You never learned the secret "Mormon handshake" that keeps you from getting pulled over.
Believe me, Google (like any other corporation) exists to make money. And make it they have.
Google also believes they can make the MOST money by focusing on the two ends: the bleeding edge AND the long tail. Search and advertising is their long tail, where they dominate the market. 8-10 years ago? Android was at their bleeding edge, and now it's part of the long tail: one more way to get eyeballs for Search and Advertising.
Where will Driverless Car lead? I can see a fleet of self-driving cars acting as a taxi service. Get in a Google Car and tell it "I want decent Thai" and it whisks you to a sponsored location. Driverless Car is more an Über killer than anything else.
Irony: the people who buy driverless cars aren't individuals.
I can see Car2Go, however, jumping on it. Or a package delivery company. Or a utility. Or for that matter, any one of a whole laundry list of fleet vehicle purchasers.
The Google Driverless Car isn't a mass market product. As a niche product, however, it will sell and sell well once the logistics (things like insurance and liability) are resolved.
And that's the greater point. Google's core business has no competition, and likely never will have any.
"Moon" projects do have positive effects on Google's bottom line and stock price. The whole way Google is managing their value to investors is saying "if you're a day trader, we aren't your stock." And at the price Google has been able to maintain their stock (consistently around $530 / share for at least a year now) they likely have VERY patient stockholders. You aren't holding GOOG if you expect mammoth returns on the short. You're expecting modest to acceptable returns on the short, and you've invested on the POSSIBILITY that Google WILL hit the Next Big Thing and only get bigger.
And the only way that is going to happen is if one of these "moon shot" projects does, in fact, deliver. And you can argue it has: Glass has implications for Android, and while it hasn't happened yet for wearables it's pushing the whole industry towards thinking about wearable systems. Someone will hit on a system that works, and there's good odds it will be Google or Apple. Hold both those stocks and you Can't Lose(tm).
.. is assuming everybody is profit-motivated and is actually driven by "bringing something to market." Glass and the driverless car are both examples of Google's desire to simply push the threshold of technology to its limits. It's a product of "why not" thinking, and profit be damned.
As far as I'm concerned, Google has a product they're very successful at. Why not spend some of those dividends out on the fringe? That's how progress happens: sometimes you learn something (I'm sure the driverless car initiative has had lots of implications for Maps' imaging) you didn't expect.
Change the $ to BTC and you may have what some of the "faucets" are, in fact, doing.
I've been thinking long and hard about this concept lately. I'm getting old(er), and I'm noticing that I'm starting to slow down. I've still got 20, maybe 30 years of good life left, but really I don't see the point of living much beyond my 60s.
Logan's Run had the right idea. People increasingly just "get in the way" of progress at a certain age. It does vary for some of us, but I'm already seeing that in some ways I'm holding society back by extending my life. The next generation is more tolerant, more enlightened, and certainly more technically competent than I could ever hope to be.
There's a big difference between indexing files and distributing files.
And I think most people who write GPLed software know the difference.
> Nobody lives in the California Desert.
Las Vegas would disagree. Technically, that is the northeastern edge of the Mojave Desert.
Your assumption that being French isn't a reason for selection is dubious.
US Customs officers at some border crossings are often more suspicious of US Citizens (based on behavior) than certain non-US citizens. I swear US Customs at the Interstate 5 crossing to Canada seem more suspicious of me than most Canadians crossing at the border checkpoint.
Funny, I found Diaspora to be easy to install.. no more difficult than any other "web 2.0" app. It does require something a little more than a simple "webhosting" account: you need to be able to configure Apache or whatever webserver to run the Passenger bits properly, and that's not something I think you can do on a $5 shared-hosting Dreamhost account (that said, it runs fine on Dreamhost VPS: I ran it that way for a while). And Diaspora does have ways of pushing to Facebook and Twitter: any more interaction than just pushing would require Facebook to open up their API, and that isn't happening.
Diaspora's solution is that the "personal information" is housed on a server that you trust (ie. one you run or know personally the administrator of). Nothing marked "private" is typically passed off the home node unless you specifically push it out.
At least in the US a lot of "personal information" can be obtained from public sources. And with Facebook's tendrils into other sites (with things like beacons and such) they can probably get a surprising amount of information from sources you wouldn't expect.
Install Ghostery sometimes and see how many websites you log in to every day have beacons that go to a Facebook-affiliated site.
Yes. ILI Oregon, where it's 0%.
.. to use that on my "broadband" connection at home that's 3 Mb/s down and 384k up.