Google reaches $19 million settlement with FTC over unauthorized in-app purchases by children

Google Play DevelopersAn ongoing investigation conducted by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that has accused Google — and other major tech companies — of making it too easy for children to make in-app purchases is finally set to come to a close for the Mountain View-based company.

Google has reached a settlement with the FTC that will see it pay out at least $19 million to parents billed for unauthorized in-app purchases by children. The FTC order also requires Google to change its mobile app billing practices to ensure that parental consent is properly obtained before charges are applied. Read more

Upcoming Android Wear-powered LG G Watch R to launch October 14th

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The LG G Watch R has been surrounded by a flurry of excitement, even in lieu of the fact that the much-hyped Moto 360 is supposed to be launching soon. And the timing is likely no coincidence, as following its official announcement last week, LG has come out today at IFA 2014 in Berlin with an official release date for its own upcoming round smartwatch (via The Wall Street Journal).

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Samsung shows off Oculus-powered Gear VR headset for Galaxy Note 4

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Rounding out its IFA announcements in Berlin today, Samsung demoed its new Gear VR headset powered by Oculus technology (with a plug from Oculus’s John Carmack). Similar to Google’s Cardboard, the Samsung Gear VR is a virtual reality headset made for the new Galaxy Note 4 also introduced today to create an “immersive new dimension of mobile life” through virtual reality. Pricing and availability seem scarce at this point and it doesn’t seem to be compatible with the curved display Note Edge shown off today, but the Note 4 is launching sometime next month. Full press release below:
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ASUS ZenWatch officially announced with 1.6-inch curved rectangular face in stainless steel

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ASUS has officially launched its much-teased ZenWatch at IFA in Berlin, revealing that the rectangular smartwatch has a curved face, a brushed stainless steel body and a leather strap – but is pricier than expected.

Specs are pretty much as expected and in line with the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch: an Android Wear device with 1.63-inch 320×320 AMOLED display, 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 chip, 512MB RAM, 4GB storage and a fitness functions. The watch is waterproofed to a relatively weak IP55 standard, defined as resistant to water jets but not full immersion …  Read more

Google rebrands Google Enterprise with friendlier ‘Google for Work’ name

Google on Tuesday announced the rebranding of its Enterprise products and services group to a friendlier “Google for Work” name that should resonate better with small businesses and anyone using Google services, such as Maps, Search, Chrome, Android and Cloud Platform, to perform their day-to-day work. Google chairman Eric Schmidt emphasized that the change was made to empower anyone, including a sole developer in his or her basement, to have an impact.  Read more

Six reasons why Google’s autonomous car director thinks public sale is still five years away

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Google’s self-driving cars may have notched up 700,000 accident-free miles without anyone needing to press the big red Stop button, but project director Chris Urmson’s personal deadline to have the cars on sale to the public is still five years away, reports the MIT’s Technology Review.

Most tech-heads know that the cars rely on inch-perfect modelling of the specific streets they will use, the cars unable to drive anywhere else, but the piece revealed that this is just one of the challenges ahead …  Read more

A week after Apple launches iPhone 6, ZTE has a NYC launch event

Probably ill-advised timing but why not?

HERE offline map app arrives on Android for the first time, initially on Samsung Galaxy phones only

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HERE, the competitor to Google Maps initially available only on Windows Phone, has arrived on Android for the first time. Initially, the beta version of the Android app will be limited to Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

The main claim to fame of the app is that it offers the ability to download entire regions or countries for offline use, in contrast to Google Maps which only allows you to cache areas you have viewed while online. HERE maps currently cover around 200 countries, though turn-by-turn directions are so far limited to about half of these …  Read more

Project Wing is Google X’s attempt at a drone-based delivery program

Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled its plans for using drones to deliver products to customers, and now Google has revealed that it is working on something similar. According to two separate reports from The Atlantic and BBC, the secretive Google X team has been hard at work on Project Wing, a drone-based delivery system, for more than two years.

The idea of Google using drones to deliver goods is something that 9to5Google has reported on for some time now, including as far back as October of 2012, and again a few months later. Google said the following in a statement regarding Project Wing:

Project Wing is a Google[x] project that is developing a delivery system that uses self-flying vehicles. As part of our research, we built a vehicle and traveled to Queensland, Australia for some test flights. There, we successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers.

We’re only just beginning to develop the technology to make a safe delivery system possible, but we think that there’s tremendous potential to transport goods more quickly, safely and efficiently.

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Pandora Internet Radio lands on Google Glass

Pandora Internet Radio Google Glass

Pandora Internet Radio is the latest service to bring its product over to the Google Glass world. The music streaming service’s Glassware app came out of their Hack-a-thon from earlier in the spring, Pandora says, and was good enough to share with Google and ship.

The Pandora Radio app for Google Glass gives users access to stations with the ability to control them with voice commands or the touchpad. Pandora says the voice commands allow you to select existing stations or even create new stations. Actions including music controls like play and pause require using the touchpad; favoriting and dismissing a track also requires using the touchpad for now.

Users can find the Pandora Internet Radio app on the Google’s Glassware section, and Pandora has more instructions below: Read more

Google opens registration for ‘Right to be Forgotten’ public meetings in Madrid and Rome

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Just under a month ago Google shared a list of cities where it would host public meetings for the Advisory Council to Google on the Right to be Forgotten following the European Union Court of Justice decision in May that individuals have the right to request Google remove information from its search results. With the first of those public meetings scheduled for September 9th in Madrid, Google is today starting free online registration to attend the meeting.

A limited number of seats will be available for members of the public at each Council meeting. We’re opening up the online registration process today — and you can sign up for the Madrid meeting and the Rome meeting. Registration will remain open until five days before the event. There is no charge to attend.

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