Google Revamps Storage Plans; Apple has 2nd Biggest Self-Driving Fleet in CA; Ticketmaster Plans Facial Recognition

Google has unveiled its consumer storage plans. The new plans are dubbed “Google One,” although the Google Drive is still Google Drive. TechCrunch.com says Goggle has added a new 200 gig tier for $2.99 a month, and dropped the price for its 2 terabyte plan from $19.99 to $9.99 a month. The old 1 terabyte plan at $9.99 goes away. You can still get in on 100 gigs or $1.99 per month, but keep in mind that now, you’ll be able to share your storage with up to five family members! An outstanding new feature is expert support 24.7 over chat, email, or phone. Previously, this was only open to business users.

Apple has been bulking up its fleet of self-driving cars, and now is up to 55, making it the 2nd biggest fleet in California, according to the DMV. As recently as January, Cupertino only had 27 cars. The biggest fleet of self-drivers is that of Cruise, a company owned by GM, which has 104. Google’s Waymo has 51 cars, and Tesla 39. It’s worth noting that both Waymo and Uber previously had more cars in California…Waymo had 100, but has moved some to Arizona and Michigan.

Your face will literally be your ticket to concerts, as the Ticketmaster division of Live Nation has announced a pilot program to drop tickets and use facial recognition tech. Thenextweb.com says Ticketmaster is partnering with Blink Identity, which claims they can make a positive ID in half a second. Some worry that this is a little too much Big Brother, since China recently put in place a similar system…but theirs is for law enforcement. If the pilot program is successful, you may see it before long for air travel, building access and more.

Amazon has resumed construction in Seattle after a squabble with the city over a controversial tax per employee on employers that make more than $20 million a year. Engadget.com reports that the ‘head tax’ had been set at $500 per employee, but ended up compromising after considerable protestation from Amazon, and set the tax at $275 per employee on businesses that make over $11 million a year. The funds are supposed to go towards helping the homeless problem there. Amazon is still grumbling, and considering not adding 7,000 expected jobs…they may hire that staff at their new ‘2nd headquarters’ when it is finalized.

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‘Amazon Killer’ Startup Jet Launches

Jet, which has been operating in beta since April, officially launched today. They’ve raise 225 million in their effort to out-Amazon Amazon. Businessinsider.com reports the site promises prices 10-15% lower than anywhere else. Product prices start at about 8% cheaper, but Jet gives further discounts when you bundle multiple orders into a single shipment. The company claims not to take a cut of product prices, but just be about making money from a Costco like $50 annual membership fee.

Google has released a new plug in that allows you to open files for Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint right from Google Drive. When you’re ready to save, you can save right inside Drive, too. According to engadget.com, it works with Office on Windows machines, but Google hasn’t announced when the plug in might be available on Macs.


Amazon Cloud Drive Now Mobile

Amazon is now live with dedicated apps on both Android and iOS for Cloud Drive. According to techcrunch.com, the Amazon answer to Dropbox, Google Drive, and the rest just got the iOS app over the weekend. The Android app was out in June. Amazon has done this a bit under the radar, with no formal announcements. The mobile versions complement the desktop versions already available, and are aimed at productivity…where previously Amazon had focused more on saving your pictures and music. Amazon’s Unlimited Everything plan lets you store everything in its cloud for just $60 per year. Its Unlimited Photos service is even cheaper at $11.99 per year. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox are much pricier when you start getting up into the terabytes of storage space. Plus, Dropbox individual accounts are capped at 1 TB.

Over all of recorded history-for better or worse- a lot of tech innovation has come from military wants or needs. Here’s a project that could produced amazing results eventually for civilian use if it comes to fruition. The Department of Defense is working to develop a hypersonic jet that could fly anywhere in the world in 4 hours. Military.com says it would fly at Mach 5. The Concorde only flew slightly above Mach 2! Air Force Chief Scientist Mika Endsley hopes a joint project between the Air Force and DoD will have the blazing fast plane airborne before 2023!


New Bluetooth Standard Helps Privacy & the Internet of Things

The new Bluetooth 4.2 specification is out. Engadget.com says It even further reduces power use, bulks up on privacy, and for the growing internet of things…can connect with your router directly to the internet without needing wifi. Look for it to show up on devices in 2015.

Venturebeat.com reports that Google Drive now lets you edit Microsoft Office document attachments right from Gmail. Click an icon, and you can convert them to Google’s formats.

Sony has announced a gray Limited Edition, 20th Anniversary Playstation 4. Geek.com says it is on sale today in Japan, with US preorders starting the 6th. 12,300 will be made, and it’s $499.