Tech News: Cruise, Baarzo, Google Domains, ...

  1. For $10,000, your car can drive itself
  2. Laser message from space
  3. Google Domains (invite-only beta)
  4. Google may buy video search startup Baarzo
  5. Plaintext password offenders
  6. Lotus: A complete webframework for Ruby
  7. Coder’s high
  8. We have the potential to solve the biggest problems of today


  1. For $10,000, your car can drive itself
    • Y combinator startup, Cruise Automation, has developed Cruise, an auto-pilot for your car.
    • It is not really a ‘self-driving’ car yet.

      It’s designed as a computer-controlled driving system that can take over when
      you’re behind the wheel. Turn it on like typical cruise control and it
      will keep the car going, but the added smarts will steer, brake, and
      avoid objects.

    • Not meant to replace the driver and can’t drive independently from point A to point B. However, it can steer through stretches of road, managing lanes and avoiding obstacles.
    • Quite cheap compared to the ‘fully-self-driving’ options.
    • RP-1, a $10,000 kit, currently compatible with two Audi models, can be installed in the car to let it ‘cruise’ intelligently.
    • Grander plan of the company is to collect freeway data that is shared between vehicles and is constantly updated between them.
    • The technology is still in its early stages.
    • With Cruise, they can capture road images, GPS and inertial measurements as well.

      The goal is to create white-listed areas of freeways where the system knows its way and Cruise can be enabled.

    • CEO, Kyle Vogt
      • cofounded, which allows anyone to broadcast video online.
      • cofounded Twitch, a live streaming video platform focused on e-sports and video-gaming.
  2. Laser message from space
    • OPALS (Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science) provides a new method of data communication at extremely high speeds.
    • As reported by Gizmodo earlier, on 5th June when ISS passed over Table Mountain Observatory in Wrightwood, California, it beamed a video for researchers waiting below.

      … the laser rig beamed down the “Hello, World” video shown below in a mere 3.5 seconds, a feat that would have taken more than 10 minutes using traditional radio frequencies currently used for data transmission to outer space.

    • OPALS was launched to the space station on board a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft in the spring of 2014
  3. Google Domains (invite-only beta)
    • Google Domains, still in beta, offers a domain registry service, competing against the likes of GoDaddy and BigRock.
    • For hosting, however, they have partnered with Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, and Shopify
    • The benefits?

      First, it’s promising not to charge users anything extra to conceal personal information (e.g. name and address) that must be provided when registering a URL. Google Domains users can create up to 100 email aliases using their domain, and Mountain View also says it’s making domain forwarding super easy in case there’s already a Tumblr or existing site you’d like your new URL to point to. And you shouldn’t run into any problems or downtime (at least on Google’s end). Google Domains use the same DNS servers as Google’s other websites, ensuring “your domain will connect quickly and reliably to your website.”

      Lastly, there’s the benefit of real customer support. Google says phone and email support will be available Monday through Friday from 9AM to 9PM EST

  4. Google may buy video search startup Baarzo
    • Baarzo’s technology description:

      Unlike Google or YouTube searches, which only evaluate the text around the video, the Baarzo search technology actually analyzes the video content, recognizing hundreds of thousands of objects and millions of faces, and locates the precise moment in the video when the search objects interact in the way you had specified.

    • Although the acquisition details are not yet public and even the acquisition isn’t confirmed, TechCrunch received information from Facebook posts, including those by IIT Guwahati Alumni Association page.

      "Post by IIT Guwahati Alumni Association page [source: TechCrunch]"

  5. Plaintext password offenders
  6. Lotus: A complete webframework for Ruby
    • From its author’s blog :

      It’s a complete web framework, with a strong emphasis on object oriented design and testability. If you use Lotus, you employ less DSLs and more objects, zero monkey-patching, separation of concerns between MVC layers. Each library is designed to be small (under 500LOCs), fast and testable.

      We have infinite combinations. Small components have enormous advantadges in terms of reusability.

      The power of these frameworks is combined together in Lotus applications.

  7. Coder’s high
    • An interesting reflection on the ‘intense feeling of absorption’ experienced while programming.
  8. We have the potential to solve the biggest problems of today
    • This article takes a dig at the apps like Yo.
    • Yo, which recently got a $1.2 million in funding, has been raising doubts and questions in its utility and worth.
    • Used to send just two letters, ‘Yo’, the app has 50,000 active users who have sent 4 million “Yo’s” across.
    • The article discusses that we should be focusing on more important issues and how making another instant messaging app is not going to tackle the major issues of the world.


Tech News’ is a series of articles where I attempt to share and summarize recent developments in technology (and the related industry) that interest, amaze and/or excite me. These would attempt to cover topics ranging from impressive apps to Google’s latest acquisition to jaw-dropping updates from SpaceX or Tesla Motors and much more.