YouTube launches Music Key streaming service for $10/mo: no ads, offline playback, full albums & Play Music access

Google today officially announced its highly rumored YouTube music subscription service and its calling it YouTube Music Key. YouTube’s Music Key service with be available for a monthly subscription of $9.99 and unlock ad-free music, offline playback and video viewing, and the ability to play music in the background when using other apps.

The service is rolling out as a beta next week with a promotional price of $7.99/month, and early adopters will be able to request access from YouTube.com/MusicKey. YouTube’s Music Key beta service will be available through the YouTube apps on Android and iOS and through YouTube.com.

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Google-owned Boston Dynamics debuts new video of Atlas robot mimicking ‘The Karate Kid’

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Google-owned robotics lab Boston Dynanics has debuted new video of its 6’2″ Atlas robot, also known as “Ian.” The hulking mass of metal, which weighs a whopping 330 lbs, has been programmed to recreate a key scene from the 1984 film The Karate Kid.

Ian is part of an ongoing robotics project that seeks to create automatons that can replace humans in hazardous roles like firefighting. Ian has already demonstrated a variety of abilities, including traversing difficult and uneven terrain, carrying objects such as firehoses, and even to get into a car and drive it. It can also use both its hands and feet to climb over the most treacherous obstacles.

Video below:

Google to lease Moffett Airfield from NASA to use as home for its advanced research facilities

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Google has been using NASA’s Moffett Airfield as a home and launch pad for its private jets for several years now, but today, the company announced that it has singed a deal with NASA in which it will lease the airfield for the next 60 years. Google, via its real estate organization Planetary Ventures, will contribute $1.16 billion to the facilities over the lease, reducing NASA’s operation costs by $6.3 million annually.

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Google donating $10 million to fight Ebola, launches donation matching campaign

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Google CEO Larry Page announced on the company’s blog today that Google has donated $10 million to several nonprofit organizations in an effort to fight the Ebola virus disease. Among the nonprofit organizations Google has donated money, “InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and U.S. Fund for UNICEF” are included according to Page.

In addition to donating $10 million to assist nonprofit groups in the fight against Ebola, Google is pledging to donate $2 for ever $1 donated to its public giving campaign. Funds raised through Google’s public giving campaign will go toward the Network for Good and continue until an addition $7.5 million is raised. Read more

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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