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Briefly: Skrillex Editions smartphone cases, Sling TV on Android TV

05/21, 9:57pm

Google, Skrillex release Live Cases for Android smartphones

Google has unveiled a set of limited-edition cases for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy Note 4 smartphones, designed in partnership with Skrillex. The Editions cases include early access to an album, a short-cut button that takes users to Skrillex's YouTube music feed, and a companion live wallpaper that updates throughout the course of the day with images shot from a specially-launched balloon satellite named after Skrillex's dog, reports Phone Arena. The cases are being sold through the Google Store for now, but the official Android blog suggests it may be available elsewhere in the future.

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YouTube adds 60fps live streaming option, new advertising units

05/21, 3:54pm

Google takes on Twitch by offering live streams at 1080p 60fps

Google is making a number of small changes to YouTube, that will likely be welcomed by advertisers and gamers alike. YouTube's live streaming capability will now include support for 60fps streams, making it more suitable for gaming, while the initial advertising preroll that runs before many videos will now allow users to find out a lot more information about the advertised products, as well as making it easier to purchase.

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Briefly: Facebook video calls goes global, Google Maps traffic alerts

05/21, 9:53am

Facebook Messenger video calling rolls out globally

Facebook is making video calling via the Messenger app available to more users. Previously available in 18 countries, including the United States, the Facebook Messenger video calling has been rolled out globally for iOS and Android users, though some countries will be delayed in receiving the calls due to ongoing work to improve the service's quality in those regions.

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Child advocacy groups complain about inappropriate YouTube Kids videos

05/20, 8:57am

Second FTC complaint about YouTube Kids relates to mature content

Google has come under fire again for its YouTube Kids app, this time for offering more serious unsuitable content to children. The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have complained to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about content on the video streaming service that the organizations deem unsuitable for viewing, including expletives, pedophilia references, and other mature content.

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European carriers reportedly plan mass blocking of online advertising

05/18, 10:42am

Ad blocking plans could result in request by carriers for advertising revenue cut

European carriers are allegedly working on blocking mobile advertising from major advertising networks, including those from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. A report claims the current plans to remove the online advertising from smartphone browsers in order to save on bandwidth costs, though it will also apparently have the ulterior motive of trying to force the advertising networks to share some of their revenue with the carriers themselves.

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Google restricts extension installs in Chrome for Mac, Developers

05/14, 9:55am

Windows Developers, Mac users forced to install extensions through Chrome Web Store

Google is expanding the reach of a security policy it introduced last year, preventing users from installing Chrome extensions sourced from anywhere but the Chrome Web Store. Initially put in place for Windows users, the rule is now being applied to the browser's developer channel for Windows as well as the main Mac version of the browser, with the changes taking place over the next few months.

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Google reveals it rejects majority of 'Right to be Forgotten' requests

05/14, 6:58am

Almost 59 percent of European search listing removal requests denied by Google

Google is not fulfilling a high proportion of "Right to be Forgotten" requests, with more than half of requests being denied by the search company. According to its latest Transparency Report, Google has evaluated over 922 thousand requests for the removal of search listings since the program began last year, but out of that figure, 58.7 percent of all requests have been rejected.

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Briefly: Google Fit gains Android Wear widget, Gmail for Android

05/13, 4:51pm

Google Fit adds calorie burn, distance estimates, Android Wear widget

The latest update to Google Fit for Android has added the ability to estimate the distance the user has traveled, and using information such as gender, height, and weight from their profile, estimate the calories burned. The update also includes a new widget for use with Android Wear smartwatches, one which provides more details about how far away the wearer is from their daily goal.

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Hands On: Google News & Weather 1.7.426 (iOS, Apple Watch)

05/13, 9:33am

Well, there's future potential at least

It is one of the oddities of life that weather forecasts are considered part of the news. Frankly you could well question why sport gets a mention but a summary of weather that hasn't happened yet really is not news. Finally, Google has made a stand: its updated Google News & Weather app for Apple Watch does not include weather.

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Google's self-driving cars involved in 11 accidents over 1.7M miles

05/11, 5:56pm

Autonomous car accidents involved minimal damage, Google claims

Google's fleet of self-driving cars have been involved in a few accidents while driving on public roads, though the number is relatively low. Over the six years of the project, and over the course of 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving, Google reveals the cars have been in a total of 11 minor accidents involving light damage and no injuries, though apparently none of them have been caused by the car itself.

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Google temporarily closes Map Maker following high-profile prank

05/11, 3:15pm

Access to Google Map Maker denied for all while moderation system gets overhauled

Google is temporarily preventing users from being able to access the Map Maker tool, following a series of incidents concerning its misuse. Starting from tomorrow, the tool will be pulled while Google works to add some sort of moderation system to it, in order to avoid further issues such as the recent image of the Android mascot urinating on the Apple logo appearing in Google Maps.

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Briefly: More Google Now cards added, Spotify Connect update

04/28, 6:39pm

Google Now integrations increase by 70 to 110

Google is increasing the number of cards in Google Now, after adding integrations with 70 more apps to the service, bringing the total number of integrations to 110. The new cards, which will be rolling out to Android users over the next few weeks, will include news notifications from ABC News and Feedly, food reminders from Eat24 and Allrecipes, fitness updates from Runkeeper and Jawbone, and playlist recommendations from Spotify and YouTube, among other new additions.

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Briefly: Google updates smartwatch listings, Sky 3D channel closing

04/28, 7:59am

Google adds LG Watch Urbane to store, discounts Moto 360, LG G Watch R

Smartwatch listings on the Google Store have been updated, with a new Android Wear addition and some price changes. The LG Watch Urbane is available for the first time in the store, priced at $350, while the LG G Watch R has dropped $50 from $300 to $250. The Moto 360 has also been discounted in the store, dropping from $250 to $180.

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Google unveils new scheme to acquire unwanted patents

04/28, 7:09am

Patent Purchase Promotion initiative aims to reduce patent lawsuits

Google is starting up a new experimental program where it will acquire patents from inventors and companies wishing to sell. The Patent Purchase Promotion is framed by the search company as a way for it to "remove friction from the patent market" caused through the sale of unwanted patents to non-practicing entities, also known as "patent trolls," and the ensuing litigation.

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European Commission selects complainants for case against Google

04/25, 10:04pm

More than half of the companies on record with complaints included

The European Union's first antitrust case against Google -- where the advertising giant is accused of giving more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors -- will include 19 companies as complainants, giving them the ability to see and comment on the full list of charges leveled against Google. However, a number of the companies are not directly involved in online shopping, suggesting that the charges brought against Google could be more wide-ranging than previously suspected.

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Briefly: Google stops selling Nexus 7, Possible Google Glass 2 at FCC

04/25, 9:13pm

Google online store discontinues Nexus 7 tablet

Google is no longer selling the Nexus 7 through its online store. Spotted by Talk Android, the product listing for the Android tablet shows the message "The Nexus 7 is no longer available for purchase," and the tablet does not appear in the main products menu anymore. The Nexus 9, the company's larger tablet produced by HTC, remains unaffected and is now the only tablet sold in the store.

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Luxottica CEO claims Google working on second version of Glass

04/24, 6:46pm

Eyewear manufacturer head advises Google Glass 2 now in development

Google is working on a second generation of its Glass headset, the head of Luxottica has claimed. Massimo Vian, CEO of the Italian glasses producer, told attendees of the company's general meeting that a second version is under development with a future third variant of the smart headwear also being discussed by project engineers at the search giant.

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Briefly: Google Maps image insults Apple, X-Files HD hits Netflix US

04/24, 9:07am

Image on Google Maps depicts Android mascot urinating on Apple

Users of Google Maps may find an odd image if they search Pakistan. Team Android reports someone has inserted an image of the Android mascot urinating on the Apple Logo. While it is unlikely to be an addition by a Google employee, it is possible that the image was added as part of Map Maker, a system that allows users to submit edits to the map for inclusion into the main Google Maps service, with the insulting image possibly overlooked during moderation.

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Google profit growth slows; capital expenditure, worker rolls grow

04/23, 4:32pm

Company posts income of $3.6 billion for the quarter

Google today announced financial results for the quarter that ended on March 31. Google's first quarter revenue was $17.3 billion, up 12 percent from the same time period of 2014. Income for the company hit $3.6 billion, up from $3.5 billion, sitting in the middle of its own guidance, as well as meeting Wall Street estimates. The company's cash on hand and marketable securities grew to $65 billion, from $59 billion in the previous quarter.

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Google reveals Project Fi as carrier with flexible data allowances

04/22, 2:46pm

Project Fi switches between two carriers, provides credits for unused data

Google has confirmed earlier rumors that it was planning to launch its own wireless service. Project Fi is a virtual network that provides calls, texts, and data like other carriers, but the main feature of the service is that it will drastically simplify and potentially cheapen the user's bill, by asking customers to pay for the basic service and only for the amount of data they use in the month.

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Google cuts YouTube support for older Apple TV, Google TV, iOS devices

04/21, 7:58am

Supported device list pruned as part of YouTube Data API changes

Google is preparing to cut support for its YouTube apps on a number of aging devices. An announcement on the YouTube support pages notes that select devices manufactured before or during 2012 will lose support for the video app, with the list including smart TVs and Blu-ray players, older Google TV devices, earlier models of the Apple TV, and some iOS devices.

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Briefly: OnePlus One loses invitations, Google frees search history

04/21, 6:23am

OnePlus makes One smartphone available to buy without invitations

The OnePlus One is now available to buy without an invitation, the manufacturer has revealed. Plagued by restricted invitation-only sales since its launch one year ago, and only recently selling freely in weekly 24-hour sales, OnePlus has lifted the restriction entirely, allowing users to order the smartphone whenever they want. The company won't be shutting out invitations completely, as the upcoming OnePlus 2 will also initially sell via invitations.

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Google Wallet balances now have FDIC protection

04/19, 8:43pm

Funds of Google Wallet users now held in FDIC-insured accounts

Google has taken a step to protect the users of Google Wallet, by making funds stored on their accounts FDIC-insured. Confirmed to Yahoo Finance, Google is now storing funds of its users in multiple banking institutions that are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, safeguarding account balances in the event the company or bank shuts down.

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Oregon 'fixes' recent tax law changes to encourage Google Fiber

04/19, 4:31pm

Language of Oregon tax bill altered to benefit Google

Oregon has amended recently-altered state tax laws designed to help Internet services, correcting mistakes in the legislature. A second bill has been signed, correcting "wording issues" in an earlier bill that would have excluded Google Fiber from the very tax exemptions lawmakers were trying to put in place, removing the disincentives to setting up a gigabit Internet service in Portland.

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Report: Apple improves revenue for devs over Android in 2015

04/17, 6:30pm

Android gains 70 percent of downloads, iOS gains 70 percent of revenue

A new report by analytics firm App Annie has revealed that Apple and Google, as the progenitors of iOS and Android respectively, are locked in a roughly stalemated battle when it comes to revenues from apps versus app downloads. Google's Android enjoys the majority of app downloads, as it has for some time -- but continues to be unable to catch Apple in terms of being able to reward developers for their work. In a set of charts from the analytics firm, Apple's revenue from app sales is about 70 percent higher than Google Play, while Google's downloads outpaced Apple's by 70 percent.

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Hands On: DevonAgent Pro (OS X)

04/16, 9:24am

It has a very particular set of skills and it will find you

You've got to really need to find something before you'll bother going away from Google, and you've really, really got to need to find it before you'll spend money on a search utility. Yet don't see this as a reason why DevonAgent Pro must be a niche product, or see it as telling that this app satisfies those most demanding searches and searchers. It's a $50 utility for your Mac that does just do searches, but it does them through an intelligent and supremely customizable set of tools.

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Briefly: Google 'Find my Phone' search, handwriting tool for Android

04/16, 7:44am

Google adds option to find Android smartphone to search results

Owners of Android devices have a simple way of finding their misplaced smartphone, by performing a Google search. Similar to Android Device Manager's tool for finding a lost device, a search for the phrase "Find My Phone" with the owner logged in to their Google account will load up a card showing the device's location on a map, with the added option of setting the phone to ring at its loudest setting to help with finding it nearby.

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Google draws antitrust ire from European regulator for search, Android

04/15, 12:04pm

Comparison shopping, Android app bundling complains issued by European Commission

Google's relationship with the European Commission (EC) has worsened, after the regulator made two antitrust-related announcements. It has formally objected to the way Google gives more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors, and has also opened up a separate formal investigation over Android and its bundling of Google apps.

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Google MVNO carrier service reportedly named 'Project Fi'

04/14, 11:59am

Nexus 6 firmware hints at Google wireless service with refunds for unused data

Google's plans to offer a wireless service in the United States may have been uncovered earlier than planned. An examination of a recent firmware image of the Nexus 6 appears to suggest Google will offer a service where customers will only pay for the amount of services they use, with the potential service also being given a logo and a temporary name: Project Fi.

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WSJ: Google X research team working on improving battery technology

04/12, 6:57pm

Four-man Google X team includes ex-Apple battery expert

The secretive Google X Labs is working on ways to improve battery technology, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. A small group of four engineers is said to be working on the project, which could help the company increase a number of its other projects that depend on batteries, including its consumer devices and experimental items such as Google Glass.

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Google reportedly trying to make Android Wear devices work with iOS

04/09, 4:29pm

Android Wear companion app for iOS allegedly close to completion

Google may be preparing to fight the Apple Watch on its home turf, by working on getting Android Wear devices to work with iOS devices. A companion app for iOS is reportedly close to being completed by Google, which in theory would allow smartwatches running Android Wear to receive notifications and interact with other apps on Apple's mobile operating system.

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YouTube confirms ad-free subscription service on the way

04/09, 6:53am

Changes to YouTube Partner Program terms include similar revenue split as normal advertising

Google has confirmed to content creators the rumored YouTube subscription service is coming soon. The video streaming service is also laying more of the groundwork for its ad-free offering by changing the terms uploaders must agree to before uploading, adding language that explains how revenues from subscriptions will be allocated to video producers.

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Briefly: CBS All Access on Roku, Google Moderator shutting down

04/08, 6:17am

CBS All Access streaming service heads to Roku

Broadcaster CBS has expanded the reach of its video on demand and live streaming service to Roku devices. Already available on mobile devices, CBS All Access costs $6 per month and offers live streams of local affiliates in 14 major markets, though users in other areas will still be able to watch the on demand items, including new episodes of popular shows the day after they are broadcast.

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Child advocacy groups rail against YouTube Kids, petition FTC

04/07, 9:34am

Groups claim that YouTube Kids hosts content that wouldn't be allowed on TV

A series of children's and consumers advocacy groups have requested that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) look into Google's YouTube Kids app. The groups are claiming that Google is running afoul of laws restricting advertising to children, saying that "the videos provided to children on YouTube Kids intermix commercial and other content in ways that are deceptive and unfair to children and would not be permitted to be shown on broadcast or cable television."

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Google ARC Welder allows Android apps to run in Chrome browser

04/05, 8:53am

Developer tool runs Android apps on Windows, Mac desktops

Google is attempting to increase the number of places people can run Android apps, by bringing them to desktops. The App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) tool was initially brought out for Chrome OS, but Google has expanded the development tool's availability to the Chrome browser, allowing the Android apps to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, all from within the browser itself.

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UK Diverted Profits Tax in effect today; $1B to flow into UK coffers

04/01, 2:23pm

Contested tax code a patch for decades of tax law allowing Irish loophole

As previously reported, the Diverted Profits Tax, also known as the "Google Tax," has come into effect in the United Kingdom today with very few changes to the proposed law. The tax law requires companies to list revenue and profit from other countries, aiding officials to determine if profits are being transferred elsewhere against UK tax code and making them subject to the tax.

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Briefly: Google Maps Pac-Man, Facebook introduces Scrapbook tool

04/01, 7:55am

Pac-Man playable on Google Maps, uses streets for game board

Continuing a long tradition of April Fools' Day treats, Google has turned Google Maps into a playable version of Pac-Man. On computers, selecting the Pac-Man view in the bottom left of the screen turns part of the currently-viewed map into the game board, while mobile users will have to navigate to specific locations and select the Pac-Man map pin before playing.

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Google outs new Chromebooks, upcoming Chromebit HDMI dongle

03/31, 4:21pm

Chromebit plugs into HDMI port, turns TV into Chrome OS device

Google has revealed a new lineup of Chrome OS devices that consumers will be able to purchase in the coming months. The usual new Chromebooks are being announced alongside a new device called the Chromebit, a compact computer that plugs directly into the HDMI port of a monitor or television, effectively turning it into a Chrome OS system.

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Google adds unified inbox to Gmail for Android

03/30, 4:45pm

Unified Gmail inbox combines messages from multiple accounts into one list

Google is bringing the unified inbox to its Gmail app for Android, the search company has revealed. The latest version of the app allows users to view emails from multiple accounts on one single page, with the function not only working with multiple Gmail accounts, but also email addresses from other services, including Yahoo and Outlook.com.

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Briefly: Nest UK daylight savings glitch, Chrome OS beta update

03/30, 8:28am

Nest thermostat owners in UK complain about British Summer Time glitch

Owners of the Nest thermostat in the United Kingdom are complaining about a glitch where the device fails to respect this weekend's change to British Summer Time. Posts on the Nest support forums spotted by The Register note that the thermostat does recognize the change in time, but the schedule effectively does not take it into effect, with changes being performed one hour later than intended. While Nest works to fix the issue, one user has managed to get around the problem by changing the thermostat's settings, temporarily relocating it in software to Belgium.

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Google to face trial in UK over ignoring Safari cookie setting

03/27, 10:12am

Class action given go-ahead by appeals court over privacy violating data collection

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has dismissed an attempt by Google to prevent British computer users from being able to sue it in England. The landmark hearing followed an earlier defeat for Google in the English High Court in which it was unsuccessful in preventing three British computer users from having the right to sue it for breach of privacy, after the computer giant ignored users wishes not to have tracking cookies placed on their computers.

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Google adding IE Pointer Events API to Chrome, releases Data Saver

03/26, 11:43pm

Google using Microsoft-created API to fix scrolling issues in Chrome

Google is going to be leaning on some Internet Explorer technology to fix scrolling and touch support in its Chrome browser. At the same time, Google has launched an extension for the desktop versions of Chrome which aims to reduce the amount of data used to surf the Internet, a feature that has already made an appearance on iOS and Android versions of the browser.

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Apple, Google coalition demands Patriot Act changes prior to renewal

03/26, 10:43am

Other members include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Evernote, DropBox, many others

Nearly all of the tech industry, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and LinkedIn have co-signed a letter to the US government, calling for reform of Section 215 of the Patriot Act before it expires and is likely renewed in May. The coalition is seeking an "effective end to bulk collection" of user metadata, "transparency and accountability mechanisms" for federal and industry reporting, and eased declassification of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.

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Google reportedly planning YouTube game streaming service

03/25, 2:09pm

YouTube Live apparently being retooled for live game streaming to compete with Twitch

Google may be planning to boost its live streaming functions in YouTube by taking on Twitch. A report claims YouTube will soon launch a game streaming service on the video site, one that is set to directly compete against the Amazon-owned service, by providing viewers access to live streams of esports and other similar content in a refreshed YouTube Live.

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Google bringing Fiber to Salt Lake City, Oregon law change backfires

03/25, 10:09am

Bill giving tech companies tax incentives seemingly excludes Google Fiber

Google has revealed Salt Lake City, Utah will be joining the roster of seven other cities as Google Fiber locations. The announcement of the eighth Google Fiber location comes alongside news that Google is unlikely to bring its high-speed fiber Internet service to Portland, Oregon anytime soon, as a bill designed to draw the service to the city has seemingly backfired.

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Google Glass is too important to scrap, claims Eric Schmidt

03/23, 5:51pm

Graduation from Google X does not mean project closure, Google chairman advises

Google has not put to rest its Glass headset project, as the technology is "too important to scrap," executive chairman Eric Schmidt claims. The graduation of the Glass Explorer Program from Google X Labs in January with the team reporting to Nest's Tony Fadell was performed to make Google Glass "ready for users" and to expedite its eventual general release.

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Google starts testing targeted advertising on Fiber TV service

03/23, 1:25pm

Kansas City Google Fiber customers get highly localized TV advertising

Google's technology for targeted online advertising is being tested out for use with television advertising. The installation of Google Fiber in Kansas City will be trialling targeted TV advertising, providing local companies with a way to advertise their business to nearby customers in existing commercial breaks alongside national advertisers.

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Briefly: BlackBerry Leap at FCC, Google Nexus Player coming to UK

03/23, 7:31am

BlackBerry Leap heads to FCC for possible US launch

The BlackBerry Leap has made its way to the FCC, with regulatory listings hinting at availability of the smartphone in the United States later than in Europe. Crackberry notes that the short-term confidentiality agreement in the filing expires on May 4, long after the European launch in April, and though it isn't definitive, it certainly suggests the smartphone will go on sale in the US either on that date or shortly after.

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The MacNN Podcast, episode seven: Apple TV rumors, Windows 10, more

03/22, 8:09pm

Disrupting industries is the new black, great apps and fair app prices, bad jokes

The MacNN Podcast episode seven is now available, and this week we looked at the rumor that Apple is preparing to revamp the Apple TV and sweeten the pot with an optional package of channel offerings that don't require a cable subscription; Google's entry into the MVNO space; the recent Microsoft announcements about Windows 10; Facebook getting into inter-site payments; the return of Launcher to the App Store, and the removal of so-called "anti-virus" iOS apps; our latest "Living With" column; and our favorite apps of the week.

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On-body detection keeps Android device unlocked while carried

03/22, 7:11pm

New Android Lollipop security function prevents locking when smartphone is held

Android users may be able to use their smartphone for longer periods without seeing their lock screen, thanks to a new feature spotted rolling out to Smart Lock on Android Lollipop devices. On-body detection will keep a smartphone or tablet unlocked if it detects it is being carried, automatically reinstating the lock when it detects it has been placed down on a surface.

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