The Wrap - Google's IoT strategy, killing robocalls, solar plane stuck

CIO | May 28, 2015

On The Wrap this week Google outlines its home automation strategy, the FCC wants to stop robocalls and a Solar Impulse 2 is stuck in China. Follow host Nick Barber on Twitter @nickjb

Google's being very generous with online storage and a solar powered plane is stuck in China.

We'll start with your Tech Top Three and what you need to know this week. Google wants to connect your home with a stripped down version of Android that'll run on everything from door locks to ovens. Dubbed Project Brillo it includes a communications layer called Weave that lets developers locate devices on a network and tap into their capabilities. Because its Android based, it will easily integrate with smartphones and tablets in both consumer and industrial settings.

Staying with Google, the company promised unlimited photo and video storage with its new app called Photos. It will be available for Android and iOS devices and through a desktop browser. You'll be able to search photos by specific events or chronologically. The service is clearly eyeing Apple's iCloud which only offers 5 gigabytes of storage for free.

Your mobile phone might not ring with robocalls anymore. The proposal from Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler would close some loopholes that allow those calls to persist. The proposal would allow telecom carriers to offer robocall blocking technology as well as let receivers of those calls revoke their consent at any time. Unwanted calls and texts are the top consumer complaint to the agency.

In Focus we take a closer look at a solar powered plane that is stuck in China because of, yes, clouds. Solar Impulse has crossed Asia and is waiting in Nanjing, China before it flies over the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. Winds and clouds delayed the flight earlier this week and it still has yet to take off. In optimal conditions this flight should take about five days, but in poor conditions it would take seven, which is too much for a single pilot to bear. Andre Borshberg will fly solo over the Pacific only grabbing 20 minute naps during the five day flight. 17,000 solar cells are built into the wings which supply four electric motors with energy. The solar cells recharge batteries during the day which allows the airplane to fly at night. The plane has already been grounded for a month due to weather. If the plane does in fact complete it's around the world journey it will be a huge feat of engineering and technology, but don't get too excited about solar powered flight just yet. This plane flies incredibly slow compared to conventional jetliners. It crawls at 50 to 100 kilometers per hour, it would take about 56 hours to fly from New York to San Francisco. For now the technology just isn't practical for commercial aviation and it might never be, but it does give you an idea of what might be possible for zero emissions vehicles down the road.

I'm Nick Barber and that's a wrap.