Google is doing that? Is it because they want to get more publicity for the fact that they’re being forced to do this? Or is it just hard to do a warning for such specific search results? Or do they just not want to antagonize European authorities?
Danny: This has been the subject of a larger press interest. There’s been an open question whether Google is implementing this. Some people have said in a deliberately clumsy way, in order to increase opposition to it. Or alternatively, they were implementing it in the only way they know how. And the ruling is as bad as that, and there’s nothing they can do about it. I don’t have any particular insight into which one this plays out. I don’t see Google as being pure as the German snow in a lot of these cases. They have their own motivations. And working at the AF is if you have your civil liberties decided by a fig fight, between the courts and the large corporations. It’s really not your civil liberties that are being decided. What’s being decided is the intent and motives of these companies.
Mike: Personally, and I don’t know if you agree, Jeff and Gina. I would love to see those big black bars as if somebody came in there with a sharpie or something like that. So it would be super obvious and really just mar the appearance of the entire surface.
Jeff: The problem with that is… and Danny I agree with you on this. I’ve spoken about this on the show. In fact when I wrote my book Public Parts a couple years ago, I attacked this whole notion started by being ready. And the European commission has the right to be forgotten. And have raised a flag about the danger to speech that this raises and now it’s only proving to be the case. Last week we talked about Guardian and BBC stories taken down and since then it went back up. I don’t think Google is being cynical in this but Google is absolutely stuck with a terrible ruling when there’s no good way to do this. The irony of it is that many Europeans don’t want Google to have more power. And the court only gave more power, and more power that Google doesn’t want in this case. But the effect irony of this is that if they said specifically this is exactly what we took down, then of course they’re going to get taken into court saying well you just counter minded the point of the ruling and pointed to what was taken down. Google is in a no-win situation here.
Danny: There’s a lot of mind reading going on here. Google says that it’s trying to anticipate objections like that and build a system that works that way. Well if you’re in a situation where you happen to mind-read the courts, the best thing to do is actually go to the courts and find out. There are 29 data protection currencies in the EU. And we’re in this curious position and Google has jumped in and started implementing this.
Jeff: Danny, this was an unappealable decision. It was a final decision by the highest court, and Google had really no choice but to get going. There’s no appeal back to lower authorities separately. The court said this is the decision, that’s it. There is no appeal, there is no choice. You have to do this. The only appeal that’ll come now is through legislatures. And we have the Justice of the U.K. saying today that there is no right to be forgotten. And I think we’re going to see this fought out on different levels. But I disagree, Google was stock, and you also said in your piece that being as the alternative, as I understand the ruling, this was not specific to Google. This is Bing and Yahoo, and other search engines that have to deal with the same thing. Google is just the first doing it.
Danny: I was going to say, I don’t want to get into dueling EU scholarship, but why not, let’s do it. It is true that this is called the last appeal, if you will. However, it doesn’t quite work in the same way as the Supreme Court in the United States. What’s happening here is that a lower court has gone up to the European Court of Justice, and asked it a bunch of questions. And the European Court of Justice has given an answer to those questions. Now everything else begins to sort of roll out. The lower court will make a decision based on that answer, and data protection authorities, and search engines like Google and like Bing, will work out how to implement that. But it’s not just a crack of lightening and everything changes. My concern is that I actually want to hold the data protection authorities to account. Because one of the things that we’re profoundly worried about is the entire regulatory space here is all about protecting privacy. Which means that publishers like the Guardian, like the BBC, don’t really have an obvious way of appealing this without going and begging Google to put this back. And as you say…
Jeff: Well there was no requirement that Google had to even notify them. I was delighted that Google notified the Guardian and the BBC of this and yes some may say that was a cynical act to get the PR. Whatever. There was among the 70,000 take down requests that were there, there was four of five for the Guardian, one for the BBC. And they got notified which they then did have the appeal of going to Google on the court of public opinion. And Google did change. We didn’t even know how that was going to work out, whether Google was going to notify anyone. That there free-speech rights had just been effected by this ruling.
Mike: And Danny O’Brien, that was your second victim, which was the victim of implementation of fairness. And you said that Google in fact did go to the people, as you said, with a bully-pulpit with the press essentially. Which raised the question yes, the press could sort of get Google to make a change. But can people who don’t buy digital ink by the barrel, do that? Is it fair that the press has one set of rules and that little people have a different set? And that was one of your points.
Danny: It’s interesting the nitty gritty of this case. The one thing, and I cut the paragraph out of… just because it was getting huge, in fact the way Google notifies people… and Jeff’s absolutely right. They’re doing this and they don’t have to do this. It’s through Google Webmaster tools. So basically if you use Google analytics and you sign up for their service, you now get a little message when Google is removing links because of privacy take-down requests. This is weird, in that it now means you have to sign up to a Google service whether to find out if your content is being removed. But the other part of this is that what is the appeal process here? It turns out that when Google put back some news items, it actually put back I think one news item that was due to them making a mistake. So it’s not sort of a legal challenge that we’re seeing here, it’s just Google as will inevitably be the case, making an error in its internal system. We deal with terrible problems with the DMCA copyright take-downs and Google and other companies’ implementation of their legal requirements. Under that, at least the DMCA system has a legal method for someone to appeal this decision.
Jeff: Danny, let me ask you about that? In a way, I was happy but unhappy that Google turned around and put some news back up for whatever reason. What I would like to see happen, is for the likes of the Guardian and the BBC, is bring their own free-speech complaints, suits, that their rights have been impinged by this. And that we fight that out in that case. I don’t know enough about European law and structure, and how that goes there, so I will concede the feat on any news fellowship immediately to you. But what would it take, could you imagine a case going for whether it’s Guardian or whether it’s blogger Joe Shmoe, being able to then have a complaint of their civil rights being violated. And how would they bring that?
Danny: So, what potentially could have happened is that we’re actually in the middle of reforming the data protection laws in Europe. And it’s at a fairly late stage. So conceivably they could add something to that which would add the right to appeal. But we’re in incredibly uncharted territories here. There’s never really been this face-off between privacy and free speech within the data protection system, like this. Just very quickly, you know it didn’t have to be this way. The advocate general who is sort of the research wing as it were of the European Court of Justice… published his report before the final decision. And actually I think everybody including Google thought this decision was going to play out. Which is the court saying that Europe, that Google can’t wiggle out of data protection requirements in Europe. But, free expression trumps the requirement to sort of delete this data from this search.
Jeff: Danny, I think you’re right. I was brought to speak for travel, not for pay, to Google’s privacy all-hands in Mountain View about a day and a half after this decision came out. And as I said on this show previously, they were God-smacked. They did not expect this to come. But my European friends, when I was in Berlin a few weeks later, said well they should’ve expected this to come.
Danny: What I think everybody expected and again, I have been speaking to people, is that Google had somewhat aggressively challenged the idea that they were susceptible to any European data protection requirements. Because they said that Google search index is done out of Mountain View. And the Google Spain department just deals with ads. And I don’t think that was every going to fly and I think what happened is they aggressively said that in the courts. And when this decision came down, a lot of people were so happy about Google actually being obliged to comply with European law. They do realize it’s really counterintuitive, the decision that the CJN impacts on the end.
Mike: Danny O’Brien, your third victim in your article and final victim was Europe’s privacy. You pointed out, and you made a really interesting argument about censorship, and that any small step down the road of censorship, causes information to route around that censorship, forcing those who want to censor information to have evermore repressive forms of censorship. And then you go down into the wormhole of totalitarian dictatorship, or something like that. But this is clearly a step towards censorship, right? And that’s the part of this to me that came out of nowhere. That Europe would not only take a big step, what I think is a big step, toward censorship. They did it in such a clumsy way, did it in a way that seemed to be an available way. It would have been an entirely different proposition for them to go and have the articles removed from the Guardian website, for example.
Mike: So this was kind of a weasley way, in my opinion, to get a similar effect. As you pointed out, it’s a step toward censorship in an otherwise generally free society. What’s next, do you think?
Danny: Well the reason we said that was because I’m really used to speaking to governments who have in their eyes, a perfectly reasonable reason to try and censor and block content online. When we deal with as we often do with the copyright industry, you know that we have a whole industry hanging on this. Piracy is rampant. And therefore, we need to use this censorship to prevent our industry’s collapsing. Same thing when I talked to the Thai government. They say we’re in an environment where the country is being ribboned by civil unrest. We have to block and censor political speech. And the same thing is happening here. And all you can say in all these cases is look, this isn’t going to work. And when you discover that it isn’t going to work, you’re going to double down. Right? And this is what we saw with the copyright industry. And this is what we see in any country that tries to control what its people see. And the problem with that is that you end up with this ridiculous situation where you have incredible fines changing the entire internet infrastructure to comply with censorship requirements. And it still doesn’t work.
Jeff: Well said.
Danny: Everything that’s being removed from Google’s index is still out there. And I and any other person who knows how to put together a script, could write you a program that would find it. And in fact of course, we just highlighted what is seen as valuable content. So it’s not going away. And you can’t have censor. Half-censoring is like being half-pregnant, it just doesn’t work. And then we just go down this slippery slope.
Mike: Alright well Danny O’Brien is a technology journalist and a civil liberties activist at the EFF and also the international director of said EFF. Thank you so much for coming on This Week in Google. And telling us and discussing your article with us.
Jeff: Thanks, Danny. Keep on beating the drum.
Gina: Thank you, Danny.
Jeff: And Danny, don’t send any seize and assist letters to Gina about Life Hacker, okay?
Gina: The last guy on earth…
Danny: I’m the last person who would do that.
Danny: So Gina, alright.
Gina: Thanks, Danny. You’re the best.
Mike: Thanks again, Danny. In just a sec we’re going to talk about more instances. I think the theme of this show is going to be the overwhelming and growing power of companies like Google, and other technology giants. Especially cloud-based giants. And we’re going to talk about that in a sec. But first, I want to tell you about our sponsor today, which is Nature Box. I am a box of nature, right here. And Nature Box is an awesome subscription healthy snack service that is fantastic for a whole bunch of ways. And it’s kind of a Googley business model, and I’ll tell you why in just a sec. But first I want to tell you about some of these snacks they have. I was eating this before the show, and we couldn’t start the show until I stopped chewing. Basically Nature Box snacks have zero trans fats, zero high fructose corn syrup. Leo says fruck-tose, I say fruke-tose. Doesn’t matter, there’s zero.
Jeff: You’re right.
Mike: Am I right? Tell Leo that next time he’s back from vacation. And also nothing artificial. If you get a snack, snack on something healthy. One of the reasons people eat unhealthy snacks is that they shop at the store when they’re hungry. And then when you’re hungry, you seek potato chips and all this other stuff. And you buy junk food and then it’s in the house and then you get hungry and you eat junk. With Nature Box, they’ll always make sure you have healthy snacks, very convenient in your house. What they do is send great tasting snacks right to your door with free shipping anywhere in the United States. You just go to the site and click the continue button to choose between three subscription options and place your order. Once you’re a member, this is a membership snack service, you can select which snacks you’d like in your monthly box. Now, this is the Googley thing about this; Google has a tendency to be very experimental. They throw all kinds of stuff against the wall to see what sticks. They throw a lot of products out there and on the ones that don’t really work. The ones that do work, they build into gigantic services like Gmail and all these things. And that’s what Nature Box does as well. You can keep trying different services. But once you like you can go on the website and say I want to keep getting those but surprise me with new ones. They have more than 100 delicious healthy choices you can choose from. You can also select by dietary needs. If you’re a vegan, if you don’t want soy, if you’re gluten-conscious, if you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t want nuts, you have nut allergies. Something like that; you can also choose non-GMO. Whatever it is, you can just simply select that on the website. And they’ll only show you the products that suit your dietary needs. You can also select by taste. Savory, sweet, or spicy. I love them all. But you’re mileage may vary. So the next time you get cranky and hungry and are ready to eat anything, don’t eat anything. Eat Nature Box snacks. They have guilt-free snacks like coconut-date energy bites, Santa Fe corn sticks, praline crunch. I haven’t tried that one, that one sounds good. We’ve got them around the office all the time. People talk about this as maybe I can get this for myself. I can get a subscription for myself. If you got a kid in college, this is a great option to make sure they get healthy snacks that just keep on coming. I know a lot of Silicon Valley startups that use Nature Box, because otherwise someone has to go to Costco and buy a bunch of junk food. This way it just comes through the office, and it’s office snacks for everybody. And again, they’re healthy and so you don’t this ever-growing unhealthy staff. To get 50% off your first box, go to naturebox.com/twit. Stay full, stay fit, go to naturebox.com/twit. And we thank Nature Box for their support of this This Week in Google.
Jeff: And let me thank TWiT for having sent me boxes of this stuff. My favorite so far are the kettle kernels. I’ve gone through them all—the peppery pistachio. And dried pineapple, those are to die for.
Gina: I got a lot of point on that box that arrived at our house. Like alright, all that time he’s been talking into the computer, worth it because we got these snacks.
Mike: Look at this one, sweet blueberry almonds. Never heard of that before. Fantastic. Do I have to give these back? Can I keep this whole box?
Jeff: What else is in there? Anything else in there?
Mike: Let’s see. We have roasted garlic pumpkin seeds.
Jeff: Oooh, I would do that.
Mike: Cranberry almond bites. These are basically, this is like where you eat a lot of stuff but you’re really not eating that much. And praline pumpkin seeds. I’ve never even seen any of these. There’s so many different flavors. Don’t tell anyone, but I actually have a couple bags of these fig bars. One is blueberry, one is fig. And they’re just so good. Each one is individually wrapped. Really good. Really enjoy that. Well, back to the show. Now you may have heard about Vinod Cosla’s fireside chat with Sergey and Larry, the founders of Google. And it was really interesting conversation, lasted about 45 minutes. And they talked about a whole bunch of things. Some of them were actually kind of funny. Which is that in the very early days of Google, when Sergey and Larry and two other people were the grad students who collectively made up the whole of Google; they were actually offered an acquisition proposition by Vinod Cosla himself. At the time he was advising Excite, if you recall. If you’ve been around long enough, Excite was a major search engine in 1999. In this conversation, they disagreed about the amount that was offered. Cosla said they offered $350,000 to buy Google. If you can imagine. And the Google founders remember it being over a million. Either way, the acquisition didn’t happen and I think everyone in the conversation agreed that that was a good thing. Because now of course, Google makes tens of billions of dollars a year.
Jeff: Could you imagine if Google died with Excite?
Mike: What a different world.
Gina: I wonder how many startups have died in an acquisition. How many startups that would’ve been destined for greatness, otherwise.
Mike: That we’ll never know about. They were killed in acquisition. And in fact that’s one of the things that I worry about; some of these serial acquisition companies like Yahoo. They’re constantly acquiring companies. Then they make you forget them. Then like four or five years later, they announce that they’re closing it. And you’re like, I kind of remember that site from years ago. And it just seems so unnecessary. You never know if there’s going to be some brilliant ideas in there. But the Google founders had some interesting ideas that they talked about. They generally expressed their dissatisfaction with the pace of society. With the fact that people work as hard as they do, and spend as much time as they do with computers, given what they get back from those computers. So it was a really interesting conversation. I don’t know if you guys had any additional thoughts about this. There were some aspects that were controversial, such as they… Surgate Brand expressed a comfort level with robots taking over your job. That some press outlets took Umbridge at... but his point was that we have more automation, more robots doing things. Then we can all do things that are more enjoyable.
Jeff: I thought it was the one when they were suggesting a four-day work week to help solve the employment issues. And as you said just a minute ago, we’re working too much. With as hard people are working, people you know, Googlers. They’re there constantly.
Mike: Right. They have four-day workdays, some of them. It’s a brutal place to work. And of course they give free food and beverages to all their employees. And they have dry cleaning and massages and all that stuff, so that people never have to leave the Google Plex. I guess they could start right there at home. It was an interesting conversation, and toward the end of the interview, they talked about society and that sort of thing. And you know this is one of the themes of this show, I think we’re going to find out, which is that Google is such a powerful company and when they say things like this, people tend to freak out. And probably, maybe they should because Google has so much power. And that’s where we get to our next story, which is that there was an article in Salon suggesting that Google and some of the other tech giants, be nationalized.
Jeff: This is my nominee. I put it up there. This is my nominee for the dumbest article of the decade. What it says is that we should nationalize Google because it’s too powerful. By the way, they got started with government’s help on the internet, so we own it anyway. Which my response is then nationalize Tang, because it started in NASA. It’s just, what didn’t start with government help. It’s the point of society, is that we have this help out there. It’s just, I feel a little ashamed of myself because it is click-bait. But I just wanted to have the chance to say…
Mike: So let’s actually talk about that. So do you support the continued ownership by the government of the U.S. postal service, for example, Jeff?
Jeff: Well I end up doing a lot of work on that topic because I help a friend of mine named John Callen. In the past, I’ve helped him organize a conference called Postal Vision 20/20 and it’s not really owned by the government. And indeed no, I wouldn’t say that the primary benefit of the postal service is that it gives an everywhere delivery guarantee. But that can be handled by a subsidy as phone service is handled through a subsidy to remote areas. So it’s never going to happen. They’re never going to get rid of it, because there’s too many votes there. But no, I don’t feel we should be in the postal service anymore. And indeed, when we had the postmaster general, this would have been a year ago, he said the primary service of the postal service is no an ad-delivering medium. So the postal service basically competes with our business right here. And that’s not the job of the U.S. government.
Mike: One of his arguments is that the big-tech companies, including Google, YouTube, and also Amazon and others; they abuse their power. And because they abuse their power, they need to be nationalized. I can’t say it with a straight face. But do we agree that there’s a lot of abuse of power at these, and that something more needs to be more regarding their abuse of power.
Jeff: Well let’s hand it over to the people running the NSA. Yea, that’ll work!
Mike: There’s always a left-right comparison to this. In general, people on the left tend to trust government more than private companies. Then on the right, visa versa.
Jeff: I’m a Hillary Clinton democrat, and I think it’s bull-crap. I’ve said enough, Gina?
Gina: Yes. I agree with you. This seems crazy. I mean I think there are issues that we discuss on this show quite a bit about some of the things that these big companies do, wielding their power. But I don’t think this is the solution.
Mike: I think the biggest flaw in this argument frankly, is that I guess the uber-argument that he’s making is that the Public Square, so important this stuff we do online, it’s replaced what we used to do in Meet Space. In Public Square where we discuss all these things is privatized. The problem with his argument is that there are a million Public Squares. It’s not Google’s Public Square, it’s the only Public Square. The Facebooks, you know, Facebook is the only place where people can have conversations. There are a gazillion places where people can have conversations. And one of the reasons these companies are so aggressive in doing all these things they’re saying, is that they are freaked out that they could be wiped out. Wiped off the map, go out of business. They all feel like they’re 18 months away from obsolescence. I think that’s true unless they continuously reinvent themselves. So I think that’s one of the reasons why his argument is completely flawed.
Jeff: There is a flaw that says your company has to live forever.
Mike: Absolutely. That was the argument that Microsoft made in the 1990’s when they were being pursued by anti-trust for bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. They said hey, it would be so easy, we’re not a monopoly. Windows is not a monopoly. Simply because we’re just a few months away from everybody just erasing Windows and moving to Linux or whatever. And in terms of the browser, the reason everybody uses our browser is because it’s the best browser. And if somebody else made a better browser, we would decline the market share. And that’s exactly what happened.
Gina: That’s what happened.
Mike: Several other companies made better browsers and Microsoft went right to the bottom. So yea, it’s understandable and of course it’s a Darwinian world in technology. The big giants are still around because they reinvented themselves, because they’ve been aggressive about changing users, about changing law, changing society and doing all these things. Still, an interesting article. I’ve argued before in a column that the wireless carrier should be nationalized. And in exchange we should privatize the post office, swap, so that we don’t have a trend in one direction from the other. But I did that simply because pricing works with wireless carriers, and because it’s so… you know many of the incentives tend toward having worse service, and you can’t tell what you’re paying for. And you get this monthly contract, is this a good thing, bad thing, whatever. Anyway, that’s another issue on TWiT. So I’m not generally in favor of privatization. But I thought that was an interesting column because of the them that all this power that all these companies have. So it was really an interesting piece in the sense that it captured the tech…
Jeff: I got to disagree. I thought it was an incredibly laughable piece. It made no sense. Its facts were wrong, about Google penetration. But that aside, I think these was no logic to it. It’s the kind of light talk we have now, is oh my God these people are scaring us. Let’s try to stop them.
Mike: But that’s why it was interesting. I think it captured the luddite sensibility that’s rising. And no I didn’t think it was a good piece from a…
Jeff: No, I know.
Mike: But it captured the thing that is happening in our society that is just so toxic about… especially in San Francisco where people are tearing Google Glass off people’s faces.
Jeff: We agree.
Gina: Encapsulation of techno-panic. All the years around it.
Jeff: Or I have the new subset of this, which I call Euro-techno-panic. This is yank techno-panic.
Mike: Yea, we all have our little variance. The soccer-friendly, wooden shoe-wearing… never mind. Well, Gina, if the trumpets and the tympanis are ready, I think…
Jeff: Mike, I think you and I can go home. Looks like the change log is so long today, the show is headed over to Gina.
Mike: So much change to log. This is so impressive. Why don’t we launch into the…
[Voice]: The Google Change Log!
Mike: Take it away, Gina.
Gina: Alright. We’ve got a couple really cool things this week in the change log. Google Now always changing, always getting smarter, a couple of new functions here. First, everybody knows how to use Google Now to set a reminder. It will remind me at 2:00 to get ready for my meeting. Remind me on Tuesday to meet with whoever. Well now you can set up occasional reminders. So you can say to Google Now, remind me to take out the garbage occasionally. And it’s not clear exactly what occasionally means. It just means every once in awhile. Google will nudge you to take out the trash.
Mike: I don’t like this.
Gina: You don’t like this one? It’s too ambiguous for you?
Mike: No, I don’t want to do my chores. It’s like one of my best excuses, I forgot. I don’t need this kind of help, you understand.
Gina: No more excuses! I haven’t had a chance to test this out. I don’t know what occasional means. So I don’t know, maybe that’s a good thing. But I would love to see if Google is doing any sort of A.I. on take out the trash. And then you know, every few days, or what. Also new, coming soon to Google Now, apparently. This is more a rumor, but it seemed like it would be totally legit. Voice controls for media playback. So you can say okay Google, play the next song. This dove tale’s really nicely Into Android Auto. It seems like the type of voice you’d want, particularly in your car. So you can do play next song, stop music, and when you do, okay play next song, Google Now will also pop the button. This isn’t rolled out yet, but there’s a video that looks like it probably still will. So, good nice stuff going on in Google Now, as always. Speaking of voice, I didn’t realize that you can do this, but this is a pretty neat little trick. You can correct Google’s voice search interpretation by saying “no, I said.”
Mike: If only this worked on children.
Gina: Exactly. If you say, okay Google, tell me about This Week in Google. And it takes me to This Week in Boggle. I can say, okay Google no, I said Google. And it will correct the word that it screwed up. And I’m sure it’s using some smarts to do that. And re-run the search. So you’re seeing some of this conversational functionality that we’ve seen. What’s the weather like in Santa Monica and how do I get there? And Google associating the object from one search to the next in this. So try it out. It’s less satisfying than just being able to say, no I said. You have to say, okay Google, no I said. So it takes a little longer, but it’s fun.
Jeff: Are you guys using voice with your watch, at all?
Mike: I have. My watch, the battery actually died for the first time today. So I’m not wearing it right now. But yea, I’m using it all the time.
Jeff: It’s not hearing me very well.
Gina: I’ve used Google. I use voice search so much that my one-year-old now points to my watch and says Google.
Gina: Yes. Which is crazy, kind of scary and cool at the same time.
Gina: I mean, out in public I don’t like saying, okay Google in my watch. I just swipe over, tap and swipe. But it does a pretty good job of interpretation. Jeff, it doesn’t hear you?
Jeff: It gets the wrong words. I was out on the street when I did it. I was sending an SMS back. I was mean to somebody in the car, and I said almost there. And it said fear. And I said one minute and it said 15 minutes. How the hell it got 15 out of one, I don’t know. So it’s getting those misinterpretations.
Mike: It sounded like it was arguing with you.
Gina: I said one minute! I feel like we’ll be walking through the streets of Manhattan and we’ll find Jarvis going, no one minute!
Mike: Jeff, you need to move to a quieter place, maybe.
Jeff: Yea, well. I love that, Gina. Eta thinks your watch is Google. Mommy, why are you talking to Google so much?
Gina: Yea, she pronounces Google more clearly than she pronounces grandma. She has a hard time saying grandma. She says gaga for grandma, and Google for Google.
Jeff: Grandma, you are replaced by a robot.
Mike: She’s going to get Lady Gaga on your phone if she’s asking for grandma on that thing. But isn’t that an interesting image, to where this child is growing up in a world where some her first memories are going to be talking to a wrist-watch. And that’s the normal world that she lives in.
Gina: Future babies, they are here. I mean she sees me talking to my watch and she just wants to touch my watch. I actually installed an app that locks my watch, so that she can play with it without ordering me a car or something. By accident, because she sees me playing with it and she wants to touch it and she wants to put it on. And she says Google, and it’s the whole thing. It’s amazing to watch actually, because she’s just mimicking now.
Mike: Well if a pizza shows up, you’ll know where it came from. But in fact on Tech News Today this morning, we talked about a new product from LG called the Kizz On, which is a children’s smart watch of sorts. Essentially a cell phone-wrist watch that does GPS tracking so parents can track where their kids are. But it has 10 programmed numbers. They press a button and it calls the parents. Or the parents can call the child. Even if the child doesn’t answer after about 10 rings, it answers automatically. It has other features, waterproof and so on.
Jeff: Can you put that on your teenager?
Mike: Teenager probably wouldn’t wear it. It’s very childy looking. Very Fisher-Price-esque in its appearance.
Jeff: What’s funny about that is young people don’t talk on the phone.
Gina: Yea, it’s true. But they’re text messaging.
Jeff: There’s nothing jazzy about the phone, no.
Mike: So what else do you have, Gina?
Gina: What else we got here. So Google Drive is getting a brand new interface design. I actually got this. It’s rolling out slowly. You’ll know if you got it if you go to drive.google.com. And you’ll get a little prompt that says try the new web experience. It’s just a really nice, kind of overhaul, a new default view, uses a thumbnail grid instead of a list. You can see file details from the home screen. You’ve got desktop-style selection tools, including click-and-drag, control modifiers, drag and drop. It makes Google Drive feel more like a desktop app. Again it’s rolling out slowly. You might not have it, it looks like Chad… is it in queue, Chad? It looks like Chad has it there.
Chad: Just screenshots.
Gina: Looks really nice. I’m digging it. What else do we have? Oh, speaking of Google Drive, the Gmail app for Android phones and tablets, just got a new insert Google Drive file command. So this is on Android, you have the Gmail app, you have a compose window open, you go to insert a file into your email. You can select from Google Drive. If the file isn’t shared with the person you’re sending it to… and I always have this problem where I send people links to a Google Drive document. And they don’t have rights, and can you set the rights, and blah blah blah. Well this new insert feature will let you know if the person doesn’t have rights, and let you change the sharing settings. So a really easy way to send files, and not just directly from Drive. You can do that directly from Gmail now. And I haven’t gotten that update yet. But that update is rolling out to Gmail on Android now. An update to the official Chrome Cast app for Android; Now has been updated to allow streaming your devices entire screen to Chrome Cast. So excited about this; this is such a cool new feature. So basically you’re in your Chrome Cast app. If you flip out the hamburger menu like Chad’s showing on the screen there, there’s an option to cast screen. This new feature is limited to certain devices right now. The Nexus 4, the Nexus 5, the Nexus 7, the Nexus 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4, S4, Note 3, Note 10, HTC One M7, which made me very sad because I have the M8. The LG 2 and the LG 3. I’m not sure why they’re rolling this out to certain devices first. There must be some hardware dependencies here. But a really neat way to show off what is going on on your phone, through Chrome Cast.
Jeff: Isn’t that related to what we saw at IO, where you can show your Android screen on a TV?
Gina: Yea, exactly. That’s right. So that it does, it casts your screen. You can show off what’s going on, exactly. And that update is also rolling out with the Chrome Cast app for Android right now. And finally, this got me really excited, because this is an Android Wear thing. There’s a new update for the camera app for Android that allows you to use your watch as a remote shutter. Okay?
Gina: This is really cool and I got to try this out. This is such a neat use of Android Wear. So the way that it works, is you have your phone which is connected to your watch through Bluetooth. You initiate the camera, you launch the camera app and a card shows up on your watch that says tap here for remote shutter. It counts down 3-2-1, and then you see a preview of the device on your screen. So really really cool way to take remote photos with your phone. My only nitpick is, and this would be an amazing selfy function if you could preview viewfinder you know on your watch before you take the image. You can’t. You only see the image on your watch after you take the image. Still really neat use of Android Wear, as a remote shutter. For those of you who are considering jumping into Android Wear early, really fun.
Jeff: Before you hit it, while you’re on Android Wear, have you guys discovered any great new Android Wear apps?
Mike: Well there’s actually a flappy bird clone that now exists on Android. Called Flopsy Droid. And it’s as bad as it sounds. There’s a little Android robot that flies around. But no I haven’t seen a good one.
Jeff: I’ve got a good calculator.
Gina: Oh really cool. Well Babytime is one that I used to lock my device, my child can’t you know SMS China. Jason I knew would go, but I don’t want to go. And I installed Flopsy Droid, as I’m sorry to say as I said last night on All About Android, is very playable. Much more playable than I wished that it was.
Mike: Look at that, wow.
Gina: That’s a good calculator, yea.
Jeff: Very nice, I tell you. It works.
Gina: Very nice.
Mike: Here comes the apps, this is very exciting.
Jeff: I want better looking faces.
Mike: You’d think that’d be the first thing that would come before Flapsy Droid.
Gina: Well Flopsy Droid was a third party developer, who did it. And actually it was, it never occurred to me to play games on the watch. It was actually a neat proof of concept. I didn’t think a game would be playable on a screen that small, and there it is. Sort of the beauty of flappy bird.
Mike: And you could play that while holding your baby.
Gina: Oh man, I got to show her Flopsy Droid, I haven’t showed her yet. And that’s all I got for the change log.
Mike: Alright wonderful, that is the Google change log. So we got a couple of stories here about people complaining about Google search and Google’s sort of internal processes for dealing with errors and problems. One of which appeared on Wired, wired.com by Kevin Paulson. It’s called How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business at Will. And according to this article, they were saying a Serbian restaurant that Google misreported the hours of operation for, in the Washington D.C. area. This is a restaurant by the way that serves lion meat. I have to check that out if they ever come back. Anyway, the misreported hours caused according to the owner of this restaurant, caused him to go out of business. It said they weren’t open on the weekends and so on. So the Serbian Crown restaurant sort of declined into poverty and obsolescence, because Google misreported the hours. Is this just somebody whining? Their business went out of business for reasons like they serve lion meat, for example. Instead of meat that the general population wants to eat, or is this legitimate that Google has way too much power and they have the ability to crush businesses with their little errors. What do you think, Jeff or Gina?
Gina: I’m confused. I thought that as a local business listing that you could update your business listing. Is that not true? Do you have to submit it to Google and wait? I don’t understand why these folks couldn’t just update the hours.
Jeff: I don’t either. Right.
Mike: I don’t either. I was under that impression as well. Maybe this wasn’t possible in his case for some reason. We don’t know about… but that was my impression as well was that you could just go in there. Maybe there was a dispute. Maybe the other Serbian restaurant across town was changing their results.
Jeff: The story is not complete in answering those, I think pretty obvious questions. What I find interesting in this, is that it’s not as if, how do I put this; the guy I understand didn’t pay for the service. He’s just saying that Google listed me wrong. And he built the business apparently on the back of Google existing. So do you then have some right to be listed correctly? Is it a violation of your rights if you’re listed incorrectly? If somebody makes a mistake? I guess the analogy would be if the newspaper runs an ad and puts the wrong time for your show, then you get to sue the newspaper at least for the money back for your ad or business lost. If the newspaper puts in a free listing, the show starts at 8, when it started at 7, do you have a case against them? The newspaper screwed up, gee the only way we’re going to get people to our show that way. Well that’s true, and the newspaper screwed up and that’s too bad. I’m not sure there’s a basis for suit.
Mike: You mentioned listing a show coming on at the wrong time. The other story that falls in this category is Denesh Desuza’s new film called America was confused on Google’s listings with his previous movie called something or other, using the word America. And as a result of that, the database showed that the movie wasn’t playing in theaters when it in fact it was. Because his old movie wasn’t playing in theaters. So he turned the screws with Google and the public opinion, and said essentially that Google, and you guys are going to laugh about this, Google is a left-leaning organization that was deliberately doing this to prevent his right-leaning movie from being popular. Or something like that.
Jeff: Yea big giant Google sat down and said we want to stop that Denesh movie. Let’s put all of our huge and vast power behind stopping it.
Mike: I think a more likely…
Gina: That’s ridiculous. That is of course ridiculous. But I do try in these cases to kind of I don’t know be empathetic to the less-powerful party. It looks like in this case with this particular lion meats, this fellow emigrated to the U.S. from northern Italy. He’s 74 years old. He doesn’t own a computer. He had heard of the internet but didn’t really know much about Google. And didn’t use Google. Didn’t realize that this was happening. And I guess his accountant called Google and tried to change the listing. I called them? How do you call Google? And you know eventually he hired an internet consultant to get it fixed. But by that time his business was in a nose-dive. He decided this was Google’s fault and hence the suit. So this was sort of just like lack of awareness going on here. You know for a film-maker or for someone who makes something, listen Jeff’s an author, I’m an author. When you make something in particular or an app, in a lot of ways Google is the way that people find you. And it is frustrating, I’ve been in this position, when Google’s snip-its or search results shows something that you know is untrue or out of date or misleading. And you know that whole process, there really isn’t a process. All you can do is kind of go in and try to tweak your copying, get more links and like hope for the best. And you know, while there’s a whole industry of SEO people trying to get high on the search results, I do feel for the folks who have a legitimate case. Hey you got this wrong, your algorithm is wrong and I’m one of the casualties. But is that Google’s responsibility? No?
Mike: It’s hard to say. In the case of the Desuza thing, I don’t know how common this is. In his case, Google did make an error. And I think he seized on the opportunity to put the error to attention.
Jeff: Was that an error? Or the problem is if your name John Smith is going to be hard to be found on Google; and if you really want to be found, then you have to go through a whole bunch of steps to say I’m the real John Smith that you really care about. America as the title of a show, not to defend Google here, but I don’t know what… it’s the same as the guy with the lion meat. By the way, I think serving lion meat is a nasty thing. And I’m not sure I’m happy with him anyway.
Mike: Tastes like chicken.
Jeff: But, we don’t know enough to know. People just say it’s all Google’s fault. Maybe it is. Maybe Google messed up and maybe it’s impossible to get to Google. And that’s an issue for Google. However, it is a behemoth and there are ways you have to deal with this. It’s kind of like a new DMV and you have to deal with the rules. And we don’t know enough to know who was in the wrong in this case. I certainly don’t think there was a conspiracy to get rid of either party.
Mike: Neither do I. It falls into the category of when organizations and tech companies have so much power. And right now they probably have what, 80% of the search engine traffic, market share, whatever you want to call it. What if they had 99%? It’s an interesting question, but let’s move on from that whole issue. Because it’s a total bummer, frankly. All these stories we’ve talked about so far. Let’s talk about something really awesome. And that’s that NASA is using Project Tango as robot eyes for these little soccer ball-sized robots that are going to do EVAs on the space station. And this is scheduled to blast off, what is it, day after tomorrow. On Friday, to go up to the space station. And these newly Project Tango-oriented robots are going to put into immediate use. If you’re unfamiliar with Project Tango, this is an experimental project that builds 3D mapping into a smartphone. They also have a tablet version they’re working on. Essentially this special hardware and software that enables, in a normal use case, you walk around the room and it quickly maps the indoor space. Where the furniture is, where the ceiling is, where the walls and doors are, where the windows are. And you can do all kinds of cool interactive things. App developers will be able to do all kinds of amazing things. But NASA is going to use it. They’ve bolted it on this robot. They’ve integrated it electronically so now the Project Tango phones are controlling the little CO2 jets, where these little robots are flying around at zero G’s. They’re going to deploy them out the shoot of the space station, and they’re going to fly around the exterior. Mapping the exterior of the space station. Sounds really cool.
Gina: This is awesome. This is just awesome. How cool is this. I just love this attempt to meet the robots. Astronauts and engineers in NASA’s Ames research center sent cheap smartphones to the space station which they purchased from Best Buy. I mean, we live in an amazing world where NASA is heading over to Best Buy to equip their robots with some extra smarts to map the space station. That’s incredible.
Mike: It really is. And what’s also incredible is the fact that this technology is moving so quickly into a usable form. When I first heard about this technology I thought okay, 2020 we’re going to start seeing something like this come out. But I believe it’s LG, I could be getting this wrong, but I believe it’s LG that’s going to ship a consumer tablet later this year, next year. Sorry I don’t have the facts. We reported on Tech News Today some time ago. It’s actually going to be a commercially available consumer product that can map an indoor space like this. And I think that there’s got to be some kind of partnership with Google where they want the public and the developers to know that this is going to be out there. So for people to create apps for this, this sort of technology and obviously games are going to be killer on this thing.
Gina: Yeah, definitely.
Jeff: The applications, every time you see one of these things and you wonder what's behind it with Google, my first assumption is that it can map a room. Right? And I think we talked about on the show about how, "Wow, wouldn't this be amazing for a blind person, to know what's what in a room?" I kind of never thought of that idea, of how do you deal with something that's in in space, where you have no bearings at all. And it can start to virtually map what it's going to go deal with. How phenomenal.
Mike: Yeah. It’s absolutely incredible. I love this technology and I love the fact that usually NASA are awesome, but usually it takes them a long time to get stuff implemented. Here they are with a very prototypical thing that, pretty much, we heard about very recently, and they're already deploying it. Its just a great, great thing.
Jeff: And then of course, because NASA's doing it, we should nationalize LG. And Best Buy.
Mike: And Google. Immediately.
Jeff: And Tang.
Gina: And any store that's on a public street.
Mike: Was Tang ever nationalized? That was always private, I think. Anyway, it didn't really work out the way they thought.
Jeff: I want to bake Tang in your oven, Mike, but we're getting off on another topic.
Mike: Mmm, Tang flavored bread. I actually made bread recently with grape seed flour and regular flour together. That was interesting, but I thought about Tang.
Jeff: How did it taste?
Mike: It tasted great. It didn't taste that different, actually. The color was different, it was slightly brownish purple. Which was interesting. They were pinot grape seeds, and it had a slightly different flavor. It worked out fine, and it was interesting, so... Anyway, when you're in the wine country, that's the kind of crazy thing you get inspired to do because they have the stuff for sale. Let's do our tip, tool, and number of the week. Gina, why don't we start with you?
Gina: Yeah, so, I think my tip last week was how to get to the old Google Maps. Well, this week I've got a tip for something that only works in the new Google Maps. You can - and I didn't know this, and this is thanks to Gizmodo - you can measure distances, just kind of doodle on a map, if you want, in the new Google Maps. New Google Maps work in any location, and you right click your starting point and you chose, "measure distance", you can just start drawing lines on the map and google will tell you what the distance is from one line to the other, so you can see how far things are as the crow flies or any sort of rout that you want to take. Or you can just draw something cool on the map, just for fun. Really, really neat. You can drop as many points as you want when you draw, and you can click and drag any point to adjust it as well to get the adjusted distances. Kinda neat.
Mike: That is cool. That is really cool. That's also great for setting up a route for running and jogging, that sort of thing.
Gina: Yeah, definately. Nice job, nice job Chad. Chad did, like, "As the crow flies", it looks like from TWiT to EnterNow.
Chad: I wanted to know how far it would be for a drone to get, and then if the drone needed to be carried back, because it probably won't have power.
Mike: Or for running, if you calculate the distance and you figure out the number of calories burned by running and then match that against the calories in the burger, you could decide whether you could like, zero it out.
Chad: Yeah, this works really well, I mean, there's also, if you grab the starting position you can drag it around, and you can see it has a cool animation on. So this is a cool feature.
Jeff: Somebody did that for a living.
Mike: How fun. That's cool. I've got to try that. So I'm going to do mine very quickly and then we'll end with Jeff's spectacular number of the week. First I have two things. I have a tool of the week, and a toy of the week. The tool of the week came to me, right at the last minute, Patrick told me about it. It’s a new TWiT fan created Chrome app that shows you the live TWiT stream. It’s the same thing you get on live.twit.tv, but it shows it to you as a Chrome app and it’s on top of your other windows, so that as you're working, as you're moving windows around, it will always stay on top so you can watch the TWiT network.
Jeff: Because of course, there is nothing more important than watching TWiT. So we should always be atop of everything else, bravo.
Mike: That's exactly right - so check that out, also you can find that at twit.tv/apps. There's a section called laptop or desktop, and it’s the last item in the laptop or desktop section. Yeah, look at all those apps. Those are all TWiT related apps. It shows you which ones show you live, which ones show you recorded, and so on.
Jeff: God bless the fans. Not one of those is made by twit, right? Every one of those is made by fans. That's phenomenal! Nationalize them all!
Mike: Nationalize them and never stop watching TWiT. My actual item is what I'm calling, "The Toy of The Week". So we all went to Google IO, they gave us these things. This is the Google Cardboard. This is an open source project that gives you 3D in an app in your phone. You put the phone inside, you look at it like a viewfinder, it shows you 3D. There's several apps that came with it, other people are creating more apps – it’s a really cool project. Unfortunately, if you didn't go to Google IO, you didn't get one. We've talked in previous shows about companies like Dodo, which makes cases like this, my iPad case. They make really nice cases, among other things. But Dodo actually immediately went on sale, and said that they were going to be selling Cardboard versions of this, but the wait is 4-6 weeks. So if you're impatient, there's a quicker way to get your hands on one of these, and that is something called the "Unofficial Cardboard". "Unofficial Cardboard" is the name of the product that they're selling. Its $29.99 and they will send you something that looks a lot like the one that Google gave out at Google IO. It has a couple of lenses in it, a magnetic controller, a rubber band, and basically it’s a cardboard viewfinder thing. It'll come fully assembled or you can also chose to get the unassembled version.
Jeff: It was too much fun watching Gina assemble it. You want fun.
Mike: Yeah, get the unassembled version. Yeah, that's a good one. Of course, this works with most Android phones. If you go to the unofficial Cardboard site, or several other sites that talk about Google Cardboard that tell you which phones these work with and which they don't. Most major Android phones - works great with MotoX for example. And this is just a really fun and really cheap, thirty bucks, and you have 3D. And not only 3D, but its motion controlled 3D. You have to experience it. And at these prices, I highly recommend it. So that is my toy of the week. And Jeff, you have a number.
Jeff: Well, I have a couple. I just want to mention before I get started that our dear TWiG friend Matt Cutts is at fifteen years of google. It’s one of those very Matt moments, he's just taking a few months off to be with his wife and do what he wants to do and I think we want to give a salute to our dear friend Matt. And I can't think of anybody that deserves a break more, and we expect him back soon.
Mike: Absolutely, and it’s funny, the post you see on the screen here was really funny, he's like, "No, really, I just wanted to spend some time with my family." Everybody says, you know, when there's some problem that they go to spend time with their family. No, really. He just wants to spend time with his family, it’s true.
Jeff: He's the one guy that I believe. Alright a couple quick numbers, really quick. Google Cloud storage is going to offer two terabytes of storage per year, free to its customers. The point of that being that the cost of storage is heading towards zero, rapidly. Two terabytes for nothing is phenomenal. Second number - Thirty five point six million tweets about the Germany/Brazil game in the World Cup, the most popular for a sports game ever. But the number of the week I want to do is this one. Google just spent six hundred million dollars on real estate, just a mountain view.
Jeff: It also speaks to the value of real estate. Mountain view probably only got them two sheds, but that amazes me. And the amount of space that google needs, makes you wonder about whether given all the hell Google is getting because of the bosses in San Francisco. I started fantasizing after I read this, of Google condos.
Jeff: So imagine you start to really live in the company store. What would Google Apartments be like? Wouldn't that be the coolest thing? Wouldn't you work for them just so you could live in one? They're not doing that with this real estate, but I wish they would. I wish they'd build and then you could imagine the sitcom about living with Google all day long. Like just, you know, there'd be probably no garbage. There'd be robots.
Mike: You'd have slides instead of stairs, you'd sleep in a cot.
Gina: It's sort of a match between a roomba with project Tango Tablet kind of mounted to it, just constantly indexing your stuff.
Jeff: Yeah, don't you want this?
Mike: Self driving, flying cars that go from the sky... So the thing that I started fantasizing about, because apparently according to this article, Google is interested in building buildings that are taller than what's allowed by Mountain View law. And they're working on changing those laws, and I personally think that silicon valley ought to have lots of skyscrapers. I mean, I think that the value of real estate is so high, and there's so many people that want to live there, earthquake technology is so good these days that you can build all kinds of tall buildings and why not? These communities used to be lovely orchard farming communities, nowadays for the most part, they're a bunch of strip malls and track housing. Silicon valley is not a pretty place, it’s okay, but it’s not something that's precious and needs to be preserved. I'd rather see the Jetsons' city of the future erected at Mountain View, personally.
Jeff: You support a more residential, outside of San Francisco and then do you deflate some of the issues there. I support more offices down there, you know is that an issue? I think it has some opportunity. But Google just keeps growing and growing and growing. I also think that there's something too - I'm very happy to have a large Google office here in New York, and I think part of it, answer for Google and San Fransisco fight is to also have more people elsewhere than the Valley.
Mike: Yeah, that's true as well. And of course, Apple has really upped the ante with their spaceship campus, which is well underway now. The construction is happening. The circular floor plan has already been built. And when that thing is done, it’s supposed to be done next year, I don't believe it, I think it'll probably be done in 2016, 2017, something like that. And when it’s done, it’s going to be amazing. And I think that Google is going to want to step it up and have a spectacular campus to match it. Right now Google probably has the coolest campus in the valley, the Googleplex. They have big dinosaur statues, and it's a really cool place to be. But when Apple's spaceship goes live, I think Google's going to want to step it up and I hope that the city of Mountain View lets them build whatever they want.
Jeff: And by the way, Apple, to its credit, swag store is open to the public. Google's you have to get an escort in there, Facebook you have to get an escort in. I think these companies are all missing a beat, not having public swag stores. Because I want to go to them all.
Gina: Apple knows how to do retail, that's for sure. They do secrecy, but they also do retail, and that's the difference.
Mike: Their campus is actually going to let them up the secrecy because right now there are all these leaks that are caused by people taking pictures of these banners that they put up at Moscone in San Francisco before they do an event. Future events are going to take place on campus, underground, and so... Yes, and that'll also enable them to have events that are unscheduled. Right now you have to book Mosconi like two years in advance or something like that. In the future they'll be able to basically put out a press release saying, "We're announcing something at 2 o'clock." And of course, the silicon valley press will come rushing in and they'll announce the surprise.
Jeff: That's a huge amount of force to just have in case, wow.
Mike: Yep. Underground parking, lots of stuff. That's going to be a really cool campus. Everyone focuses in on the fact that there's a big gigantic circular building with these crazy opening and closing windows and stuff like that. The coolest stuff is this underground - they have a whole underground freeway under this thing. So it’s going to be a really great campus. Well that is TWiG. I want to thank everyone for coming on the show today and joining us today. Jeff Jarvis, professional journalism at the city University of New York. Author of Public Parts, What Would Google Do, and Guttenberg.Geek, and Jeff blogs at buzzmachine.com. Thank you so much, Jeff and thanks for sprinting into your office. I think you had to break into your office with a crowbar, right?
Jeff: No I had to break into the network with a crowbar.
Mike: I see, that's right. And Gina Trapani, creator of Thinkup.com, host of iT's All About Android, and the founding editor of LifeHacker. We've got a bit of Lifehacker trivia today, that's cool.
Gina: We did, we did. Thank you so much Mike, this was a lot of fun. Thank you for covering while Leo's been out.
Mike: Thank you so much, it’s been my pleasure. I said this about TWiT the other day, but Leo makes this look so easy and it's not! And it’s a testament to how well he does this how and all of his shows. So I can't wait until he comes back. Thank you all, and thank you all for listening. We do This Week In Google every every Wednesday at one PM pacific, four pm eastern, that's 2000 UTC. You can watch this show live at live.twit.tv, you can also watch this show live with the new chrome app, you can find that at twit.tv/apps, or you can subscribe to the show at twit.tv/twig. Thank you for joining us today, Leo and the gang, we'll see you next time, on TWiG!