Google reveals just how much of the world it’s mapped with Street View and Earth
- It’s common knowledge that Google has photographed a huge amount of the planet for its Street View and Google Earth projects.
- But for the first time, Google has revealed how much of the world it has photographed: 10 million miles of Street View imagery and 36 million square miles of Google Earth imagery, according to a report from CNET.
- That Google Earth number is particularly impressive: Google says that it now covers 98 percent of the places in the world where people live.
- And the 10 million miles of Street View imagery puts Google miles ahead of competitors like Apple, which has just started to include similar street-level photography in Apple Maps with the release of iOS 13 this year.
- But Apple has a long way to go before it catches up to Google’s millions of miles.
PSA: RCS, the successor to SMS, is now live for all US Android users
- In November, Google said that it was starting to roll out RCS Chat, the successor to SMS, as Android’s primary texting platform, and as of Monday, if you are an Android user on any carrier in the US, you should now be able to use it — though you may need to update your Messages app and carrier settings (via Android Central).
- In theory, RCS messaging should be an improvement over regular SMS, as it supports read receipts, typing indicators, and is better for group chats.
- Unlike Apple’s iMessage, though, RCS doesn’t support end-to-end encryption, so you’ll need to use a third-party app like Signal if you want to send encrypted messages.
- Google first said RCS would become Android’s primary texting platform more than a year and a half ago, so this has been a long time coming.
FDA approves new closed-loop insulin delivery system for people with Type 1 diabetes
- A new software system that will let people with diabetes customize their treatment and automatically adjust their insulin levels was just approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The technology, called Control-IQ, is manufactured by Tandem Diabetes Care and connects with blood glucose sensors and insulin pumps to automatically increase, decrease, or stop the delivery of insulin in response to the glucose levels of people with Type 1 diabetes.
- People with Type 1 diabetes using Control-IQ with Tandem’s t:slim X2 insulin pump had fewer instances of high or low blood sugar than people manually adjusting the insulin, according to a six-month clinical trial recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
- That sets it apart from other closed-loop systems on the market, which deliver a continuous low dose of insulin, known as a basal rate, to keep blood sugar levels steady, but don’t automatically deliver corrective doses.
How to watch Fortnite’s exclusive Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker clip this Saturday
- For the first time, Epic’s battle royale game will host an exclusive film clip, and this one happens to be from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, ahead of its December 20th release.
- Yesterday, while accepting the award for best ongoing game, Mustard also flicked at the idea of Fortnite as the first steps toward a proper metaverse, the term from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash that refers to a persistent virtual world that acts much like a VR- and AR-infused evolution of the internet.
- In his speech, Mustard specifically says that Epic’s vision for Fortnite is a world where “all [intellectual property] can live together,” which is certainly true given the company’s spate of recent crossover marketing events for things like Batman and Borderlands 3.
- Tomorrow will be a big moment for both Star Wars and Fortnite, but chances are you’ll be able to catch the clip online after it airs live in the game.
Exclusive: documents show Foxconn refuses to renegotiate Wisconsin deal
- Documents obtained by The Verge show that Wisconsin officials have repeatedly — and with growing urgency — warned Foxconn that its current project has veered far from what was described in the original deal and that the contract must be amended if the company is to receive subsidies.
- Over the following months, various officials from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Gov. Tony Evers’ administration urged Foxconn to formally apply to revise its contract to reflect whatever it is actually building, a process that would involve describing Foxconn’s current plans, its expected costs, employment, and other basic details.
- Despite the impasse, Foxconn vice chairman Jay Lee told reporters as recently as last week that the company had hired more than the 520 workers required by the contract to receive subsidies for 2019, a surprising turnaround, given that Foxconn ended last year with only 156 employees and has yet to manufacture anything in Wisconsin.
Google’s 4K Pixelbook Go is now available for purchase
- When Google announced its relatively inexpensive new Pixelbook Go, it said that a more expensive Pixelbook Go configuration with a 4K screen was on the way, and that model is finally available for purchase (via Android Central).
- (The Go is supposed to be the affordable alternative.) But that machine doesn’t have a 4K screen option, and you get a Core i7 processor for cheaper with the Pixelbook Go than with Google’s backflipping laptop, where you’ll pay $1,649.
- That said, it might be hard to see the benefits of a 4K screen on the Pixelbook Go’s 13.3-inch display, and you’re paying a lot for the option to do so, though the 4K configuration is the only Go with that i7 and 256GB of solid-state storage.
Get the first six Star Wars movies for the lowest price yet ahead of Rise of Skywalker
- But if you want to catch up on the earlier movies, you can pick up digital copies of Episodes 1 through 6 for the lowest price they’ve ever been: $42.99 over at the Google Play Store for HD copies of all six films.
- The digital six-film collection usually runs for $89.99, making it a fantastic deal for anyone who wants to marathon some Star Wars films before the last movie comes out.
- Google Play has a sale on both the The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi for $8.99 each, down from the usual price of $19.99 (also in HD, although those movies are also available to purchase in 4K should you wish to pay more for $14.99 each at Vudu), which you can sync together with the other six films from the bundle through Movies Anywhere, too.
Billboard is changing its albums chart to count YouTube streams
- Billboard has announced that YouTube streams will be factored into the Billboard 200 albums chart starting early next year.
- Video streams from other platforms will also count, including Apple, Spotify, Tidal, and Vevo, and Billboard says the change will also impact genre album consumption charts, like country, Latin, and others.
- Billboard’s charts have historically been seen as a barometer of success within the music industry.
- Video streams have counted toward many of Billboard’s song-specific charts since 2013, but have never been incorporated into the albums chart.
- Billboard has been slowly updating its albums chart for years to shift it from being purely sales-based to a “multi-metric consumption” model.
- It added audio streaming to its album-ranking metrics five years ago, including Spotify, Google Play, and even Xbox Music.
- Billboard has considered whether video streams should count toward this chart for some time, but has always stuck with audio.
Amazon is delivering half its own packages as it becomes a serious rival to FedEx and UPS
- Amazon has been steadily growing its logistics operation over the last decade, and it now delivers more than half of all Amazon packages in the US, according to an estimate from Morgan Stanley published on Thursday and reported by CNBC.
- It means Amazon, which now operates its own freighters and cargo planes, is accelerating its push to own the entire logistics chain and end its relationship with companies like FedEx and UPS.
- At the current rate, Amazon is set to pass both FedEx and UPS in US package volume, with the company currently delivering 2.5 billion packages per year compared to FedEx’s 3 billion and UPS’s 4.7 billion, Morgan Stanley says.
- In 2016, Amazon launched its Prime Air brand, which encompasses both its in-progress delivery drone work and its fleet of cargo planes, and it’s been steadily adding more planes to its fleet over the years.
Vergecast: Apple’s expensive Mac Pro, gadgets of the decade, and Twitter’s project Bluesky
- Not only is the year ending, but the decade is ending, too.
- So The Verge lists the most influential gadgets in the first decade of its existence.
- Nilay Patel, Dieter Bohn, and Paul Miller discuss how they picked their favorite gadgets of the decade as well as their process for deciding the list.
- But first, we start the show with the release of Apple’s Mac Pro. The crew talks about what they know so far without having tested the computer, including the lack of information on benchmarks and running apps outside of Apple’s ecosystem.
- We finish the show with news of Twitter funding research into a decentralized version of its platform.
- But first, we’re updated on Paul’s weekly segment “Web authen, oh yeah.” So listen through to get it all.
- Command Line delivers daily updates from the near-future.