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No more traffic?
Boston partners with Google's Waze app to improve traffic flow in the city
Waze logo added to a recent photo of the Southeast Expressway via BARRY CHIN/GLOBE STAFF
Mayor Martin Walsh made yet another move that shows just how far the city of Boston is willing to go in its quest to improve its citizens' lives by using new technologies and data collected by Internet companies, mobile application makers, and others. As traffic becomes a hot-button issue — the other major transportation problem besides the MBTA to arise as Boston has been buried by snow — the city said today that it has formed a new data-sharing partnership with real-time traffic application Waze. Read More
Takes a kicking and keeps on ticking
Kicked but still standing: Boston Dynamics' new robot has a stunning sense of balance
Google-owned bot maker Boston Dynamics has added another leggy member to its family of fearsome robotic quadrupeds. This one’s called Spot, and its special talent is a killer sense of balance. Even as Boston Dynamics employees repeatedly kick the robot, it manages to stay standing. Read More
Robots on demand
Uber's partnership with CMU brings the future of robot taxis into focus
Mercedes-Benz demoed its autonomous concept car during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 5, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Marcus
In success or scandal, Uber's drivers play a central role in defining the company's identity. On Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker announced an intention to develop clearer licensing rules for such services to operate within Massachusetts. But one day, Uber may be able to skirt these altogether by removing the driver from the equation. This week the company announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, a pioneering center for autonomous vehicles research. Word is, Google is planning a competing service of its own. Read More
rocket science
SpaceX raises $1 billion backed by Google, Fidelity
First spaceships, now satellites.: Elon Musk at a press conference in May 2014. (Photo: AP file/Jae C. Hong)
An early private investor in Facebook and other hot tech stocks, Fidelity Investments has a history of backing moonshots, but this time, it has put its money on a bona-fide rocket. The Boston financial giant joined with Google Inc. and other investors in a $1 billion funding of Space Exploration Technologies, the California company started by billionaire Elon Musk. Known as SpaceX, the company builds reusable rockets and spacecrafts to ferry cargo to the International Space Station and might one day attempt to transport humans to Mars. Read More
Say goodbye to road rage: By 2025, the market for self-driving cars will be $42 billion
Google's latest self-driving vehicle prototype.
Fully self-driving cars will hit the road in the next decade, and Americans are ready and waiting for that day. A report published Thursday by the Boston Consulting Group brings the next 10 years into focus for makers and buyers of self-driving cars, projecting a $42 billion global market for fully autonomous vehicles by 2025. That market is expected to swell to $77 billion globally by 2035. Read More
Double feature
After Google buy, special effects shop Zero VFX cooking up more software
Zero VFX co-founders Sean Devereaux and Brian Drewes on the set of the soon-to-be-released boxing film, Southpaw. (Courtesy Zero VFX.)
It was a surprising acquisition by Google that happened in the thick of vacation season last August: the Silicon Valley giant picked up Zync Render, a software tool developed in Boston that makes it easier and cheaper to use cloud data processing services to produce special effects for movies or TV commercials. Zync Render had been created by a team at Zero VFX, a special effects shop that has worked on movies like "American Hustle" and "The Equalizer." And now the parent company that spawned Zync is planning on a sequel. Read More
Google's Holiday Shopping trends
What's trending on Google in the days prior to Black Friday? L.L. Bean and My Little Pony
Boston-area shoppers use Google to fine their L.L. Bean boots. Photo: Hilary Nagle/Boston Globe
As the hordes head to the Internet to purchase gifts for the holiday season, there are two things that Google has discovered about them by looking at recent search trends. First, they are shopping much more actively on mobile than ever before (shopping and buying, not just searching for goods). Second, there are more people shopping for holiday gifts online right now than the entire holiday period last year. Read More