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Renders of Google’s gigantic San Jose campus show how it could feel more like a neighborhood

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Google is planning to build a gigantic new “Downtown West” campus in San Jose, and the company has shared renderings that give an idea of what that space could look like (via CNBC). Google intends to make the approximately 79-acre area feel less like a traditional corporate campus by creating a mixed-use development with office space, housing, parks, retail space, and more.

One render is the image we’ve included at the top of this post, which represents something Google is calling the “Gateway.” The proposed space would have a plaza for pop-up events as well as an amphitheater that could be used by both Google and the broader community.

Below is a render for a peaceful-looking area called the Creekside Walk, a walkway near a the VTA light rail corridor which would be “inspired and framed by Los Gatos Creek.” It looks like it could be quite nice to stroll through:

Image: Google

And the “Meander” is something that Google is referring to as an “urban promenade,” an area that would be closed to cars and have a lawn for hosting events, screenings, and other performances.

Image: Google

That all being said, a lot of space would still be reserved for office buildings. While there will be 5,900 residential “dwelling units” and 500,000 gross square feet for things like retail stores, restaurants, and cultural centers, there will be 7.3 million gross square feet of office space, according to Google’s 473-page slide Design Standards and Guidelines deck about the proposed campus.

You can get a better idea of what the whole campus could look like in this map, taken from Google’s nearly 39-minute YouTube video about the plan:

Image: Google (YouTube)

There are also more details about the project on websites from Google and the city of San Jose. The San Jose City Council is scheduled to consider Google’s proposal for final approval in spring 2021.

This isn’t the only ambitious campus Google has in the works. The company announced a $1 billion investment to build a New York City campus in Hudson Square in 2018 and proposed a 40-acre mixed-use area in Mountain View in September.

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Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is getting its first English release

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Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is launching in the US for the first time ever. The tactical roleplaying game, originally released in 1990, will be available on the Nintendo Switch for $5.99 on December 4th.

As the first game in the Fire Emblem series, Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light stars Marth, a character best known Stateside for his appearance in Super Smash Bros. The Switch edition of the game will include fast-forward, rewind, and save state features.

It’s important to note that the release is for a limited time only, until the franchise’s 30th anniversary on March 31st, 2021. Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light isn’t the first game to adopt such a strategy; rather, it appears to be building on a Disney Vault-type play on Nintendo’s part. Super Mario 3D World’s availability is also set to expire on March 31st of next year.

An anniversary edition — which includes a stylized physical NES box and a replica NES Game Pak art piece, in addition to an art book and download code — will be available for $49.99 at select retailers.

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Republican lawmakers are furious after Twitter asks users to read stories before retweeting

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House Judiciary Committee Republicans and committee member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) are spreading a misleading claim about a new Twitter feature that asks users to read articles before retweeting them. Earlier this year, Twitter started testing a prompt to discourage knee-jerk retweets. It appears on links across the entire service, but Republican lawmakers have cited individual warnings on right-leaning articles as the latest of many censorship accusations.

Twitter announced last month that it would roll out the feature across its mobile apps, describing it as a way to “help promote informed discussion.” When you hit the retweet button on a link you haven’t visited, Twitter adds a label above the confirmation menu, warning that “headlines don’t tell the full story” and offering a chance to check the story out.

This is optional; you can ignore it and simply confirm the retweet if you want, and it doesn’t add any extra taps. But some conservative Twitter users expressed fury at the warning. Former PJ Media editor David Steinberg claimed that Twitter “placed a headline warning label” on a Wall Street Journal article about Republican congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik, saying the prompt “should disturb every American.” The label appears if you try to retweet many other WSJ articles on a variety of topics as well as stories from The Verge and other media outlets.

The claim was amplified by Republican members of Congress. Collins claimed that Twitter was “censoring” all tweets from Sean Hannity, citing labels on links to Hannity.com. The Twitter account for Judiciary Committee Republicans made a similar claim about a Hannity article, insinuating that Twitter had specifically added the warning to a story about allegedly leaked emails from Hunter Biden.

Twitter’s communications team tweeted a somewhat exasperated response. “We’re doing this to encourage everyone to read news articles before Tweeting them, regardless of the publication or the article,” a spokesperson wrote. “If you want to retweet or quote tweet it, literally just click once more.”

It’s not necessarily surprising that Twitter’s new feature would raise hackles since it comes on the heels of two unpopular Twitter decisions. Twitter blocked a link to New York Post articles about Hunter Biden’s emails last week, citing a ban on “hacked content,” before apologizing and changing its policy. It also started temporarily asking users to quote tweets instead of retweeting them, another attempt to encourage more engagement. Today, a Senate committee approved subpoenas for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, calling them to testify about restricting the Post story’s reach.

Twitter doesn’t seem to apply the warning to every link either, and that’s caused some confusion online. As the National Republican Senatorial Committee noted, you can retweet links to Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue without a warning. However, we also received no warning when retweeting a link to Republican equivalent WinRed. We’ve asked Twitter for more clarification on when the label appears. But whatever its answer, the feature is far more widespread than these lawmakers suggest.

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Google Maps launches a new developer solution for on-demand ride and delivery companies

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The Google Maps Platform, the developer side of Google Maps, is launching a new service for on-demand rides and delivery companies today that ties together some of the platform’s existing capabilities with new features for finding nearby drivers and sharing trip and order progress information with customers.

This isn’t Google Maps Platform’s first foray into this business. Back in 2018, the company launched a solution for in-app navigation for ridesharing companies, for example. At the time, the team didn’t really focus on delivery solutions, though, but that’s obviously one of the few booming markets right now, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Building on 15 years of experience mapping the world, the On-demand Rides & Deliveries solution helps businesses improve operations as well as transform the driver and customer journey from booking to arrival or delivery–all with predictable pricing per completed trip,” Google senior product manager Eli Danziger writes in today’s announcement.”

At the core of the service is the Google Maps routing service, which developers can tweak for deliveries by bike or motorcycle, for example, and to find optimized routes with the shortest or fastest path. The team notes that this so-called ‘Routes Preferred’ feature also enables arrival time predictions for time-sensitive deliveries and pricing estimates.

The other new feature of this platform is to enable developers to quickly build an experience that helps users find nearby drivers. Imaginatively called ‘Nearby Drivers,’ the idea here is about as straightforward as you can imagine and allows developers to find the closest driver with a single API call. They can also add custom rankings, based on their specific needs, to ensure the right driver is matched to the right route.

Unsurprisingly, the platform also features support for in-app navigation, and that’s tied in closely with the rest of the feature set.

Developers can also easily integrate Google’s real-time trip and order progress capabilities to “keep customers informed from pickup to drop-off or delivery, with a real-time view of a driver’s current position, route, and ETA.”

All of this is pretty much what any user would expect from a modern ride-sharing or delivery app, so for the most part, that’s table stakes. The technology behind it is not, though, and a lot of delivery companies have set up large tech operations to build out exactly these features. They aren’t likely to switch to Google’s platform, but the platform may give smaller players a chance to operate more efficiently or enter new markets without the added expense of having to build this tech stack from the ground up — or cobble it together from multiple vendors.

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