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Google Improving Tools to Traverse the Globe

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New Google Earth FeaturesGoogle has recently unveiled improvements on some of its more popular travel software, Google Earth and Google Translate.

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Earth is the tool that allows the user to explore the globe without ever leaving their computer terminal. The software takes data from numerous sources, including satellites and roving Google cars, and puts it together to create an accurate rendering of the earth at any one time. A couple of recent improvements on the software have enabled even more to be done via Google Earth.

For one thing, users can now access the “Voyager” feature, which enables them to explore randomly new and unique visions of the earth. For some time, Google Earth has included images from under the ocean, and presumably this new feature will encompass ongoing, updated images of underwater exploration as well.

new-google-earth-feature-voyager

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The Google Earth project is making more than 1,500 stunning landscapes more easily available. While these landscapes have already been there, they haven’t been as easy to access before, now available via a Chrome extension or a web gallery.

Also read: Google’s Project Zero – You’ve Got 90 Days

Google Earth is now ten years old, having been started humbly in 2005 when Google was just getting off the ground. It is part of the seemingly tentacle-like strategy of Google, where it has tried to become useful in nearly every industry. In this way, if any of those industries should stop being profitable on their own, the company will still have means to make money.

Translate Getting Informal

Now that Google has improved the way for a traveler to find places to go in the world, they’ve also got to improve that traveler’s communications for the trip. A new improvement on Google Translate enables the user to enter informal speech from a foreign language and get a more accurate output in the native language. In a recent example posted by another outlet, the company’s translation software would previously translate an informal Hindi saying that means “is everything alright” to “and is it not alright.” While the old way would have been workable even in business, by having the translation engine accurately translate informalities, the software becomes more useful for all kinds of people.

Google says that it has been user input, the true core of its business more generally, which has assisted it in improving the translation techniques of its software. Over time, through millions of suggestions, the engine has learned what people are trying to say, and now interprets that rather than the literal meaning of the words being entered.

While it is yet a long ways away from the Star Trek universal translator, it is now conceivable that one day a user could say something to his Google Translate-enabled phone, and have it spoken out from there in the language he was trying to communicate into. Phone conversations could be done the same way without much delay, once the software is at the point where it works seamlessly.

Images from Pixabay and Google Earth.

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Artificial Intelligence

Beware Uber Drivers! The Robot Cars Are Coming

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Uber Self-Driving Car

Uber announced that that the world’s first self-driving Uber cars are on the road in Pittsburgh, the Steel City. The road ahead is still long, but the implications are staggering.

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Lifestyle

GPU-Maker Nvidia Moving into Autonomous Vehicles with Chinese Search Giant Baidu

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Nvidia and Baidu, which is basically the Chinese version of Google, are teaming up to create a “cloud-to-car” autonomous car platform for auto manufacturers worldwide.

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Communication

The DEA Digs Your Instagram Bong Selfies

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It will come as no surprise to the average Hacked reader that the government is interested in their social media activity. People talk, and a lot of times, give themselves away, even when doing things which can get them in lots of trouble. Thus the DEA, FBI & Secret Service, all of course with some help from the NSA, are quite keen to know what’s going on with social media.

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Specifically the DEA revealed as much in their 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, an annual report the agency publishes. On page 80, they write:

Social media reflects how younger people perceive marijuana use as evidenced by various Internet searches that demonstrate minors using marijuana publicly and with impunity. Social media users of all ages, but primarily younger individuals, have posted hundreds of thousands of photos of themselves with marijuana products on various social media sites; these photos are associated with hashtags that represent marijuana (e.g. #420, #710, #BHO, #dabs). In 2014, approximately 1,200 new photos and videos were posted to Instagram® each day associated with the hashtag #BHO, a slang term for marijuana concentrates.

In November 2014, after the success of a popular online challenge, another social media challenge was issued for people to post photos and videos of themselves using marijuana in public places with the corresponding hashtag #loudchallenge. In response to the challenge, people have posted videos of themselves using marijuana in restaurants, in airports, on public transportation, and in classrooms.

The report also discusses the up-tick in explosions caused by butane extraction of THC, which then yields a form of hash popular nowadays known as “dabs.” While it’s technically never been illegal to take or post a photo of drug activity, it is not always advisable in states where the prohibition of the plant is still a reality.

Also read: Don’t Worry #EDM Fans – You Can Still Search Your Favorite Instagram Hashtag

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But even in legal states, it can be a bad idea to post pictures of grow operations that have not followed the letter of the law, as Susan Squibb of the Cannabist cautioned Coloradans earlier this year:

So, it’s O.K. by state law to post online photos of your home grow, but [Colorado Attorney Lauren] Davis mentions there may be other risks. One factor to consider is whether the photos show off a garden compliant with local laws. Davis says, “If you are not within your legal limits (e.g. your town has a plant cap), you could be facing law enforcement scrutiny for the posting.” So make sure your garden is compliant before posting photos.

Big Brother is watching, and he’d rather you punish your liver than light up that bong. So take all the pictures of kegs and booze you want, those are considered past times. But take the wrong picture of yourself doing something with marijuana and you might find yourself in trouble, as Jeremy Clayton found out last year.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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