Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Zero Gravity for All at Google Zeitgeist Partner Conference

Google’s big annual Americas partner event takes place this week at a fancy resort in Arizona. We at AllThingsD didn’t get the invite, though Google PR tells us to expect videos from the talks to be posted after the fact here, and also warned not to expect any product news whatsoever.

Photo credit: Zero Gravity

An attendee did send us the speaker list, so we know a bit more about what we’re missing: The lineup includes historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, producer J.J. Abrams, American Express CEO Ken Chenault and MIT biomechatronics researcher Hugh Herr. This year’s theme is “The World Around Us,” which sounds grand and vague and kinda self-centered despite itself.

Plus, Google goes way beyond the normal conference perks of t-shirts and pens and fancy dinners. Attendees were each invited to participate in a zero-gravity flight that mimics the weightlessness of space. “As an extension to our theme, we will be providing an opportunity for you to experience what it feels like to be outside of our world,” Google told them.

By the way, the normal price for these flights? $5,000 per head.

But they don’t come without their downsides, as LeWeb CEO Loic Le Meur charmingly noted:

Still, Google missed perhaps the most perfect product tie-in ever when it didn’t supply skydiver Felix Baumgartner with Google Glass to livestream from his own head his record-breaking trip from space onto (nearby!) New Mexico on Sunday. Sergey Brin, you have been seriously one-upped.

In more serious Google news, the company reports third-quarter earnings on Thursday.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald