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Not a single day goes by without Google making waves on the web in some capacity. Earlier this week, the team pushed Project Ara, its ambitious plan to launch a modular phone, back to 2016. However, not all of Google’s projects garner the same attention, and many of the most exciting come from those who no longer work for the global conglomerate.
Google puts plans to launch modular smartphone on hold after hitting pesky stumbling block

“Google is pushing back plans to release its deeply customizable Project Ara smartphone hardware until sometime in 2016. The Ara team today tweeted a message acknowledging the delay and shift away from plans to test out the modular phone project in Puerto Rico later this year. But Google was also quick to note that it’s in the process of scouting “a few locations in the US” for Ara.

“Google’s explanation for the change suggests that the team has been hard at work to make Ara a reality. “Lots of iterations… more than we thought,” the company tweeted.

“Project Ara allows users to swap out and upgrade the core components of a smartphone (processor, camera, etc.) individually rather than replace the whole device. It represents a dramatic rethinking of the mobile phone, and attendees at Google I/O were thrilled when the company showed a working prototype on stage in May. The progression to a consumer product seems to be taking a bit longer than anticipated, however. Google had originally aimed to have between 20 and 30 Ara modules available for the now-scrapped Puerto Rico pilot.”

To read the full article, visit The Verge.

The reason behind Project Ara’s delay? The modular phone was regularly falling apart in user’s hands during testing

“We won’t see Google’s Project Ara smartphone until 2016, and there’s a surprisingly simple reason for that. It fell to pieces when people dropped it.

“It’s not as bad as it sounds: the phone’s made of removable modules, after all. It’s not like the phone actually broke. It sounds like Google’s existing idea of using electropermanent magnets to hold each module in place wasn’t enough to keep them from falling out. Thus the delay, while Google figures out an alternate idea.

“The idea behind Project Ara is that you’d have a phone that you could modify or upgrade anytime you want, just by sliding modules in and out of an “endoskeleton” frame that acts as a network for them to act like a single computer. Not unlike a desktop PC’s motherboard, you could simply slot in new components; these might include different processors, cellular radios, cameras, displays, multiple batteries, even exotic components like pollution sensors or tools for the military.

“The Project Ara team says it is now “testing a signature experience to attach/detach modules,” in a bid to get devices to market at some point in 2016.”

To read the full article, visit Gizmodo.

UPDATE: The Project Ara team has confirmed that the delay is not due to the device falling apart under testing, but rather to spend more time refining the design and build of the device.

Google is currently working on hundreds of inspiring projects across the globe, but many pass us by unnoticed

“Google has revolutionised the web by making the global brain easily searchable by anyone. In addition to search, Google has created all kinds of different tools like Google Maps, Gmail, Analytics, Android and other additional apps that many of us use everyday.

“One of the reasons why Google has consistently released new innovative projects is because of their 20% time policy, which gives many of their employees one day a week to experiment with new concepts and ideas. This has resulted in many lesser-known creative projects that have emerged from within Googleplex.”

To discover 12 of Google’s lesser-known projects, visit DIY Genius.

Google X’s former chief plans to double the world’s GDP with new startup initiative

More than seven years ago, Larry Page and Sergey Brin tapped Stanford professor, Sebastian Thrun to build a hardware innovation lab inside Google. His efforts turned into Google X, the secretive “moonshot factory” that has produced some of Google’s most technically ambitious projects like self-driving cars, smart contact lenses, Google Glass and internet-bearing balloons.

But after guiding Google X through its early years, Thrun relinquished the reins in 2012 to focus on a company he founded the year before, an education startup called Udacity. “It’s not a technology moonshot in the same way that putting balloons into the stratosphere is — it’s a really important societal moonshot,” he says. “We want to double the world’s GDP – that’s our ambitious goal.”

To read the full interview, visit Business Insider.

Would you be willing to use a modular smartphone? Or will Google’s ambitious plans fall to pieces before the concept even makes it to market?

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