Google announces a new $999 Glass augmented reality headset

Google has announced a new version of its business-focused Glass augmented reality headset, which it’s now designating an official Google product instead of an experiment. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2 costs $999, although, like its predecessor, it’s not being sold directly to consumers. It’s got a new processor, an improved camera, a USB-C port for faster charging, and a variety of other updates.

Google still isn’t positioning Glass as a mainstream product. But it seems to be expecting greater sales of the Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The device has been moved out of the Google X “moonshot factory” and into the main Google family of products, letting Google “meet the demands of the growing market for wearables in the workplace,” according to a blog post.

The basic Glass design hasn’t changed much. It’s still a relatively simple heads-up display, not a Microsoft HoloLens-style mixed reality headset. But it’s gotten a processing boost with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip, which is designed for augmented and virtual reality. Google says that with the XR1’s power, the new Glass headset can incorporate “computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities.” Google has already released a consumer-focused computer vision tool called Lens, which offers features like sign translation and restaurant recommendations.

Google is also adding new safety frames to Glass in partnership with Smith Optics, plus a bigger battery and other upgraded components. Glass also now runs on Android, with support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2’s existence leaked months ago, complete with news that it would likely be moving to Android. But we haven’t gotten a full picture of Google’s plans for it until now.

Glass was originally billed as a mass-market augmented reality headset, but after complaints about privacy and functionality, Google reinvented it as a tool for surgeons, factory workers, and other professionals. Google boasts that businesses have reported “faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs” by using Glass for hands-free computing or troubleshooting. The original “Explorer Edition” cost $1,500, so while the Enterprise Edition 2’s $999 cost isn’t cheap, it’s still significantly more accessible.

Several other companies are also working on business-focused augmented reality glasses, including Microsoft, Vuzix, and Epson. Meanwhile, consumer-focused AR hasn’t gotten very far, despite the existence of smart glasses like the North Focals. Moving Glass out of the X program seems like a vote of confidence from Google — but for now, there’s no sign that it’s coming to a broader audience.

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Game of Thrones’ finale was blocked in China because of Trump’s trade war

Game of Thrones series finale streamed around the world last night, giving fans closure just about everywhere — except China.

Thousands of Chinese users who rely on streaming platform Tencent Video were outraged to discover they couldn’t access the most recent episode. A message that read “transmission medium problems” appeared in lieu of the finale, according to The Wall Street Journal. An HBO spokesperson told the Journal the network had no issue with transmitting the episode, but Tencent was restricted from airing it by the Chinese government because of ongoing trade disputes with the United States.

Fans in China not being able to stream Game of Thrones is just another example of how increasingly tense the trade disputes between the United States and China have become over the last few weeks. On top of Game of Thrones finale not streaming, this weekend also saw Google pull Huawei’s Android license in response to an order from the US Commerce Department. The department names a number of companies that must secure American government approval to buy technology from US brands.

China has accused the US government of having “extravagant expectations” for a trade deal, according to a Reuters report. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang insisted that trade talks failed between the United States and China because the US attempted “to achieve unreasonable interests through extreme pressure.” Trump, on the other hand, said that it was China’s fault the deal fell through, telling Fox News in an interview that aired Sunday that the United States and China “had a very strong deal, we had a good deal, and they changed it. And I said, ‘That’s okay, we’re going to tariff their products’.”

Fans not being able to watch Game of Thrones may not seem like a major issue compared to other fallouts from the United States’ trade negotiations with China, but it’s an example of how everyday people are being affected. Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows in China, with the season being viewed more than “550 million times on Tencent Video during the most recent season,” the Journal reported. The episode did make its way to piracy sites, but it’s still unavailable to stream via Tencent Video.

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‘TanaCon’ creator Tana Mongeau is heading to VidCon one year after retaliating against it

Tana Mongeau is better known to those outside the inner circle of YouTube creators as “the girl who tried to throw her own convention and failed miserably.” Only one year after throwing “TanaCon,” a hastily thrown together convention born out of retaliation and vengeance, Mongeau is headed back to VidCon, this time as a “Featured Creator.”

The decision to partner for this year’s convention “was made by VidCon after the two parties met with the same goal — to provide the best experience for all involved including VidCon, Tana and most importantly, the fans,” according to a press release by VidCon. Mongeau agreed in her own statement, adding that her fans have always been a number one priority. She also spoke to being able to meet with fans “in a safe and comfortable environment — both for them and myself,” alluding to the absolute chaos of last year’s fiasco.

VidCon is the go-to convention for YouTubers and Instagram influencers, and attending as “Featured Creator” is the highest honor. Being a Featured Creator comes with certain privileges, chief among them hired security guards that escort the most recognizable YouTubers to and from the convention center. In 2017, Mongeau went on a tirade about VidCon refusing to give her a Featured Creators badge, confessing that she felt disrespected and unsafe because of the organization’s lack of recognition.

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Mongeau, frustrated with VidCon’s status quo, decided to throw her own convention and TanaCon was born. The event attracted thousands of fans to a venue space in Anaheim, just a couple of blocks down from where VidCon was taking place and nearly opposite Disneyland. The venue realistically couldn’t hold more than a couple hundred people at most, and naturally disaster followed. Teens nearly rioted in the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel, where the convention was being held.

The misfire resulted in worldwide coverage from several news outlets, a mini documentary series from fellow YouTube creator Shane Dawson, and week-long conversations about the future of massive conventions between online personalities and their fans. Even VidCon founder Hank Green confessed he “100 percent screwed up,” adding that “not making her a featured creator was a bad call.”

Mongeau’s TanaCon happened just one year after controversial YouTuber Logan Paul was shamed by the creator community for causing a stampede to break out at VidCon. Since then, many prominent personalities have asked whether VidCon is still necessary or relevant to an industry that has ballooned in size and influence around the world. Groups like the “Vlog Squad,” a ragtag team of vloggers, are organizing their own tours to connect with their greater community, and countless YouTube and Twitch creators now hold their own meet and greets and other events designed to offer fans direct access on the creators’ terms.

Now, inviting Mongeau as a Featured Creator to VidCon not only ensures that a second TanaCon won’t happen, but proves that VidCon’s organizers are listening to fans about who they want to see. In an industry where irrelevance is death, VidCon has found a way to leverage Mongeau’s fame for the better.

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Westworld III teaser reveals a new direction for HBO's sci-fi series

Recap: HBO absolutely killed it with the first season of Westworld but its sophomore effort left a lot to be desired. With any luck, creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy will be able to get fans to reinvest in season three.

Some have predicted a mass exodus of HBO subscribers now that Game of Thrones is finito. That very well could happen but HBO would prefer you check out the first teaser for the third season of what is now the network’s biggest franchise before you go.

Westworld returns in 2020 with a whole new look and some fresh faces including Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Bojack Horseman). The trailer largely centers on Paul’s perception of the world – you don’t even really know it’s Westworld until the very end. Presumably, this season will focus on the hosts that managed to escape the confines of the park and their interactions with people and other robots in the real world.

“I’m excited to explore the idea of host as guests, as Bernard and Dolores are guests now,” Jeffrey Wright (Bernard Lowe) told The Hollywood Reporter last June.

Season three of Westworld is set to premiere sometime in 2020.

Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

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Daily Crunch: Huawei faces Android ban

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Huawei responds to Android ban with service and security guarantees, but its future is unclear

Google is complying with a federal directive that placed Huawei and 70 of its affiliates on an “entity list,” meaning that any U.S. company needs government approval before doing business with the Chinese tech company.

In response, Huawei said today that it will continue to provide security updates and after-sales support to its existing lineup of Android smartphones. Still, what the company didn’t say will probably spark concerns.

2. TikTok owner ByteDance’s long-awaited chat app is here

The new app is called Feiliao, or Flipchat in English, a hybrid of an instant messenger plus interest-based forums, and it’s currently available for both iOS and Android. It arrived only four months after Bytedance unveiled its video-focused chatting app Duoshan.

3. Identity platform Auth0 raises $103M, pushing its valuation over $1B

Auth0 — pronounced “auth-zero” — provides authentication-as-a-service to its corporate customers. In other words, it offers a secure login system used to properly authenticate the identity of employees.

4. Sam Altman’s leap of faith

Earlier this year, founder-investor Sam Altman left his high-profile role as the president of Y Combinator to become the CEO of AI research outfit OpenAI. Connie Loizos talks to him about YC’s evolution and his current work.

5. Robin picks up $20M Series B to optimize the office

Robin hooks into Google Calendar and Outlook to help employees get a sense of what meeting rooms and activity spaces are available in the office, complete with tablet signage out front.

6. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

The team at Equity has thoughts on the latest funding round for luggage startup Away, while we have plenty of opinions about  the latest “Game of Thrones” developments on Original Content.

7. What Uber and Lyft’s investment bankers got right

Danny Crichton argues that Uber and Lyft are proof that investment bankers actually are pretty smart in their advice about the pubic markets, and founders should be cautious about ignoring their words. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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