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Children

Google's programmable Lego-like blocks teach kids to code

With an increasingly digital future ahead of us, kids are being taught programming skills at younger and younger ages. Play is often the best way to start learning, and we've seen toys like the Code-a-Pillar and Photon robot developed to fill that role. Now, Google Research is aiming to accelerate the expansion of the field with Project Bloks, an open-source hardware platform for developers to create "tangible programming" tools for kids.Read More

Telecommunications

Google Earth gets a facelift

With its mapping and imaging tools, Google has offered a highly useful window into many corners of the globe, and now it is bringing our humble little home into even sharper focus. The company has just introduced an updated version of Google Earth that taps sharp new imagery from Landsat 8 satellite to give the planet's surface an impressive makeover.Read More

Computers

Google highlights five main safety concerns surrounding AI

Safety risks posed by artificial intelligences are a genuine concern, but it's not just the apocalyptic robot uprising that we need to worry about. More seemingly mundane problems, such as an AI agent knocking over a vase while it's cleaning, also need to be addressed. Google Research has discussed methods for keeping AI on the straight and narrow in the past, and now the company has released a research paper outlining areas that are minor problems today, but will need more attention as AI technologies become more ubiquitous.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Google eases the pain of online diagnosis

No one likes going to the doctor, so the popularity of online medical sites should come as no surprise – this despite the fact an online diagnosis will usually elicit a rolling of the eyes and a biting of the tongue from the GP when you do eventually make the trip to the doctor's office. Now Google is making efforts to return more relevant and trustworthy search results when you punch in your symptoms.Read More

Computers

Google researchers propose "big red button" for unruly AI

Artificially intelligent machines rising up to usurp their creators has long been a staple of science fiction, but rapid developments in AI have seen the potential for humans to be relegated to the evolutionary scrapheap become an immediate non-fiction fear for many. With this in mind, researchers at Google DeepMind have devised a "big red button" that would interrupt an AI that looks to be heading down a worrying path, while preventing it from learning to resist such an interruption.Read More

Mobile Technology Feature

Project Ara: Will Google's modular smartphone slot into our future?

We've been keeping an eye on the progress of Google's Project Ara for a while now, and the radio silence had us a little worried. The idea for a modular smartphone, where individual hardware components like cameras, speakers and battery packs can be easily swapped out to customize your device, was too intriguing to languish in limbo. But Ara will languish no more, as the tech giant gave the project some much needed attention at its I/O conference last week. We now know a lot more about how the system works, how it fits into the current landscape of modular phones and why we should be (at least cautiously) excited about it.Read More

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