Google roundup: Glass, Calico, NSA, Android/ARM

|By:, SA News Editor

Google (GOOG) is working with vision benefits provider VSP Global to create prescription Google Glass lenses, as well as alternative frame designs.

The efforts highlight Google's interest in driving broader consumer adoption for Glass, which critics have argued is a product made by, of, and for geeks. Glass microdisplay supplier Himax (HIMX) has much to gain if the eyewear proves a mass-market hit following its commercial launch (set for early 2014).

Google's Calico anti-aging startup has been busy recruiting a team of "genetics superstars." Among them: Hal Barron, the chief medical officer for pharma giant Roche (set to be Calico's R&D chief); senior Genentech oncologist Robert Cohen; and renowned anti-aging researcher Cynthia Kenyon.

Google has reportedly committed "hundreds of millions" of dollars to Calico, and has hired Apple/Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson to be its CEO.

Eric Schmidt says the NSA scandal led Google to seriously consider moving all its U.S. servers out of the country. Though ultimately deeming such a move "impractical," Schmidt says it's still "an interesting idea" given U.S. surveillance efforts. For now, Google is settling for encrypting all traffic moving between its data centers.

Benedict Evans takes a look at the massive proliferation of cheap hardware running on Android and ARM-based (ARMH) CPUs, a trend that now extends well beyond smartphones/tablets. "Android/ARM has become a new de facto platform for any piece of smart connected electronics ... The cost of putting a real computer with an internet connection into a product is collapsing."