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Google acquires Nest home automation for $3.2 billion (0)

Well, this is a surprise. Nest, the company behind a line of home automation device, has announced its acquisition from Google. It comes as mild shock because founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers were part of the original iPod team; even the Nest Thermostat is sold at Apple stores. Still Google acquires Nest for a whopping $3.2 billion. With that said, Google assures users that Nest will continue to operate under its own brand, like what happened to Motorola. "Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allows us to change the world fater than we ever could if we continued to go it alone," Fadell said in a statement. "We've had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship." Despite its acquisition to the company behind the Android operating system, Nest will continue to offer apps for iOS and Android. This means iPhone users will still be able to manipulate their smart thermostats and smoke alarms even after the acquisition gets approved. There is also a possibility of integrating Nest's technology into Google's hardware, but both parties remains tight-lipped about it. "Nest's product line obviously caught the attention of Google and I'm betting that there's a lot of cool stuff we could do together, but nothing to share today," Rogers said. Source: Engadget Read More

Google Play’s 10 best Android apps of 2013 (0)

Apart from its Top 10 Android games, Google Play has also published the top 10 best apps of 2013. This list includes mobile software released this year that have earned high marks from users and the Play market's editors. Expedia Hotels & Flights - Finding cheap flights is the norm nowadays and Expedia's mobile app could save you lots. It provides another channel to book for flights and hotel accommodations, apart from Expedia's website. Travelers can get exclusive deals that can only be found on the Expedia app, such as 40% savings on hotel rooms. Allthecooks Recipes - It is a social network for people who love to cook! You can browse or submit your favorite recipes direct from your mobile device. It also has a very useful chat feature to receive quick answers on your cooking issues. Noom Weight Loss Coach - Make your weight loss goals easy to maintain. Noom personalizes your weight loss plans and helps you form healthy habits through daily tasks, exercise tracking, and meal logging. Timely Alarm Clock - More than just an alarm clock app, Timely makes setting the alarm very convenient just by swiping from the edge of your screen. It also syncs your alarm time on all your devices, so you have no excuse about the alarm not going off. Whoscall - Spam and stalker calls no more! Whoscall lets you block phone numbers, identify anonymous phone calls, and avoid those annoying spam calls. We Heart It - The description on Google Play reads: "We Heart It is the place to find the most beautiful images of everything you love, inspired by millions of people from around the world!" Does this sound like Pinterest to you? Nevertheless, the fans "heart" this! Magisto Video Editor & Maker - This app turns your photos and video clips into beautifully-edited movies, complete with effects and music! Simply put all your media files together and let Magisto splice them all up for you. Poweramp Music Player - While this app is currently on trial mode, Android users swarmed to have this installed because of its many strengths. This media app supports a long list of file formats and comes with a 10-band graphical equalizer, crossfade, dynamic queueing, and lyrics support among others. Pixlr Express - Hold on to that Facebook selfie! Pixlr Express lets you crop, resize, and fix any problems in your photo. You can even add overlays to set the mood. ColorNote Notepad - It is actually a simple note-taking app, but it makes the experience convenient and easy. You can sort your notes by color, and they appear on your device's home screen as sticky notes so you will never forget a reminder. Duolingo - This coming new year, make "learning a new language" part of your resolution. Instead of shelling out lots of cash for classes and Rosetta Stone sets, go to Google Play and install Duolingo on your smartphone. Learn up to six languages including English for free. And by free, we mean no ads, no in-app purchases whatsoever. Legal! (That's "Cool!" in Portuguese.) Source: Google Read More

Google’s One Today app encourages $1 donations (0)

Google believes we should give more to charity, and now there is an app to practice just that. Available on Android and iOS, the One Today app encourages users to make a $1 donations on a different non-profit organization being highlighted every day. The amount may be small, but Google hopes users would encourage their friends through social media to match their pledges. Take note that Google takes 1.9 percent for every $10 to cover credit card charges and that Apple takes a cut on the iOS app as well since this is technically an in-app purchase. Nevertheless, the remaining amount is being sent to needed charities. The Google One Today app is currently available in the United States. Those living outside the country will have to resort to other methods to help out the people in need. Source: Engadget Read More

Google Glass XE 12 update lets you take photos by winking (0)

Google has announced a major update for its Glass wearable computing device. The Google Glass XE 12 update, among other things, allows the device to take pictures just by winking with your right eye. Before the announcement, members of Google Glass Explorers could take photos by tapping on the device's right side, where the camera is housed. This functionality is supposed to assure the people around the user that the Glass is not snapping or recording images without their knowledge. Users can also take photos by winking before the update, but it was only possible through third-party apps. Using a more discreet gesture like a wink could raise privacy issues against Google Glass. Apart from making the Glass a more desirable tool for creeps, the Google Glass XE 12 update also enables the device to work with iOS via MyGlass for iOS app. Explorers can also record Hangouts, send text messages, chats, and even video calls from your head. Glass-equipped YouTubers would be delighted to know they can upload videos recorded from the device directly to YouTube. The update also includes an update over at Glassware for Google Play Music, now enabling users to navigate by playlists or even radio stations. The latter option is only applicable to All Access subscribers. Google did not forget about ironing out the security kinks before the Google Glass XE 12 update is released. Explorers can now have the option to set a screen lock, which would turn on once you take the Glass off or deactivate it. The update also comes with its share of fallouts. For instance, text messages will no longer have that obnoxious "Sent Through Glass" signature at the end, but it would still appear on outgoing emails. The Guest Mode is also getting the axe. Google recommends those with shared Glass to either give it away freely or create a demo account. Source: Engadget Read More

Select Google Glass Explorers can now buy a second pair (0)

If you are so excited to have your own Google Glass before it is even available in the market, you do not have to go to Craigslist or eBay. All you need to do is to befriend someone who already owns one. Google now allows a handful of Google Glass Explorers to purchase a second pair they can add to their collection or to gift a friend. This comes after a few members of this elite group of beta testers could not access the Glass aceessory shop; Google manages to fix the problem, along with a special opportunity to make it up to them. It is unsure if the rest of the Glass Explorers would be able to buy their own second pair. I mean, wouldn't that be unfair when an elite club has a more elite clique? Still, all Explorers can give out up to three invites to friends who are interested to purchase their own pair of pre-retail Google Glass, still bereft of purpose-built apps, but still a fun accessory to take pictures and videos with. Source: Engadget Read More

Bar in Seattle boots Google Glass user (0)

A resto-bar in Seattle had a little altercation last November 21 between its staff and a customer who happened to wear Google Glass. Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, a 24-hour diner located in the city's Capitol Hill, posted in its Facebook page that they asked a "rude" customer to leave because of his insistence to wear the computer-equipped, video-recording eyewear inside the restaurant. "We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake. We also ask that you (do) not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology," the restaurant quoting its official policy on the device. "If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave." This is not the first establishment in Seattle to ban Google Glass, but it just so happened that 5 Point--the first bar to ban Google Glass--and Lost Lake is headed by the same owner, Dave Meinert. The booted customer, apparently named Nick Starr, also posted on the social networking site about the incident, saying that he did leave when requested, but only after arguing the validity of the ban with the manager. In response to Starr, Meinert wrote: "We're not anti-Glass, they are useful in all sorts of ways. We just think there should be some rules about them. Sorry for the hassle. Please respect others." Google Glass has been facing issues on breach of privacy and safety before it is even available on retail. Lawmakers have proposed to have them banned while driving, and have also asked Google how it would address unwanted recording. The company said the device's light is always on during video recording and that the wearer must be staring at the subject for it to capture video. Even consumers are wary about this device. A survey on says that 70 percent of its readers agree that Google Glass should be banned on bars and restaurants. Source: Image source: Joe Seer/ Read More

Google launches Nexus 5 smartphone (0)

After months of speculations and leaks, Google has officially unveiled the LG-manufactured Nexus 5 smartphone. This new gadget brings out the best of Google's latest version of Android called KitKat. Much like what has been spoiled, the Nexus 5 sports a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdraon 800, a 5-inch display with 1080p resolution and minimal bezels, and 2GB of RAM. It also comes with a 2,300mAh battery and wireless charging capability, as well as a micro-USB port, dual-band WiFi, LTE, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.0 on board. This smartphone is cased in plastic with a "silky texture" and sheathed with Gorilla Glass 3 on its display. Its 8-megapixel rear camera has optical image stabilization and the ability to combine multiple exposures into a single photo, lightening up dark areas and bringing out details lost by a flash. Meanwhile, the front-facing camera is clocked at 1.3 megapixels. The Google Nexus 5 comes in two models: one for North America and Europe, and another for Asia. Both editions will have 16GB and 32GB versions, which will cost $349 and $399, respectively. The new LG-made smartphone is now available on Google Play Store, with your choice of black and white, for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile customers. It is also available at Best Buy and Radio Shack, while carriers will offer the gadget at subsidized prices. Source: Engadget Read More

Google Chromebook 11 unveiled (0)

Google teams up with HP to come up with its latest netbook: the lightweight and low-powered Chromebook 11. The two companies collaborated on the design of the Chromebook 11, which is essentially a follow-up to last year's Chromebook from Samsung. The Google Chromebook 11 has similarities to its predecessor: an 11-inch display with 1366 x 768 resolution, the ARM-based Exynos 5250 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and two USB ports. The improvements on this new netbook lie on its design and fine tuning, such as its sturdier magnesium frame, and a lighter weight at just 2.3 pounds. While the screen resolution of Google Chromebook 11 remains unchanged, its display has a 176-degree viewing angle. Also, its speakers are positioned underneath the keyboard, projecting the sound toward the user. Just like with other Chromebooks, the new one comes with 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for two years and 12 free GoGo in-flight Internet sessions. The Google Chromebook 11 is now available on Google Play, Amazon, and Best Buy for $279. Source: Google Read More

Google acquires Bump data-sharing app (0)

Data-sharing application Bump has been acquired by Google, according to a post that CEO David Lieb wrote on its official blog. "We couldn't be more thrilled to join Google, a company that shares our belief that the application of computing to difficult problems can fundamentally change the way that we interact with one another and the world," Lieb added. The announcement does not reveal much details about the acquisition, including the amount of money exchanged and the fate of Bump's current manpower. What Lieb has revealed, however, is that Bump and its photo app Flock "will continue to work as they always have for now." Note the keyword "for now," which may indicate the acquisition will affect Bump and Flock in non-Android smartphones. Let us hope that is not the case. Having been downloaded more than 100 million times since its launch two years ago, Bump enables easy transfer of photos, files, and contact details from your smartphone to your computer simply by bumping the spacebar using the handset. "We’d like to extend a special thank you to all of you who have used our products so far," Lieb wrote. "It continues to be a pleasure to serve you, and your feedback and evangelism inspire us every day." Source: Engadget Read More

New Google Nexus 7 Unveiled: Back Camera Now Included (0)

Google has launched the latest version of its Google Nexus 7 tablet. While the tablet costs $30 more than the original Nexus 7 tablet, the latest edition comes with beefed-up features, such as the addition of a rear-facing camera, a much sharper display, and richer sound system. At $229 for the base model, the Google Nexus 7 is 30 percent cheaper that the Apple iPad Mini. The latest Android tablet is the first to run Android 4.3, which allows you to create custom "child-friendly" profiles that limit what your children can do on the tablet when you are not watching. If you happen to own an Android smartphone, all the apps you have installed in the phone will also appear on the Nexus 7, allowing you to switch from one device to another seamlessly. Chrome's registered users will also have their browser's bookmarks transferred automatically, as well as their favorite places on Google Maps. [gallery type="slideshow" link="file" ids="27603,27604,27605,27606,27607"] Compared to last year's model, the screen on the new Google Nexus 7 has a higher pixel density at 323 pixels per inch, in contrast to 216 on the original version. It also has dual stereo speakers placed at the back, but they are positioned in such a way that sound seems to project outward instead of away from you. Owners of the old Nexus 7 would be delighted to see that the new model has a 5-megapixel back-facing camera, something their old tablets do not have. The new slab still has a front-facing camera for video chatting. The device also comes pre-installed with a camera app. The new tablet also promises a longer battery life, allowing you to surf the net up to 10 hours or stream videos for up to nine hours. The new Google Nexus 7 will be available next Tuesday in the US, starting at $229. It comes in 16GB and 32GB internal storage, which costs $269, both with WiFi-only connectivity. There is also a 32GB model with 4G LTE capability that will cost $349. Source: NDTV Read More

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