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mobile wallet app

Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), the German firm behind the nano-SIM, is proposing a "comprehensive" cross-platform mobile wallet solution. Named SmartTrust Portigo, the solution requires users to download a dedicated app that will interact with a secure hardware element — one of G&D's nanoSIMs, for example — before interfacing with carrier-side software from various service providers, such as banks. At present, the standard is centered around NFC as the primary payment method, but G&D says that the system would work with other standards; what's more important is the process and backend.

Although it sounds like yet another competing standard in the crowded mobile payments market, G&D isn't trying to compete with the likes of VISA or...

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Larry Page Google

It's been just more than a year now since Google cofounder Larry Page re-gained the CEO job and re-organized the company under a handful of top lieutenants.

So, how have things gone for these top executives in the year since?

We've been speaking with a source close to a few of these people, and he or she helpfully dished.

We learned: Who are Page's favorites? Who gets anything they want? Whose organization is considered "a mess"?

Google PR declined to comment on this story.

Jeff Huber's organization running maps "is a mess"

Title: Senior Vice President, Geo and Commerce

Whispers: "Jeff's org is a mess. [There are] constant reorgs and attrition. He is well known to be the weakest and least respected member on Larry's staff. This is the view internally at Google and on the senior staff levels. Also very well known throughout Jeff's senior org."

(We reached out to Huber and Google on these comments, but the company declined to respond.)

Bio, via Google+:

"Jeff Huber joined Google in 2003 and is senior vice president of Commerce & Local, responsible for efforts in Payments, Offers, Shopping, Local Search, Maps & Earth and Travel.  Previously at Google, Jeff led overall engineering & development for the company's advertising products -- AdWords, AdSense, DoubleClick (2003-2011) -- and for Google Apps (2005-2010).

Earlier, Jeff was vice president of architecture and systems development at eBay, where he championed the development of product search infrastructure and expansion of the platform API program, and he was senior vice president of engineering at Excite@Home, where he led consumer product and infrastructure development.

Jeff holds a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the University of Illinois and a master's degree from Harvard University. He is a board member of Electronic Arts (ERTS) and The Exploratorium."

Ad products queen Susan Wojcicki "gets almost everything she wants."

Title: Senior Vice President, Advertising

Whispers: "Susan is on the top of Larry's list.  She gets almost everything she wants. They built the company out of her garage, remember? Salar Kamangar started Google's ad business. She took it over.  Susan's sister is married to Sergey."

Bio, via All American Speakers:

“The most important Googler you’ve never heard of.” Susan Wojcicki, SVP of Advertising at Google, oversaw the company’s acquisitions of YouTube and DoubleClick, acquired for $1.65 and $3.1 billion, respectively, and is the brain behind crowd-pleaser Google Doodles. Wojcicki leads all new product development including Google’s two main advertising vehicles, AdWords and AdSense, and is responsible for responsible for 96% of Google’s revenues, $28.2 billion in 2010. She is currently focusing on the growing business of mobile advertising. The mother of four, has deep Google roots: she rented her garage to Sergey Brin and Larry Page and their nascent search engine in 1998, was the company’s 16th hire, and her sister Anne (co-founder of personal DNA test 23andMe) is married to Brin.

"Insanely bright" YouTube head Salar Kamangar is also a Larry Page favorite

Title: Senior Vice President, YouTube and Video

Whispers: "Salar is quiet and insanely bright. He's done a great job at YouTube. Salar is high as well [on Larry's list]."

Bio, via Crunchbase:

"Salar Kamangar is senior vice president of YouTube and video. Before that, he was the vice president of Google’s web applications, including Gmail, Talk, Calendar, Reader, Orkut, Blogger, Picasa, Video, Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Checkout. Previously, he was vice president of product management for Google’s advertising and monetization products, including the AdWords program, which he defined with a small engineering team. Today, AdWords is the foundation for Google’s syndication on partner sites and serves as the engine that drives Google’s revenue. Prior to that, Salar created the company’s first business plan and was responsible for its legal and finance functions. From there, he became a founding member of Google’s product team, where he worked on consumer projects including the acquisition of DejaNews and the subsequent launch of Google Groups.

Salar earned his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with honors from Stanford University.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Responsive Book: Google's Chromebook site as seen by a phone (left) and a tablet.

If you’ve been waiting for responsive design to go mainstream, wait no more. While The Boston Globe‘s responsive redesign made a big splash in the developer community, The Globe has nothing on the latest web giant to throw its weight behind responsive design — Google.

That’s right, Google is now suggesting developers use responsive design tools like media queries to handle the variety of screens now accessing the web.

The Google Webmaster blog has posted a new article, Responsive Design – Harnessing the Power of Media Queries, that walks beginners through the basics of creating a responsive website.

It’s not the most thorough tutorial we’ve seen, nor is it the best — Google conflates breakpoints with device width, something we’d recommend against — but nitpicking aside, Google’s official blessing will no doubt help move responsive design to the front burner in many people’s minds.

It’s worth noting that while a tutorial is nice, Google isn’t necessarily making the leap to responsive websites for its own properties. Indeed, sites like Gmail or Reader are excellent arguments for maintaining separate mobile designs. If your “site” is actually a web app as complex as Gmail then we suggest doing what Google does — hiring a fleet of developers to build an maintain separate websites for different size screens.

Chances are, though, that your site isn’t that complex and doesn’t have the developer teams that Google can afford. Even Google uses responsive design when it makes sense. To go along with the new tutorial, Google offers up that the new Chromebook website is responsive, which shows off the company’s responsive design chops.

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sebastian thrunSebastian Thrun, one of the lead engineers behind Google's fringe Google[x] projects, was at the Wired Business conference in New York today.

On stage he answered a few questions about the Google[x] program at Google, which handles outlandish projects like self-driving cars and its computerized glasses project.

Here are some of the highlights:

What exactly is the new Google[X] project?

Sebastian Thrun: Google[x] in a single sentence is Google co-founder Sergey Brin's ambition to complete moonshot-type projects. (Shooting to the moon and bringing the moon to earth.)

The third project is Google Glasses. We know everyone is attached to their phones. We started saying well, that's kind of nice, but not what I want in my life. How can we think of technology as more liberating — how can we make the technology Jack Dorsey calls, "technology that goes away?" Why can't I just take a picture right on my eye so other people can see through my eyes?

So we came up with this concept of building a super lightweight computer. It's a project so far, not a product. It has a display, it has a camera, I took a picture of Charlie Rose. It has an ear-free component by using a speaker that touches your head for making a phone call. In the physical world, Google Glass is our best shot to achieve that, being hands free.

I looked at the feedback we got when we got to the public, distraction was the number one concern. We want to make a device that's there when you want it and not distract you. In addition to being a camera, we use it for when someone texts me I can read it. When I'm in the situation where I don't want to be distracted, I have the freedom to let go. And then I can go back.

The reason we went public, by the way, was to get feedback from everybody who might be our future customers. What are your concerns? We're looking very systematically into this now.

How do you build a team that will land on the moon every year?

ST: My very first conversation is, rule number one, disobey your manager. A year later my employees come back to me, every single one says, now I understand. This is the age of disruption, there's an amazing number of opportunities now. In the execution of disruption, many large companies have problems doing this.

It's hard to get out of this aura of opinions. You have a whole stack of opinions — manager, SVP, VP. I try to shield my team from opinions, give them a vision that I believe in and that they believe in, and let them do their thing. Then they come back a year later and something amazing emerges. 

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The venture capital firm funded by Google is building up its data sciences team to increase the capabilities inside its companies and to look for new investments in the area. The firm is extending a thesis that was developed inside Google about finding patterns in big collections of data, which it hopes will work in other industries.

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Wenceslao Casares

Wences Casares is a serial entrepreneur from Patagonia, Argentina.

Before starting Lemon, a company that stores your receipts and makes transactions more transparent, Casares co-founded Bling Nation and Lemon Bank, a Brazilian retail bank for poor.

He also started Wanako Games. He's had over a billion dollars in startup exits.

He moved to the states in 1999 and the Bay Area in 2007. However, most of his startup experience has been in Latin America.

The reason: While ideas are plentiful in Silicon Valley, engineers ready to risk their careers on startups are not.

"The best engineers are at Google and other big companies and don't want to take the risk [of starting a company or joining a startup]," he added.

That's why he goes outside of Silicon Valley to hire bright engineers. He mainly goes to Latin America, because he has a network of engineers there.

He says he's already made more than 30 engineers into millionaires in Latin America. That's why when they get an offer from him, they tend to take it.

"Someone who grows up in that environment in [a country like] Thailand, Brazil, or Turkey, the environment is so chaotic. You don't get that sense of security. You know that everything can change. You don't get that offer from Google. They aren't necessarily risk takers, but are more okay with risk," he said.

In Brazil, he created a bank for the poor, by setting up lean branches. He noticed, the poor all had a mobile phone, but no bank account. That's when he started thinking about how to keep money on your phone, rather than keeping everything in your wallet.

That experience inspired him to found Lemon, which uses the phone to help people keep track of their expenses and hopefully manage their bank account without effort.

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Building Software at Google Scale Tech Talk

Google Tech Talk March 21, 2012 Presented by Michael Barnathan, Software Engineer, Google Greg Estren, Software Engineer, Google Pepper Lebeck-Jobe, Software Engineer, Google ABSTRACT At past Google NYC Tech Talks, we learned about tools that helped Google engineers automate quality testing, so that Google products could be released frequently without extensive manual testing phases or manual invocations of tools like JUnit, WebDriver, or JavaScript Test Driver. This talk covers the Google Build System, which Google engineers use to build software from a unified, language-agnostic, continuously integrated code base, quickly and at scale. When a developer initiates a build, the build system automatically computes the minimal number of artifacts that need to be built and determines the optimal strategy for producing them as fast as possible using the resources of many worker machines. On average, each build request triggers thousands of source file compilations, while still completing within seconds. At Google, all software components are compiled from source, in a highly parallelized fashion, possibly across thousands of machines dedicated to software compilation. Build artifacts that compose software components are also shared across build requests, such that if a developer builds a component and another developer builds a similar component, the artifacts in common between them are not built twice. This talk will discuss in detail how all this "magic" works. More than <b>...</b>
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