Judge dismisses class-action anti-trust suit against Google over Android & Search practices

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Last May, Google was hit with an class-action anti-trust lawsuit over several of its Android and Search practices. The case centered around the idea that Google was forcing Android handset manufacturers to make its search engine the default on all their devices, as well as pre-load apps such as YouTube. These practices, in turn, drove up the price of Android devices. Reuters reports this evening, however, that a federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit due to a lack of evidence from the plaintiffs.

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Google agrees to Italian regulatory checks following data collection privacy investigation

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Last year, the Italian government gave Google 18 months to reform its tata collection policies and change the way it stores and treats that user data. The Wall Street Journal reports today that Google has now agreed to allow the Italian government to perform spot checks at its Mountain View headquarters. The regulator will get quarterly updates from Google and have the ability to send someone  to Mountain View for “on-the-spot checks.”

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Google kicks off annual Science Fair w/ $100k in scholarships & grants up for grabs

Google today has kicked off its fifth annual Science Fair in conjunction with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific America, and Virgin Galactic. Starting today and running through May 18th, students between the ages of 13 and 18 can submit projects to Google across a variety of scientific fields for a chance to win one of a handful of prizes. Possible topics include biology, computer science, anthropology, and any other scientific field.

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Astro Teller: Google is making a modest return on its experimental lab investment

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Google X boss Astro Teller spoke with the New York Times on the topic of the experimental lab and the value it produces for the company, saying that the X lab’s goal is to find new technology markets that the Mountain View company can jump into and problems it can solve.

According to Teller, Google gives X projects a longer period of time in which to prove they can become profitable. He specifically highlights the “Neural Network Project” (previously known as Google Brain) as one project that has turned a serious profit. In fact, Brain is now bringing in enough “value” to offset the costs of running the entire X lab, Teller says:

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Pebble publicly launches 2.3 software update with actionable notifications and Android Wear compatibility

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Pebble announced in December that it would be launching a new update for its smartwatch software that would enable actionable notifications and compatibility with Android Wear-supported apps. By updating to the latest version of the Pebble app for Android and the lastest device software, users can take advantage of any Android Wear action right from their Pebble.

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Google adds two-week grace period to Project Zero bug squashing initiative

Google Personal Search

Google announced its Project Zero initiative in the middle part of last year, and now the Mountain View company is making some amendments to the rules for disclosure of bugs it finds in vendors’ software. There has been a 90-day deadline in place since the launch of the program, and that seems to be working well according to a post on the Project Zero blog, but the company says that it has taken into consideration “external feedback around some of the corner cases” and made some changes. Read more

Google Mattel Event today will merge View-Master line with Google Cardboard

I’m here, the event starts at 9ET. I’ll update as we go. I know my kids are stoked.

Announcements starting…embargos breaking…

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The Cardboard View-Master is the fruit of half a year of design. When Mattel saw the Google Cardboard they knew it was the next generation of View-Master.

1940 – Viewmaster was introduced – Stereoscopic viewer.

  • Can be bought via Google Play on the smartphone or on these little ‘reels’. That are probably SD cards in big cases.
  • The physical is a tie to the past – 75 years of View-Master.
  • Available this fall. For around $30. 4 reels will cost about $15 and have exclusive content.
  • Will launch on Android but will be available on other platforms iOS, Windows and more. Specs of Android phone are fuzzy at the moment.
  • These aren’t wearable. These are for kids and they should be able to put these on and take them off as they want. Not to zone out.
  • Will be 1st experience with 3D  for many kids. Mattel wanted to do it right – This works really well out of the gate but nailing down the experience.
  • Current Google Cardboard apps wil work with the new Mattel View-Master.
  • Testing with lots of pediatric ophthalmologists out of St. Louis University and others to make sure this is safe for kids.
  • Light-Gaming “treasure hunt” ideas are coming.
  • Mattel plans to release its new Google Cardboard based VR toy on iOS by end of the year

Google adding fact-checked health information to Knowledge Graph

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Google’s Knowledge Graph–which highlights fact-checked info at the top of certain types of search results–is being expanded to include health-related searches. So next time you want to check whether you have the common cold or a rare strain of Ebola, Google should provide the necessary reassurance.

Starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators.

Google says that the information is pulled from “high-quality medical sources across the web” and then checked by both its own doctors and others from the Mayo Clinic …  Read more

Google testing a new virtual ‘Genius Bar’ for Google Play customer service

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Google has used its Hangouts technology in many ways over the last couple of years, and one big way was the introduction of a new service called “Helpouts” that lets people sell their expertise to others over video conferencing. Now, it looks like Google is bringing Hangouts to a new area: customer service on the Google Play store.

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Google acquires Launchpad Toys, makes popular Toontastic kids app free

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It appears that Google is about ready to jump into the kid-friendly mobile app space, as Launchpad toys has today announced that they’ve been acquired by the Mountain View company. Known for its Toontastic storytelling app for kids, the company is joining Google to “create even more amazing creativity tools for kids.”

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