Google CEO Sundar Pichai told thousands of his vision for a future in which his company, extends its reach into nearly every aspect of its users’ lives.

Google Pushes for Bigger Role in Smart Homes

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told thousands of developers last week his vision for a future in which his company, once known just as a way to search the Internet, extends its reach into nearly every aspect of its users’ lives.

He envisions people telling a voice-activated device called Google Home to turn on lights or play music. And when people chat with friends on Google’s new messaging app, Allo, they won’t have to leave the app to make a restaurant reservation. Allo will actually suggest where they should dine based on the context of the conversation.

“We are pushing ourselves really hard so Google is evolving and staying a step ahead of our users,” Pichai said to a crowd of more than 7,000 people at the Google I/O conference at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Google Home will directly compete with the $180 Amazon Echo. While Amazon has a head start, Google is betting that its dominance of the Internet search market will give consumers a reason to buy Home instead. The device, which will hit the market this year, can play music, answer questions such as “How much fat is in an avocado?” and operate Web-connected “smart home” appliances.

“Google Home could be a major force and could also dramatically decrease the sales potential of Amazon Echo,” said Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy. “The biggest sales determinant could be the quality of the (artificial intelligence) experience, and in the end, Google will likely win over Amazon.”

Google did not reveal the price of the small device, which will have a white top. Customers will choose their own color for the bottom to blend in with their home.

Many Google users are already using voice commands to search the Internet. In the United States, about 20 percent of the queries in Google’s mobile app are voice queries, according to the company.

The device will be a cornerstone of a concept that Pichai on Wednesday described as “Google assistant,” an ongoing dialogue between the company and users.

Google already helps them in many facets of their daily lives, from turning on a thermostat to translating words and searching for selfies in their digital photo collections. And Google’s expanding universe of products and services can learn their users’ preferences over time.

“The Google assistant not only knows about the world, it will also stand apart with how well it gets to know you over time, with your permission of course,” said Mario Queiroz, a Google vice president of product management.

Even though few people own smart-home devices, like Google’s Nest thermostat, some analysts are bullish that this will become a major tech market in the future. Just 19 percent of U.S. broadband households have smart-home devices, according to a report this year by research firm Parks Associates.

“Adoption of the connected lifestyle continues to expand as the supporting technologies mature and the value propositions of smart, connected devices and streaming services are better understood by consumers,” said analyst Brad Russell with Parks Associates.

Google also unveiled video chat app Duo and messaging app Allo, available on Android and Apple devices this summer.

Allo has similar features to Facebook Messenger, where users can chat with friends and add stickers. But it also has an option to have an “incognito” chat that is encrypted. While users are chatting on Allo, they can call on Google to suggest restaurants and book reservations through OpenTable without leaving the app.

Google also renewed its commitment to virtual reality, announcing a platform that will bring the budding medium to smartphones, headsets and apps.

The company has worked with phone manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei to produce phones that will meet the specifications of Google’s new virtual reality platform. Google also said it has made a prototype design for a virtual reality headset and controller that will work with the Android operating system and shared that design with Android manufacturers. The headset would work with a smartphone.

“There are so many things you need to get just right,” said Clay Bavor, a Google vice president overseeing virtual reality, regarding the headset. “It has to be comfortable.”

More information on Google’s virtual reality plans will be revealed on Thursday, company representatives said.

Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, argues that VR devices could replace smartphones in the future, adding that he believes the ability to do computing hands-free and through eye movement is better than typing or tapping on a screen.

“This is the equivalent of talking about smartphones in 1995,” Munster said.

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From ENENews: US nuclear workers’ brains eaten away, hallucinating, mental capacity of preschooler

TV: US nuclear workers’ brains eaten away, hallucinating, mental capacity of preschooler — Wife films frightened, trembling husband on deathbed — It’s indescribable what they’ve done and they don’t care — They want you to die — Gov’t Experts: It’s allergies from cats or feathers… or B-12 deficiency — Doctor: Quit helping workers get help

Published: November 21st, 2014 at 3:05 pm ET
By ENENews

http://enenews.com/tv-exposed-nuclear-workers-brains-being-eaten-away-hallucinating-mental-capacity-preschooler-wife-documents-her-frightened-trembling-husband-hospital-deathbed-indescribable-theyve-dont-care-d

KING 5 News, Nov. 20, 2014: Steve Ellingson, a radiation specialist [at Hanford] sought treatment… after he inhaled toxic vapors… Penser North America [administers the DOE insurance system]… The physician paid by Penser… determined “there’s no evidence of work related impairment [and he] most likely encountered an irritating odor”… That physician is Larry Smick… He never met Ellingson in person… His conclusions were based on the review of his medical file… Smick has a longstanding history of dismissing Hanford workers.

KING 5 News transcript, Nov. 20, 2014 (emphasis added): In 2002, Steve Lewis, a Hanford electrician developed burning lungs, chronic nosebleeds… [Dr. Smick] concluded it was allergies from cats or feathers… not vapors vented from the most deadly substance on earth. Did you have allergies before? “I’ve never had an allergy in my life.”… Dr. Smick left a trail of emails showing he was under pressure to keep contractors happy. In an email to his staff… he directed them to quit helping workers get help. “Please do not encourage workers to file compensation claims. We could be invited off the site if that behavior continues.”… A former medical provider that worked under Dr. Smick accused her boss of not putting patient health first, Smick responded… “Occupational medicine is not the same as other types of medicine. You have the business needs of the employer to consider.”

KING 5 News, Oct 14, 2014: Gary Sall… [worked at Hanford] for 28 years… 10 years ago… his brain function got worse and worse. Within 5 years he… could barely speak, hallucinated, and operated on the level of a 4-year-old… Doctors diagnosed him with work-related toxic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disorder… [His wife] Barb documented the suffering in a difficult to watch video taken in 2011… in a hospital bed, trembling and frightened and on a feeding tube… The DOE’s insurer wrote that not Hanford, but alcohol consumption or a B-12 deficiency could be making him sick… He died 3 years ago at the age of 57.

Barbara Sall, Hanford worker: “You totally lose everything… your memories, your mind… Everything’s gone, it’s just a shell… No one should ever see their loved one go through what he went through. It got very, very bad… Once you get sick they get rid of you, you’re no good anymore… [It’s] undescribable what they’ve done to my family. They don’t care. They don’t even know we exist… Washington DC is turning its back on the fact that Hanford… is killing people.”

KING 5 News, Oct. 28, 2014 — Barbara Sall: “It is so scary, and they do nothing about it, and I don’t understand why this is still going on… They don’t think that we’re people.”

Tri City Herald, June 8, 2011: “It’s an awful way to go,” [Sall] said. “It eats your brain away. It turns you into nothing.”… “How many people… have to die before [DOE] is held accountable for what it is doing to workers?” asked Lawrence Rouse, who has the [same] disease.

Al Jazeera, Oct 14, 2014: Terry Wattenburger [age 50]… a few years back, he looked like a football player… cancer and lung disease have taken a toll… [he dropped] to 106 pounds… doctors removed his entire stomach… He struggles with… neuromuscular disorder… stomach cancer… nerve damage… “My immune system is totally compromised”… Jerry Ferson [worked] at Hanford… for nearly 30 years… medical records show… brain dysfunction… toxic encephalopathy… neurotoxicity syndrome… “his limbs are jerking all over, that’s hard for me,” said Linda Ferson, his wife. “But the mental aspect of it is the worst… He can’t remember how to turn the oven on.”… “They don’t want to take care of you,” he said. “They want you to die.”