Google patent details Project Glass(es) gestures controlled with rings and tattoos

At this point, at the very least, we already know that Google’s augmented reality glasses are capable of snapping a photo. However, we do not have much of an idea of how the UI might work other than what is in the initial concept video. Our sources previously indicated that Google was using a “head tilting-to scroll and click” for navigation of the user interface. Today, we get a look out how the company is experimenting with alternative methods of input for the glasses from a patent recently granted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office and detailed by PatentBolt.

According to the report, the highlight of the patent is how Google’s glasses could work with hand gestures. The patent described various hand-wearable markers, such as a ring, invisible tattoo, or a woman’s fingernail, which could be detected by the glasses’ IR camera, to “track position and motion of the hand-wearable item within a FOV of the HMD.” In other words, the wearable marker, in whatever form factor, would allow the glasses to pick up hand gestures. The report also noted multiple markers could be used to perform complex gestures involving several fingers or both hands:
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Google reinvents search—again—with Knowledge Graph (Video)

Google just made searching the Internet much more tailored—again—by announcing its new Knowledge Graph that identifies the relationship between words in a query.

In a massive blog post on the official Google Blog, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Amit Singhal announced the new feature, while explaining search has historically been about matching keywords to queries, but that is not the ideal approach in the modern era of search.

According to the Singal:

  • “Take a query like [taj mahal]. For more than four decades, search has essentially been about matching keywords to queries. To a search engine the words [taj mahal] have been just that—two words.
  • But we all know that [taj mahal] has a much richer meaning. You might think of one of the world’s most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant. It’s why we’ve been working on an intelligent model—in geek-speak, a “graph”—that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.

The SVP further described how the Knowledge Graph helps Google decipher ambiguous language. The feature’s methodology determines whether a user meant Taj Mahal the monument or Taj Mahal the musician when searching “Taj Mahal,” and then it displays a more narrowed list of search results.

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Google exec slams Facebook’s advertising method after GM pulls $10M ads

Google’s product leader for display ads business, Jason Bigler, took to Twitter yesterday to announce his not-so shocked reaction over General Motors, ya know—the nation’s third-biggest advertiser, slashing its $10 million Facebook campaign budget to zilch.

The Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman told the world via the micro-blogging service that GM pulled its $10 million advertising campaign from Facebook because “the ads didn’t work.” Bigler obviously agreed with the reporter’s sentiments.

Google’s ad boss has a reason to jump on the Facebook-bashing bandwagon, though. After all, his company operates its own social network that directly competes with Mark Zuckerberg’s widely-popular website. However, amid the Twitter trash-talk, there just might be some actual truths to Facebook’s potentially flawed campaign techniques when compared to Google’s advertising methods.

According to Business Insider:

Google’s perfect online ad product is the search ad. Search ads are perfect because the people paying for the ads know that the people looking at the ads want to see them. Consumers go on to Google and search for products or information about products, and Google shows them ads from the company that makes that product (and ads from its competitors).  There is no guesswork in the targeting of Google ads. The same cannot be said for Facebook ads. Facebook ads are targeted the old-fashioned way.

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Samsung loses $10B market value due to Apple order rumor

Samsung’s shares dipped more than 6 percent yesterday, erasing $10 billion from the manufacturer’s market value, due to a rumor that claimed Apple ordered large amounts of chips with rebounding Japanese chipmaker Elpida.

According to Reuters, Taiwan tech website DigiTimes reported that the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company requested huge orders for dynamic random access memory chips with Elpida’s Hiroshima, Japan plant. Unnamed industry sources said the order fastened about 50 percent of the factory’s total chip production.

Samsung is the world’s foremost DRAM manufacturer, but its shares subsequently fell 6.2-percent to around $1,100 USD after the piping hot rumor circulated the blogosphere. The abrupt plunge is the stock’s 9-week low and sharpest daily fall in almost four years. SK Hynix is the second-largest memory chipmaker after Samsung, and its shares closed at 9 percent, which is a 20-week low and steepest slump in nine months.

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LG flaunts Optimus UI 3.0, an ‘unobtrusive and simple’ overlay for ICS devices (Photos)

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LG announced this morning that it developed a new LG Optimus 3.0 overlay.

The press release claimed Optimus UI 3.0 is “unobtrusive and simple” to use, and its primary design function has speed in mind. For example, a new memo function called “Quick Memo” allows users to jot notes on the screen in a “more convenient” method, and then users can share the scribblings through text messages, email, or social networks.

“With smartphone hardware becoming more and more similar, it’s important for manufacturers to differentiate their products from the competition through the user interface,” said President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company Dr. Jong-seok Park in the presser.

Other features include: an unlock function that allows users to drag anywhere on the screen; a preset Pattern Lock that enables the most frequently used function to automatically open; an easier method for organizing the primary applications, a new Voice Shutter for capturing images through voice commands; a camera feature for shooting the best picture within multiple images; an Icon Customizer that allows users to set their own images as icons and shortcut; and a Download category for the main menu.

The Optimus UI 3.0 is initially slated for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, because it debut on the LG Optimus LTE II that unveiling this week in Korea, and then it will roll out to the LG Optimus 4X HD in June.

LG’s full press release is below.

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Apple gets US Customs to block imports of HTC One X and Evo 4G

United States customs delayed the import of the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE due to patent issues with Apple, according to The Verge. This is the first type of delay of this nature that we have seen, and it is definitely very interesting. Customs is holding back the handsets while the agency investigates outstanding patent issues currently raised with Apple. During December of last year, the International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and ordered a ban on a number of HTC products. The import ban went in place on April 19, 2012, which was supposed to give HTC time to fix the issues. According to the ruling, HTC was breaking a so-called “data tapping” patent. Google Patent Search described Patent 5946647:

A system and method causes a computer to detect and perform actions on structures identified in computer data. The system provides an analyzer server, an application program interface, a user interface and an action processor. The analyzer server receives from an application running concurrently data having recognizable structures, uses a pattern analysis unit, such as a parser or fast string search function, to detect structures in the data, and links relevant actions to the detected structures. The application program interface communicates with the application running concurrently, and transmits relevant information to the user interface. Thus, the user interface can present and enable selection of the detected structures, and upon selection of a detected structure, present the linked candidate actions. Upon selection of an action, the action processor performs the action on the detected structure.

HTC’s CEO Peter Chou quickly told Reuters in April that the company already began testing new devices to work around the patent issue before the April 19 ban went into effect. The ban was set in place even before the announcement of HTC’s latest One X device; however, the new device still falls under the ban, as The Verge pointed out.

Even if HTC fixed the issues, U.S. Customs is still reviewing if the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE are violating the patent that HTC is accused of breaking by the ITC. Until then, shipments of the HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE are at a stand still, which could affect device sales. Many AT&T stores across the U.S. are currently sold out of the HTC One X, and AT&T is out of stock on its online store.

I do not think it would be too far-fetched to say this is something Apple wants—especially because the HTC One X at AT&T and Evo 4G LTE at Sprint are two hot devices that could cut into iPhone sales. We reviewed the HTC One X over at 9to5Google, where we called it “one giant leap for HTC.” Today’s stop on importing definitely does not help HTC, which recently reported some not-so good-looking Q1 2o12 earnings. The company reported only $2.3 billion in quarterly revenue, which was a drop of 35 percent year-over-year. I am sure HTC is looking for the One X and Evo 4G to help bring back /quarterly revenue. HTC issued a statement:

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Chrome Stable release will make tabs, browser preferences accessible everywhere

This morning’s Stable release of Chrome will soon allow access to open tabs across multiple devices in different locations.

The feature has been available in Chrome Beta since early April. It enabled users logged into Chrome to open browser tabs on one device while permitting access to them on separate devices from within the “Other devices” menu on the New Tab page.

“Say you’ve found an awesome recipe on your work computer while… ahem… working hard at the office. But when you get back home, you can’t quite remember if it was two teaspoons of baking soda or two teaspoons of baking powder,” wrote Software Engineers Raz Mathias on the official Google Chrome Blog while detailing the latest feature. “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could pull up the same recipe on your home computer with one click?”

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A ‘First Look’ at the HTC Desire C [Video]

Smartphone manufacturer HTC unveiled its latest mobile market contribution, the HTC Desire C, along with an official promotion video this morning.

The reel, dubbed “First Look,” only gave a brief glimpse of the device’s HTC Sense 4.0 interface, while this morning’s presser and website addressed a few of the informational gaps. The handset highlights Beats Audio technology, Sense integrated with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and a “powerful battery.” It also boasts a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, and 25GB of Dropbox for two years, and will sell alongside a second, NFC-capable variant.

The HTC Desire C will debut in red, white, and black through T-Mobile, Virgin Media, Three, Vodafone, Orange, O2, Phones4U, The Carphone Warehouse, and Tesco Mobile in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Engadget got ahold of T-Mobile UK to confirm pricing details: Pay-monthly users can have the handset free as long as they pay £15.50 a month for two years, and Pay-As-You-Go users can get the Android smartphone for £169.99. Both options become available in early June.

The full press release is after the break.

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Google patents design for Project Glass(es)

Patents recently published by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (via Engadget) show Google successfully patented at least the ornamental design of its “Project Glass” augmented reality glasses unveiled last month. It does not look exactly like the prototypes shown off in the concept videos, nor the pair worn by Sergey Brin, but we expect the design will be altered somewhat before it eventually hits the market.
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Google follows an email’s epic journey with ‘The Story of Send’ [Video]

Google released an animated video today that explores what happens to an email once the “send” button is clicked in Gmail.

The cartoon visually depicts a digital message’s journey as it travels past servers, cables, hard drives, even underground pathways equipped with vampires, from a user’s inbox to another’s mobile device.

The interactive timeline, dubbed “The Story of Send,” is meant to detail Google’s safety, security, and low energy footprint within its data centers as they handle billions of emails each day. While the HTML 5-based documentary provides an illustrated, advertised view of the process, visitors can get a more in-depth look by clicking on the informational tidbits, promotional videos, and photos embedded within the animation.

Check out the feature’s advertisement reel above, or just visit the website. You can even take a peak at 9to5Google’s video screen capture below.

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Google reportedly close to buying social startup Meebo for roughly $100M

Google is reportedly close to buying social startup Meebo at roughly $100 million, AllThingsD reported this evening. Citing “two sources familiar with the matter,” the publication said the deal is close to going down.

Meebo launched in 2005 and has had many products over the years like a web-based and smartphone-based IM client and a tool bar that can be loaded on websites to provide readers with social links. These types of toolbars can be found on TMZ, TV Guide, and more. Most recently, the startup launched a new homepage that lets you “create an interest profile to get new and timely information about the things that matter to you.”

Over the years, the Mountain View, Calif.-based (how fitting) startup raised $60 million in funding to date. It most recently raised a monster round of $25 million from Khosla Ventures in 2010.

If the acquisition goes through, Google will most likely use the team and technology to boost its social network/heavy Facebook competitor Google+. More recently, Google bought out Digg-founder Kevin Rose and his team of employees from their endeavor called “Milk.” Rose and his former team are currently assigned to work on Google+, which we expect to be the same fate for the Meebo team.

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Bing launches final redesign, says users prefer site over Google

Earlier this month, Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new style that looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface, but today the Redmond, Wash.-based Company branched from the design and announced a host of new features.

The redesign is still very Google-esque, but the notable aspect to this change is that Microsoft is continuing to make jabs at its primary competitor all the while conducting an obvious rip-off. The Windows-maker even detailed to users in a Bing blog post that its search relevance and quality surpassed Google’s when all signs of branding were removed from the search engines’ homepages:

From the outset, we knew that serving relevant results that were equal to or better than the other guy was table stakes. To track our progress, we conducted tests that removed any trace of Google and Bing branding. When we did this study in January of last year 34% people preferred Bing, while 38% preferred Google. The same unbranded study now shows that Bing Search results now have a much wider lead over Google’s. When shown unbranded search results 43% prefer Bing results while only 28% prefer Google results. What this means is that in 3 years we’ve made some real progress in core relevance and search quality, and while search is becoming so much more than just web results, having a rock solid foundation is important for the future of Bing and search more generally.

Screenshots are available below.

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