The new Google Cloud campus in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Google is planting its flag in Amazon territory. Google signage has been installed across the multiple buildings going up in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood and at the street level, mapping out the new campus for the thousands of employees who will begin moving in soon. The company has previously said that the first Googlers will take their seats this summer, more than three years after the massive campus was first announced. The substantial signage clearly announces Google’s presence in the neighborhood, and it provides a contrast to neighbors like Amazon and Facebook. Amazon’s style and distinctive building names may stand out to close observers, but the average person walking by might not pick up the aesthetic. Facebook saves the flourish for inside the walls of its buildings, and the structures mostly blend in with the growing forest of glassy office structures going up in the neighborhood. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Google told GeekWire in March that it was targeting a into the campus, which has been under construction for more than two years. A at the project site in April, killing four people. Google has yet to provide an update to the timeline to open the campus since the construction incident, and the company declined to comment when contacted by GeekWire this week. The campus, , consists of two blocks with 607,000 square feet of office space and 149 apartments. Google also leased a third nearby block (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Google first arrived in the Seattle area 15 years ago and now has roughly 3,400 employees in the region. With the recent addition of a third block, the new campus could hold anywhere from 4,600 to 6,200 employees using industry standard ratios of about 150 to 200 square feet per person. That would be a significant boost to Google’s capacity to hire more engineers in Seattle’s talent-rich ecosystem, especially in cloud computing. The campus sits on the busy Mercer Street corridor just across the street from Amazon’s massive Seattle campus, and Google will surely look to peel off engineers and other talent from its rival to close the gap against cloud leader Amazon Web Services. Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian that he planned to dramatically expand the pool of enterprise salespeople inside Google Cloud, and what better place to find those workers than in the backyards of AWS and Microsoft. It’s also a great place to scout talent among the growing number of cloud-focused startups that are springing up in and around Seattle, especially ones working with containers and Kubernetes, two cloud technologies at the heart of Google’s cloud pitch. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser) Under previous cloud CEO Diane Greene, Google vowed to turn its cloud-computing division into an Despite a hiring spree that landed both top-tier engineers and enterprise sales people, Google remains a distant third in the cloud computing market behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, and it has yet to fully disclose how much revenue it is making from cloud computing. Google’s Seattle presence also includes several buildings in the Fremont neighborhood, along with a big campus in the suburb of Kirkland, Wash. that the company expanded three years ago. Google also recently — — and is rumored to be taking a new office campus in Kirkland that would dramatically increase its footprint there. Seattle is Google’s third largest market, behind only its Mountain View, Calif. HQ and its rapidly expanding operation in New York City.
Apple AirPods. (Via Apple) Amazon is taking on Apple with its own version of AirPods. reported Thursday that Amazon is developing earbuds that will come with Alexa built-in and be available as early as the second half of 2019. The earbuds will feature similar functionality to AirPods but Amazon is aiming to improve the audio quality, Bloomberg noted. The headphones will let users buy products, play music, and access information with their voice via Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. The hardware is being developed by Lab126, Amazon’s hardware R&D unit that is also . Amazon’s other hardware products include the Echo speaker, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-readers Apple’s popular AirPods, which debuted more than two years ago, range from $159 to $199. Amazon is known to undercut competition by lowering the price of its hardware. Amazon will be happy to sell these at low/no margin to increase Alexa adoption. Will the same apply for Apple re: Siri? — Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) Google launched its own version of wireless earbuds called Pixel Buds last year. Samsung just rolled out its Galaxy Buds. Other competitors include Sony and Jabra. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
(Bigstock Photo) Developers planning to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio code-writing platform will find a new and improved user interface that the company says will make writing and editing code much easier, as well as a new feature that lets them share code with colleagues. Visual Studio 2019 , and it is now generally available for download. Microsoft also will integrate the collaboration feature into both Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio Code, . (Click to enlarge) An application diagnostics dashboard in Visual Studio 2019. (Microsoft Screenshot) Both versions of Visual Studio ranked at , and Microsoft said that 8.1 million monthly active one-day users are working with the commercial product. Developers at companies and organizations of all sizes use Visual Studio to create and test their code before moving it into their code repositories, which . In the new version, Microsoft wanted to reduce the complexity of the user interface presented to developers as they work on their code and help developers take advantage of features they might not have realized were there with an improved search engine, said Amanda Silver, partner director of program management at Microsoft. “It kind of gives you more head space for thinking about the code you’re trying to write,” she said. Visual Studio 2019 also promises to help developers write cleaner code with an artificial intelligence-powered version of autocorrect for coders. It pays attention to code styles that different companies require their developers to use, and makes suggestions on how to improve or correct that code. (Click to enlarge) Intelicode helps software developers reduce coding errors with help from artificial intelligence in Visual Studio 2019. (Microsoft Screenshot) And Microsoft made a few nods to the growing impact of cloud computing on the way software is developed, as new ways of deploying and debugging code are changing old assumptions. Although Visual Studio is used to develop a wide range of applications across mobile devices and operating systems, cloud developers working with the 2019 version will find support for continuous integration/continuous deployment tools as well as Kubernetes, . At the time of , here appeared to be a fair amount of opportunity for Visual Studio and GitHub teams inside Microsoft to collaborate on new features that would help developers move between the two products. There’s nothing new to report on that front in the 2019 version, but Microsoft continues to improve the existing GitHub extension for Visual Studio and will likely incorporate the extension in a future release, Silver said. There’s also a 2019 version of Visual Studio for Mac coming out Tuesday, but a lot of the more advanced bells and whistles can only be found in the core product. The new Mac version comes with a new code editor that shares a common core with the one used in the Windows version, as well as several navigation and performance improvements.
Shilpa Ranganathan, general manager of Windows Mobility Experience for Microsoft, shows off the new Your Phone app. (Microsoft Photo) How times have changed at Microsoft. For much of its history, the PC and Windows have been the central focus for Microsoft, but that era continues to fade into the rear-view as Microsoft’s new focus on “multi-device experiences” takes center stage. At the second day of its Build developer conference, much of the talk centered around breaking down the walls between phones and PCs and unifying the Windows experience between PCs and smartphones on competing operating systems. Microsoft executives and managers introduced new apps and features as well as updates to existing offerings with an overall goal of “making the PC the perfect second screen to your phone,” in the words of Shilpa Ranganathan, general manager of Windows Mobility Experience for Microsoft. She also noted that the company also wants to make the phone the second screen to the PC. As part of this push, Microsoft announced a that gives Windows 10 PCs a direct connection to iPhones and Android devices. The app includes the ability to pull text messages off the phone and answer them from a PC, and drag and drop in smartphone photos. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Windows 10 at Microsoft. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy) In the , Microsoft released Timeline, a long-anticipated feature that lets Windows 10 users quickly find documents or sites from their history, across devices, and pick up where they left off. The Microsoft Launcher app for Android added support for Timeline this week, and iOS users can get it through Microsoft’s Edge browser. These moves, plus further emphasis on Launcher through new enterprise features, show how serious Microsoft is about this cross-device strategy. The company first took the lid off the plan at last year’s Build conference, announcing a host of features and apps aimed at making user experiences on Android and iOS devices better if users are also running a Windows machine. The approach reflects Microsoft’s new reality in a rapidly changing technology world where it has been left without a competitive mobile operating system. It also indicates the company’s new direction under CEO Satya Nadella — increasingly embracing competing platforms that would have been viewed as archrivals in the past. That was on display once again yesterday, when the company debuted the between its digital assistant Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. It doesn’t look like Microsoft’s strategy of intertwining PCs and smartphones is going anywhere, so expect more integrations and apps like these in the future. “None of us can live without our phones,” Ranganthan said, “and neither should your PC.”