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.
Redmond continues anti-Google ad campaign
Microsoft has released a new "Scroogled" ad, enlisting the Pawn Stars reality TV crew to deride a Chromebook as a worthless "brick." The online video begins with a woman entering a pawn shop to sell her Chromebook for cash to buy a "ticket to Hollywood," however shop co-owner Rick Harrison explains how the device is "not a real laptop" because it "doesn't do much at all" when disconnected from a Wi-Fi network.
Android KitKat heads to Google Play editions of Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One
Updates for Android KitKat are heading to the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. The two devices, running on stock Android instead of the Sense or TouchWiz versions provided by HTC and Samsung respectively, will start receiving over-the-air updates from today onwards, upgrading the devices to Android version 4.4.
Explorer Program continues to expand
Following reports of a boost in Google Glass production, the search company has begun inviting more developers to participate in the pilot program. An invitation e-mail posted by Ubergizmo suggests the expanded availability is still limited to approved invitees and retains the current $1500 price tag, though it is viewed as another small step toward the anticipated public launch.
Android cameras to get higher-end photo features
Google has confirmed that it is working on building support for the RAW photo file format into its Android mobile operating system, as well as a burst mode that allows for rapid image capture. The company spoke to Cnet on Monday, saying that the new features have been under development and may be opened up to developers in the future. Reportedly, the features are already present in Android's hardware abstraction layer, the part of the operating system handling inputs from a mobile device's hardware.
System could create specific responses based on earlier messages
Responding to social network postings could be easier in the future, according to a patent filing from Google. A listing on the USPTO for the "Automated generation of suggestions for personalized reactions in a social network" advises of a potential system that could suggest appropriate responses to posts and messages, one that takes into account previous messages by the user.
Google adds location sharing, high-res photo backup
Google has updated its Google+ app for iOS, adding multiple new features and changing the design. Version 4.6.0 of the Google+ app adds the ability to store full-resolution backups of a user's photos. It also adds a new location sharing feature, giving a visual representation of where one's friends are.
Google working to put Glass in optometry offices
Google is working with eyewear companies to make fashionable frames and lenses that are compatible with its Google Glass wearable computing device. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the Internet giant was in talks with VSP Global, a vision benefits provider, to develop special prescription lenses using Glass. Google is also looking to work with optometrists in order to ensure that they are able to fit their patients with the device when it launches.
Glass eyewear steps closer to optometrists offices
Google has reportedly reached out to a traditional eyewear company to collaborate on potential alternative designs for Google Glass, according to a Wall Street Journal report (sub. required). The companies are also said to be discussing ways to showcase the devices in optometrists offices, hinting at a distribution strategy as the hardware moves beyond the invite-only "Explorer Program."
Google adds Designed for Tablets section to Play Store
The Google Play Store has been updated to showcase apps "Designed for tablets," something Google announced it would do last month. Tablet users will see the tablet-aimed apps as the default view in Google Play, according to an Android Developers Google+ post, with apps that do not meet specific criteria to be "Designed for tablets" to be marked as "Designed for phones" instead.
Tablet, smartphone makers must license browser or make their own
Smartphone and tablet manufacturers hoping to use the latest version of Android in their product will not receive a browser as part of the mobile operating system. Instead, mobile device producers will be forced to either license Chrome from Google or build their own browser for customers to use straight from the box.
HBO content now viewable on Chromecast
Just as previously hinted in Google's support pages, HBO has updated its app for both Android and iOS, adding the ability to play shows through the Google Chromecast dongle. The updated HBO Go allows for streaming to the Google media player while simultaneously allowing the app to be used for controlling playback.
Austin to go through same Fiberhood system as Kansas City
Google will be giving residents of Kansas City another chance to sign up for Google Fiber. The second chance to both the Kansas and Montana versions of Kansas City is accompanied by more details about the company's rollout to surrounding areas, as well as its fiber network construction project due to start in Austin, Texas.
Balance accessible from ATMs, retailer terminals
Google has quietly introduced a physical credit/debit card for Google Wallet accounts. The card lacks its own NFC chip for tap-to-pay functionality, however it enables users to withdraw cash from an ATM or use their Wallet balance to purchase items from retailers that currently lack support for contactless payments from NFC-enabled devices.
Moto X to be joined by Razr HD, Razr Maxx, more
Motorola surprised much of the tech world on Tuesday by revealing that the 2012 line of Droid devices would be receiving an update to Android 4.4 KitKat. The news came just a day after Android updates began rolling out for the Verizon model of the Moto X. The Google-owned manufacturer did not, however, give any information on the time frame for the new wave of updates.
Initial launch limited to Android devices
Google has launched a new Android app, Google Play Newsstand, that provides access to more than 1,900 free and paid publications. Users can pick from various magazines, newspapers, blogs and news websites, and the app will automatically format and optimize the content for viewing on a tablet or smartphone.
KitKat update for Nexus 4 weighs in at under 240MB
Google has started to roll out Android 4.4 to the Nexus 4 smartphone. Reports claim that Nexus 4 owners are starting to see the Android KitKat update being made available for their devices, with the operating system upgrade coming to the smartphone after being made available on the Moto X, the Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10 tablets.
Marker opacity and minimum-maximum zoom, improved Core Animation support
Google has updated its Software Development Kit for iOS to version 1.6, bringing 64-bit support so that developers who are creating apps aimed at the A7 chip used in the latest iPads and iPhones can incorporate Google's Map service into the app if they wish. The update also includes enhanced marker opacity, and min/max zoom settings, some changes to CGFloat as appropriate, added opacity on GMSTileLayer and GMSMarker, and other improvements - along with fixing a handful of bugs.
Google's Nexus devices get wireless charging accessory
Owners of Google's Nexus 4, and Nexus 5 smartphones and the Nexus 7 tablet can now get a specialized wireless charging device. The device appeared Tuesday in Google's Play Store, and it ships in 1 to 2 business days. The device provides wireless charging for each of the Nexus devices, though it only has room to charge one device at a time.
Search and ad giant placed tracking cookies on users' machines without asking
In a final settlement with a Federal Court, Google will pay a fine of just $17 million - on top of a separate FTC fine of $22.5 million from last year - to 37 US states and the District of Columbia over its illegal use of surreptitious tracking cookies in Apple's Safari web browser, deliberately bypassing Apple's built-in anti-tracking technology. Google failed to inform users that it was monitoring where they surfed after visiting any sites that used Google's DoubleClick ad network in 2011 and 2012.
Winter pop-up stores will showcase Google-based products
Google has opened up a total of six pop-up shops across the United States, which it calls the "Winter Wonderlab." The temporary stores are meant to promote Google's own devices, as well as those heavily associated with the company, with the centerpiece being large snow globes that can record slow-motion video of attendees surrounded by digital snow.
Tools, search query blocks follow after British Prime Minister speech
Google and Microsoft have been working together to block requests for indecent images and video of children from their search engines, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has announced. Blocks on specific requests as well as new tools have been created in response to a request for help from British Prime Minister David Cameron.