Google roundup: Cars, Glass, Project Loon

|By:, SA News Editor

Automotive News reports Google (GOOG, GOOGL) will show off an Android-based in-car OS at Google I/O (June 25-26). Automakers backing the platform include GM, Audi, Honda, and Hyundai.

The OS is tied to the Open Automotive Alliance (first announced in January), which aims to create Android-based infotainment/navigation systems. Apple, BlackBerry, and Nokia are going after the market as well.

In addition to the OS, Google is said to be working on "new Android platform features that will enable the car itself to become a connected Android device" (shades of Apple's CarPlay).

With commercial interest in Glass running high (consumer reactions have been more mixed), Google has announced its first 5 partners for its Glass at Work developer program. The list includes APX Labs, maker of a Glass app that allows workers to stream live video from the field, and Augmedix, whose app allows doctors to automatically enter health info during exams.

A year after announcing Project Loon, Google says it hopes to use its hot-air balloons to offer Web access in "one or several countries" next year. A series of advances have improved the balloons' flight times, and LTE connectivity now enables speeds of up to 22Mbps to ground antennas.

Though Loon is still in the experimental stage, Google wants to eventually have "300 to 400 balloons circling the globe to offer continuous service to a targeted area." Google is also making big bets on satellites and solar-powered drones to connect underserved regions.