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Google Refocusing its Android-based Platform For Smart Devices

In January, Google announced "Google Assistant Connect" - a way to build Assistant into all kinds of devices, from simple e-paper displays to connected dishwashers

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google is refocusing its Android-based platform for smart devices — Android Things — only on smart speakers and smart display categories.

“We are refocusing Android Things as a platform for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) partners to build devices in those categories moving forward,” Dave Smith, Developer Advocate for Internet of Things (IoT), Google, wrote in a blog-post on Tuesday.

Announced in 2016, Android Things was intended to be an operating system (OS) by Google for developers to code for smart devices using the tools they already knew from Android phone coding – including displays, experimental gadgets, small robots, art installations, a projector, a 3D printer and more.

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The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“Android Things continues to be a platform for experimenting with and building smart, connected devices. System images for these boards will remain available through the Android Things console where developers can create new builds and push app updates for up to 100 devices for non-commercial use,” Smith added.

Also Read- Indonesian Government Forces Instagram to Close Pro-LGBT Account

Google has recently put a bigger emphasis on using Google Assistant rather than Android Things as the connective tissue for smart devices, The Verge reported.

In January, Google announced “Google Assistant Connect” – a way to build Assistant into all kinds of devices, from simple e-paper displays to connected dishwashers. (IANS)

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Google Claims It Has “No Plans” To Relaunch A Search Engine in China

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

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The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

The United States’ top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” he said.

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Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market. Pixabay

“Frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”

Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the U.S. Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.

In June, Google said it would not renew a contract to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.

At the same time, Google said it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China, though it is continuing to study the idea.

During the hearing, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sharply criticized the tech company, referring to it as “a supposedly American company.”

FILE - Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019. VOA

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market.

Also Read: India and Pakistan Threaten to Release Missiles at Each Othe

Asked about Dunford’s comments, Google referred to previous statements.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has previously said the company has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so, but that the company also was continuing to work with the U.S. government on projects in health care, cybersecurity and other fields. (VOA)