Google & HP recall 145,000 overheating Chromebook 11 chargers

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Following the decision to stop sales of the HP Chromebook 11 pending an investigation into overheating chargers, today the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports Google and HP will indeed recall the netbook’s charger. Google says it received nine reports in total of overheating chargers and melting with some cases resulting in injuries and property damage:

Google has received nine reports of chargers overheating and melting during use. There is one report of a small burn to a consumer and one report of minor property damage to a pillow from an overheating charger… This recall involves chargers that were sold with the HP Chromebook 11. The charger is black with outlet pins, measures 1¾ inches by ¾ inches, and has a 6-foot long cord with a micro-USB connector on the end. The model number of the charger is MU15-N1052-A00S, which is stamped on the face of the battery charger that has the outlet pins.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report claims the recall will include around 145,000 units and that users can contact Google to get a free replacement. Google is yet to resume sales of the device on Google Play or through its retail partners, but its website says to “please check back soon.” More info on how to contact Google below. Read more

Google releases ‘a new breed of Chrome apps,’ now available to all Mac users

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Looking back at late September, Google released Chrome Apps which should not be confused with Chrome OS or Chrome’s browser apps. These ‘Chrome Apps’ are full-fledged applications complete with offline support and include apps like Any.do, Pocket, and many more available in the “For your desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store.

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Dell to join Acer, HP and Samsung as a Chromebook manufacturer in January

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Microsoft’s renewed nervousness about Chromebooks was likely influenced by advance knowledge of Dell’s announcement that it would be joining Acer, HP and Samsung in manufacturing the ultraportable laptops in January.

The machine will have a Celeron 2955U processor, a choice of 2GB or 4GB RAM and 16GB of flash storage. The screen will be an 11-inch 1366×768 display with 720p front-facing webcam. You’ll get two USB 3 sockets plus HDMI in a case less than an inch thick and weighing under three pounds. Battery-life is said to be around 10 hours …  Read more

Google abandons plans for new data center in Hong Kong due to lack of land


Google’s proposed data center (red icon) location in the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate in Kowloon, next to a golf course.

News that Google was building new data centers in Hong Kong have circulated since the beginning of the year. Google has, however, now decided to cancel the project in Hong Kong. The company blames real estate acquisition issues as the reason for the decision. It isn’t immediately apparent if Google’s contentious relationship with the Chinese Government is to blame or if Honk Kong’s operation costs were at issue. It was reported in September 2011 that Google had already acquired  2.7 hectares of land n the Tseung Kwan O Industrial Estate in Kowloon which was expected to employ 25 full-time Googlers by this year…

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Code within the latest version of Plex suggests imminent Chromecast support

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Slowly but surely, Google has been expanding the services that its $35 Chromecast supports, most recently with HBO Go. We heard a while back that Plex support was also coming, but there hadn’t been any concrete announcement from the company itself. A Reddit user, however, has now spotted a file within the Plex Media Server software that further hints at Chromecast support (via GigaOm). The file apparently is one of a handful of device profiles that the software uses when it determines if it has to transcode a video being streaming it.

Google has been doing a lot recently to beef up the streaming service that the Chromecast supports. The company is holding a hackathon next week to preview the Chromecast SDK to a select number of developers. Plex will certainly be a welcome addition the supported services, and we have a feeling that it won’t be the only new service to come.  Read more

Google rolling out better password security in Chrome to Windows users

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Google began tightening saved password security in Chrome for Mac almost one month ago. Now, it looks like Windows users will soon be able to join in on the fun. For the second time today, Google’s “Happiness Evangelist” Francois Beaufort is breaking the news. According to Beaufort, the “Reauthentication dialog for passwords” has been added into Chromium and is now ported over to Windows in the latest Chromium build.

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Google releases “OK Google” Chrome extension for hands-free voice search on the desktop

Google announced today on Google+ that it’s releasing a new extension for Chrome that will enable hands-free activation of the voice search features it rolled out earlier this year. Google announced the conversational voice search features for Chrome back in May and has been updating it on various platforms since, but previously users had to actually click a microphone icon to activate voice search on the desktop.

Now, like on Android 4.4 devices and within the Google Now mobile apps, using the extension users will be able to simply say “OK Google” to initiate a search: Read more

Expect more Chromecast apps soon as Google schedules hackathon

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We haven’t yet seen too many apps that can stream content to Chromecast dongles, but all that is likely to change over the next month or two as Google has scheduled a Chromecast ‘hackathon’ at its Mountain View HQ next month, reports Engadget.

Google has invited several developers including CyanogenMod / AirCast dev Koushik Dutta and Thomas Kjeldsen to a hackathon on December 7th and 8th in Mountain View. An opportunity to test drive the “upcoming release” of the Cast SDK is promised, plus an opportunity to talk with Google engineers about what it can do …  Read more

Acer launches less expensive C7 Chromebook for $199

Acer today announced the launch of a new Chromebook, although those familiar with the company’s current C7 Chromebook will already be familiar with the new model. Apart from a drop from 4GB of RAM to 2GB, the only difference between the old C7 Chromebook and the new Chromebook C720-2848 is the price. Dropping down from 2GB of RAM also brings the price down to $199, down from the $249 Acer charges for the old 4GB model.

Otherwise specs remain the same: an 11.6-nich 1366 x 768 display, dual-core Intel® Celeron® processor, 16GB SDD, and three USB ports. The old model is still for sale, but now Acer officially has one of the most affordable Chromebooks on the market with its new $199 option. It’s already available on BestBuy and should hit other outlets shortly.  Read more