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NASA seeks to build a quieter supersonic plane for passenger flight

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NASA  has designed a supersonic plane that it hopes will help reduce flight time for international travelers, and its design is intended to reduce the noise of the jet to well below that of the Concorde.

Starting in August, Bloomberg reports, NASA will seek bids from aircraft manufacturers to bring their design to life with a full-scale mode, with a budget of nearly $400 million from the space agency to commit to the project over the next five years.

The plan is to create a commercially viable aircraft that can help address the growing demand for high-speed air transit, which is encouraged by trends like distributed workforces and international corporate conglomerates. It’s something that NASA hopes to eventually share with airplane OEMs, including Lockheed Martin,  General Dynamics, Boeing and even smaller startups already working on addressing the same market, including Colorado’s Boom Supersonic.

When I spoke to Boom CEO Blake Scholl earlier this year, he confirmed that one of their challenges coming to market would be reducing the noise of the engine used in their final plane, which is partly responsible for regulations that prevent supersonic flight over land in the U.S. Boom’s initial routes are all cross-ocean, so that it can work on addressing those regulations (in place since the Concorde’s active years) before adding other routes.

NASA’s design was made in part by Lockheed (whose concept craft design is depicted above), and it is targeting sound levels equivalent to what you’d hear while driving a luxury car on the highway, Bloomberg reports, or around 60 to 65 decibels, compared to the Concorde’s 90 decibels.

Ultimately, NASA hopes the contract will result in live vehicle tests over populated communities by 2022, which should give it ammunition for changing applicable regulations. Boom hopes to test fly their own demonstration craft starting sometime next year, so now it looks like there will be some spirited competition in this long-dormant area of transportation tech over the next decade.

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Mobile Google CEO Promises 11 Daydream-compatible phones

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Google CEO and freshly appointed Alphabet board member Sundar Pichai was typically guarded during yesterday’s Alphabet earnings call, but he did disclose a nice number for us to look forward to. By the end of 2017, said Pichai, there will be 11 Android smartphones on the market that support Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform.

Daydream turns compatible smartphones into standalone VR systems: you just need one of Google’s Daydream View headsets to hold the device, together with the accompanying touch controller, and you’re away. I’ve used Daydream with a Google Pixel, and its big distinction from the larger PC-tethered alternatives like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift is in just how light and comfortable it is. Obviously, a Daydream phone is also much more portable and versatile too, but for me the standout feature is that I can wear that headset without it feeling heavy and tiring after only a few minutes.

As things stand today, there are only a few Daydream-compatible models to choose from: Google’s own Pixel handsets, Motorola’s Moto Z, Huawei’s Mate 9 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 9, ZTE’s Axon 7, and Asus’ Zenfone AR. Samsung famously announced Daydream support will be coming to its flagship Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, and that’s just started rolling out as a software update. With Pichai’s disclosure this week, we can expect at least a couple of as-yet-unannounced Daydream devices beyond the predictable refresh of the Pixel lineup in the fall.

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Ford’s 2018 Mustang GT can do 0-to-60 mph in under 4 seconds

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Hulu hires Google marketing veteran Kelly Campbell as CMO

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Hulu  announced this morning the appointment of Kelly Campbell, the current head of Global Growth Marketing for Google Cloud, as its new chief marketing officer. The strategic hire for the streaming service will see Campbell tasked with driving Hulu’s overall marketing strategy across both its subscription video on-demand business and its new Live TV service, the company says.

Campbell will oversee Hulu’s brand marketing, performance marketing, media, content marketing, creative, entertainment publicity and consumer research teams, and will report directly to Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.

“Kelly is a respected, data-driven marketing expert who has consistently proven her ability to develop effective strategies and build strong, high-performing teams,” said Hopkins, in a statement. “With her deep background in performance marketing and in building strong connections between brands and their consumers, she’s going to be an invaluable addition to Hulu as we enter the next chapter of our business.”

In March of this year, Hulu began the search for a new head of marketing, as its then current SVP of Marketing, Jenny Wall, announced her departure. Wall had effectively functioned as CMO, but the title was different. With Campbell’s hire, the position is now officially that of CMO.

Campbell is joining after a lengthy career at Google,  where she has worked since 2005. Most recently, she was tasked with creating awareness and driving adoption of Google Cloud products, including the Google Cloud platform and G Suite. While at Google, she grew G Suite to 3 million paying customers, and was responsible for the re-branding of G Suite globally. (Before, it was known as Google Apps for Work.)

Prior to serving as managing director of Global Growth Marketing for Google Cloud, Campbell had also held several other marketing roles at Google, including having led Global G Suite Marketing, Small Business and Education Marketing and the North America Ads Marketing team. Before that, she led the Dedicated Client Services team for North America, and spent a year in Tokyo where she built out Google’s Online Sales and Operations team.

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