Latest Opera desktop browser powered by Chromium – interesting Stash & Smartbox features

Opera has released what it describes as a ‘sneak preview’ of its latest browser, Opera 15, available for both Windows and Mac. As we reported last month, it is powered by Chromium rather than the Presto engine Opera had used for earlier versions.

While Opera is still a significant player in the mobile market, it has fallen out of favour in the desktop market, with a market share of just a few percent, well behind Chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari. Version 15 introduces a couple of new features that Opera hopes may change that … Read more

Talking Schmidt: I’m rather perplexed by tax avoidance debate

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In the latest in our Talking Schmidt series, Google exec chairman Eric Schmidt has told the BBC that he is “perplexed” as to why anyone should debate why a company that “tries to do the right thing” would route all its UK adword sales via Ireland to halve its tax bill.

What we are doing is legal. I’m rather perplexed by this debate, which has been going in the UK for some time, because I view taxes as not optional. I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required. It’s not a debate. You pay the taxes … Read more

Report: Google planning to develop wireless networks, low-cost Android devices for emerging markets

Google-internet-fiber

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is now in the middle of a new project that will see the company develop wireless networks in emerging countries including sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Google plans on teaming up with local companies to develop the wireless networks, which are said to use airwaves normally reserved for TV, but will first have to get government approvals:

Some of those efforts revolve around using certain airwaves reserved for TV broadcasts to create wireless networks, but only if government regulators allowed it, these people said. Google has long been involved in public trials to prove the technology—which operates at lower frequencies than some cell networks, allowing signals to be more easily transmitted through buildings and other obstacles and across longer distances—can work. And it has begun talking to regulators in countries such as South Africa and Kenya about changing current rules to allow such networks to be built en masse.

The report mentions that Google is also “building an ecosystem of new microprocessors and low-cost smartphones powered by its Android mobile operating system to connect to the wireless networks,” although it didn’t offer up any other specific information on the devices.

It also points out a Google X project that takes advantage of “special balloons or blimps, known as high-altitude platforms, to transmit signals to an area of hundreds of square miles,” but it’s unclear whether or not the two projects are connected. Read more

Google considers Waze acquisition, could start bidding war with Facebook

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Bloomberg reports that Google is considering making an acquisition offer for mapping company Waze. Numerous reports over the past few weeks have claimed that Facebook is also eyeing an acquisition of the maps firm.

Google Inc. (GOOG), maker of the Android operating system, is considering buying map-software provider Waze Inc., setting up a possible bidding war with Facebook Inc., people familiar with the matter said. Waze is fielding expressions of interest from multiple parties and is seeking more than $1 billion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The Palo Alto, California-based startup might also remain independent, instead seeking to raise a round of venture capital financing, the people said.

Waze’s price-tag is current said to be around $1 billion.

Google’s potential bid would likely create a bidding war with the Menlo Park-based social network. Bloomberg reiterates that Apple is not in discussions with Waze. Rumors from earlier this year claimed that Apple was eyeing an acquisition, but many of those claims were immediately debunked. 

Read more

Google faces FTC complaint over display advertising

According to Bloomberg, the FTC is now investigating Google over its Display ad business which it picked up originally in its purchase of DoubleClick almost a decade ago.

The fresh inquiry, which follows the FTC’s decision to close a review of Google’s search business in January without taking action, is in the preliminary stages and may not expand into a larger probe, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter hasn’t been made public.

FTC investigators are examining whether Google is using its position in U.S. display ads — a $17.7 billion industry that includes the sale of banner ads on websites — to push companies to use more of its other services, a practice that can be illegal under antitrust laws, the people said.

Out of the FTC Frying Pan, into the Fire. Read more

gMusic app unofficially brings Google’s new “All Access” subscription music service to iOS

gMusic-All-Access-iOSWhen Google unveiled its brand new $9.99/month “All Access” Google Play music streaming service earlier this month at its I/O keynote, we quickly learned that the service would not be coming to iOS initially. Google didn’t get into why, but today developers of the popular gMusic iOS app has unofficially brought support for the service to iPhone and iPad.

The app previously acted as client for songs stored in your Google Music library, but with an update to version 6.0 today the All Access subscription service is now officially available to iOS users. The changelog on iTunes also lists the ability to “Create/play Radio Stations” and “Search, listen, and add music to your library from inside the app.”

As for why Google didn’t make it’s own All Access app for iOS, we’ve heard from sources close to the situation that Google wants to submit an app but is currently in a holding pattern with Apple regarding what they will accept.

gMusic: Google Music Player is available on the App Store now for $1.99. The updated app will require users to have a Google Play All Access subscription to access the new features.  Read more

Galaxy S4 shipments hit ten million, ahead of Samsung’s forecast

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Samsung, which recently said it expected to his 10m shipments of the Galaxy S4 by the end of May, has announced that it has now hit this figure – with a week to spare.

Whilst the number is extremely impressive, contrasted with 50 days for the S3 and five months for the S2, it’s important to note that Samsung is quoting shipments rather than sales. As The Verge observes: Read more

Talking Schmidt: “Google is a capitalist country … company”

Google's Eric Schmidt in Burma

In the fifth installment of our continuing series Talking Schmidt we bring you the most insightful lines from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who is promoting his new book The New Digital Age with his coauthor Jared Cohen, responded to UK politician Ed Miliband’s call for “responsible capitalism” earlier this week.

He reminded Miliband that Google is a country… ahem, company powered by profit and projects like wearable computing and self-driving cars better serve Google than forfeiting more of its profits to various governments.

“Google is a capitalist country … company,” he corrected himself, to laughter from the audience. “It’s easy to say you would like us to have to have less profits and have that somewhere else. We will comply with the letter of the law, but we’re trying to avoid being doubly and triply taxes, which would prevent us investing in some of the wilder things we do.”

Read more

Sprint/Boost/Virgin announces Waterproof Kyocera, Galaxy S3 and new Wallet

Sprint has made a few announcements today for new devices and services coming to its customers on its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA prepaid brands. The company announced today that the Samsung Galaxy S III will be landing on both Boost and Virgin beginning in June. Both devices will be available on the two carriers’ no contract plans but Sprint didn’t make any details available for pricing on the device yet.

Also announced today is the waterproof Kyocera Hydro Edge smartphone, a 4.1-inch Android 4.1 device that’s capable of submersion up to 3.28 feet. No exact launch date or pricing as of yet, but Sprint will be making it available through both its Sprint and Boost Mobile brands later this summer.

Sprint also announced today that it is launching a new ‘Boost Mobile Wallet’ service powered by technology from mobile payments company Wipit. The service is available for Boost customers starting today through a free app on Google Play, but for now is only available to users in Los Angeles, San Diego and parts of New Jersey.

The app allows users to load cash into their wallet at Boost Mobile stores, send money to 135 countries, and Sprint will also be giving out reloadable Visa prepaid cards for ATM access: Read more