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Recommended Reading: Google starts over, sculpture on the moon and more


Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books dealing with the subject of technology that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android
(1,933 words)
by Fred Vogelstein, The Atlantic


Back in 2005, Google had tasked teams of engineers with developing a secret mobile product that would position it to better compete with Microsoft. When 2007 rolled around, teams had worked 40- to 80- hour weeks for almost a year in an effort to revolutionize mobile phones. However, Apple was first out of the gate, revealing the iPhone on January 9th and forcing Google to rethink all the work that had been done. Fred Vogelstein recounts the outfit's post-iPhone Android development and a touchscreen Dream device built to make up for iOS shortcomings.

Robot Telemarketer Employer: Samantha West Is No Robot
(530 words)
by Denver Nicks, Time

Time's Denver Nicks examines the work habits of Samantha West, a telemarketing robot that will actually deny that label. She's really more computer software than robot, though, allowing those who don't speak English well to wade through prospective buyers.


This 100-year-old deal birthed the modern phone system. And it's all about to end.
(3,426 words)
by Brian Fung, Washington Post

A hundred years ago this week, The Klingsbury Commitment kept AT&T from being another broken-up monopoly that fell under the US anti-trust laws of the early 20th century. Brian Fung takes a look at the letter (one of the first successful PR campaigns) that maintained the company's hold on telecommunications and the monopoly's ultimate fall.


The mysterious story of the battery startup that promised GM a 200-mile electric car (7,490 words)
by Steve LeVine, Quartz

200 mile range in an electric car? Well, Envia Systems certainly thought it possible and it struck a deal with GM to power vehicles like the Chevy Volt. One year later, the deal is void, the startup is being accused of misrepresenting its wares and two execs are battling each other in civil suits. So, what went wrong?


The Sculpture on the Moon (7,060 words)
by Corey S. Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro, Slate

Paul van Hoerydonck is the only artist to have a sculpture on the moon. Slate's Corey S. Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro tell the story of Fallen Astronaut and the Apollo 15 mission that placed the 3-inch aluminum figure in a small dusty crater in 1971.


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