Google shares plans for new Mountain View campus using lightweight, moveable structures (Gallery)

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Google just announced its plans to revamp its campus in Mountain View and increase its square footage by constructing what it described as moveable, lightweight block-like structures. We’ve had hints that such as project was in the works, but the company is now sharing official renderings of the planned campus as it officially submits plans to the city. Head below for a full gallery from Google.  Read more

VLC pushes new Android & Android TV apps as part of massive cross-platform release

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VideoLAN has today launched several updates to VLC across its apps on iOS, Android, OS X, and every other platform where the app is available, marking the first time that the company has pushed such a massive coordinated release.  The new versions (with the main app numbered 2.2.0), include several features across the various platforms, and VLC says it took more than a year of volunteer work to put them together…

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Latest sketchy image of Samsung Galaxy S6 – a claimed Sprint promo

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A pupported Sprint promo image for Samsung’s Galaxy S6, set to be revealed on Sunday evening, was posted to a Reddit thread. The main thread link is to a Sprint pre-registration page, but a claimed Sprint employee posted the above image.

The images appear in line with earlier claimed leaks, but it’s of course not uncommon for fake images to be based on earlier ones. As Gizmodo notes, there is also inconsistent use of upper/lower case for ‘Edge’ in the image, suggesting it should be viewed with some caution …  Read more

Google purchases rights to the entire .app top-level domain for $25 million

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Google paid $25 million to get exclusive rights to the .app TLD, according to a new report. TLDs, or “top-level domains” are the bits like “.com” and “.net” at the end of web domains. ICANN, the organization responsible for managing web addresses, has been launching many new, customized TLDs in recent months.

The purchase means that Google will be able to create web addresses like “google.app” or “android.app.” Google, of course, has its own domain registry where users can buy their own web addresses. The .app TLD may become available through that route, though Google hasn’t confirmed those plans.

It’s also possible that Google could have other plans for the domain. Unlike other TLDs currently held by the company (such as .how and .dad), .app provides a unique opportunity to set the Google Play store apart from competitors by offering developers the chance to get a .app domain linking directly to their Google Play page.

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New profile details tensions within Samsung as it continues to struggle

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It’s no secret that Samsung has been struggling recently, even going so far as to freeze salaries for all of its employees. In the wake of these issues, Business Insider has just published an extensive profile of the company and its struggles. The profile, which comes in at 3,000 words, details all of the highs and lows for the company, as well as its performance against companies like Apple and Xiaomi.

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Moto E 2015 edition: 24 hours with the best small Android phone that (a very little amount of) money can buy

Yesterday morning the FedEx truck delivered a cute little diorama that represented a Motorola keynote event complete with reporter badge, stage, and most importantly a demo unit of the new Moto E. Very nice job Moto PR. Nothing like going into a review with a smile on my face in my blogger PJs.

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More importantly, the product they shipped is a big winner. The new Moto E, if you like your screens at 4.5 inches and non-Retina, is about the best thing you can get out there at any price. The fact that it is $150 for the LTE version and $120 for the HSPA+ GSM pushes this phone into no-brainer territory.

This is a really good, well built device… Read more

Motorola is bringing Moto Maker to the Moto 360

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If you’ve ever purchased a Moto X from Motorola’s website, you probably know a lot about the company’s Moto Maker customization tool. You can build your phone any way you want it, and there are an almost endless number of combinations to choose from. Now, Motorola is preparing to launch its Moto Maker interface for the Moto 360, allowing you to customize your smartwatch much the same way (via Wired).

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Google’s Android and Chrome lead comments on Apple relationship, China, Google Play ads

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Google’s Sundar Pichai recently sat down with Forbes to talk about the Mountain View company’s ambitions in China, its relationship with Apple, and what its overall vision looks like. Some interesting quotes from Google’s Android and Chrome head have surfaced as a result, and among other comments, Pichai took a moment to respond to constant criticism from Apple that Google is in the business of monetizing its users. Pichai also touched on Google’s aspirations in China as well as the sponsored ad program it is testing in Google Play…

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Google invests $300M in largest ever fund for residential solar power

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Google has invested $300M in a SolarCity fund designed to bring solar power to around 25,000 homes. Debt financing brings the total to $750M, making it the largest ever investment in residential solar power, reports Reuters.

While investing in solar power makes sound economic sense for homeowners, as well as being good for the environment, many are deterred by the typical $20-30,000 upfront cost of purchasing the panels. The SolarCity fund instead allows homeowners to lease the panels, paying a monthly fee to do so …  Read more

Google has now paid Android developers $7B in past 12 months; testing sponsored app searches

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Google paid developers a total of $7B in the past 12 months from a mix of app sales and in-app purchases, the company says, closing in on the record $10B payout recently announced by Apple.

Re/code also reports that Google is testing sponsored searches in the Play Store, enabling developers to pay to have their apps show up at the top of searches. Sponsored Play Store searches will work in exactly the same way as they do in the company’s main search engine: developers bidding for keywords, with sponsored apps appearing above organic search results, flagged with a small Ad tag …

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Samsung extends salary freeze to all employees in response to falling profits

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Samsung, which recently froze the salaries of executives in response to falling profits, has confirmed to Reuters that it is now extending the salary freeze to all employees.

The cost-cutting move is the latest by Samsung Electronics, which in January reported its first annual profit decline since 2011, as it lost market share to Apple Inc’s new iPhones and cheaper Chinese rivals like Xiaomi.

The move comes a few days before Samsung is set to unveil its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6. Korean business professor and author of Sony vs Samsung says that the salary freeze is likely to “inject a sense of crisis into employees” …  Read more

LG debuts Urbane LTE, the world’s first 4G-capable smartwatch, with proprietary WebOS-based software

640-17LG today unveiled the world’s first LTE-equipped smartwatch, dubbed the LG Watch Urbane LTE. Unlike other recent smartwatches, the Urbane LTE doesn’t run Google’s Android Wear operating system, with the maker opting to install its own proprietary software that, according to CNET, is based on the defunct WebOS. The non-LTE Urbane, revealed earlier this month, still runs Google’s OS.

The metal watch features three buttons to control the interface and sports what LG says is the “world’s first NFC-based Wallet,” allowing users to make payments with the Urbane LTE at NFC-compatible retailers. A heart rate monitor is also built-in, along with a barometer, compass, gyroscope, and GPS. Voice recognition software provides a handy auto-translation feature.

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