Tag - Google
The limit for contactless payments in the United Kingdom has increased. The new limit of £30 ($46) per transaction, up from £20 ($30), applies to payments using contactless cards as well as Apple Pay, though some retailers may have to update their terminals before being able to use the new transaction cap. Trade organization the UK Cards Association now claims the limit increase is more than the average supermarket spend of £25 ($38), reports the BBC, potentially allowing the number of contactless transactions to increase.
Google is making more changes to the way its services work with its social network, by starting to separate Google Accounts from Google+. In yet another move that suggests Google+ is slowly losing prominence, the search company is starting to decouple its services from the site, with YouTube comments soon to be disassociated with Google+ possibly being the biggest news from the company for today.
Google's largely-failed social media experiment, Google+, is reportedly approaching a transformation, with a renewed focus on Photos and Hangouts. The two popular features appear to be splitting apart from the central service, marking the first step in an apparent rebranding effort that is likely aimed at revitalizing -- or quietly killing -- the stagnate social network.
With Vic Gundotra leaving Google earlier in the year, many thought that Google+ would die because of his departure. However, it appears that Google is satisfied with the progress that its social media software has made. New Head of Social Media David Besbris, who was a vice president of engineering, says that he thinks Google is in social media for the long haul.
Google is no longer forcing users to create a Google+ profile when setting up a new Gmail account, according to a report from marketing blog Wordstream. By easing up on the mandatory setup of the social media arm of the search company, Google is continuing to put distance between users and the service that never seemed to find the same footing as Facebook.
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Google announced today that it's removing the requirement for real names to be used on its Google+ platform. After years of user complaints over the policy, it appears that Google finally gave into public demands. The company doesn't state a specific reason for the change, but frames the change in a way that all limitations have been removed.
Google is warning it will be shutting down its early social network, Orkut. Closing after ten years, the service will officially stop operating on September 30th of this year, with the search company planning to focus its "energy and resources" on its other social efforts, including Google+, YouTube, and blogging platform Blogger, to make them "as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them."
Vic Gundotra has announced he is leaving Google, after close to eight years with the tech giant. Revealed in a Google+ post, the social network Gundotra helped create, he praises the company he is parting from and the people he's met, though neither his post nor that of Google CEO Larry Page hint at whether Gundotra is leaving of his own accord or if he was pushed.
Messaging app Google+ Hangouts has received an update for iOS devices. Google+ Hangouts features free group audio calling with up to 10 people, and phone calls can be made through the app for free to numbers in the US and Canada. Now optimized for use on iPad, users of v2.0 can access picture-in-picture video calling as well as record and send video messages up to 10 seconds long. The app has been updated to reflect iOS 7, and has the addition of shareable animated stickers for expressing feelings and sending a map of one's current location. Google+ Hangouts is free to download, and is available on iTunes.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.74 ( -1.09 )
WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN
Drake's Views an iTunes, Music exclusive
Drake's new album Views (formerly known as Views from the 6) has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy that Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up six percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by two percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel