Play Store reportedly topped App Store in total apps and developers for the first time in 2014

Total Apps 2014

The latest numbers from app metrics tracking firm AppFigures reveal that Google’s Play Store topped Apple’s App Store based on total number of apps and developers for the first time in 2014. Google moved ahead of Apple with 1.43 million Android apps in the Play Store, compared to 1.21 million on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Read more

Google News to shut down in Spain ahead of recently passed copyright law

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Google announced on Wednesday (via Search Marketing Land) that it will soon shut down Google News in Spain because of a recently passed copyright law in the country that will prove too costly for the service to continue running. The law, which goes into effect January 1, 2015, would require Google to pay licensing revenues to Spanish publishers if their content, including headlines, is included in Google News. Read more

Google kills CAPTCHAs with new one-step validation for proving you’re not a robot

No Captcha ReCaptcha

Google announced on Wednesday that it has fundamentally changed its reCAPTCHA security feature by removing CAPTCHAs entirely and adding a one-step solution for users to prove they aren’t robots. Instead of typing a few warped words, the new version of reCAPTCHA simply has a box labeled “I’m not a robot” that users can hover over. Read more

Google Docs updated w/ new image editing options, ability to merge cells

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Google this evening has announced a trio of updates to its Drive suite of apps. First off, Google Docs has been updated to add the ability to merge the cells of a table. In order to merge cells in Docs, simply highlight the cells to be merged, then right-click and choose the “Merge cells” option from the pop-up menu.

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Google rolls out new hardware dashboard and security wizard to help keep your account safe

DeviceActivity UI

Today, Google announced some new security features for its subscribers that should make it easier to manage the equipment linked to your account. While some people may have already had access to these options, Mountain View has now made them available to its entire user base. The gist of the search company’s new dashboard is a quick way to review  and control the gear tied to your profile. This will let you quickly revoke a device’s access if you happen to lose your phone, laptop or tablet.

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Use Google Wallet at these 14 retailers to save some cash

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Google is currently recruiting Wallet users with payouts and you can now throw deals in the mix as well. The company recently announced its new “Buy with Google” promotion, which offers discounts from a group of retailers including: B and H, Beautylish, CheapTicket, EAT24, Expedia, Fancy, JackThreads, LivingSocial, Newegg, Pose, Rue La La, Vinted USA, Sidecar Ride and Wish.

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Google releases invite-only Divide Productivity Preview Android app

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Almost six months ago to the day, Google acquired an enterprise device management firm by the name of Divide. Today, the search giant quietly released a new Productivity Preview app to the Play Store, which currently operates on an invite-only basis, similar to how the company handled the release of Inbox. Targeting the corporate world, this Google-made Divide application offers a software suite packed with tools for business email, calendar, contacts and tasks.

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Google launches Contributor, a Netflix/Spotify model for crowdsourcing content creators

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Google has today launched a new platform that aims to reinvent how content creators on the Internet make money. It’s called Contributor, and it involves readers committing to a certain monthly payment of $1-3, which will in turn give visitors an ad-free browsing experience on some sites. This could potentially be a full-blown alternative to Google’s AdSense, giving publications like this one and others a new form of monetization.

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Google will give you $5 in exchange for your Wallet referrals

Google-Wallet-Card

Google wants you and your friends to use Wallet. Like, really badly. So much in fact, the company is running a cash-driven promo to motivate the service’s users. If you use Mountain View’s money service to send cash (even a penny) to a friend who doesn’t have a Google Wallet balance yet, the company will hit you and your amigo with a $5 kickback.

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