Googlers turn Sergey Brin’s Tesla Model S into a pink Batmobile for April Fool’s Day (Photos)

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Google’s Nathan Johns posted a picture of an all-pink Tesla Model S yesterday complete with the official bat signal on its hood, bat wings as a spoiler, and Chrome’s logo embedded in the middle of its alloys.

This candy-coated Tesla apparently belongs to Google cofounder Sergey Brin. According to Search Engine Round Table, Brin’s beloved and spirited Googlers played an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank last Monday and transformed his zero-emissions car into a cute flashy Batmobile.

Brin—seen driving his Tesla around LinkedIn’s headquarters in the image above (via Brian Li)—is sometimes called “Batman” around Google because of his Batcave-like Google X repository.

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Facebook unveils ‘Home’ for Android phones (Photos)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is live on stage in Menlo Park, Calif., and he just unveiled his company’s new home on Android: called “Home”.

Facebook clarified that it’s not building a phone directly, nor is it building an operating system, instead the company unveiled “Home”. Home is for Android devices, and it is literally the home screen and “soul of your phone,” as Zuckerberg explained. Home is also “family of apps.”

9to5Google posted the first look at “Home” yesterday, but Facebook just gave a quick run down as to what the interface can really do.  For instance: Cover feed, a window that replaces the lock screen and home screen, allows users to navigate by flipping through, double tapping, etc.

Users can double-tap to “Like” a post and comment right from the home screen, and they can tap their own face and swipe to get to apps. Users can also swipe up to see their favorite apps in the launcher. There’s even a screen containing all apps, so they can drag their favorite apps to the launcher. Meanwhile, notifications come from people and not apps. Each notification has a person’s face, and users can collect all notifications in a stack and either swipe or save them.

Facebook also announced a new messaging service called “Chat heads” that works with both Facebook messages and SMS. A chat head appears with in the upper right, where users can tap on them, move them, or stack them. Tapping will bring up messages.

Facebook will launch Home via Google Play on April 12, with download availability coming for tablets in a few months. Facebook will maintain Home “just like the regular Facebook app,” and it promises to issue updates at least once a month with new features.

Only a few devices are ready for launch, including: the HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and eventually the HTC One and the Galaxy S4. There’s even a “Facebook Home Program” for phone manufacturers, and HTC, AT&T, Samsung, Sony, etc., have all signed up.

Zuckerberg just handed the stage over to HTC executives to unveil the first device that will officially run the platform— the HTC First. More details on Home are in the press release and videos below.

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Google sells Frommer’s travel guidebooks back to Arthur Frommer

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Arthur Frommer announced yesterday that he reacquired the rights to his travel brand from Google with plans to continue publishing Frommer’s guidebooks.

Google acquired Frommer’s last summer from the Wiley publishing company, but Skift.com reported recently that the Internet Giant intended to “cease production” of Frommer’s books.

Frommer, 83, originally sold his travel line to Simon & Schuster in 1977. Despite nearly 40 years of separation, Frommer told the Associated Press on Wednesday that he bought his brand back from Google.

“It’s a very happy time for me,” said Frommer. “We will be publishing the Frommer travel guides in ebook and print formats and will also be operating the travel site Frommers.com.”

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Watch Facebook’s phone event live (Video)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will take the stage in Menlo Park, Calif., this morning to show off his company’s “new home on Android,” and you can watch a live stream of the event in the widget above.

The video should auto-play around 10 a.m. PST.

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Samsung confirms 1,400 ‘Samsung Experience Shops’ coming to Best Buy locations by summer

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When we heard late last month that Samsung planned to open Apple-style ‘store-in-store’ locations within Best Buy retail stores it was still only rumor. Today Samsung and Best Buy have made things official for its plans to roll out 1,400 “Samsung Experience Shops” in Best Buy retail stores across the United States. Best Buy plans to have the store within a store Samsung shops up and running by the summer with 900 scheduled to open by May:

Select Best Buy stores will have Samsung Smart Service™, which includes dedicated Samsung Experience Consultants™ and Best Buy blue shirt sales associates to assist customers with purchasing and activating mobile products on the carrier of their choice, understanding their device and supporting them throughout the lifecycle of their product. The specially trained Samsung Experience Consultants will assist with product demonstrations, basic product services, Samsung account set up, warranty registration and post purchase support.

The shops vary in size, with the largest being approximately 460 square feet. Within the larger shops, the Samsung Connected Solutions™ area creates a place for customers to see how easily Samsung devices connect and share content across multiple screens.

It’s not exactly a first for Samsung, having experimented with a number of similar store-within-store locations at other retailers around the globe, but it could very well act as a test ahead of bigger retail expansion plans in the U.S. It’s also something that Google has experimented with in Best Buy and PCWorld in the United Kingdom, which we’re hearing has lead to even much bigger retail plans for the company.

The image above shows what a typical Samsung Experience Shop inside Best Buy will look like. Samsung’s full press release below: Read more

Mozilla and Samsung partner to build ‘Servo’, a next-gen web browser engine

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Mozilla and Samsung announced a partnership today to build a next-generation web browser engine for Android and ARM devices called “Servo”.

Google executives allegedly worried earlier this year over Samsung possibly using its dominance in the handset space to renegotiate revenue cuts from mobile ads and search, but now it seems Google should really have fretted over Samsung joining forces with the competition to create a new Android web browser engine.

Mozilla explained in a blog post what the new engine will do:

Servo is an attempt to rebuild the Web browser from the ground up on modern hardware, rethinking old assumptions along the way. This means addressing the causes of security vulnerabilities while designing a platform that can fully utilize the performance of tomorrow’s massively parallel hardware to enable new and richer experiences on the Web.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.35.19 PMAs mentioned by The Verge, Servo will rival WebKit, Google’s browser engine, rather than Google’s Chrome browser.

Servo is built with Mozilla’s Rust programming language, and Mozilla said Samsung has already “contributed an ARM backend to Rust and the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android.”

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