Sidewalk Labs is on a mission to bring free wifi to the world

Sidewalk Labs, a startup backed by Google, has begun re-purposing old phone booths in New York City by turning them into free Wi-Fi hotspots. The startup’s initiative to improve city life through tech innovation began last month and started as a winning idea in the city’s Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge, which aimed to find a creative new use for the phone booths. The 10,000 obsolete phone booths will soon be converted into Wi-Fi hotspots and information kiosks that can be used to charge cell phones, make calls, and provide public transit information. This Google project is beginning as a trial in New York, but the giant anticipates it will eventually spread to other cities all over the world.

Engineers surpass power limits for fiber optic communication

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have surpassed the maximum power limits for fiber optic communication. The power limit previously determined the maximum distance information could be transmitted through fiber optic cables and be accurately received. The photonics researchers compared their approach to a concert master tuning instruments in an orchestra, and use a frequency comb to synchronize the optical carriers that propagate through the fiber. The implications of the discovery are an increase in the data transmission rates in fiber optic cables, along with eliminating the need for electronic regenerators within fiber links.

Google acts on revenge porn

Google is now taking steps to remove “revenge porn” from its search results. Revenge porn is sexually explicit media that is posted online without the consent of the people they feature. The damaging content is often used as a form of cyber extortion, with sites often requiring compensation for removing the content. While Google does not have the power to remove the actual images from the actual websites they are on, victims of this assault will soon be able to submit a form to have the content removed from Google search results.

“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results.” -Amit Singhal, SVP, Google Search

The form can be found in the next coming weeks on an update of their post.

Google adds un-do send feature to Gmail

We’ve all experienced the feeling of regret after firing off an email before it was ready. Luckily, the people at Google have probably experienced it too, and will soon be giving us the ability to take back that particular message that wasn’t ready. Google has been experimenting for years, and has now formally added the “undo send” option for all gmail users. Setting a delay time from 5 to 30 seconds will allow users a “send cancellation period” to ensure that they really wanted to send that message at that time. To try it out yourself, click on the Settings cogwheel in gmail and enable the feature on the general tab.