British Airways allows passengers to use electronics throughout flight
British Airways has become the first European airline to allow the use of smartphones and tablets throughout a flight. The change in policy at the airline after the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) rule alterations mirrors that of American counterparts after the FAA made a similar decision. While passengers will be able to use mobile devices from terminal to terminal, Reuters reports that devices are still required to go into "Flight Mode" for the journey itself.
Invites users to learn more about and donate to charities
Google has brought its One Today charity app, which debuted originally on Android in July, to iOS devices. The app focuses on a different charity every day, presenting the user with information about its mission and easy ways to donate to it, encouraging users to give $1 (or more) to a charity that interests them. Donations can be shared with social networks or kept private, and are all tax deductible.
Apple Retina iPad mini versus Google Nexus 7
The iPad mini with Retina display has arrived in time to challenge the Google Nexus 7 (2013) in time for the hotly contested holiday season tablet sales. Technically speaking, the iPad mini is closer to an 8-inch tablet, than a 7-inch tablet, although most people see the two devices as going to head in the same market space. Apple actually points out on its website that its 4:3 7.9-inch iPad mini has 35 percent more screen real estate over 16:9 7-inch displays. Screen size is not the only major point of difference for consumers; price is. Starting from $399, the Retina iPad mini is at the high-end for a smaller tablet, while the Nexus 7 starts from $229. So do you let pricing rule your decision making, or is it worth spending the extra dollars on the what is widely considered to be the gold standard of tablets?
LG preps Chrome OS all-in-one
At next month's Consumer Electronics Show, South Korean manufacturer LG will reveal a new all-in-one desktop powered by Google's Chrome OS software. LG announced the device on Tuesday, touting it as a streamlined device well suited for schools, hotels, and call centers, as well as other businesses that need simple computing portals without the financial and support costs of installing a full PC. The Chromebase will be the first all-in-one device to run Google's fledgling, browser-based operating system, which appears increasingly attractive to manufacturers looking to diversify their offerings as the traditional PC market has largely plateaued.
Google platform dominates in Korea, Japan
Apple's App Store has reportedly held its leading position this year in terms of revenue, though Google Play has maintained a stronger growth rate, according to data published by app analytics firm Distimo. Between January and November, Apple's revenue share had fallen from 70 to 63 percent while Google's share jumped from 30 to 37 percent.
Trial users being registered for EnergySense service
Google is looking to move into the smart thermostat market, by allegedly starting a trial of an energy monitoring service. Reportedly called EnergySense, the program is said to help users monitor their home energy usage, with Internet-connected thermostats able to automatically adjust the temperature in order to minimize the amount of power used in heating.
Google lets iOS Glass owners pair through new app
Update: The app has now disappeared from the App Store with no explanation from Google.
Google has released a new app for iOS, one that allows owners of its Google Glass wearable computing device to pair their headsets with an iPhone or iPad. The new MyGlass for iOS app hit the App Store on Tuesday, expanding Google Glass' compatibility beyond the Android operating system. Google notes in the app's description that the app does of course require having access to the search giant's still-in-beta head-mounted computer in order to be of any use.
Charger recall affects over 140,000 Chromebooks
Google and HP are starting to recall micro-USB chargers sold with the Chromebook 11, due to a number of reported heat-related incidents. A total of nine reports of power chargers overheating and melting have led to the recall, which asks for customers to contact Google for a free replacement, and to stop charging the Chrome OS notebook with the faulty device.
On the agenda are NSA surveillance, Obamacare, income inequality
President Obama is spending part of December 17 in conference with an assortment of Silicon Valley executives in order to "address national security and the economic impacts of unauthorized intelligence disclosures." On tap to meet at the White House are Apple CEO Tim Cook, Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, and 11 others.
Microsoft-led suit led to embargo of older Motorola devices, suits continue
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld Microsoft's ban on Motorola's products that used a meeting scheduler patent. Google-owned Motorola attempted to get the ruling overturned, hoping that the court would invalidate the patent and overturn the US International Trade Commission finding holding it valid.
Search giant argues for California venue
Google is reportedly calling for a UK privacy lawsuit to be dismissed, arguing that the case should be heard in its home state of California, according to a Guardian report. The company has been sued by a group of users who accuse the company of illegally monitoring their online habits by circumventing security settings on the desktop and mobile versions of Apple's Safari browser.
Read-out PIN can unlock Moto X, Droid Ultra, Mini, Maxx
Motorola has updated its Touchless Control app with more voice commands, amid other changes. The app, available as an update through Google Play for compatible Motorola devices running Android KitKat, introduces the potentially-insecure option of verbally providing your security PIN to the smartphone in order to unlock it.
Google buys company that designed robots for Pentagon
Google on Friday confirmed that it has completed its acquisition of Boston Dynamics, the engineering company that designed the BigDog robot for the Pentagon. The New York Times confirmed the acquisition early Saturday morning, noting that it represents the latest move by the search giant into the development of autonomous mechanical machines. Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company that Google has bought in the last six months.
Google looking to push Chromecast into new TV standard
Google is looking to expand its Chromecast streaming device from a simple television attachment into an international brand. This according to Gigaom, which quoted Google's vice president of product management, Mario Queiroz, in saying that Google has big plans for its diminutive streaming attachment. Reportedly, Google plans to greatly increase both the number of apps and services that work with the attachment, as well as the features developers can have access to.
Larger speaker holes, firmer buttons found in newer Nexus 5
The Google Nexus 5 smartphone has quietly received some slight changes to its construction, apparently in order to fix customer complaints. Changes relating to the way the buttons feel, speaker and microphone grills and the SIM tray have all appeared, all without comment from either Google itself or manufacturing partner LG.
YouTube abandons 100 subscriber limit for live streaming
YouTube has abandoned the 100-subscriber minimum for access to live streaming for all users. The policy change, revealed on Thursday in a post to the YouTube Creators Blog, lets all verified YouTube accounts create and stream live events to watchers, no matter how popular they are. The policy update also adds the option to launch a Google+ Hangout On Air directly from within the YouTube Live events manager.
Pebble updates software with alarm settings, notification controls
Pebble has updated the software for its smartwatch, adding a new "Do Not Disturb" setting. As well as allowing wearers to designate a period of time when notifications are not displayed, the update adds changes to the way it handles alarms, including adding multiple alarms, toggling them on and off, and a new "Snooze Alarm." Added controls for notifications, improved iOS performance, and a number of bug fixes are also included.
Executive formerly ran USPTO satellite office in Silicon Valley
A former senior attorney once on Google's payroll has been named to run the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) until a new permanent director is selected. Michelle Lee was the former deputy general counsel and head of patent strategy at Google before her departure to head the Silicon Valley office of the USPTO.
Gmail image change accompanied by Android app updates
Gmail users will no longer have to manually permit images to load for messages, in a new update rolling out to accounts from today onwards. Messages with images will automatically load by default rather than requesting the user to accept the downloads, though users will still have the option to set it back to permission-based loading if they wish.
Dropbox for Business to be offered to Dell enterprise customers
Dell has announced a number of new partnerships it has formed with other companies at its Dell World event in Austin today. The computer producer revealed updates to the Dell Cloud Partner Program, an agreement with Red Hat over OpenStack, and that it would start offering Dropbox for Business through its enterprise sales, among other announcements.
Facebook app for iOS autoplays videos in news feed
Facebook has updated its iOS app to automatically play videos that appear in a user's news feed. Version 6.8 of the app does have the videos set as muted by default, reports TUAW, and though there is no option to turn off the autoplay aspect of the videos, there are settings to allow it to work just on Wi-Fi connections rather than cellular. Both videos from users and advertising will be affected by the change, though it is not known when it will appear in versions on other software platforms.
Integration optimized for native feel
Google has formally introduced Chrome Apps for OS X, enabling the web-coded apps to "behave and feel" like native software on Macs. Titles can be placed on the Dock or searched for by name in Spotlight, opening in separate Chrome windows that omit the search bar, tabs and other browser-specific features.
Surfing habits, location tracking claimed performed by security agencies
The National Security Agency (NSA) may have been using cookies from web advertisements in order to track individuals, according to a report. A PREF cookie, a unique identifier typically used in Google's advertising system, has apparently been used by the NSA alongside location data, in order to locate individuals of interest to the agency.
Game revenue driven by five publishers
Japan has reportedly taken the lead position in mobile app revenue for both iOS and Android platforms, according to data collected by analyst firm App Annie. The US previously held the top spot, however Japan's four-fold jump in revenue from mobile game sales has helped the country maintain a stronger growth rate over the past year.
Google wins on 'most improved,' Siri gains upper hand on OS commands
An annual shootout between Google's Google Now and Apple's Siri voice-assisted virtual assitants conducted by Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has resulted in a virtual tie, with both services receiving the same overall grade. Siri barely edged out Google Now by virtual of its better integration with OS commands -- an advantage that comes with the program's deep OS integration -- but both programs got the same overall grade (C+) and percentage of questions correct (79 percent).
RealPlayer, Vevo, Red Bull.TV, more now Chromecast compatible
Google's Chromecast streaming dongle now has compatibility with 10 new apps, greatly expanding the range of compatible content for the diminutive TV attachment. Google's Chrome Blog made the announcement on Tuesday, revealing that Chromecast was compatible with Vevo, Red Bull.TV, and a number of other services. Along with an expected Android app-mirroring feature, the new announcement demonstrates the increasing attention Google is giving to its small streaming device.
Agents infiltrate World of Warcraft
Eight tech giants, including industry competitors Apple, Google and Microsoft, have joined forces to demand reforms to the US government's surveillance tactics. In an open letter sent to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, the companies argue that current surveillance practices, as detailed in ongoing leaks from former National Security Agency staffer Edward Snowden, have created an imbalance "too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual-rights that are enshrined in our Constitution."
BBC adds five free HD channels to high-definition lineup
The BBC will be adding five new channels to its lineup in the United Kingdom tomorrow for Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media users. The broadcaster will be adding HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC, and CBeebies to its existing high-definition channel lineup, with the BBC advising that this brings the total subscription-free HD channel range from the corporation to seven. Earlier this year, the BBC revealed it would be shutting down its dedicated 3D channel, due to a lack of viewers.
Google said to prep set-top box
Google may be preparing to release a Nexus-branded set-top box, according to new reports. This according to The Information, which claims that the search giant is planning to release an Android-powered set-top box in the next year. The move would mark an even stronger move into television for Google, and likely a full rework of its previous efforts to conquer that segment.
Microsoft belittles cheap Google notebooks
Microsoft has released yet another ad targeting Google's low-cost Chromebook computers, as the nascent OS competition between the two tech giants continues to grow. Running nearly two minutes, the ad features a Microsoft spokesperson interviewing passersby on the street in Venice Beach, comparing the alleged failings of Google's low-cost netbook-like devices to the capabilities of low-cost Windows 8 devices. The ad is the latest salvo in a long campaign by Microsoft to disparage the search giant, which it says provides inferior services and "steals" users' data.
US first to see changes
Google has redesigned the Android and iOS versions of its News web app with a variety of improvements. The look of the app has been cleaned up to make it easier to read and track different stories, and it can now be customized with light or dark themes, adjustable font sizes, and/or bigger story cards that include more content. Navigation has been streamlined by funneling access to every section, including customized ones, through a News icon in the top left; Google Feedback can be reached through a menu in the upper right.
Google Play Music update allows music caching to memory card
Google has updated its Google Play Music app for Android, introducing a wide array of track sharing options. The update also includes the ability to choose the storage location for cached or downloaded music, with Droid-Life noting that storing to the external SD card will free up the device's main storage, and a number of subtle user interface tweaks.
Internet gets a look at Glasses with Glass
A version of Google Glass that is compatible with prescription glasses has shown up in new pictures posted to the Internet, giving a look at what Google has in mind for its wearable technology project. The images, since taken down, showed up on the Google+ page of a Google employee, and they were picked up by BGR. Google has long said that it plans for Glass to be compatible with prescription eyewear, as a failure to do so would eliminate it as a possibility for a sizable portion of the American populace.
Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Archives of e-mails, messages, appointments downloadable from Google
Google has finally allowed Gmail and Google Calendar users to download a copy of all data on the services. E-mails and messages from Gmail, along with appointments and other notices within Google Calendar, can now be requested and pulled from Google servers by users, providing an offline backup of their data as well as allowing it to be imported into other apps and services.
Google Glass owners have 60 days to exchange for new device
Google is giving current Google Glass owners the option to upgrade their device for free. The search company is offering the newest version of the head-mounted display to existing Explorer owners if they exchange the one they are currently using, with owners starting to receive e-mails inviting them to swap their units for the newer model.
Users can add credit cards simply by taking a picture of it
Google has updated its Google Wallet application for iOS, allowing users to add credit or debit cards simply by taking a picture of it using the built-in camera on a user's iPhone. The update also adds instant sign-in if users are already logged into any other Google service or site that supports single sign-on, and users can utilize the physical Google Wallet card at most MasterCard locations as well as withdraw cash from any ATM. The app also stores various loyalty and reward cards and can be disabled online if the users' phone is stolen.
Skitch iOS update restores PDF reading, markup support, web capture
The iOS version of screen capture and markup app Skitch (free) has been updated, mostly restoring features that were previously removed. Users can now once again open and read PDFs in the program, as well as markup and re-save a PDF (the latter feature requires an Evernote Premium account, however). Crop mode has been removed and various bugs fixed, and web capture has been added back in. Evernote, which bought Skitch two years ago, has dealt with continuing criticism over the company's changes to the program, which was originally created to quickly capture, annotate and share screenshots. Evernote Premium accounts cost $5 per month or $45 per year.
Court appears skeptical of Judge William Alsup ruling
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, appears to be siding with Oracle in the company's lawsuit against Google over Android APIs. A formal ruling has yet to be handed down, however Reuters' Dan Levine and The Recorder's Scott K. Graham, both in attendance at today's hearing, published Twitter posts suggesting that the appeals court is likely to reverse Google's earlier win.
Rumor claims Google dissatisfied with current state of the service
YouTube's long-rumored music service has allegedly been delayed until sometime in early 2014. The subscription music offering is said to be preparing for a first-quarter launch, though an exact date has yet to be set, and it is thought that the delay itself has been caused by Google's dissatisfaction with the service as a whole.
New technology allows for screen casting, better multiple device development
Google has released an update to its Chrome 32 beta browser today, adding significant improvements to its development tools for mobile. The new update allows developers to construct mobile apps that will run in the Chrome browser, loading content on mobile without leaving the development environment. The improvement facilitates viewing the app on multiple devices, insuring proper usability cross-platform.
Virtual-machine service completes beta testing
Google has finally completed invite-only beta trials of its Compute Engine service, bringing lower prices and new features for the wider rollout. As part of the Google Cloud Platform, which competes with Windows Azure and Amazon EC2 offerings, the service provides access to virtual machines that can be scaled to suit a wide range of applications.
Sails on Google barge to cost $350,000 alone
The mysterious barge construction in San Francisco could have cost Google $35 million to undertake, according to a new report. The project, dubbed Hanger 3 after the Treasure Island hanger it is being worked on, will apparently be one of three floating buildings, with a similar structure set to be moored in areas of Los Angeles and New York City, as well as in San Francisco itself.
Apple's future phone takes on the Google phone
Two of the hottest smartphones on the market right now come from two companies that were once close allies, but have been divided by Google's decision to enter into the smartphone market with a very similar product. While Apple may or may not have legitimate grievances about what transpired depending on your view, there can be little question that consumers have benefited as a result of what transpired. While their current respective flagship smartphones offer similar functionality, the Apple iPhone 5s and the Google Nexus 5 are both symbolic of how the two companies differ fundamentally in their approach to winning customers. So which is best?
Moto X sees big price cut for holiday season
Motorola is offering a steep discount on its Moto X flagship smartphone on Monday. The manufacturer announced a $150 discount on the device last week that will go into effect on Cyber Monday, the day many online retailers give discounts on purchases. The phone will be available starting at $350 with the discount.
Agency demands prior consent
AT&T killing support for U-Verse on Xbox 360 at end of 2013
AT&T will stop supporting the Xbox 360 under its U-Verse service after December 31st of this year. The service, which allowed the game console to act as a secondary set-top box for watching TV, with a representative advising Polygon that it was being pulled due to "low customer demand," and that it will not appear on the Xbox One. An e-mail sent out to a number of subscribers details a $99 credit to cover part of the cost of Xbox Live Gold membership, as well as the required conversion kit.
Possible Play Store rule violations could have forced CyanogenMod exit
CyanogenMod has been kicked out of the Google Play Store, potentially for violating the store's rules. The app, which allows users to install the CyanogenMod version of Android, is now no longer listed in the Android app store after Google Play support contacted the development team and asked for its removal, otherwise they would remove it themselves.
Incoming YouTube updates to fight against bad links, impersonation, ASCII art
Google will be making its first major changes to YouTube comments since the company connected the system to Google+. An apparent increase in spam comments on the video streaming service is pushing Google into altering its spam detection system, with the proposed changes likely to affect current protests on YouTube about the Google+ changes.
Moto X wood options will be available in coming weeks
The Moto X will have options for a wood backing in the future, but not in time for Thanksgiving, according to a Reuters reporter on Twitter. Despite this, Motorola is allegedly aiming to offer the backing option to customers through Moto Maker in the coming weeks, "in time for some holiday shopping." Original sightings of the backing showed options for Ebony, Rosewood, Teak, and Bamboo, though it is not clear which of these will be offered to customers.