Google to radically change homepage for first time since 1996

Search company to integrate its app-based feed of news, events, sports and interest-based topics into Google.com page in the near future

 
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Google’s famously simple homepage with its logo and single search box on a white background is set to undergo a radical change for the first time since its launch in 1996, with the addition of Google’s interest and news-based feed.The feed of personalised information, which has been a mainstay of Google’s mobile apps for Android and iOS since 2012 along with a home-screen page on Google’s Nexus and Pixel smartphones and tablets, will become part of the main web experience in the near future, the Guardian understands.

On Wednesday Google announced it was deploying further customisation to the feed, which took over from its Google Now personalisation in December, using the company’s “advanced machine-learning algorithms”.

Shashi Thakur, vice president of engineering at Google said: “You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world.”

Users will also be able to follow topics straight from search results for things such as sports, movies, music and celebrities, showing updates on those topics in the feed.

Google said the new additions to the feed would roll out to US users immediately and internationally in the next couple of weeks.

 

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The existing Google feed on an Android device. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

While most of the new features are iterative, with some form of them available in the Google search apps already, the addition of the Google feed to the main desktop sites will mark one of the biggest changes to Google’s approach to search.

 

Anti-drone radio wave startup SkySafe secures $11.5M from Andreessen

Drones are a threat to both military and public safety, whether flown by a terrorist or just a reckless pilot. SkySafe’s radio wave technology can detect and stop rogue drones from entering unauthorized areas like military bases, stadiums, prisons and airports. SkySafe’s radio frequency signals are projected from a perimeter of nodes or even a Jeep, and force unapproved drones to leave or land while allowing permitted drones to fly.

Now just two years after launch, SkySafe has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, whose partner Lars Dalgaard will join the board. It adds to the $3 million seed led by Andreessen last year.

Meanwhile, SkySafe has secured a $1.5 million Department of Defense contract with Naval Special Warfare to provide counter-drone tech to the Navy Seals. SkySafe’s mobile defense vehicle can accompany armed forces in the field to protect a moving perimeter from drone attacks or surveillance.

SkySafe CEO Grant Jordan started SkySafe after graduating MIT and working on anti-drone technology for four years in the Air Force Research Lab. He writes that “we are rolling out a series of demonstrations, tests, and exercises for DoD customers over the next year and plan to have systems in the field in 2018.”

 

SkySafe’s radio wave solution could prove simpler to deploy than alternative drone defenses. Laser-based weapons that shoot down drones may be dangerous and complicated to operate. Net guns that ensnare stray drones may have limited effective ranges. SkySafe claims its RF waves can detect and deter drones at the same maximum range a drone can travel from a pilot.

Defense technologies like SkySafe are an important check against the inevitable democratization of violence. As technology improves, the destructive power available to any single human increases. From hand-to-hand combat to firearms to drones and nuclear weapons, the rapid progress of weaponry will pose new challenges for our species. Defense technology must keep up in order to maintain public safety.