Beacon Technology Q&A: Understanding Google’s “Eddystone”

On July 14, Google announced a new standard for beacon communication, Eddystone. If you’re not sure what a beacon is, think of it as a micro-transmitter that can broadcast simple information to known locations. Or, in simpler language, beacons are simply a “Here I am!” message broadcast to other devices within range. Currently, the most famous type of beacon is Apple’s iBeacon protocol, which launched in 2013.

As companies are beginning to realize the potential beacons have (as a customer engagement method for in-store shoppers, for example) Google’s announcement is noteworthy. But why, exactly? We turn to The Nerdery’s own Principal Software Engineer and Android expert, Patrick Fuentes, for answers.

Continue reading Beacon Technology Q&A: Understanding Google’s “Eddystone”

Apple and Google Announcements Point To The Same Horizon

It’s striking how closely Apple’s and Google’s recent slate of announcements parallel each other. Their respective developer conferences both focused on platform integration. Both iOS and Android are moving outside of the phone. The nature of that integration will have lasting effects on the way people interact with the world around them.

“…If you look at the strategy that each company is pursuing regarding their mobile operating systems, you can see mobile devices sitting at the center of a connected web of devices and services – from cars to televisions to wearables.”

In the late nineties, Apple was pushing the idea that your computer was the digital hub of your life. All your other gadgets (e.g. digital camera, iPod, video camera, etc.) were to be managed and coordinated by your computer. Today, if you look at the strategy that each company is pursuing regarding their mobile operating systems, Continue reading Apple and Google Announcements Point To The Same Horizon

Chrome Cube Lab marks Rubik’s@40 – and today’s Google doodle

RubiksIn an awesome act of creative collaboration (and a lot of sweat), The Nerdery helped Google this morning to launch Chrome Cube Lab to honor the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube (see today’s timely Google doodle). Originally created by Ernő Rubik, the Rubik’s Cube is a logic puzzle that has been a favorite of engineers and mathematical types since its debut.

Written in Google Go, Chrome Cube Lab provides a showcase for a fantastic rebuild of this puzzle inside of the web browser.  It leverages JavaScript, CSS3 and a whole host of awesome technologies to provide a real-time interactive spinning cube. Even cooler? It’s open to spin-offs and new interpretations of the cube. Continue reading Chrome Cube Lab marks Rubik’s@40 – and today’s Google doodle

Discussing Chromecast At Last: This Week on K-TWIN


KTWIN Logo 96.3

Nerdery Tech Evangelist Ryan Carlson recapped the latest product from Google called Chromecast on Monday morning, July 29th for the Cane & Company morning show on K-TWIN radio. He talks about how Chromecast is the writing on the wall about a big shift in how people will be consuming their content and how the web could be impacted as a result.

Ryan is reporting on technology every monday morning on K-TWIN radio (96.3 FM) at 7:45 AM.


NerdCast #31: Reading The Digital Tea Leaves – An Analytics Discussion

Nerdcast Album Art In this episode of the NerdCast we talk with Matt Tonak, former Nerdery community manager turned interactive strategist at the company. Listen in on how analytics has been done in the past and what it’s like to be a professional reader of digital tea leaves. If you’re into tracking success or interested in The Nerdery’s digital journey into analytics this is a great discussion for you.

Host: Ryan Carlson

Guests: Matt Tonak, Interactive Strategist at The Nerdery

Got Project?

If you happen to have an interactive project yourself and you need help reading the digital tea leaves, our UX team are experts and mining data to help you make data-driven decisions.  Submit your project details.

Listen Now:
Running Time: 0:27:03 / Subscribe on iTunes


Nerd Reaction To Google I/O 2013

Google I/O 2013 LogoGoogle I/O 2013 is over and there has been a deluge of new updates about services and tools for developers. Unlike previous years there wasn’t a fancy new device or jaw-dropping new technology debut. From a developer’s perspective, that’s just fine because what was announced was a strong foundation for future work on Google’s various platforms. Let’s review the announcements and their meaning by going through the platforms one-by-one. Continue reading Nerd Reaction To Google I/O 2013

Google+ Platform Applications

cwOn Feb 26th, Google revealed a series of new APIs that help mobile and web developers integrate their applications into the social network.

The way they’re engaging applications is interesting because it comes in three layers:

1. Almost every language, Almost every platform:
They’ve released code samples for just about every programming language and have made it clear that they have iOS, Android, and web development as primary targets for this API. Google has repeatedly stated that Google+ is Google. Meaning that it isn’t a product, but rather it’s involved in everything that they do. To me, nothing makes that clearer than attempting to drive all of this activity information into their social network. Continue reading Google+ Platform Applications

Tech Tuesday: Google App Engine for Promotions

Most online promotions, whether a new loyalty program or product launch, are short term and usually only require a massive amount of computing power during the first couple days when traffic is extremely high.

With traditional hosting and web applications you would pay for this computing power long after it is necessary. This is a problem that can be solved by using cloud computing and Google App Engine does a fantastic job at it.

GAE (Google App Engine) is a complete development stack that allows you to quickly build and host web applications that will automatically scale to your needs. It is built on the same infrastructure that runs all of Google’s web products including their search engine. 10 years of Google’s brightest ideas in scalability and performance driven systems literally given away for free. At least initially. You begin with free daily quotas for things such as number of requests, CPU time, datastore access, and data storage. Once your free quotas are up you pay for what you use. Each App Engine application comes with an administration panel which allows you to view and change the limits to increase your quotas.

This setup is ideal for short term promotions that will have a huge initial hit of visitors and then die down afterwards. The traffic from your returning visitors may even fall within the free daily quotas, in which case, you would only pay for the initial traffic hit.

App engine gives you the same cloud computing type scalability such as Amazon EC2 except there is no server configuration, maintenance or instance handling necessary. This means you won’t need to do these yourself or pay someone to do these things.

However, there are some drawbacks to GAE. You are confined to using the python or java programming languages and most of the popular frameworks for these languages aren’t compatible with the database GAE uses called Big Table. This isn’t to say that they won’t work, but that you need to build the app in a certain way which prevents it from being easily ported to a more traditional hosting environment if the need should arise.

Additionally, if your application requires connecting with a third party API through a firewall that needs to be setup with your server’s IP address GAE, like other cloud computing options, will not support this since your apps outgoing IP will change depending on how GAE is distributing its resources. However, if you control the firewall and the servers behind it you could use the Secure Data Connector for this task.

With the few caveats aside, GAE brings cloud computing to the masses in a way that is both accessible and competitive. It prevents the need to deal with servers and the hassle of setting up and choosing hosting plans. By forcing the development of scalable applications and having virtually no barriers for entry GAE is a very promising platform, not only for short term promotions, but for any type of web application whether large or small.

Emerging Tech: WebGL and you

When Google announced in July that they were creating an operating system (Chrome OS) that was essentially a browser, I’ll admit I was pretty skeptical. Then I started to think about what we nerds use our computers for and wondered, does this move by Google actually make sense?

First, we like to browse the web, something we typically do with a browser. We like being social with instant messaging… and Google has GTalk in the browser – you can also chat on Facebook in the browser, and you can connect to AIM or Yahoo with services like Occasionally, we nerds use Microsoft Office-like programs to get work done. Google has Google Docs that does all that in the browser, too. The solution then dawned on me. We also like to play 3D games like Crysis or Batman: Arkham Asylum, Half-Life 2, etc. Flash can’t pump the polygons to make these quality games and there really isn’t anything else out there that can. The browser can’t do 3D gaming!

“Clearly”, I thought, “Google is making a mistake with this Chrome OS business because they can’t satisfy the 3D gaming market. Chrome OS won’t go anywhere.” I then smugly went about my business knowing that I had out-thought Google and my skepticism was well met. Google 0, Rex 1.

Much to my dismay, I saw this YouTube video showing of a technology called WebGL.

3D graphics…in a web browser?

I decided to look further into this technology and see how it worked. WebGL is a JavaScript binding to OpenGL ES 2.0. This allows for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in the browser without any additional plug-ins. This means that future games may not be shipped on a CD or be installed at all, just point your browser to a website and enjoy. Game releases could be essentially the same thing as a website launch. This kind of technology could go beyond games. What if your kids could open a webpage and see a rich 3D version of SpongeBob Squarepants’s world? Could you take a car for a test drive in the browser with 3D graphics and real physics data similar to the racing games of today? How about viewing consumer products in 3D before you buy? The possibilities seem endless.

When will this be available? It’s tough to say a hard release date, but this is already showing up in the nightly builds of Webkit (the technology that drives Chrome, Safari, and Palm Pre browsers, among others) and Firefox. I’d speculate advanced browsers will incorporate WebGL technology in 2010.

And as to the viability of Google’s Chrome OS…  Well played, Google.  Well played.