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Google acquires visual effects cloud rendering company Zync Render

08/26, 6:07pm

Company to join Google Cloud Platform team, visual effects rendering services to continue

Google's cloud offerings are growing to include services aimed at the movie industry today, thanks to the addition of a rendering technology that utilizes the elasticity of cloud computing. The search giant posted on the Google Cloud Platform Blog announcing that it acquired Zync Render, a company that specializes in flexible tools that use the cloud to store and render visual effects for films.

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Google releases Chrome 37 for Windows, Mac, Linux

08/26, 12:30pm

Windows users get better fonts via DirectWrite

Google has released Chrome 37 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest change affects only Windows users, in the form of DirectWrite support for better font rendering. Previously, Chrome for Windows depended on the Graphics Device Interface, and Google explains that the change "required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome's font rendering engine."

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Amazon procures streaming site Twitch for $970 million [u]

08/25, 5:45pm

Sources state that the deal is worth $1 billion, same as reported Google acquisition

Updated with confirmation of deal between twitch and Amazon Originally reported by The Information, Twitch has been purchased by Amazon. While Google was thought to be the forerunner that would pick up the company for $1 billion based on earlier reports, Amazon has completed the deal, worth $970 million in cash.

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Some iOS apps vulnerable to auto-dialing URLs, developer notes

08/25, 4:48pm

Major apps identified as culprits

A number of iOS apps -- including Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and Google+ -- have a security vulnerability that could allow malicious parties to force an iPhone to auto-dial, observes Romanian developer Andrei Neculaesei. iOS supports a tel:// URI that can make a call automatically, even though developers are allowed to bypass confirmation prompts for the dialer if they want. Through a vulnerable app and the right web code, a person could potentially be tricked into dialing a toll number. A FaceTime variant could let someone capture images of a person before disconnecting.

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Google debuts Slides app for iOS, updates Docs and Sheets

08/25, 2:19pm

Fills out iOS productivity suite

Google is today launching a new iOS app, Slides. Much like Microsoft PowerPoint, Slides lets people create and edit presentations. Because these files are stored in the cloud, users can start work on one device and continue on another, including via the Slides web app. Collaboration features let several people work on a presentation simultaneously; any changes to a file are saved automatically, and the app can work both on and offline. Offline changes are uploaded after reconnection.

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Google snaps up Gecko Design, adds firm to Google(x) projects

08/22, 4:15pm

Firm has worked with Dell, HP, Logitech on a wide variety of consumer electronics

Google has acquired design firm Gecko, in an effort to bolster its Google(x) product manufacture efforts. The firm has previously done industrial design work for OLPC, Logitech, Sling Media, Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, and contributed to the Fitbit design, pre-launch.

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Briefly: ESPN Scores Pebble app released, Chromecast price cut in UK

08/22, 7:56am

ESPN creates Scores app for sporting update on Pebble smartwatch

ESPN has released an app for the Pebble smartwatch, providing results for various sporting events. The Scores app includes results from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, and college basketball, and will vibrate to notify the wearer about game updates. The app is now available to download from the Pebble App Store for iOS and Android.

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Apple removes anonymous Secret app from Brazilian App Store

08/21, 10:10pm

Company complies with only half of judge's controversial order

Following a ruling by a Brazilian judge that anonymous social apps such as Secret violate the Brazilian constitution, Apple has removed the program from the App Store in that country, citing that its own guidelines require that apps comply with local laws in the country they're sold in. In addition to Apple, the judge ordered Google and Microsoft to also remove the app or similar apps. There has not, however, been any reports of Apple or the other companies remotely deleting the app from users' devices.

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Briefly: Sky adds recommendations to set-top boxes, Chrome in Cuba

08/21, 3:25pm

Sky updates electronic program guide, adds recommendations, smart season recording

British satellite television provider Sky has started to roll out software updates to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, updating the electronic program guide. A new "recommendation engine" will make suggestions of TV shows to watch based on previously downloaded or recorded content, reports The Next Web, with other changes including a "Smart Series Link" automatically recording new seasons of TV shows, DVD cover art, and the combination of HD and SD viewing options in On Demand.

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Reports of Verizon's return to app sales refuted by carrier [u]

08/20, 4:18pm

New store has to deal with complexities of multiple carriers, hardware vendors

[/strong]Updated with Verizon statement[/strong] Verizon is allegedly in discussions with other carriers and Android device manufacturers to launch its own app store. According to sources familiar with the matter, the carrier is building up the store, similar to the shuttered V Cast, as a response to reductions in revenue-sharing arrangements with Google through the Google Play store. Verizon has since denied the claims, without providing much information about the report.

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Brazilian judge orders deletion of Secret app from mobile devices

08/20, 7:30am

Apple, Google, Microsoft required to delete Secret from customer phones or face fines

A Brazilian judge has ordered Apple, Google, and Microsoft to remove Secret, an app used for anonymously sharing information with others, from citizen's phones. The unusual ruling requires both Apple and Google to delist Secret from the App Store and Google Play, with Microsoft ordered to do the same for the Windows Phone-equivalent Cryptic, as well as deleting it remotely from mobile devices in the country.

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YouTube Music Key leak claims $9.99 subscription, offline mode

08/19, 9:15am

Screenshots of YouTube Music Key show mixes, recommendations, 20M song library

Google's long-rumored music service for YouTube will apparently cost $9.99 per month, according to a leak. Dubbed YouTube Music Key, the subscription service will provide advertising-free music playback on the desktop, mobile, and through the TV, with the ability to cache songs on devices for offline playback, similar to the existing Google Play Music All Access subscription.

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Google reportedly implementing child-friendly services, protection

08/18, 5:05pm

Child-focused version of YouTube allegedly in development

Google is adapting its services to cater for a younger audience, as the company attempts to make a play for a new generation of user, a report claims. The search company is allegedly working on various child-friendly services which children under the age of 13 will be able to use, provided it receives permission from the child's parent or guardian beforehand.

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Google acquires team behind deep learning app Jetpac City Guides

08/17, 5:14pm

Jetpac to be removed from app store shortly, support discontinued in September

Google recently made another acquisition, this time involving a team that uses deep learning in its apps. The team behind the Jetpac City Guides app announced last week that they would be joining Google in an unspecified capacity. Details of the deal weren't disclosed, but the San Francisco-based team would be moving on to Google, leaving their apps behind in the process.

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Google sued over data compression technology in YouTube, Android

08/16, 1:05pm

London-based Vedanti Systems Limited allege post-it notes prove misdeeds

London firm Vedanti Systems Limited (VSL) is suing Google over the compression algorithms used in YouTube. According to the complaint, filed on August 10, Google uses the technology across a wide swath of Google offerings, with YouTube being the primary violator. VSL attorney Adam Levitt wrote in the complaint that "this case is yet another of the many occasions on which Google has unlawfully taken, rather than developed for itself or paid for, valuable technology that is core to the functioning of its many businesses and products."

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Court invalidates two Vringo patents, Google Adsense off the hook

08/15, 2:31pm

Previous rulings favoring Vringo nullified, revenue percentage payout killed

A long-standing court battle between Vringo's I/P Engine and Google is grinding to a halt in the Mountain View-base ad agency's favor. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declared two patents of Vringo's invalid, nullifying a jury verdict that found the search engine giant and others liable for a total $30 million in damages plus a percentage of Google Adwords profits. The ruling is the latest in a string of verdicts calling into question the overall validity of software functionality patents over that of the code itself.

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Google updates YouTube for TV with Material Design interface

08/14, 3:36pm

New guide panel makes TV YouTube interface closer to desktop view

Google has overhauled the design of its YouTube for TV interface, and has started to roll out the changes to its set-top box apps. The new user interface, taking on many of the characteristics of Android L's Material Design scheme, aims to simplify searching for channels and specific videos for those preferring to watch YouTube clips on a bigger screen.

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Gartner: Chromebook sales to hit 5.2 million units by end of 2014

08/11, 4:18pm

Sales up 79 percent over previous year, sales expected to hit 14.4 million units by 2017

Research firm Gartner released a report today over the growth of the Chromebook market so far this year. In the report, the firm states that Chromebooks are expected to sell 5.2 million units by the conclusion of 2014. This marks a substantial growth over the previous year for the low-cost notebooks, powered by Google's cloud-based operating system.

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Google backs $300m undersea Internet cable between US, Japan

08/11, 4:09pm

Extra undersea cable to provide 60Tbps of Trans-Pacific bandwidth

Google has backed a project to install a Trans-Pacific cable system between major West Coast cities in the United States with two locations in Japan. The $300 million project, optimistically called the Faster cable network, will hopefully provide a speed boost for Internet connections, with construction starting now with a view to being "ready for service" by mid-2016.

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Google launches 'listen now' advertising with Beats, Spotify, others

08/09, 10:50am

New program performing well, according to Google

Google is in the process of evaluating "Listen Now" advertisements, alongside Beats Music, Spotify, and Rhapsody. When users search for an artist, Google's ads on the right hand side promotes music from the artist, alongside options to purchase the music from participating online music services. The ads are on mobile as well as on searches performed in a desktop or notebook browser.

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Judge rejects proposed $324.5M anti-poaching case settlement

08/08, 4:23pm

Deal 'falls below the range of reasonableness'

US District Judge Lucy Koh has rejected a proposed $324.5 million settlement in the lawsuit direct against Apple, Adobe, Google, and Intel over anti-poaching practices. In her ruling, Koh states that the amount offered "falls below the range of reasonableness."

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Google staring down potential Android bundling complaint in EU

08/08, 2:22pm

EU companies polled about Google's Android policies and deals

Antitrust actions against Google in Europe seem to be growing. European Union regulators have sent out questionnaires to those possibly impacted by Google's decisions about Android policies, and are requesting "any written or unwritten" exclusivity deals that the search engine giant has made with wireless carriers, developers, and other companies.

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Briefly: Withings Activité due October, Gmail unsubscription changes

08/07, 12:04pm

Withings aiming for Activité smartwatch release in October

Withings is aiming to put its Activité smartwatch on sale in October, CEO Cédric Hutchings has revealed. At the same time as advising to Wareable about the updated release schedule for the wrist-based device, Hutchings highlighted the stylish and minimal design of the Activite compared to other smartwatches, claiming "We found that wearables were not that wearable." The Withings Activité will apparently cost around $500 at launch.

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Google warns lack of HTTPS use by sites will impact search rankings

08/07, 10:54am

HTTPS use by sites will give slight improvement to Google search results in future

A website's usage of HTTPS to secure a connection with its visitors will soon play a role in search rankings, Google has announced. Websites actively adopting HTTPS by default for all traffic could rank higher in results listings to sites which do not use it, as the company continues to push other services online into adding more security to their sites.

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Google adds non-Latin alphabet email address support to Gmail

08/05, 2:53pm

Gmail non-Latin address support to be followed by similar Google Calendar update

Google has added support for non-Latin and accented characters in email addresses on Gmail, in an effort to improve the company's overall multi-language support. The change, which will allow users to send and receive messages to and from addresses with characters not typically used in English, will apparently also spread to Google Calendar in the future.

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Google introduces 64-bit Mac version of Chrome Canary

08/05, 11:38am

Final channel may have to wait months for 64-bit support

The latest build of Chrome Canary for the Mac has switched to a 64-bit codebase, reports note. Canary is Google's "experimental" version of Chrome, based on the absolute latest changes, which can make it unstable but with the benefit of early access to upcoming features. The first 64-bit build is listed as "Version 38.0.2114.2 canary (64-bit)."

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Houston man arrested after Google detects child pornography in Gmail

08/04, 6:09am

Google tipped NCMEC, police over potential child pornography images

Google has aided in the arrest of a registered sex offender, caught by the scanning of files stored in his Gmail account. A tip from Google to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) over potential illegal content led to Houston police obtaining a search warrant, with law enforcement later finding more evidence and arresting the individual.

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Google Chrome 64-bit implementation released for Windows 7, 8 as beta

07/30, 3:39pm

New version promises future speed enhancements, stability

Google has released a beta of the 64-bit version of the Chrome web browser. The beta version released today is available for both Windows 7 and 8.1, and closely follows the initial release version in June for Microsoft's operating systems. So far, there have not been any major problems with the release, but some bugs noticed in the previous developer's release are still present.

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Long-standing Android 'Fake ID' bug gives malware root access

07/29, 9:10am

App masquerading as Flash, others, can break Android sandboxing

Mobile device researchers Bluebox Security have discovered a serious flaw in Google's Android operating system that dates back to version 2.1, and is still present (albeit weakened) in the new 5.0 preview. The "Fake ID" security flaw allows a fake app to include an invalid security certificate, claiming that it is an app with sandbox-breaking privileges, in essence, giving the malicious app root access to the phone and all its contents.

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Closer look: Android L preview

07/26, 9:13pm

Android L focuses on look, feel, performance rather than features

Google's Android L preview has been made available to developers and any other interested users who own a Nexus 5 smartphone or Nexus 7 tablet. It marks the first time that Google has released an early preview of the latest version of its mobile OS, while is also the first major revamp of the Android UI since Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich,' which was released three years ago. In that time, Android has become the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. However, despite its popularity, it has slipped somewhat on the technology front with Apple iOS making the leap to 64-bit in August last year. Android L seeks to redress this by adding an all-new 64-bit runtime (ART), coupled with other system enhancements designed to improve performance and battery life.

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NCTA to FCC: Google, Facebook may charge ISPs for customer access

07/26, 11:55am

FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'

In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.

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Briefly: Google Glass webcam support, Google Play offline games

07/25, 8:31am

Google Glass developer kit adds support for external webcams

Google has added support for external cameras to Google Glass, on top of the existing built-in imaging sensor. Android Police reports the latest Glass Development Kit update enables the use of an external webcam connected via a USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable, though it warns plug-and-play does not work, and if it includes a microphone, it may disable voice commands. Glass owners looking to try it out will have to wait for a developer to create an app for it, as Google does not supply an application to view through a connected webcam.

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Report: Google signs deal to purchase game-streaming platform Twitch

07/24, 9:35pm

Deal said to be worth $1 billion, matching previously rumored purchase amounts

A new report has surfaced that Google has signed a deal that would see the search giant picking up the popular game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion. The report adds builds on the previous report floating around that Twitch was being courted by Google's video arm for a possible purchase with a price tag in the same ballpark. By purchasing Twitch, Google could be positioning itself to be the number one destination for live streaming games, as well as watching associated videos.

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Google Play Music All Access pass offered to US Chromecast owners

07/24, 1:02pm

One-year anniversary of Chromecast celebrated with extended music trial

Google is providing owners of the Chromecast streaming dongle in the United States free access to Google Play Music All Access for 90 days. An extension of an offer which has already been made available in other Chromecast countries for some time, it is being made available to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Chromecast's launch.

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Google adds Explore location discovery to Google Maps mobile apps

07/24, 10:15am

Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day

Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.

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Google to battle Rockstar Consortium after judge denies dismissal

07/23, 3:49pm

Patent lawsuit over notifications asked to be tossed based on Supreme Court ruling

Google has stepped into the ring for another patent dispute in East Texas, this time involving its Android operating system, Samsung and the Rockstar Consortium. Last November, the consortium filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, claiming that Samsung phones using the Android operating system infringed on seven patents that Rockstar holds. The patents in question include messaging and notification systems found on mobile devices, but Google asked to have the case thrown out.

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Briefly: Google Play Store upgrade, Cortana prepares for China launch

07/23, 5:23am

Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app

Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.

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California judge rules Google must confront commingled data lawsuit

07/22, 8:30pm

Suit makes a third attempt at suing tech company over March 2012 policy change

Google's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit that dates back to 2012 failed today, after a California district judge ruled that the search company will have to fight the breach of contract and fraud claims. The first lawsuit was dismissed last December, with the stipulation that any further pursuit would require an amended complaint. The new complaint could have been dismissed "with prejudice" after two previous complaints were dismissed by the judge.

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Kindle Fire, iPad make gains in North American web traffic

07/22, 2:40pm

Samsung sees big setback

Since April, the shares of North American tablet web traffic from iPads and Kindle Fires has increased by 0.8 and 1.2 points, respectively, according to new data compiled by Chitika Insights. The figures put the iPad at 78 percent of traffic, and the Kindle Fire at 7.3 percent, the latter displacing Samsung tablets in aggregate (down to 6.3 percent). Google and Microsoft -- also generally considered prominent tablet makers -- managed shares of just 2.1 and 1.4 percent.

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Briefly: Twitch for Android update, Comments added to Photo Spheres

07/22, 8:06am

Twitch overhauls Android app interface, adds user profiles

Game streaming service Twitch has updated its Android app to version 3.0. The app has received a visual upgrade with an updated user interface, while the addition of user profiles provides more details about individual channels and the option to chat on channels which are not broadcasting yet. The app also allows viewers to access offline channels, an improved search, and the option to swipe between channels and users.

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Briefly: Google Now reminders in search, Netflix privacy mode testing

07/21, 6:57am

Google Now reminders can be created via Google Search

Google is now allowing for the creation of reminders in Google Search. Similar to the vocal method using Google Voice Search and Google Now on smartphones, Google Operating System reports users can set a reminder by typing "Add reminder" or "Create Reminder" in the search box. A reminder card with extra settings will then appear, with a "Remind me on Google Now" link finalizing the notification.

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EU: Apple failing to make 'true cost of apps' clear on App Store [U]

07/18, 6:34pm

Company yet to offer commitment, details for required changes

[Updated with Apple rebuttal] Despite both Apple and Google being asked to take measures to make the "true cost of apps" clearer before they're downloaded from an app store, Apple is providing "no firm commitment and no timing" for action, according to a statement from the European Commission. At issue are so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" apps, which are technically free to use, but often require in-app purchases to make real use of them. Some games, in particular, have exploited lax authorization measures around those purchases to lure children into buying dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars' worth of digital content without their parents' consent.

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Google explores possible Internet service in United Kingdom

07/18, 12:54pm

Initial Google Fiber discussions end over possible BSkyB issues

Google may be considering expanding its Google Fiber Internet service outside the United States, according to a report. The search company was reportedly speaking to CityFibre in the United Kingdom about a possible launch in the country, though negotiations apparently broke down over a possible conflict of interest between CityFibre and BSkyB.

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Google CEO upset by Samsung investing in Tizen instead of Android Wear

07/18, 7:34am

Meeting between executives concerned Android Wear, Tizen use in smartwatches

Google is unhappy by Samsung's choice to use Tizen for its main smartwatch platform instead of Android Wear, according to a report. CEO Larry Page is said to have spent time earlier this month with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee in a "tense private meeting" over the smartwatch software issue, with Samsung allegedly spending more on devices running Tizen than Google's new Android offshoot.

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Google adds Google Earth aerial photos to Maps for Business imagery

07/17, 7:25pm

Google Earth aerial images can be purchased, previously only viewable with API

Google opened up a new path for businesses looking for aerial photography this week, with an addition of Google Maps for Business imagery. The service now grants customers the ability to purchase aerial photos used in Google Earth from the continental United States, reducing the need for business to collect and store their own.

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Google profit continues to climb despite 'per click' prices falling

07/17, 4:31pm

Company posts $3.42 billion in profit in second quarter

Search engine and advertising giant Google has announced its second quarter 2014 quarterly financial report. The company reported consolidated revenues of $15.96 billion for the quarter that ended in June, an increase of 22 percent compared to the second quarter of 2013. Net income, including discontinued operations in the second quarter of 2014, was $3.42 billion, compared to $3.23 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

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Google offers appointments for Glass demonstrations

07/17, 5:53am

In-store testing of Google Glass provided to potential users

Google is stepping up its Glass promotional efforts, by offering free demonstrations of the wearable device. The search company is sending e-mails to potential users interested in the headwear, inviting them to to try it out, supervised by a Google employee, at one of the Glass service centers in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

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Google Wallet adds gift card management, money reimbursement requests

07/16, 6:10pm

Update adds real-time gift card balance updates, ability to request money in Gmail

Google Wallet issued an update today that gives users the ability to add gift cards and request (or send) money through the Wallet app. The addition grants another perk to using Wallet as it allows customers to carry even fewer cards with assorted balances or perks. Requesting money from friends and family, or sending them money using a debit card is now free of charge, unlike the previous version which charged the same 2.9 percent (minimum 30 cents) fee as when using a credit card.

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Chrome 36 update improves notifications, fixes stability, performance

07/16, 4:24pm

Linux gets better Chrome App Launcher

Google has issued Chrome 36 updates for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. The new version is mostly a maintenance release, making stability, performance, and security fixes. It does however implement several cosmetic changes across desktop platforms, for instance improving rich notifications with a "flatter" look, and giving Incognito mode a new tab page (below) that's cleaner and easier to read. Likewise, the Chrome App Launcher for Linux has been revamped.

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Briefly: Bitcoin value in Google search, Google Play Music expands

07/16, 7:06am

Bitcoin added to currency conversion options in Google search

Google has updated its currency-based searches to include results for Bitcoin. Coindesk reports reports the search company is now working with digital wallet service Coinbase to track the price of the digital currency and perform currency conversion functions, just as Google Search does for other currencies. The same conversion can also be performed by the Google Search mobile apps.

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