Google Project Fi’s Wi-Fi Assistant Feature Now Available to Nexus Users

Google Project Fi's Wi-Fi Assistant Feature Now Available to Nexus Users


  • The Wi-Fi Assistant feature was first exclusive to Project Fi users
  • The feature can now be used on all Nexus smartphones
  • Project Fi is active only on Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 and Nexus 5X smartphones

Google is introducing a nifty feature for all Nexus users to help them save precious data. The company is releasing a feature called Wi-Fi Assistant that will enable users to connect to open and free Wi-Fi networks in their area automatically.The Wi-Fi Assistant feature will be made available to Nexus users in United States, Canada, Mexico, UK, and Nordic countries only. Also, only those Nexus smartphones that are running on Android 5.1 Lollipop will see this feature.

In order to enable Wi-Fi Assistant, head to Settings > Google > Networking > Wi-Fi Assistant. Switch the toggle on and off to set your preferred settings. Once Wi-Fi Assistant is enabled, a small key will show up in the top corner. This feature will let your smartphone automatically connect to open and free Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity, thereby saving your data whenever it can. It will automatically adjust to optimal connections and switch from one network to another without interrupting service. If you wish to opt out of a specific open Wi-Fi network, then just select ‘forget this network’ against the particular network in the Wi-Fi settings panel.

The Wi-Fi Assistant feature was earlier exclusive to Project Fi-enabled devices earlier, but Google has now made it available to all Nexus users. Google unveiled Project Fi mobile telephone network in April last year in a bid to curb use of expensive roaming data and keep phone bills low. After ten months of testing, it opened the service up for all users in March this year, and launched in partnerships with Sprint and T-Mobile. Just last month, it also announced a partnership with telecom giant Three. Project Fi is active only on Nexus 6P, Nexus 6 and Nexus 5X smartphones.


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Tags: Google, Project Fi, Nexus 6P, Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Mobiles, Android, Wi-Fi Assistant



Qualcomm Meets IT, Telecom Ministers for Satellite Project

Qualcomm Meets IT, Telecom Ministers for Satellite Project

Electronics chip major Qualcomm Monday met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha to discuss its satellite connectivity project and production of chips, used in devices like mobile phones.

“They really intend to expand their footprint. They have great experience in the field of chip design. They are very excited about expansion of mobile manufacturing in India,” IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after meeting with Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs.

“I also asked him to explore the possibility of … bring in satellite connectivity in hilly areas of India. He has told me these are very exciting areas and area of his concern,” Prasad said further.

Qualcomm met the IT Minister to discuss a slew of issues around its expansion in India, venture fund and its new global satellite based communications network – OneWeb.

Jacob also met Sinha to discuss OneWeb which the company expects to launch in 2019-20.


“We also spoke about investment in satellite company called OneWeb that is going to build over 700 satellites, launch those by 2019 and 2020. It will provide mobile broadband to most remote areas of the country and will have connectivity from a terminal on ground, up through sky into the rest of the network,” Jacobs said after meeting Sinha.

Qualcomm’s OneWeb communications network will be made of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation made up of hundreds of satellites, orbiting at approximately 1,200 kilometers and working in coordination to create the world’s largest coverage footprint. Unlike existing Geosynchronous (GEO) satellite solutions, which orbit at approximately 36,000 kilometres, the OneWeb satellite constellation will be closer to the earth to reduce response time to and from satellites.

“It will have cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity so people will be able to use phones and tablets to get access to Internet to get connectivity that way. We want to do that with schools for education purposes, with hospitals, put them in rural communities to give connectivity,” Jacobs said.

He also said that the company is foreseeing development of mobile ecosystem in the country not just assembling but also designing and manufacturing of devices.

“That will then create whole ecosystem for all components that need to go in mobile phones. We see that building up over the time with right incentives so we get into advance manufacturing of semiconductor chips. We have seen this happening in other countries and we see India is really set up to this as well,” Jacobs said.

When asked about its status to start production of chipset in India, he said that Qualcomm has had initial discussion with manufacturers of chips but not reached to the stage where production details can be firmed up.

Qualcomm designs chipsets on its own but get them produced from semiconductor plants of its partners.

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Tags: Qualcomm, Ravi Shakar Prasad, Paul Jacobs, Apps, Chips, Internet


Google Opens Access to Mobile Phone Service Project Fi

Google Opens Access to Mobile Phone Service Project Fi

Google on Monday opened its Project Fi mobile phone service to anyone in the United States using its latest model Nexus smartphones.

The public launch of Project Fi marked the end of a 10-month, invitation-only test phase and comes as the Internet giant’s first foray in being a mobile phone service provider.

“We’re excited to be exiting our invitation-only mode and opening up Project Fi so that people across the US can now sign up for service without having to wait in-line for an invite,” product manager Simon Arscott said in a blog post.

“With Project Fi, we deliver fast wireless service with the flexibility to use it where you want even internationally and a monthly bill that’s simple and easy to understand.”

Project Fi is only available for Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6 smartphones from Google and work with a special SIM card that supports connections to multiple cellular networks.

Project Fi enabled smartphones can link to one of two 4G LTE networks or to Wi-Fi, automatically selecting optimal connections and switching from one to another without interrupting service, according to Google.

“As you go about your day, Project Fi automatically connects you to more than a million free, open Wi-Fi hotspots we’ve verified as fast and reliable,” Google said in a blog post.

“Once you’re connected, we help secure your data through encryption.”

Basic Project Fi plans cost $20 monthly for unlimited domestic voice calls as well as unlimited domestic and international text messaging. Fi boasts cellular coverage in more than 120 countries.

Data service costs $10 per gigabyte, with people only charged for what they use.

Google promoted Fi service with discounted prices on Nexus 5X smartphones.

The move by Google is seen as a way to lure consumers away from Apple and promote Google-branded Android phones with an a low-cost mobile plan.

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Tags: Google, Internet, Project Fi, Telecom

Google Asked to Submit Fresh Proposal for Project Loon: Prasad

Google Asked to Submit Fresh Proposal for Project Loon: Prasad

Government has asked IT giant Google to submit fresh proposal for testing its balloon-based Internet technology for the Loon Project following objections to the use of spectrum band it had proposed earlier.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha Wednesday, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Google India has approached the Department of Electronics and Information Technology to conduct pilot test of Project Loon in India.

“The matter was discussed with all stakeholders and it was concluded that frequency band 700-900 MHz to be used in the pilot test of Project Loon is being used by cellular operators and if the pilot is carried out it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” Prasad said.

The project is said to have the potential to replace mobile towers as it can directly transmit signals to4G mobile phones.

Under the project, Google will use big balloons, floating 20km above the earth surface, for transmission of Internet services. It has already tested this technology in New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil.

As per Google, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area of about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communication technology called LTE, or 4G.

“Revised proposal form Google India with change of frequency band is yet to be received,” Prasad said.

The minister, further, said that an autonomous body under DeitY, Ernet India, is carrying out a pilot test to determine utilisation of TV white space for establishing Internet connectivity in gram panchayats.

TV whitespace technology utilises part of spectrum that remains unused while transmitting broadcast signals.

The technology is being developed in 470-582 MHz band to utilise it for commercial mobile services. Mobile consumers often complain of not receiving signals when they are inside buildings or basements. However, TV whitespace is considered efficient to reach deep inside buildings.

As per various studies, Wi-Fi signals can penetrate up to two walls but TV whitespace can penetrate many obstacles and provide coverage up to 10km.

Government has allocated 60 Mhz spectrum to Ernet – an autonomous body under the Telecom Ministry, 20 MHz to power equipment maker BHEL, 10 MHz or less each to IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIIT Bangalore, Tata Advanced Systems and 10 MHz to Collector and Magistrate at Amrawati, the minister said.

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Tags: Google, Google India, India, Internet, Project Loon

Google Joins Facebook’s Open Compute Project to Revolutionise Data Centres

Google Joins Facebook's Open Compute Project to Revolutionise Data Centres

Search engine giant Google and the social networking website have teamed up to give Facebook’s “Open Compute Project” a new push that works to change the way data centres are designed and operated across the world.

Five years ago, Facebook started leading an effort called the “Open Compute Project”. Data centres power the internet. They are the nervous system that allows all kinds of services to run – including Facebook.

“Today, Google joined the ‘Open Compute Project’. Google has always built some of the best infrastructure in the industry, so this is strong symbolic move that our open model of development is the best way forward for everyone,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Thursday.

“Until five years ago, the largest technology companies all designed their data centres and computing infrastructure in secret. They viewed this technology as a competitive advantage to beat others in the industry,” he added.

Facebook realised that if it opened up its designs and shared its progress with the industry, the world will make faster progress together.

“By working together, we’d produce more efficient designs that would save energy, protect the environment and build better infrastructure for our community,” the 31-year-old Facebook founder posted.

It has worked. So far, we’ve saved billions of dollars in energy and efficiency improvements. “Open Compute now brings together hundreds of companies and thousands of engineers to make progress together even faster,” he noted.

According to, Google was the first company to rethink data centre design for the modern age.

“With the ‘Open Compute Project’, Facebook aimed to create a whole community of companies that would freely share their data centre designs, hoping to accelerate the evolution of Internet hardware and, thanks to the economies of scale, drive down the cost of this hardware,” the report added.

According to Zuckerberg, over the next decade, they are going to build experiences that rely more on technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).

“These will require a lot more computing power, and through efforts like Open Compute Project, we’re developing a global infrastructure to enable everyone to enjoy them,” he said.


Microsoft Contributes Its Sonic Linux Networking Suite to Open Compute Project

Microsoft is taking a major step in the world of free, open-source software. The Windows maker has announced that it is giving away Sonic, its own designed software, to users for free.

At the Open Compute Project US Summit, Microsoft announced that it is proposing to contribute Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (Sonic) to the project. The suite in question is utilised to control networking hardware, which typically run on programs mandated by their respective vendor. Microsoft has published the open-source project on its GitHub repository.

Sonic, which runs on the Debian Linux distribution, can be deemed as a free alternative for many ofCisco’s networking suites. “Sonic is a collection of software networking components required to build network devices like switches,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

“Together with SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface — which Microsoft contributed last year), Sonic will enable cloud operators to take advantage of hardware innovation, while giving them a framework to build upon open source code for applications on the network switch. We believe it’s the final piece of the puzzle in delivering a fully open sourced switch platform that can share the same software stack across hardware from multiple switch vendors.”

Microsoft joined the Facebook-founded Open Compute Project in 2014 as a founding member. The initiative publishes new hardware designs to improve the performance and feasibility of data centre technologies. Microsoft’s growing effort towards contributing to open source technologies is one of the many major changes the company has adopted under the leadership of Satya Nadella.

Microsoft is not the only company making major news at the summit. Search giant Google also announced this week that it is joining the Open Compute Project.