Google: Users have casted content 1 billion times, Chromecast most popular streaming device in U.S.

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Google’s Chief Business Officer Omid Kordenstani gave several updates on the status of the company’s $35 Chromecast streaming device during the this evening’s Q4 2014 earnings call. Kordenstani first stated that users have “casted” content to their television more than one billion times. The company says that this is a huge milestone for the streaming stick and the implementation of the Cast functionality in a variety of different apps.

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Acer launches two new affordable, durable Chromebooks for the classroom, C910 and C740

Previously leaked, Acer today announced two new Chromebooks aimed at education customers with the introduction of the new Acer Chromebook C910 and Acer Chromebook C740.

Both of the new Chromebooks are being touted as affordable options for the classroom with the C910 featuring a 15.6-display and the C740 offering a more compact design with an 11.6-inch display. Read more

Startups like kiddoEMR could change lives using Google tech, but this one desperately needs Google Glass 2.0

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Dr. Joseph “Joe” Cohen has been a pediatrician for 15 years, and he saw a need in the medical workplace. Current EMR (electronic medical record) solutions are ridiculously expensive, antiquated, offer little support for pediatrics, and require hours of rigorous training before doctors can use them to efficiently document and organize patient information. Seeing this, Dr. Joe (as his young patients call him) developed a pediatric solution of his own, and deployed an early version in his own practice, Cedar Park Pediatrics, with the added bonus of bringing down the average cost of processing patients from $58 to around $20 per visit.

And while the system is of course platform-agnostic for the most part, Google technologies like Chrome and Glass are a key players in the kiddoEMR product despite downfalls that Dr. Joe says make the current generation of the latter completely impractical for the workplace. The system of course will mostly be interacted with via an in-browser interface on a desktop computer, but Glass provides some robust functionality that would make it a no-brainer for pediatricians. Doctors like Joe, though, need to be able to use their hands, and the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true when diagnosing patients.

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Acer announces first 15-inch Chromebook with Core i3 processor, 1080p display

To kick off CES 2015, Acer has announced its first ever 15-inch Chromebook. The 15.6-inch screen makes it the biggest Chromebook released to date, but keeping trend with other Chromebooks on the market, the device is still affordable, starting at $250. Acer’s 15.6-inch Chromebook comes in at a hefty 4.85 pounds, which means you probably won’t want to move this one around too much once you get it.

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Developers can now run Linux in its own window on Chrome OS

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Google’s Francois Beaufort has revealed in a post on Google+ that Chrome OS users can now run Linux on their machines in a desktop window. This means that developers don’t have to switch back and forth between operating systems, but rather can run them side by side. This capability is made possible by the Crouton Chrome extension, which is available on the Chrome Web Store for free.

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HP quietly launches new higher-end touchscreen variation of the Chromebook 14

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HP has quietly launched a new version of the Chromebook 14 (via OMGChrome), a laptop the company launched earlier this year that was met with much criticism over its less-than-perfect screen. Now, with a more expensive revised version of that device (but the others aren’t going anywhere, obviously) being available, customers have the option of going with a touchscreen Chrome experience and slightly improved specs over its little brothers. HP said that it would be coming soon at the launch of the Chromebook 14, and it looks like company has now followed through with that promise.

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Google adds always-listening ‘OK Google’ voice activation to Chromebooks

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While “OK Google” capability has been available in the form of a Chrome extension for quite some time now, those using it had to be on a specific page within Chrome for the browser to be listening for the appropriate hot words. Now, Google has pushed—in the dev build of Chrome OS—the option for users to turn on always-listening “OK Google,” which will allow you to use voice activation from anywhere as long as your device is on and unlocked.

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Ruggedized Acer C740, C910 highlight new round of Chromebooks set to be announced at CES 2015

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Chromebooks have taken the bottom of the market sub-$300 category of laptops by storm over the last couple of years, and they’re expected to continue with that trend going into 2015. One of the devices that will be heading the charge is the Acer C740, which got leaked last week (via OMGChrome), and it’s said that at least one variation of it will be sporting one of Intel’s fifth-generation codename Broadwell chips—expected to be launched at CES in January.

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Smart Lock keeps your Chromebook unlocked using your Android Lollipop phone

 

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A new feature called Smart Lock has now made its way to Chromebooks, allowing users to keep their Chrome OS-running laptops unlocked by simply keeping their Lollipop Android phone in relative vicinity. The feature was first introduced earlier this year at Google I/O 2014, and has been part of Lollipop since the OS started rolling out last month. But only just now, about 6 months after it was shown off, is the feature rolling out to Chromebooks (via ComputerWorld) running the Dev Channel of Chrome OS.

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Google doles out free $20 Play credits to Chromecast owners

From 9to5Toys.com:
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Update (12/8 1:00pm): Target has Chromecast for $22.99. Redeem Google’s latest promo (below) to drop its effective price down to $2.99.

Google has just launched a new offer that extends a free $20 Google Play credit to anyone who purchases a Chromecast by December 21. According to the offer details, only Chromecasts purchased between December 7 and December 21 will be eligible for the free credit, but we were able to take advantage of it on our previously purchased Chromecasts.

You can check if you’re eligible for this promo by pointing your Chrome browser to chromecast.com/offers. The credit expires on January 31, 2016 and can be used on movies, music, apps, and other media. However, it can’t be used towards the purchase of any hardware. Only open to US residents.

Google Play, Amazon, and Best Buy are all promoting this offer for new Chromecast buyers.

At this point Google is pretty much paying you to own a Chromecast. Just recently, we’ve seen Google hand out free moviesHulu Plus and Play subscriptions.

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