Google Genomics can store your genome in the cloud for $25 a year

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From modular phones to cancer detecting nanoparticles, Google sure has a lot in its pipeline. But lurking behind those high-profile projects is Google Genomics, a project that will store complete copies of genomes. The search giant started working on this particular moonshot about a year and a half ago, partnering with scientists and developing an API that allows them to move DNA data into its servers.

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Amazon announces Echo, a dedicated, Google Now-like speaker system for quick information

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Google Now but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your Android smartphone, tablet, or watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Okay Google,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these things.

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Google and LG forge patent pact, agree to cross-license tech freely for 10 years

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Google and LG have entered into a new agreement that will see both companies cross-licensing technology patents and products that covers all existing patents as well as any filed during the next decade. Google says the point of this agreement is to ensure that both companies can focus on innovating rather than worrying about who owns which technology.

Earlier this year Google created a similar agreement with Samsung in an attempt by the Mountain View-based corporation to forge tighter bonds with its Android handset makers while enabling them to take on competition from Apple.

The full press release from Google and LG is included below:

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Google Fiber hookup gives Kansas City Starbucks WiFi 100x faster than normal – and community Chromebooks

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Google promised back in July that its deal to provide free WiFi at 7,000 U.S. Starbucks locations would include connections up to 100x faster than usual in cities with Google Fiber – and it has now started to deliver on that. The company announced in its Google Fiber blog that a Kansas City branch is now home to the fastest Starbucks WiFi in the U.S.

At the corner of 41st and Main Street, a Kansas City Starbucks is teeming with people writing emails, streaming music, sharing videos, and more. Now that same Starbucks—one of the busiest in Kansas City—is the first to be connected directly to Google Fiber, so anyone visiting the store can get super-fast Internet with their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The technofest doesn’t end there, either …  Read more

Amazon drops free unlimited Cloud Photo storage into Prime customers’ laps for the holidays

 

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Amazon just upped the Cloud Photo storage ante with free unlimited Cloud storage for Photos for its Prime customers.  The Amazon Photo service, which has apps for iOS or Android and is native to Amazon’s Fire products including its recently announced Fire stick, will no longer be capped for Prime customers.

Introducing Prime Photos. Your cherished memories are safe in Amazon Cloud Drive and accessible anywhere you are. It’s like having a virtual album of every one of your photos that you can access at any time, no matter which device you use.

According to TechCrunch, a Mac app is in the works but for now the web uploader works as well.

Prime is Amazon’s all-in-one premium service which allows free streaming music, 500,000 free eBooks, free Netflix-like TV service, free 2 day shipping on goods and services bought at Amazon. It is $99/year but grabbing a 30-day free trial 1 month before the holiday shopping season starts isn’t a bad idea. Folks who don’t want to fork out the $99 can get a 5 GB of free storage on Amazon Cloud Drive which is the equivalent to up to 2,000 photos.

More on Prime, below: Read more

Nest rolling out updates for smarter auto-scheduling and faster access to info

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Your Nest smart thermostat should get a little smarter at some point over the next week as the company rolls out version 4.3 of the software, providing improved auto-scheduling and faster access to info at-a-glance.

A single push of the ring displays the information shown above, which includes weather, outdoor temperature and humidity. This has, says Nest, been the biggest customer request, allowing them to check what they should wear before heading out in the morning. Getting access to additional information, like yesterday’s energy usage or tomorrow’s schedule, is now available simply by turning the ring left or right …  Read more

Matt Cutts extends leave from Google into 2015, cites job well done by webspam team

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In July, Google’s webspam team leader Matt Cutts announced that he was taking some time off from Google to spend time with his family. Originally he planned to take just a few months off and return in October, but a note added to his original blog post indicates that he now plans to extend the break into 2015.

Cutts says that he checked in with Google’s webspam team to make sure that everything was running smoothly, and when he found that the team was operating fine on its own, he decided that he would take some more personal time.

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Google Nexus Player review: stuck in the middle

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For the past several years Google has been winning. The company is responsible for the world’s most popular search engine. Its Android mobile operating system has the lion’s share of worldwide smartphone shipments and the tech juggernaut’s advertising platform generates gigantic sums of money every year. So when a habitual winner like Google actually loses, it typically doesn’t handle defeat too well, and despite all of the company’s accolades, it’s been getting clobbered in one area for almost four years straight.

Google has successfully captured your desktop’s homepage and managed to work its software into the pockets of millions of people, however the Internet’s reigning search king has continuously struggled to find success in one very critical space — the living room.

Since 2010, Google has been aggressively trying to attach itself to your television, and despite several software and hardware revisions, the company has continued to come up short. However, when Google revealed Android TV during its annual I/O developer conference earlier this year, hordes of cord-cutting couch potatoes were optimistic about what the future might hold.

Fast-forward to today and Google’s first Android TV-powered device has been deemed fit for full duty by the company’s leadership. But does Google’s Nexus Player have enough bells and whistles to stand out in an extremely crowded space loaded with cable boxes, game consoles and other TV-friendly contraptions?

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Google Nexus 9 head to head: coming straight from a year with the iPad Air

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I’ve been an iPad Air user for a solid year. Sure, I’ve tried tried and reviewed other devices, but my go-to device for reading at night, some light work on the train or plane and just brain dead playing Facebook/Twitter/G+/Reddit/Email/Video chatting has been the Space Gray iPad Air 16GB.

Before the Air, I had used both of Google’s Samsung Nexus 10 and Asus Nexus 7 (2012) tablets and found them OK devices. The Google I/O version Nexus 7 power supply broke about 8 months in and I didn’t bother getting it fixed. The Samsung Nexus 10 was actually an under-rated device, in my opinion, probably mostly because the initial software wasn’t as polished as it should have been.

So with the Nexus 9, Google has had a long time to get its software right, and I shouldn’t have gotten déjà vu when I started using the Nexus 9, right?… Read more

Larry Page talks mission statements, solving mankind’s problems, and more in wide-ranging interview

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Larry Page recently sat down for an interview with the Financial Times that covered a wide variety of topics regarding the past, present, and future of Google and Page’s vision for the company. The executive wastes no time in confessing that he believes Google may be expansive enough that it’s time to consider a new mission statement.

When Page and his co-founder Sergey Brin created Google, their mission statement was simple: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Since then, the company has evolved into something beyond just a search engine, with a hand in everything from smartphones, to laptops, to robotics research, and even stuff that sounds like it came straight out of science fiction.

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Android co-founder Andy Rubin is leaving Google, robotics division now under new leadership

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Android co-founder Andy Rubin is leaving Google, according to the Wall Street Journal. Rubin joined Google when the company bought Android and most recently headed up the new robotics division. That division will reportedly remain intact under the leadership of James Kuffner, who is currently a member of that team.

The change was confirmed by CEO Larry Page. The Wall Street Journal reports that Rubin is planning to launch an incubator for startups that focus on creating high-tech hardware.

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