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Google to offer free WiFi in New York City #thecircuit

Google WiFi: Google announced Tuesday that it will be providing free WiFi to the Chelsea neighborhood in New York City — where the company has its own New York headquarters.

The tech giant announced its plans in a Tuesday morning press conference with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Google chief information officer Ben Fried. The effort makes Chelsea the first wired neighborhood in Manhattan and the largest continuous WiFi network in the city.

Google has also built a high-speed fiber network in the Kansas City metropolitan area, but Fried told press that the WiFi network is unrelated to that effort, CNN reported.

Panasonic introduces 4K tablet, facial recoginition: Panasonic took the stage for its keynote Tuesday at the International CES tech show in Las Vegas. The company introduced a 20-inch “4K” or ultra high-definition tablet — complete with stylus — as part of its main announcements. That builds on the screen trend building at CES this year, where companies are competing to put better, crisper screens in front of consumers.

Panasonic also introduced a television with facial recognition technology at its preview event Monday — the device will be able to identify who’s watching a television and display customized content. Several privacy groups have raised concerns about the expanding amount of facial recognition technology in consumer devices, prompting the FTC to release best practices about the technology this past fall.

3-D printing: As the price of 3D printers comes down, more companies and consumers may be eyeing the technology — a trend that could have broad impact on manufacturing and distribution in the U.S.

As The Washington Post reported, this could be seen as a “democratization of manufacturing,” said Carl Howe of the tech research firm Yankee Group. He predicts that the devices could find their way into small business, colleges and some consumer homes in a significant way this year.

Google’s Schmidt touches down in Pyongyang: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, along with other members of a private American delegation, have touched down in North Korea , the Associated Press reported.

Schmidt, along with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and others, visited a computer lab at a Pyongyang university and were able to see students who — unlike many North Koreans — have regular access to the Internet.

Apple’s Cook back in China: Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, has made a second visit to China, Bloomberg reported. According to the report, Cook met with Ministry of Industry and Information Techbnology head Miao Wei on the trip.

China is a crucial market for Apple and also the site of the majority of its assembly and component factories. Cook made his first visit to China as chief executive last year amid controversey over the labor conditions in factories that were a part of Apple’s supply line.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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