Facebook testing new photo syncing feature for Android, rolling out to some users

Some Android users reported Facebook is testing a new feature that allows photos from their device to automatically upload to a private album in their Facebook account. It appears the feature started to roll out over the past couple of weeks, but more users reported noticing the feature, which is similar to the instant photo upload feature on Google+, yesterday and today. The Verge received confirmation from Facebook that it is indeed testing the new feature with a “really small” group of users. You will know if you have access to the feature if a “Sync” button is available from the Photos section in the Facebook for Android app. Facebook also already posted a help center document with information about photo syncing.

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American Airlines to divvy up 17,000 Samsung Galaxy Notes to onboard flight attendants [Video]

American Airlines just revealed it will give 17,000 Samsung Galaxy Notes to flight attendants while onboard its aircrafts to record a passenger’s meal preferences, access passenger particulars, and identify passengers for special assistance or high-value purposes.

“This is a huge step towards a new, modern American Airlines, as our tablet program is the first of its kind in the airline industry, where our flight attendants will have the most up-to-date customer information in the palms of their hands, allowing them to better serve our customers from boarding to deplaning,” said American Airline Vice President of Flight Service Lauri Curtis in a press release. “By giving a device to all of our active flight attendants we are better enabling our people to deliver an exceptional customer experience.”

Today’s phablet news comes on the heels of the Samsung’s announcement regarding a United States launch for the Galaxy Note II by mid-Novemeber.

Get the full press release below, or watch the video above, for more information.

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Anti-Google FairSearch organization adds new members Oracle, Nokia, & Allegro Group

Images courtesy of FairSearch

FairSearch, the Microsoft-backed group consisting of Google competitors that claim “Google is abusing its search monopoly”, today announced new members to the coalition seeking to end what they call Google’s anti-competitive practices.

The new members include: Allegro Group, Nokia, and Oracle, a company that has been in and out of court with Google in recent years:

The FairSearch coalition welcomes the Allegro Group (based in Poland), Nokia (based in Finland), and Oracle (based in California) as new members. Their addition is emblematic of the global scope of Google’s anti-competitive search and business practices, which harm consumers by curbing innovation and choice, not just in Web services, but also in mobile, and any platform where Google abuses its dominant position.

If you’re unfamiliar with FairSearch, the organization clarified its goal in today’s announcement noting, “Any effective and permanent end to Google’s anti-competitive practices must be applied globally, be legally binding, and come with strong mechanisms for ongoing monitoring and enforcement to prevent the search giant from restoring its abusive practices.”

The global footprint of FairSearch’s membership is consistent with investigations by U.S., European Commission, and other authorities of Google’s abuse of its dominant position… As long as competition is threatened anywhere, as in Eastern Europe, where the Allegro Group operates in more than 15 countries, consumers and innovators will continue to lose out everywhere.

EU counsel to the FairSearch coalition Thomas Vinje issued the following statement on the organization’s website:
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Samsung Galaxy Note II to launch in US with five carriers ‘by mid-November’

We gave a complete hands-on last week of the Galaxy Note II’s global version, while also promising more information on the United States variant when it becomes available, and now Samsung has revealed the phablet will launch stateside with five major carriers “by mid-November.”

The Galaxy Note II marks the U.S. debut of Samsung’s Exynos 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, which is optimized for LTE networks; and it is the first Samsung smartphone to launch with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It notably weighs less than the original Galaxy Note, features a narrower bezel, and it ships in Marble White or Titanium Gray flavors. The carriers are expected to announce additional details on pricing and availability.

Hardware specs include:

  • 2GB of internal RAM
  • 16 GB of onboard file storage with additional support up to 64GB via a microSD card
  • 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen; larger and thinner than predecessor with 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 3,100 mAh battery, which is 24 percent larger than the original Galaxy Note
  • Redesigned S Pen with rubberized tip and textured grip

Software features include:

  • Easy Clip feature—allows users to outline and crop content to save, share or paste
  • Air View—allows users to hover the S Pen over content to preview without having to open or wait for screen transitions
  • Quick Command—the S Pen activates applications and services most often used
  • Idea Sketch—allows users to add illustrations by handwriting keywords on the S Note
  • Photo Notes—allows users to create handwritten notes on the back of digital photos
  • Popup Note—lets users open an S Note as a pop-up window to jot a note during a call, email, video, etc.
  • Popup Video—extends the concept of “Popup Play”; allows users to float video with the touch of a button
  • Popup Browser—launches a new browser window when a user clicks on a link embedded in an email
  • Additional sharing features found in Samsung Galaxy S III including S Beam, Share Shot, Burst Shot, Best Shot, AllShare Cast, etc.

Accessories include:

  • Protective Flip Cover
  • Pen with Eraser

Those who love Android (better yet—those who are dying for Jelly Bean), styluses and big ‘ole screens will surely want the Samsung Galaxy Note II, as it is a fast, crisp all-in-one device with flashy features and powerful hardware. Check out 9to5Google’s reviewor the press release below— for more details.

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HTC offering up to $300 trade-in value with new purchases, T-Mobile launches Zero Down promotion


A couple notable promotions were announced today, including: T-Mobile’s Zero Down offer as part of its Magenta Deal Days, and a trade-in offer worth up to $300 for those purchasing a new HTC phone.

HTC is providing those who purchase a new HTC phone with up to $300 for their old, functioning smartphone after the purchase. You will not be able to use the cash toward the cost of the new device up front. Droid Life reported HTC is offering around $290 for a 32GB Verizon Galaxy S3, however, while others are getting quotes in the $150 range for a Verizon Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx in working condition. You can get your quote from HTC here.

As for T-Mobile, it is offering $0 down from Sept. 21 to Sept. 30 on qualifying 4G smartphones for new customers. Some of the devices on offer include the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One S, T-Mobile myTouch Q, Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, and Samsung Galaxy Note.

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Twitter for Android updated with profile header photos, pinch-to-zoom, & photo streams

Twitter for Android is getting a nice little update today that brings a few new features. The updated app includes new profiles with header photos, photo streams through Events and Profiles, and pinch-to-zoom on photos. Other features include: improved search suggestions and other enhancements and fixes.

Twitter explained two of the biggest new features, header photos and photo streams, in a post on the Twitter blog:

  • New profiles now feature header photos so you can express who you are more meaningfully on Twitter. Upload an image from your mobile device and see the same beautiful profile design on your phone, tablet or computer. Read more about the new profiles.
  • Photo streams for profiles display the images people have shared on Twitter. Whenever you see a photo stream, swipe left or right through the thumbnails or tap to view photos in fullscreen mode. Android users can also get closer to photos with pinch-to-zoom.

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Google Maps infographic captures summer 2012 through search activity [Photo]

With fall on the horizon, the Google Maps team researched the summer’s most popular activities by analyzing global search patterns on maps.google.com. The team then charted the resulting data into visual representations, otherwise known as an infographic, which is available in full below.

According to the official Google blog:

Before we approach the official end of summer on September 21, our Google Maps team thought it’d be fun to see how those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have spent the dog days. To do this, we reviewed the summer search activity on maps.google.com in several countries between the end of May and the beginning of September. Within each country, a look at some of the top-rising searches and the often-searched landmarks on Google Maps gives us a sense of how people around the world spent their summers.

A few of the highlights: North Americans mostly searched for local beaches, Europeans preferred community swimming pools, and United Kingdom dwellers looked for indoor activities. The overall patterns indicated, however, that the most popular destination searches were outdoor-based.

Check out the full-sized infographic below, or go to the Google blog for more specifics.

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Design Within Reach CEO shares his ‘gone Google’ story [Video]

The folks in Mountain View want businesses, schools and people around the world to go Google, and they are continually recruiting by encouraging current Google Apps users to share their “gone Google” stories.

Design Within Reach CEO John Edelman is the latest unofficial spokesperson to tell the story about how he and his national retail operation, which sells modern design for homes and offices, moved to Google Apps, with the help of Google Apps reseller Cloud Sherpas, for ease of communication.

According to Edelman (via the official Google Enterprise blog):

Before Google Apps, it wasn’t easy to share important materials like store promotion schedules, store layouts, or PR updates quickly and efficiently. Instead, we relied heavily on email for communication. In retail, things change all the time and emailing about employee schedules, promotional timelines or new merchandise availability meant that the information was quickly out of date and risked employees having inaccurate information. Google Apps changed all that. Now, our marketing team is able to track in-store promotions via shared calendars. Employees can track inventory through Google Docs, so when we have a floor sale and someone wants 4 red chairs and we only have one, we can easily hop onto Google Docs and find the chairs at another location. The customer is happy – and we’re happy because we’ve made a sale and cleared the floor.

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Google adds ‘Prometheus,’ Family Guy,’ and 600 more Twentieth Century Fox titles to YouTube, Google Play

Google just inked a deal with Twentieth Century Fox to bulk its YouTube and Google Play catalog by over 600 more film and television titles for renting and buying.

A few of the more notable TV shows include “Family Guy” and “Modern Family,” while a snippet of the blockbuster movie additions range from “Prometheus” to “Black Swan.”

According to the official Google blog:

Today you can buy Fox’s new release Prometheus in HD, available three weeks ahead of the Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand release. And over the next few weeks you’ll be able to rent or buy your favorite Fox movies like X-MenIce Age andBlack Swan, and TV shows like “Glee,” “Modern Family,” “New Girl” and many more.

The new titles will first roll out in the United States with “other countries” eyeing availability soon. Pricing is unclear at this time, but “Prometheus” in HD is now live and set at $14.99 for buying.

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Motorola launches Razr i with a 2.0Ghz Intel Atom processor, ships next month

The first of its smartphones to sport an Intel processor —a 2.0GHz Atom Z2460, to be exact— was officially launched by Motorola at an event in London yesterday. The Android 4.0 “Razr i” (upgradeable to 4.1 in the future), includes a 4.4-inch, 960-by-540-pixel resolution AMOLED display, 8-megapixel camera, NFC, and a 2,000mAh battery.

We did not get specifics on pricing from Motorola, but we know the Razr i will land in at least the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil sometime in October. One retailer claimed to have pricing for the device following yesterday’s event (via Phandroid). Retailer Clove is accepting preorders for the device with a shipment date of Oct. 1 and price tag of £342.00 including VAT (around $550). We had great first impressions with the similar Razr M in our recent review, so we look forward to getting our hands on its Intel-powered brother.

Motorola already released two videos online for the Razr i following its media event. The first, above, is the official U.K. commercial for the device, and the second, below, focuses on Intel and the Razr i’s edge-to-edge display:

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Google rolls out OAuth 2.0 support for Gmail and other IMAP/SMTP, XMPP services

We reported earlier on hints from Google employee Tim Bray that the company might be working on an integrated password and login solution. We know Bray is working on OAuth and OpenID-related projects, and Google announced in a blog post today that it is adding OAuth 2.0 support for IMAP/SMTP and XMMP. The majority of Google’s API’s already support the OAuth 2 authentication standard for sharing your account data with third-party apps, but today’s addition of support for IMAP/SMTP and XMMP opens OAuth 2.0 to third parties accessing services such as Gmail and GTalk.

Today we’re going a step further by adding OAuth 2.0 support for IMAP/SMTP and XMPP. Developers using these protocols can now move to OAuth 2.0, and users will experience the benefits of more secure OAuth 2.0 clients.

According to Ryan Troll of Google’s Application Security Team, clients never ask for a user’s password with the OAuth 2.0 authentication mechanism. He also noted “users have tighter control over what data clients have access to, and clients never see a user’s password, making it much harder for a password to be stolen.”

Google outlined a timeline for support for older authentication standards:
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Google+ ‘hit important milestone': 400M people upgraded to Google+, 100M active monthly users

While confirming the Nik Software acquisition on his personal Google+ account, Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra just revealed a few interesting Google+ statistics.

The Google executive announced 400 million people have now “upgraded to Google+,” with 100 million of them being “monthly active users” on desktop and mobile. These rounded numbers directly refer to Google+ and do not seem to encompass users actively exercising other Google products.

Google typically avoids dishing out specifics on Google+, like active user base estimates, but it has previously cited the budding network as the social core to its umbrella of products and claimed it boasted more than 170 million users (of which 60 percent allegedly sign in daily).

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