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11 things you need to know in tech today

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1. Don’t mock Google’s gambling gear, it’s only a mockup

We know Google is hard at work on Project Stream. But the latest news might be more fake news than anything else.

First, let’s have a look:

Google game controller render

The news:

The above renders of Google’s Project Stream game controller were published over the weekend, the ideal time to lead a frenzy of fairly underwhelmed reactions that spread like wildfire.
Ugly/bad/painful/uninspiring were the overall themes. And fair enough, it ain’t quite. That controller does not spark joy.
But but but… this isn’t the forthcoming Google controller at all, just mocked-up leaves based on Google patent filings.
That patent was a recently published game controller patent from Google, which actually boils down to a patent on a gaming notification system, working between a gaming controller and a gaming system.
The 2019 patent filing extends from a 2014 patent, and did include some interesting images attached, like the below design:

google patent

So that diagram resulted in the “reveal” of the leaves which then resulted in the vortex of information and views ahead of time.
We know by now that just about all patents featured technical pictures as opposed to anything based on authentic industrial design or materials.
And I mean, Google could still release an awful game controller. That is its prerogative. The web and everybody can react when that happens.
But we harbor ’t actually seen what might be coming from Project Stream.  Just diagrams. (And also the diagram is somehow much nicer compared to render anyway?)
Moving on!

Project Stream and the coming revolution in gambling:

While we’re here, a refresher and quick dip to the future: we’re on the cusp of the upcoming major disruption in entertainment.
And, therefore, a disruption in focus, money, hardware, applications, platforms, game controllers…
Project Stream is Google’s not-so-secret service that it hopes will make it successfully disrupt gaming by creating a system that can play games through streams, rather than via local hardware.
It works by enabling you to play any game on any platform through cloud servers, near where you are, via a single hardware device.
Rather than playing on your own device, like your classic LED-lit gaming PC, your gaming device is a link to the cloud, which is running hardware.
You pay a subscription every month for this access, rather than own depreciating hardware, and flow at high-quality 1080p/60fps.
It relies on fast transfers of data with almost zero latency, which seems extremely unlikely if you recall dial-up modem times weren’t that long ago.
However, it’s working, although it won’t work for the entire population just yet, given it relies on network infrastructure.
We saw a Project Stream technical test that ran for several months, allowing analyzed to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at a Chrome browser tab.

The competition is fierce already:

Now, this is already something and organizations are arming up in the area, fighting to become the “Netflix for gambling ” winner.
The cost for entry is strong software and a link to speedy hardware. (And starting a data center isn’t cheap – as Hemant Mohapatra recently clarified ).
So who’s on the playing field?
Sony’s PlayStation Now is live for 650+ older games but is a more average experience, despite Sony’s early moves here with acquisitions of Gaikai (2012) and OnLive (2015).
(It’s about where I thought gaming-on-demand would get to before we had a significant 5G rollout for both fixed and wireless data.)
Other offerings are much smoother.
GeForce Now from NVIDIA supports more than 400 games and is surprisingly good.
Microsoft, the home of Xbox, has Project xCloud announced, aiming for a 2020 release.
Nintendo has an offering on the Switch already, but only in Japan for now.
Amazon, which owns gaming powerhouse Twitch, is working on a service due in 2020, and has the benefit of its AWS infrastructure.
Verizon has Verizon Gaming in the works.
EA is working on helping developers create games for a streaming-first world.
There’s also the Shadow device from Blade which delivers a complete PC device, streamed from the cloud, with gambling .

What’s next?

Google’s Game Developer Conference is occurring from March 18th, with a “Google show ” scheduled for March 19th.
We’ll understand more – including, possibly, what the true controller might look like – then!

2. Android Q’s first developer preview could arrive later today (Android Authority).

3. Hold onto your hats: Tesla admits it won’t shut retail stores and will return and raise prices on its cars it slashed (Tesla). (No change to $35,000 Model 3, no price hike until March 18th. Chaos! All ahead of the large March 14th Model Y reveal.)

4. Foursquare wants to understand how creepy you believe its new ‘Hypertrending’ attribute is (9to5Mac)

5. The other smartphone business: Out of the shadow of Android (TechCrunch).

6. The way the web travels across oceans: ‘People believe data is in the cloud, but it’s not. It’s at the ocean. ’ (NYTimes) – A very nice interactive feature.

7. Over a quarter of US adults now have a intelligent speaker, with 60% owning an Amazon Echo (Voicebot.ai).

8. ICYMI: Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up tech giants (NYTimes)

9. Quantum radio! A new quantum circuit picks up infinitesimal radio signals, may open up new opportunities in radio astronomy and medical imaging (TUDelft).

10. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed again in a tragedy that poses serious questions for Boeing (Reuters). China’s aviation regulator has grounded nearly 100 Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 aircraft controlled by its airlines.

11. Twitter account asks the all-important video game question: Can you pet the dog? (Kotaku).

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