Friday, June 12, 2015

After Google, Amazon and Best Buy announced a $150 discount on Nexus 6, follows suit. Reuters

The Nexus 6 phablet has been criticized by tech experts for its hefty price tag. Last week, the Google Nexus 6 was made available with a huge discount of $150 atleading retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. However, Google was the first one to offer the $150 price cut at the Play Store. And now Motorola has joined the bandwagon,  selling the Nexus 6 with the same discount.

The deadline of the $150 price cut offer on the Motorola Nexus 6 is not mentioned on Amazon, Best Buy or Google. Phandroid says Google is offering the discount for a limited period.Motorola has said the new Nexus 6 deal will expire on June 23 at 10:59 a.m.

The Nexus 6 with 32 GB is available for $499.99 on The usual price of this variant is $649. The 64 GB version is priced at $549.99; it's regular price is $699.99. The handset is available in color options like Midnight Blue and Cloud White.

Compared with other retailers, purchasing the Nexus 6 through has its own advantage, claims Phandroid. Motorola is exclusively offering an extended warranty of $130 on the device. The warranty can be used to cover accidental damages for a time period of up to two years.

The Nexus 6 was launched with the Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. Google showcased the Android M Developer Preview during the Google I/O 2015 held in May. The Android M is expected to be released on the Nexus 2015 smartphone.

The Motorola Nexus 6 that was released in October is the very first iteration from Google in the phablet segment. It features a 5.96-inch Quad HD display, Snapdragon 805 chipset, 3 GB of RAM, internal storage options of 32 GB and 64 GB, 13 MP camera with dual-LED flash, 2 MP front-facing camera, nonremovable battery of 3,220 mAh capacity and  connectivity options like 4G LTE, 3G, Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, aGPS and GLONASS.

Nexus 6 Now Available With $150 Discount At Until June 23

Need Clean Water?

Clean, drinkable water is unfortunately out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world, contributing to a vicious cycle of poverty and disease. People who have to spend large amounts of time finding safe water to drink don't have time for other things like education or work, and contaminated water often harbors deadly diseases. But there is hope, in the form ofnanotech filterslight-based water purifiers, and an ancient Egyptian seed.

In ancient Egypt, people used the crushed seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree to clear up cloudy water. Scientists later discovered that a protein in the seeds kills bacteria by gathering them into clusters which sink to the bottom of the container.

In a recent paper in Langmuir, researchers at Penn State announced that they'd solved a piece of the puzzle: how the protein kills the bacteria. It seems to fuse the membranes of the bacteria together. Membranes are designed to protect a cell, so when those defenses are breached, it's bad news for the bacteria.

Clean Water

The bottle on the left has been treated with crushed seeds, which cause the bacteria to clump together and die.

The researchers also worked out the best time to harvest the seeds. Until now, harvesting the seeds at the peak of their useful protein was guesswork. People knew that seeds harvested at different times had different abilities to clean water, but the differences hadn't been quantified. The new research found that the proteins were at their strongest cleaning ability when harvested as mature seeds during the rainy season.

Eventually, the scientists hope that the seeds can be grown and harvested in areas where they are most needed. Other parts of the plant are edible, making it useful for not only cleaning water, but providing a nutritious source of food for communities.

Just Add These Seeds To clean your water

Jurassic World, out tomorrow, is getting praise for its awesome dinosaur action. But it’s also getting a lot of criticism for its characters, especially the way it handles Bryce Dallas Howard. We talked to director Colin Trevorrow about how to make a monster movie in the Age of Sharktopus.

Spoilers ahead...

How do you deal with the fact that we’re living in the age of Sharktopus? There are so many CG monster movies out there, and we’re so used to all the tropes?

I feel like our movie is aware of that, hopefully not hyper-aware of it, but it acknowledges it. And yet I also think that monster movies are fun, and we enjoy these things for a reason. So I wanted to find a way to balance that, to recognize that it’s inherent in this story we’re telling, that people are going to this theme park because they want to see that. 

You can kind of see that moment in the film, when the crowd is watching the Mososaurus finish off the shark, and it’s like they’re at an MMA fight. They’re all cheering, because they want that carnage. There’s something really interesting about how human beings just want to see animals tear each other apart, maybe because we can’t do it. I thought there was at least something in there where we could be the thing that we’re talking about, and hopefully get away with it.

Monster movies are constructed around set pieces where you have people at a lake and then a monster comes out and eats them. I feel like this movie does a lot to shake that up. Did you think about how to break up the structure? You reveal the Indominus Rex really early in the movie, instead of making us wait for it.

Somewhat early. Definitely earlier than we [showed the main dinosaurs] in the previous ones. I knew they were going to show it in all the trailers, no matter what they promised. Steven [Spielberg] had the luxury of making a movie where there was one trailer, where you didn’t see any dinosaurs. So the level of joy and surprise is very different. But we did try to certainly show its consequences.

We wanted these dinosaurs to feel like real animals. That’s a theme that we’re very interested in, and certainly pushing forward with this, is to make it not a monster movie. These are living, breathing animals that did once exist on this planet and by resurrecting them, we have made these things un-extinct. 

And so I felt like presenting these dinosaurs as something that will just eat you all the time, every time, wasn’t the way to go. I got to the point where, even at the end of the movie, a dinosaur chooses not to engage in battle, with an animal that has been its nemesis every time we’ve seen them together. They always fight. I don’t think it gave them a certain amount of humanity, but I think it gives them an amount of nuance, and hopefully as characters allows us to respect them a little more. And sort of drive our respect for animals, which would be a goal for me.

I did notice with the Indominus, you do the classic monster movie thing of showing us glimpses of it, and then slowly revealing it.

That’s because it’s so early in the movie. That would be too early. We wanted to do it just enough so, you know, there’s something inherently engaging about not being able to see the monster, but at a certain point, we knew that we were going to have to unleash it, and ideally because we’re treating the raptors and the T-Rex and these other animals as characters, it allows us to build for a little while. 

In a movie that’s sort of a single monster movie, like Jaws, once you see the animal, it identifies the threat and you’re able to start working on ways to take down the threat. I think showing its powers, like any hero, any villain, spending the first half of the movie creating a mythology for it. It’s not Godzilla, where we all know the mythology. We’re introducing a new villain that is a synthetic, in the same way that Darth Vader, and Captain Hook, and Frankenstein all had, like, synthetic elements to them. It’s sort of a “classical villain” trope if anything. Not that I want to engage in tropes, but we know what these things are.

In the same way that in a superhero movie, you spend the first half building up the powers of the hero, he discovers what they are, and then the second half he’s executing those powers. We sort of did they same thing with the villain. By the time you get to the second half of the movie, you know what the Indominus can do. You know what it is. You’ve seen it, and now we’re moving forward.

Actually, did you see Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla? What did you think about that in terms of how it handles this iconic monster?

I thought he handled it really well. I feel like the thing looked beautiful, when you finally saw it. It was such a great effect. I think Godzilla is such an inherently challenging property, and I was just impressed that they were able [to pull it off]. I don’t know if I would have attempted to do it myself, cause I don’t know how the human characters and Godzilla can have a relationship in any way. It makes it really difficult, and that was something that was so important to me. You can see how I work hard to make sure that [a relationship] exists here.

And here the key relationship in a lot of ways is the relationship between Chris Pratt and the raptors, this whole idea of training them, and him being an animal trainer. Where did that develop from?

There was an idea that Steven [Spielberg] had, of a guy who could sort of command raptors in battle and have that human-animal communication. So Derek and I, we tried to dial it back a little bit, to the point where maybe that relationship is just being tested and figured out.

Because that’s something that exists on this planet right now — you have people in Africa who are out in fields with lions, rolling around with tigers and hugging these vicious predators that would kill anybody else and eat them. And so we felt like that’s at least a relationship that people can understand and connect to, and I thought it’s pretty cool when you replace lions and tigers with dinosaurs. And it allowed us to have a relationship that could be tested, because they are predators.

And I thought even though he imprinted on them very young in their lives, it would reach a point where they would have to choose between this human who has cared for them and obviously loves them and something else that is ‘one of them,’ to a certain extent. To have that build up, to be the climax of our movie, to build to that, I feel like that’s an emotional arc that we could rest this whole thing on.

And the theme of nature. In the film, people point out that none of these things are actually natural, in that they’re engineered. And they don’t have any instinct because they’ve been raised in captivity and they didn’t have any parents to teach them. Is the theme of nature vs. nurture something you guys talked about?

Absolutely. There’s a story about a tiger that had been raised in captivity that got loose and just went on a killing spree, like a serial killer. And it killed everything in its path, every living thing that it came upon. And so we based [the Indominus story] on that, and there are examples all over of animals raised in captivity not necessarily having the same psyche, the same mindset as animals that have grown up in a more traditional environment.

We haven’t seen that in other Jurassic Parkmovies before and I found that the balance of this movie is me trying to make sure that people love these movies and have something that they can feel comfortable with — but also be bold and push it forward and address some new ideas. And that, to me, felt like one of the most salient ideas that we could grab onto.

I know. I mean, look, I had that conversation with her so many times, and she insisted on wearing those heels. They meant something to her personally. She felt like, this is her talking, that those heels were her shield in a certain way as a woman. That’s just how she felt. She felt like surrendering the heels felt like surrendering the femininity of the character, even though women are — I don’t want to say forced to wear heels — but you’re expected to wear heels in certain environments.

And she felt that, even though the image of her running away from the T-Rex in heels is... honestly, maybe I feel that I’m revealing my own ignorance in not having anticipated how that was going to become a subject of discussion, the way that it has. I was thinking about it solely for her comfort, and for logic reasons — the same thing that we’re talking about: ‘Can’t we find some other way? And she’s like, ‘No, no, I’m going to go for it.’ 

Because that’s something special. I mean, we are talking about it. And these movies, having something that’s iconic to themselves — for better or worse, that’s an image that people are going to remember. [Laughs] And I just hope that it’s recognized that I did bring it up on many occasions. [Laughs] But I support my actors! I want her to feel comfortable. And I want her to create a [character] that is truthful and true to her and how she feels in that character’s shoes, for lack of a better [word]. And that’s what made her feel like Claire.

And these movies aren’t strict realism.

No, but knowing that character, I can buy that character would never take her heels off. She walks around in those heels every day. She’s already in that jungle wearing a white dress. I mean, I think to her it was just true to Claire, even if it’s not true to anybody else.

So what do you think about the criticisms of the gender roles in the movie? At times, Chris Pratt seems condescending towards Bryce Dallas Howard, and that’s mixed in with the romance subplot.

I mean, he is condescending, at points. And that, to me, was designed to focus on our lead character, who is Bryce Dallas Howard. I mean, she’s the hero of the movie, and she’s the one who changes. She goes through a pretty massive arc, from being the head woman in charge and very corporatized, and very much governed by the needs of that corporation, to somebody who has kind of stripped herself of all the trappings, and become very at one with her inner animal — and the natural world. And [she’s] recognized that she saw these animals as assets, and as numbers, and that they are in fact living, breathing creatures. And I found it to be a movie about her finding her humanity. And that’s always how I saw it.

And honestly, I guess it’s a testament to my own ignorance of how things can be perceived — I never really saw it any other way. I definitely didn’t see it as a character who was learning to want to have children. That didn’t even occur to me. Because I don’t see her as going off and having children at the end of the movie — that doesn’t seem like that’s what she’s going to do. But I’ve heard that argument.

And look, it’s hard for me to debate any of those things, because it’s all about perception. It’s all about something lands with somebody. And I feel like everybody is right. However it lands with you, and however you perceive what we’re doing, you’re right. Because that’s how you saw it. So all I can say is, I hope that whatever people see in it, they know I very sincerely was looking to make a real badass action heroine who doesn’t surrender her femininity in the process of being a badass action heroine.

Changing gears... Tim Story, who directed Barbershop and then was hired to direct the first two Fantastic Four movies, has talked about how easy it is for a director coming to big VFX movies for the first time to lose control over the VFX part of the movie and just work with what they give you and get swept along by it. He seems to have felt like maybe he wasn’t entirely in control. Do you think that’s a danger? And how do you deal with that?

It’s a danger. It’s not what happened with me. I was in control of this whole movie, from start to finish. And I don’t have the ability to pass the buck to anyone else — not that that’s what he was doing.

I’m quoting him from memory, so that may not be 100 percent accurate.

But I just don’t have that luxury. Everything you see on the screen was something that I wanted to put there. And I was supported by the studio and by Steven in wanting to put these things on. But it’s my movie. I feel like there’s a certain amount of creative freedom that comes along with that, and that’s very satisfying. But there’s also something taken away from you — you don’t get to say, ‘Oh, this giant corporation made me do all this stuff.’

But how do you communicate your vision to the VFX people? They’re showing you animatics and simulations, and how do you shape that?

I’m there every day, and telling them what it’s going to be, and then they’re being creative as well. This is a collaborative relationship, and it’s a fantastic one. I didn’t find any of that. VFX animators and everyone at ILM, and people who do previz — all of these people are there to realize your vision. So if you’re clear with it, and you know what you want, and you articulate it in detail, they can realize anything in your imagination. All of that stuff was a very positive experience for me.

This whole thing, from start to finish — it’s gone very, very well. I am so conscious of the fact that that’s kind of an anomaly. It’s very rare that movies go as well as this. We finished ahead of schedule, under budget [and] didn’t have to do any reshoots. All of the things that very often happen — and [they] don’t always mean that a movie’s going to be bad. Some of our greatest movies have gone through extensive reshoots. And yet, for me as a personal experience, this all went very smoothly, and I’m very grateful for that.

Do you think younger film-makers, who grew up with computer animation, are more comfortable using it as a tool?

We used what was necessary in the moment, to execute whatever the vision was. We did use animatronics. We used motion-capture, which I thought added a certain humanity to the animals. I don’t know...

I learned on film at NYU. I was probably the last generation that was analog. Anyone who was a year younger than me, it was probably all digital. I shot [Jurassic World] on film, but my first film was digital. So I’m [not a] digital kid, either. I’m right on the bridge. What’s really interesting about the younger film-makers that came up in that age is, they got to make so many more films. There was no limitation to how much they could do, so they’ve all made a thousand weird little shorts, and they were able to hone their skills, that I’m not sure I ever got a chance to do. I made one short film, Safety Not Guaranteed, and this.

And so, I think being able to have that incubation period is really valuable for a film-maker. To the point where I’m going to go backwards now, and buy myself an incubation period [using] whatever cred I get with this in the business. I’m going to go make a smaller film, and then a medium-sized film, and continue to hone my skills as a storyteller, because I think I have to.

The message in the first Jurassic Park is, “Nature finds a way,” and “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” In this movie, is the message all the stuff where people say, “You guys went too far for spectacle. You demanded things that weren’t realistic in the dinosaurs. You wanted bigger and better.” And so on?

Not necessarily in the context of [talking about] movies, specifically — although I know it can be applied to that. It was really more [that] we live in kind of this ‘upgrade’ culture, where we feel very entitled to be entertained and pleased all the time. ‘Give me something more, and then I’m going to hate it.’ [Laughs] ‘Then give me something else, and I’ll hate that.’

And what I saw in all of that is, dinosaurs are a very humbling presence. And I think just the very idea that you would be in front of something that is that grand and that spectacular, and you would shoot it on your phone — and not have that experience, not have that connection. There’s lot of things [in this movie] about connection, between humans and animals, between humans and each other, humans and ourselves — between brothers — I hope that there’s a humanity in the movie. Or an encouragement of humanity in the face of great corporatization. And it’s not an anti-capitalist movie, or an anti-corporate movie... but there is something dehumanizing in the corporatization of everything.

And we talk about it very early in the movie, how that first [Jurassic] Park was legit, because they just had real dinosaurs. They didn’t have all these genetic hybrids. And I would hope that, yeah, it’s a movie that encourages humans to embrace one of our great gifts: That we’re sentient, and we can fall in love, and we can connect with each other. And maybe that’s all too simple, for a movie that I think asks a lot of big questions and I think handles a lot of big themes, but in the end is a children’s film. And I feel like [it’s] a children’s film about, ‘Hey, let’s all fall in love.’

Jurassic World Director Talks About That Infamous Running-In-Heels Scene

Two Upcoming Budget Smartphones With A Lot To Offer 

For The PriceBack at CES earlier this year, Blu announced a handful of phones, including the Vivo Air, Studio X, and Studio Energy. Today, we're looking at the final phone from that announcement, the Life One, as well as another handset Blu has coming out in a few weeks, the Life 8 XL.

Let's jump right in with specs.

Life One


Display5-inch 1280x720 display with Gorilla Glass 3Processor1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 with Adreno 306RAM1GBCamera13 MP rear shooter, 5MP frontStorage8GB with SD card slot (up to 64GB)PortsmicroUSB, 3.5mm headphone jackWirelessLTE, HSPA+, Wi-Fi, BluetoothDimensions143 x 72.1 x 7.5mm, 125gBattery2420mAhOSAndroid 4.4.2 (Lollipop coming next month)Price$149 ($99 for one week during pre-orders)BuyAmazon (Pre-order; release date: June 19th)

The first thing worth noting about the Life One is the processor - it's a 64 bit Snapdragon 410. This is a departure from the norm for Blu, as the company generally uses Mediatek chips in its handsets. This choice has its upsides and downsides, of course; on one hand, this is one of the few Blu devices to have LTE. On the other, it's actually slower than some of the Mediatek phones - especially the octa-core models (like the Life 8 XL). Still, it's nice to see them mixing it up a little bit.

Since we're already talking about the processor, I'll go ahead and touch on performance for a bit. When it comes to raw benchmark scores, the Life One isn't the best out there - it gets about 20k on AnTuTu. Decent enough, I suppose. During the short time that I had the Life One, however, the "every day" performance was pretty much dead center with Blu's other devices - not quite as good as the Vivo Air, for example, but a little better than something like the Studio X or Energy. Like with most other current Blu handsets, I also didn't really "feel" the single gig of RAM. I would still really like to see an extra gig in here, though - especially for when this gets Lollipop, which should be hitting next month.

The overall form factor of the Life One is pretty nice, especially for a $150 phone. The back is a soft-touch, removable plastic (the battery is non-removable, but the SD and SIM slots are found underneath), and the phone is incredibly light. The volume and power buttons are both on the right side of the phone, which more and more often seems to be becoming the "normal" spot on Blu phones. The headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is found on the bottom. Pretty typical arrangement here.

The One's display is also another middle-of-the-road feature, sitting just between the Vivo Air and more recent Studio models. It's not the greatest display I've seen from Blu, but it's also not bad either - colors are decent, viewing angles are decent, and it's just generally...decent? Nothing to write home about, but I also don't have any complaints either. I do, however, think it's solid considering the price of the phone.

Then there's the software. Currently, it's KitKat. In a month's time (or thereabouts) it should be Lollipop. Thus, I'm going to keep this short and sweet. It's basically stock KitKat, and it has on-screen buttons. This is a pretty big deal, because if you've been following Blu for any amount of time, you already know the company's love for capacitive keys. I'm so happy to see on-screen buttons here, because it just makes everything better. My biggest argument against the software on almost all Blu handsets is that there's no easy way to get to Google Now. But with on-screen navigation, no problem - just swipe up! Ahhh, that feels good. So, so good.

Life 8 XL


Display5.5-inch 1280x720 display with Gorilla Glass 3Processor1.4GHz Octa-core Mediatek  MT6592 with MALI 450 GPURAM1GBCamera8 MP rear shooter, 2 MP frontStorage8GB with SD card slot (up to 64GB)PortsmicroUSB, 3.5mm headphone jackWirelessHSPA+, Wi-Fi, BluetoothDimensions155 x 74.8 x 7.7 mm, 146gBattery2920mAhOSAndroid 4.4.2 (Lollipop coming later this year)Price$129 ($79 during first week of pre-orders)BuyAmazon (Pre-orders begin on June 22nd; Release date: July 1st)

While the Life One is sort of a departure from what we've seen from Blu so far this year, the Life 8 XL is very similar to the company's other recent handsets (at least where specs are concerned). It features the same octa-core MediaTek processor that's found in the Vivo Air and Selfie, 1GB of RAM, and a meager 8GB of internal storage, along with Android 4.4.2. This device is on the list to get Lollipop later this year (no date has been set just yet as far as I know), so it shouldn't be stuck on KitKat for very long.

Where performance in concerned, the 8 XL is solid. The MediaTek MT6592 is comparable to the Snapdragon 800, making this one of the best processors for the money (at least in my opinion). The primary drawback to the 8 XL's performance is the same as other recent Blu phones - the RAM. 1GB isn't terribly noticeable at first, but I know it's going to hurt overall performance in the long run, especially once this handset gets Lollipop. I would really have liked to see an extra gig thrown in, at least for longevity purposes.

Much like the Life One, the 8 XL's display is pretty middle-of-the-road. Viewing angles are OK, color reproduction is OK, and resolution is OK. So, all in all, it's pretty much OK. That said, I think it's a very good-looking screen for just $129. That's generally the case with Blu phones, though - they always offer a lot of bang for the buck, especially in the display department.

If there's one thing I can say about the 8 XL's look, it's very plain. It's essentially a nondescript rectangle with a removable plastic back that wraps slightly around the front. It's an interesting design in itself, but it doesn't really lend much to the phone's overall look in my opinion. Beneath the plastic back, you'll find a removable battery, dual SIM slots, and the microSD slot. Again, all pretty par for the course.

On the software level, it's basically stock KitKat. I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about that for two reasons: 1. It's stock, so it works like any other stock device; and 2. It's getting Lollipop soon. No need to focus on KitKat when Lollipop is essentially around the corner.


The main thing to consider with any Blu phone is the price, and the One and 8 XL are both very good devices for the money. But here's the thing: for the first week of each phone's release, Blu is knocking $50 off the price. That means starting today, the Life One will be available for pre-order for just $99, and when pre-orders start on June 22nd, the Life 8 XL will only be $79. To be completely, objectively honest with you - that's freakin' insane. The return that either one of these phones is going to offer for that kind of money is nothing short of incredible.

If you're interested in picking up either of these handsets, I definitely encourage you to do it during the first week of release

Two Upcoming Budget Smartphones With A Lot To Offer

Craig McLuckie took the idea to Urs Hölzle, the man who oversees Google’s global network of computer data centers, and Hölzle didn’t like it.

Together with two other engineers in Google’s Seattle office, McLuckie wanted to recreate Borg as an open source project. Borg is the sweeping software tool that drives everything from Google Search to Gmail to Google Maps, letting the company carefully parcel computing tasks across that global network. For years, it was one of the company’s best kept secrets. And McLuckie wanted to share its blueprint—or at least some of it—with the rest of the internet.

“When we went to Urs the first time, he was not really happy about the idea,” McLuckie says. “What we were basically doing is offering up the secret sauce that runs Google as an open source technology.”

But Hölzle and the rest of the Google brass eventually approved the project. Known as Kubernetes—an ancient Greek word for shipmaster or pilot—it launched a year ago today. Over the last 12 months, more than 370 coders have made more than 12,500 “commits” to the project, and a majority of these coders don’t work for Google, including three of the top six contributors.

The tool represents a notable shift inside Google as it strives to compete with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft in the world of cloud computing. Traditionally, Google closely guarded the fundamental technologies that drove its online empire—Borg being a prime example—and to a certain extent, it still does. But now that it’s a serious cloud computing company—inviting companies and developers to build and run their websites and other online applications atop its infrastructure—there’s a little more give and takewith the software community as a whole.

McLuckie and the two other engineers who originally conceived Kubernetes—Joe Beda andBrendan Burns—were part of the team that built Google’s cloud computing services. They saw their open source project as a way of pushing developers onto Google Compute Engine, a cloud service that offers up “virtual machines” where outside companies and coders can run almost any software code—Kubernetes provides a way of more efficiently running code across such cloud services as well as the physical machines companies operate in their own data centers—and eventually, Hölzle came to agree this worth any advantage they might give up in sharing the code. “Cloud is an absolute imperative for Google,” McLuckie says. “We have to operate in a new way. We have to bring our expertise to the community.”

Google Evolves

The move comes in response to a larger change driven by the rise of cloud computing. Now that developers can readily build software atop a large array of machines, they’re using open source to do so. Running proprietary software across so many machines is far more expensive, and molding it to fit particular needs is far more difficult. Whether they’re offering services like Google Compute Engine or building software for such services, today’s cloud companies must embrace open source. Microsoft has also recognized this undeniable trend, embracing open source in an effort to boost the prospects of its Azure cloud computing service. So haveVMware and EMC.

With Google, there’s an added twist. Google-built technologies were one of the primary forces behind the rise of open source software across what we call the cloud. It’s just that the company kept a certain distance from this movement. Now, it’s moving closer.

Over the past decade, the company would build software for running code or juggling data across hundreds of its own machines. It would jealously hide this software, seeing it as a competitive advantage. Then, a few years down the road, it would release a research paper describing the tech, and the open source world would clone it.This happened with so many tools, including MapReduce (which spawned the open source Hadoop) and BigTable (which gave us a world of “NoSQL” databases).

Much the same thing happened with Borg. A few years ago, engineers at Twitter and the University of California, Berkeley built a tool called Mesos, and today, it underpins some big-name internet services, including Twitter and Airbnb. And several other projects are building similar tools around a technology called Docker, which helps developers neatly package their applications into the sort of software “containers” that Borg juggles across the Google network.

But now, driven by the needs of its cloud business and other forces, Google is changing its role. It’s not just sharing a research paper. It’s not just open sourcing small pieces of its online infrastructure. It’s transforming a major system into an open source project—at least up to a point.

As Burns puts it, he and Beda and McLuckie saw so many other running projects that explored the basic ideas behind Borg and containers, and they decided Google could help push things forward. “We really felt like all these puzzle pieces were out there and people were stumbling around trying to put them together,” he says. “We really had the puzzle box. We knew, from ten years of experience, how the pieces all fit together.”

To be sure, Kubernetes is not an open source Borg. It’s not as complex as Borg or Borg’s successor, known as Omega. And as it stands, it won’t juggle tasks across quite as many machines. “We’re still reaching the same scale as Borg,” Beda says. “The focus for Kubernetes out of the gate was getting the core concepts right.”

But some of those who built Borg and Omega also work on Kubernetes, including uber-engineers Eric BrewerJohn Wilkes, and Brian Grant. “Having engineers with this heritage working on the project—folks who had worked on Borg or Omega—means a lot,” says Joe Fernandes, who oversees Red Hat’s work on the project. And according to McLuckie, Kubernetes aims to expand beyond Borg and Omega—-to fix their mistakes.

In a world that so values open source software, this is the best way for Google to compete. For many, containers are the future of software development. And Google is now playing a direct role in that future.

Run What You Want

Mark Kropf—who helps build similar systems at a company called Pivotal—questions how serious Google is about the project, pointing out that Beda has left the company. And according to Ben Uretsky, the CEO and founder of cloud service provider Digital Ocean, Kubernetes—and other systems like it—aren’t that widely used. “Containers are not there just yet,” he says. “We’re just at the peak of the hype cycle.”

But whatever the fate of Kubernetes, it still points to the future of software development—in more ways than one.

Inside its data centers, Google uses its own breed of software containers. But when it launched Kubernetes a year ago, it paired with Docker, an open source technology. And when the company behind Docker sought to marry its container technology to some of its own software tools, Google and the Kubernetes project embraced a Docker alternative, known as Rocket, that aims to promote a wholly independent container format.

McLuckie makes a point of saying that Kubernetes now handles both Docker and Rocket. He hopes that the larger community will eventually back a single independent container format, he explains, but it’s not picking sides. Kubernetes, he says, “should be Switzerland.” That may sound idealistic. But this is what a cloud company must do: Give the world open source software, and let them use it however they want. “The disruption that’s happening,” McLuckie says, “is bigger than any one company.”

Google Made Its Secret Blueprint Public to Boost Its Cloud

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