Google Brings Voice-Guided Turn-By-Turn Biking Navigation To Google Maps For Android

TechCrunch

Biking directions on Google Maps are nothing new for users in the U.S. and Canada, but starting today, Google will also allow Android users to get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions during their bike trips. Riders, Google says, can now “mount their device on their handlebars, see upcoming turns and use speaker mode to hear voice-guided directions.” The turn-by-turn directions can even help you avoid steep hills, Google notes.

Today’s update also brings biking directions in Google Maps for Android to the same 10 additional countries that got this feature on the desktop last month (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK).

In total, Google Maps now covers about 330,000 miles of “green biking lines” in Google Maps. These include dedicated bike trails (shown as dark green lines), streets with bike lanes (light green lines) and other streets recommended for cycling (dashed green lines).

Google…

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Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo Review: An Expensive Drive That Makes Good Use Of Thunderbolt

TechCrunch

Short version: Western Digital finally has released a new Thunderbolt external hard drive to justify the existence of the Thunderbolt port on your laptop. The My Book VelociRaptor Duo is a desktop external hard drive, which uses two 3.5-inch 1 TB VelociRaptor hard drives. These disks spin at 10,000 RPM and are a good compromise between speed and storage inside a desktop computer. Yet, using them in an external enclosure comes with a major drawback: a hefty price of $899.

Features:

  • Two 1 TB 10,000 RPM WD VelociRaptor drives
  • Two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining
  • A Thunderbolt cable in the box — a $50 value
  • Drives can be replaced
  • RAID 0 or RAID 1 options to have a 2 TB drive (RAID 0) or two 1 TB drives always in sync (RAID 1)
  • Western Digital Product Page

Pros:

  • It’s fast
  • Daisy-chaining with Thunderbolt
  • You can replace a faulty drive

Cons:

  • MSRP:…

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Walmart builds its own shopping search engine

Gigaom

Walmart (s wmt) is deploying a new internally-built search engine to power Walmart.com and ultimately increase sales conversions from searches. The Polaris search engine, developed by @WalmartLabs over the last 10 months, has been in use for the last few months on Walmart.com and has already boosted conversions to sales by 10-15 percent, the company said.

Polaris grew out of the semantic technology brought over through Walmart’s acquisition last year of Kosmix, including Kosmix’s social genome project, which connects people to places, events and products. While Kosmix founders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, who led the newly established @WalmartLabs, have moved on, Walmart is making good use of their technology.

Now, when users search on Walmart.com, they don’t just get a page full of results. For certain searches, they will get directed to a topic page that features specials and curated items as well as traditional search results. The searches are…

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The Worst Thing About Facebook Comes To Google: Birthday Reminders

TechCrunch

I was thinking about covering the launch of Google Birthday reminders, (which actually debuted Tuesday, sorry), but I decided instead to just post some pictures of what Google looks like these days. You may remember that the homepage was taken over with a giant Nexus 7 ad earlier this week, and now Google is getting all Facebook-like with these “birthday reminders.” Because really, my favorite thing about Facebook is how we’ve all been conditioned to leave messages like “hoping you’re having a great birthday!” on each others’ Timelines. Definitely the best part of social networking, right?

I especially like how these reminders even appear on the search result pages on Google, because there’s no better place to remind you to stop all that Internet research you were doing and go tell your friends you were happy they were born.

Yes, I’m being negative. I know you adore birthday reminders, and think this…

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For long I had thought of writing a Tech blog and now I wish to start one. It will deal with and address those Tech topics which got my attention and fascinated me.