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The ATAP division of Google is known for some the most innovative ideas to come out of Silicon Valley. It's the home of the Project Ara modular phone and Project Tango. So it's no surprise to find that Project Jacquard has a large single piece of fabric with conductive yarn woven in that works like a trackpad. The Jacquard team said that more information about its technology would be revealed at tomorrow's ATAP session, but it already looks promising.

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Out of all the major technology companies, Apple is yet to reveal its plans for augmented or virtual reality. But still, chances are the Cupertino firm's working on a project (or two) behind closed doors, as signaled by multiple patents that have surfaced over the past few years. To make matters more interesting, Apple has bought Metaio, a startup from Germany that's been focusing on AR since it launched in 2003. "Pioneers in Augmented Reality and Computer Vision," reads a message displayed in large font on Metaio's website.

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The most striking part of the just released (on the web, iOS and Android) Google Photos is how familiar it feels if you've already been using Photos in Google+, or before that, Picasa. The biggest change I noticed early on is that by separating Photos from its attempt to launch yet another social network, Google is starting focus on stuff that both benefits its users, and that it does well: cloud storage and using information to narrow down searches. Now, it's a perfect fit for how most people use cameras everyday, from the ones in their phones to point-and-shoots (but maybe not your DSLR). With unlimited storage and machine learning that can link photos by the people in them or where they were taken it's ready to make sense of your massive image library.

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In no particular order, Google's invading our living rooms, our extremities, our skies, and — curiously — our Android phones. No, really! By announcing Google Now on Tap during today's I/O keynote, the company's going all-in on the idea that a Google smartphone isn't complete without the full power of the Knowledge Graph baked into it. And you know what? I think they're right. Even after just a few moments messing around with it, I don't ever want to use an Android device that can't do what Now on Tap can.

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MIT recently unveiled -- or rather, unfurled -- an unusual drone specimen. The tiny robot weighs a third of a gram and is just 1.7 cm long. It starts its existence as a flat, paper or polystyrene wafer. When activated with a small heat source, the drone folds itself up into the complex shape you see above and can begin moving (or swimming!) at a rate of 3 cm/sec.

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Google has sold 17 million Chromecasts thus far, but it obviously wants to sell more and make the media player more valuable to current users at the same time. The company is releasing a bunch of new APIs that will allow developers to create even better apps, games and experiences. To start with, Mountain View is making it easier for them to tailor second-screen experiences for both iOS and Android. That could lead to more games that use phones as controllers (see above), as well as other types of apps like photo editors that place editing tools on smartphone displays.

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Google may have been the first big tech company to push NFC payments, but it was Apple Pay that got the public excited about buying things with your smartphone. At a Google I/O session for Android Pay, the search giant announced that it was partnering with McDonalds and Papa John's Pizza to launch Hands Free, a payment system that looks suspiciously like the Pay with Square app (later called Square Wallet and discontinued). Customers walk in to a store and say, "I'd like to pay with Google," and the cashier will see a photo of the customer and their name on their point-of-sale system. The service is initially launching in San Francisco in the coming months and those interested can sign up for the beta here. Details about the geofencing payment service are sparse, but it should use cards stored in the upcoming Android Pay.

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As we walked out of today's Google I/O keynote, we -- and all other keynote attendees -- were handed the second-generation version of Cardboard, Google's low-tech effort at a VR headset. As was announced at the keynote itself, the new Cardboard is designed to fit phones that are 6-inches or larger, which makes sense given the size of Google's own Nexus 6. It's also now much easier to set up; in just three easy steps. Another improvement is that it no longer has the magnetic ring trigger of the original, which apparently didn't work with all phones. Now it has a simple top button that when pressed, activates a lever coated in capacitive tape -- think of it as a cardboard finger touching the phone's screen. This, of course, makes the Cardboard viewer compatible with a lot more phones -- including, yes, the iPhone.

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Vulnerable Internet

While 95 percent of American households earning six figures annually have access to broadband internet, just 48 percent of homes making under $25,000 enjoy the same benefit. Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to reduce that internet inequality gap by subsidizing the broadband access for America's poorest families. Specifically, the FCC is looking to revamp its existing Lifeline program, which already provides both phone and prepaid wireless service, to now include broadband as well.

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"When people think you're dying, they really, really listen to you instead of just -- "

"Instead of just waiting for their turn to speak."

This scene from Fight Club encapsulates one of the driving ideas behind Pillar, a video game starring a series of characters with disparate personalities and quirks, each given mysterious puzzles to solve. Indie developer Michael Hicks is interested in how people communicate and the unique way every human perceives the world. Pillar distills these broad observations into just a few characters running around a wintry town, searching for a secret artifact. Each character is different, but their goal is the same -- it's a lot like real life. Hicks wants his game to inspire conversations; he isn't looking to start arguments or incite rants. He'd love for people to truly connect with each other and Pillar might make that happen.

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