Google makes self-driving cars an independent business, targets Uber and Lyft

It’s Wednesday, December 16 2015, and if you’re the sort who’d rather not have to deal with a chatty taxi or Uber driver, you’ll be happy to know that you may soon be able to order up a driverless car to get to you to your destination. Broken by Bloomberg news, it turns out Google is going to make its Driverless Car unit a stand-alone business under its Alphabet umbrella sometime next year.

Since Google has done most of its testing in Austin and San Francisco, it is likely the company will start off in one of those cities and keep it to closed-in areas like large business parks and college campuses. Ultimately, though, it is believed Google wants to take on Uber, Lyft, and conventional Taxi services head on. Not literally head-on, but … you know what I mean.

And, hey, since we’re on a Google kick already, let’s keep it rolling with news that the tech giant has introduced a “night light” mode for its Google Play Books app. If you’ve ever tried to read something on your tablet at night, you may have noticed it causes some eye strain. Your body is telling your eyes to sleep, but you’re saying NO! Just one more page of this Janet Evanovich saga, please!

Well, it turns out the reason your eyes are rebelling ties into the reason it’s not a great idea to watch TV when you’re supposed to be going to sleep. The Blue light emitted by display screens disturbs your nighttime resting mojo by messing with your melatonin levels, so the app will slowly filter it out until you’re basking in a gentle amber glow … ahhhhh! The update is now available for both Android and iOS tablets. Sweet dreams, from Google. Who knew?

Finally, anyone catch the republican debate last night? Jeb Bush took on The Donald, Cruz and Rubio attacked each other, and who cares? Was that just the teaser for House of Cards Season 4? Yes, actually, that’s exactly what it was.  Taking advantage of the circus-stlye CNN broadcast last night, Netflix announced the start date for its highly successful original series using a fictional campaign poster for Kevin Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood.

The show will debut on March 4, 2016, and in the meantime, Netflix has set up a website to go along with the campaign, dubbed FU2016, which is really just … I’m sorry that, is just about perfect. Anyone who visits the site can create their own “FU” poster, and that means we’re in for some killer political memes on social media. You can bet on that, though betting on this election seems like a really bad idea. What a mess.

As always you’ll find plenty more on these stories and all the days hottest tech news at DigitalTrends.com That’s it for DT daily today, we’ll see ya again tomorrow.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Halfbikes, VR for all your senses, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Mobile

Apple has a weird issue with its second-generation Pencil

Apple has a bizarre issue with its second-generation Pencil. The company says that if it's in charging mode and is positioned close to a car's key fob, interference can prevent the device from unlocking the vehicle.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show will have it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe will travel to the 2019 edition to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: MWC 2019, ezCater, and an Apple streaming service

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, we sat down with John Hall of Calendar.com and Briscoe Rodgers of EzCater. We were also joined by DT's Caleb Denison to discuss how Apple is looking to revolutionize TV streaming.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: New Twitter features, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and more

On episode 77 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Luke Larsen explored the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including the new Star Wars attraction, Twitter's experimental moderation tools, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Save the Internet Act, T. rexes in VR, and more

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, we were joined by Joel Comm of Bad Crypto and Jason Horton of Ghost Town. Later in the show, we joined Jeremy Kaplan on location at the American Museum of Natural History.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google Chrome exploit, CyberHat, and Panasonic S1 unboxing

Hackers targeting Google Chrome, Apple AR glasses, and a Panasonic camera unboxing highlighted this episode of Digital Trends Live. We also sat down with the general manager of CyberHat, Yifat Bar-Eli, to talk about cyber security.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple rumors, Google gaming, and TerraCycle

On episode 83 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Ryan Waniata explored the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including Google's new gaming patent, Apple's upcoming event, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple’s March event, Huawei 5G concerns, and SXSW coverage

Apple's latest event and a possible Boring Company tunnel in Las Vegas highlighted this episode of Digital Trends Live. We also joined Pavi Dinamani live at SXSW. She talked with Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls CODE.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook outage, best of SXSW, and more

On episode 86 of Digital Trends Live, host Greg Nibler discussed trending tech news from a widely felt Facebook outage to the best tech at SXSW. Drew Prindle also stopped by the show to talk about the latest skateboard from OneWheel.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla Model Y, The Missing Link, and good digital hygiene

Episode 89 of Digital Trends Live covered topics including Tesla's newest crossover, as well as an interview with What's Trending co-founder Shira Lazar. We also talked about Laika Studios' latest stop-motion animated film, Missing Link.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Robocalls, robot dogs, and tech in government

On episode 92 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Nicole Raney broke down the biggest news stories from the world of tech, including an embarrassing robocall incident, an uncanny robot dog, and Oregon's State Treasurer talks tech.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Apple event recap, digital drive-thrus, and grooming awards

On episode 95 of Digital Trends Live, hosts Greg Nibler and Adrien Warner explored the biggest stories form the world of tech. On the docket this time: A recap of the recent Apple event, McDonald's digital drive-throughs, and more.