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Google Wallet Introduces Money Transfers via Gmail (0)

You know Google has anything else than its soon-to-be-released, expensive, likely-to-be-banned-in-some-states glasses the company tries to shove into us, right? Good, because the company has made three major announcements at its Google I/O developer conference that involve Google Wallet. One of which is allowing users to send and receive money from Google Wallet through email. This new feature comes as Google aims to make the Google Wallet experience more usable to more people, since there are still places where NFC cannot be used and not every smartphone has that capability. As for Google's two other announcements, the company has issued application programming interfaces (APIs) that developers can use to access Google Wallet to streamline online shopping experience, as well as give users the ability to include any loyalty card in their Google Wallet account. Google hopes that developers can find ways to make purchases within Android apps and on the web more convenient for consumers, such as not having to re-enter payment information every single time. The software giant has also created APIs that developers can use to allow retailers to add quick access to loyalty cards and programs. But the email payment functionality is arguable the most interesting of the lot, as Google makes digital payments as easy as attaching a photo or document in an email. Although this function will currently available on Gmail's desktop version, its users can send money to those who do not have a Gmail account. It is free to send money if the user's bank account is linked to their Google Wallet prepaid account. Meanwhile, service fees apply for sending money using a Google Wallet-linked credit card or debit card. To start sending and receiving money, users should first set up a Google Wallet account. To send money via Gmail, users have to hover over the paperclip icon and wait for various attachment options to appear. They then click the "$" icon to attach money to their email, enter the amount they wish to send, and press Send. Sending money through phone would require users to go to Google Wallet's mobile site (wallet.google.com). Note that this email money transfer currently only accepts money sent from within the United States, and is only available for Gmail users in the U.S. over the age of 18. Google has also developed a system that deals with security issues when sending money through email. The Google Wallet Purchase Protection Plan covers users 100 percent against eligible unauthorized payments. The company assures Google Wallet users that no actual account information is transferred through email. Source: CNET Read More

Google Play Rains on Facebook Home’s Parade (0)

Back in the day, Android users had it easy when they can have their apps updated, even beta updates, without having to go through Google Play Store. This included Facebook Home as the social networking suite exploited the said loophole, pushing beta updates to a limited amount of users directly from Home itself. But Google has abruptly changed all that with a revision on its Play Store's terms and conditions. Google's app market now requires all Android users to update all downloaded apps through the Play Store itself. The revised terms and conditions, under the Dangerous Products section, states: "An app downloaded from Google Play may not modify, replace or update its own APK binary code using any method other than Google Play's update mechanism." It is also under this section where Google Play prohibits the transmission of "viruses, worms, defects, Trojan horses, malware, or any other items that may introduce security vulnerabilities to or harm user devices, applications, or personal data." While the revision may be seen as Google's way to prevent Facebook from bypassing the Play Store, it is more of a mechanism to prevent malicious apps to utilize this loophole. It is just so happened that Facebook got caught in this loophole closure. Android has been criticized for being vulnerable to malware and other security vulnerabilities. Source: Google Play, via TechCrunch Read More

Google Forbids Reselling and Borrowing Google Glass (0)

A number of people who got the chance to own an early edition Google Glass were surprised to find out that Google would brick the $1,500 computer eyewear of anyone found to be reselling or even loaning out the gadget. Apparently they did not read the fine print on Google's terms of service on this limited-edition Google Glass: "You may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google's authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty." Google would know if a person's Google Glass was transferred to another person because each eyewear is registered under the buyer's Google account. Google recently launched its Google Glass Explorers program, which handpicked a few lucky individuals who tweeted with the hashtag #IfIHadGlassAnd, giving them the opportunity to shell out $1,500 to own the Explorer edition of the computer eyewear. One of the program's participants, who goes by the name "Ed," attempted to auction his Google Glass on eBay. He only realized that has was not allowed to sell his Google Glass through the Glass Explorers Google+ group, prompting him to halt the auction, which ballooned to more than $90,000. Neither Google nor eBay had contacted him about the auction and Ed hopes Google would not hold it against him for trying to sell the device. The terms of service sound Draconian, but this seems to be the future of consumer electronics, where companies retain control of their devices even after the consumers have purchased them. Whether or not Google Glass' TOS is unlawful remains debatable, but a recent court ruling indicates that Google is not doing anything wrong. The case involved a man attempting to auction Autodesk software on eBay. Autodesk prevailed in the lawsuit, as the appeals court pointed out that its contract with customers include a section that forbids them from reselling the software. Source: Wired Read More

Google Inactive Account Manager Sets Your Data’s Fate (0)

We always say that "the Internet is forever." Everything we post online is etched in digital history for many generations to see. But you don't want the online archaeologists of year 3000 uncover the crotch shots you've been sending through Gmail (judging you, to be honest). Google has found a way to make your online data "die" along with your death, as it introduced the Inactive Account Manager that serves to "plan your digital afterlife." Located in your Google Accounts settings page, the Inactive Account Manager allows you to choose whether you want to have all your data stored in Google, such as your messages in Gmail and Ghat, deleted after several months of inactivity. It also gives you the option to assign a trusted contact that would receive information--but not control of--your Google services like Google Drive, Blogger, Picasa, and YouTube among others. Google is one of several online services that provides users the option of managing their online presence in the afterlife. There is also DeadSocial, which enables you to "post" messages (whether in text, video, or audio) on your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts after your passing. There is even a service called LivesOn that tweets on your Twitter account post-mortem, using your own likes and writing voice as its reference. For Facebook, they allow people close to a deceased user to either delete the account permanently--along with thousands of duck face photos (still judging you)--or convert it into an online memorial, which would remove contact information and all status updates. There services allows you to make your data return to digital dust just as you become dust. Now, if only you remember that you still haven't deleted your Myspace account, where a lot of your embarrassing party photos still waiting to be unearthed in the year 3000. Source: Google Public Policy, via ABC News Photo source: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com Read More

WhatsApp and Google Reportedly in Acquisition Talks (0)

Word on the street is that Google is planning to acquire cross-platform application WhatsApp. A report from Digital Trends claims that the two have talking for "four or five weeks," citing their source who claims to have insider knowledge of the negotiations. The source adds that WhatsApp has been "playing hardball" and was able to push the acquisition price to almost $1 billion. One of the most popular messaging apps for mobile users, WhatsApp allows users to send messages and media files to friends and family who have the app installed, whether they are using iOS, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry. The app also allows cross-platform texting without having to shell out money for the SMS. Back in January, WhatsApp announced that its users sent over 7 billion inbound messages on New Year's Eve, while 11 billion outbound messages were sent during the same time period. That milestone broke WhatsApp's previous one-day record of 10 billion total messages. Although it is debatable whether WhatsApp would be worth the $1 billion, it is quite likely it would be acquired with that rate. Remember that Facebook paid that same price when it bought Instagram. Back then, everybody thought the price was too high but looking at how Instagram remains the popular go-to place for sharing photos makes the high price worth it. Google and WhatsApp have yet to release a statement regarding this story. Source: Digital Trends, via CNET Read More

Sony Submits Patent for Google Glass Rival (0)

Google is in for a competition as Sony files a patent indicating that it is working on its own Google Glass rival. The application, with patent number 20130069850, has just become public on USPTO's website and has been said to be a continuation of Sony's past patents filed in 2008 and 2009. Sony is formally applying a patent for "a head mounted display apparatus includes an image display device, a wearing device with which the image display device is worn on a head of an observer, and an attachment member with which the image display device is attached to the wearing device. The attachment member is capable of adjusting a position of the image display device relative to the wearing device independently in a first direction and in a second direction, the first direction being defined by a virtual line connecting centers of eyes of the observer, the second direction being perpendicular to the first direction and extending vertically with respect to the observer." It sounds a mouthful, but it is obvious that the patent application is about a Google Glass rival. The difference between the two would be Sony's adjustable lenses that can be moved according to the user's comfort, while all parts of Google Glass are reportedly in a fixed position. Sony's smart glass would also allow the user to view information on both eyes, in contrast to just one eye in Google's device. The Sony's Google Glass rival would also come with ear buds, judging by the prototype sketch (pictured). There is little information on whether this will only display 2D content. I know what you are thinking: this would be patent wars all over again. While both devices appear to be similar and have almost the same functions, it seems like Sony is trying to make their device as different from Google Glass as possible. Source: USPTO, via The Droid Guy Read More

W Virginia Lawmaker Proposes Google Glass Ban while Driving (0)

A lawmaker from West Virginia has filed a bill that would prohibit the wearing of head-mounted displays like Google Glass while driving within state limits. The proposed law may sound funny at first, but it is built on logic and sensibility. "I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-text-and-driving law," Republican State Delegate Gary G. Howell tells CNET. "It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers." For Delegate Howell, Google Glass and similar devices that will be created in the future can be just as distracting and dangerous as using smartphones to call or text while driving. "We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension," he adds. The bill is also a reminder to drivers that their own vehicles have way too many gadgets and monitors, from heads-up displays to infotainment systems. These are what drivers should focus on while driving, not checking their friend's photos on Facebook. If approved, Google Glass would be included among electronic devices that are currently banned from using while operating a motor vehicle within West Virginia. The first offense would result in a penalty of $100, while subsequent offenses would cost $200, $300, and so on. While Mr. Howell remains unsure whether the bill will become law, he is sure other states will file similar bills. Source: Read More

Is Google in on the Smartwatch Battle, too? (0)

It appears like giant tech companies are gearing up in debuting smartwatch of their own. After an executive for Samsung confirmed they are developing a wrist device, the buzz is that Google is also doing just that. According to a blog post in The Financial Times, Google's smartwatch is allegedly being developed as we speak. The article also notes that Google's Android unit is all hands in developing the smartwatch, instead of the its uber-secret X Lab that brought us Google Glass and driverless cars. "This is telling because it means that, unlike Google Glass, the company may be looking to get a consumer product out to users on a speedier timeline," says Dara Kerr of CNET. The Financial Times has also revealed that Google actually filed a patent application for a "smart watch" back in 2011. The patent features a wrist-worn device with dual-screened display, as well as an interactive user interface. Apart from Samsung and Google, Apple has also been rumored to be developing its own smartwatch. The company behind the iPhone and iPad has yet to comment on that matter. It should be noted that smartwatches are nothing entirely new. Similar devices from smaller companies have been launched into the market these past years, from fitness bands, smartwatches, or a hybrid of the two. Examples include the Pebble wristwatch and the Casio G Shock bluetooth-connected wristwatch. Source: The Financial Times, via CNET Image source: Adrian Maciburko Read More

Google Keep Note-Taking App Launched (0)

Google has unveiled its new note-taking app called Google Keep, which is now available as an Android app and as a Cloud-based Web service. "With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what's important to you," Google stated in a blog post. "Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand." Google Keep allows users to create, edit, and access new notes on its app and Web service. The service also supports voice memos, which Keep will transcribe automatically. It also has a search component and the option to delete or archive notes once you are done with them. While Keep is currently a subcategory of Google Drive, the company says that users would "be able to do the same directly from Google Drive" in the coming weeks. As an app, Google Keep is compatible to devices running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above. It comes with a home-screen widget that keeps the app remain front and center. Meanwhile, a lock-screen widget appears on devices with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and above, which provides easy access to Keep. Users can drag and drop to arrange notes according to priority, as well as select a different color for each note. When viewing these notes on the smartphone, they line up like the live tiles on Windows Phone. This is not Google's first time to venture into note taking jungle. The company had Google Notebook years ago, which it stopped active development in 2009. By July 2012, the service was shut down and all data from Notebook was transferred to Google Docs. Source: PC magazine Read More

Google Maps Provides “Street View” of Tallest Mountains (0)

Google Maps now allow users to visit the tallest mountains of the world without have to lift your toes. The navigation app comes with "street views" of the world's biggest mountains, including Mount Everest, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Mount Elbrus. The feature is created from photos several Google employees took during their mountaineering adventures, as well as some of their favorite images from other mountain climbers. "While there's nothing quite like standing on the mountain, with Google Maps you can instantly transport yourself to the top of these peaks and enjoy the sights without all of the avalanches, rock slides, crevasses, and dangers from altitude and weather that mountaineers face," Google said in a blog post. You can check out Mount Everest up close here. Source: Google Maps, via CNET Read More



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