Opinion: With results like these, does Google+ have a future?

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Following a report back in July showing that Google+ gets only 2 percent of social sharing, new figures from Shareaholic (via Marketing Land) reveal that the service drives an average of 0.06 percent of all referral traffic. This contrasts with Facebook at 8.11 percent, Pinterest at 3.24 and Twitter at a surprisingly low 1.17.

Google+ traffic is also growing at a far slower rate than other social media.

Shareaholic also says that Google+ is growing the slowest as a referral source at just 6.97 percent over the past year. Referrals from Facebook (58.81 percent), Pinterest (66.52 percent), Twitter (54.12 percent) and YouTube (52.86 percent) all grew more than 50 percent since September 2012.

Viewed against a backdrop of Google’s aggressive promotion of the service, making it virtually impossible not to have a G+ account by linking it to every product the company has, it does make me question whether Google+ has a long-term future …  Read more

Amazon partnering with HTC for highly rumored Amazon Phone

Amazon has long been said to be working on a smartphone carrying its brand, and it looks like it HTC could be its hardware partner.

That’s according to a report from the Financial Times, which cites people familiar with the project in saying that three different smartphones are currently in development with one being “at an advanced stage of development.”

“We have been very focused on building our own brand, but we have also been very open to co-branding and collaborating with carriers and other technology brands,” HTC chief of marketing Ben Ho told the Financial Times, but declined to comment on any specific relationship with Amazon.

Shipping a phone with both the HTC and Amazon logos would mean more than just branding for the phone, as Amazon would be able to take over much of the Android operating system experience as it has done with the Kindle Fire tablets. HTC partnered with Facebook earlier this year for the not-so-popular-now HTC First featuring Facebook Home, but borrowing software features from the Kindle Fire like Mayday, an Amazon support service for users, could prove valuable to both HTC and Amazon and be very appealing to new users in a saturated smartphone market. Read more

Google to track mobile app usage via Mobile Meter app

Image: digitallifeplus.com

Image: digitallifeplus.com

Google has confirmed it’s working on a Mobile Meter app for both Android and iOS to allow it to monitor how smartphone owners use mobile apps. But no need for any privacy panicking: the app will be available only to those who have opted in to Google’s Screenwise paid market research panel, reports Engadget.

The Mobile Meter apps will replace an older method that allowed panelists to participate, helping Google measure media consumption across all screens but with more accurate results on mobile. Both the Android and iOS apps will be submitted to their relevant app stores in the near future, although only panelists will be able to actually use them …  Read more

Leaked renders reveal LG’s upcoming G Flex curved-glass smartphone

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Following Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy Round, the world’s first curved-display smartphone, Engadget has discovered a few renders of LG’s upcoming entry to the curved smartphone arena. The phone, called the G Flex, will feature a top-to-bottom curved display—the opposite of the Galaxy Round, which left-to-right. Reports earlier this month stated that the oddly-shaped display will be a massive six inches.

Nothing more is known about the phone at the moment, but it is said to be expected some time next month. More renders are included below.

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Twitter launches tablet-optimized app, available first on latest Samsung 10.1 tablet

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Twitter has finally launched a version of its official Android client that is fully-optimized for the larger displays on tablets. The app has a multi-screen view for scrolling through tweets while reading links in an accompanying browser.

Multi_Screen_View

The app also brings a new Android home screen widget and illustrating of images that are to be shared via Twitter. Interestingly, the app is launching first on the Samsung 10.1-2014 tablet, with launches on other Android tablets to come in the future.

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Acer ups the ante with Haswell-powered Chromebook for $249 – but only pre-order for now

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Just a day after Google announced a new HP-made ARM-powered Chromebook for $279, Acer has upped the ante with a Haswell-powered one for $249.

The Acer C720 offers the same 1366×768 resolution screen as the HP. The Acer screen is anti-glare, which offers easier viewing when used outside at the expense of slightly poorer contrast. The machine has 4GB RAM against the 2GB of the HP, and the Haswell processor gives it a claimed 8.5 hours battery life, against 6 hours for the HP …  Read more

First image of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy phone with curved display leaks out

Update: Evleaks has posted another image of the device, which appears to be similar to the new Galaxy Note III as previously rumored (above).

Prominent leaker @evleaks has published the first photo of Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy phone with a curved screen. Recent rumors have pegged an announcement of this new phone to occur in the coming days, or perhaps as soon as later this week. The new display, which will likely be made from plastic instead of glass, will offer enhanced durability. It is typically more difficult to crack a curved display than a flat glass panel found on most modern handsets. For its part, Samsung competitor LG also has a curved phone in the pipeline.

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Samsung fails to obtain Presidential veto from Obama for Apple/ITC import ban case

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With a U.S. import ban previously issued by the ITC set to lock out certain Samsung devices at midnight last night, Bloomberg reports that the company has failed to obtain a veto from President Barack Obama:

The Korean company had argued that the ban should be overturned on public policy grounds, especially since a similar order it won against Apple was vetoed by the administration in August. Samsung can now seek a delay in the ban from a U.S. appeals court that will consider the entire case on legal grounds.

“After carefully weighing policy considerations, including the impact on consumers and competition, advice from agencies, and information from interested parties, I have decided to allow” the import ban to proceed, Obama’s designee, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, said in a statement today.

In August, the US International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Apple and issued a sales ban on certain infringing Samsung devices in a long-running case that stemmed from a countersuit originally filed by Apple back in 2011. The news came shortly after the Obama administration’s decision to veto an ITC import ban on certain iPhone and iPad models that Samsung won in a separate case. Like Apple, Samsung was going to attempt to get a veto on the decision by the US President, the only person with the power to overturn ITC import bans.  Read more

KitKat to drop Messaging app, integrate SMS and MMS into Hangouts?

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Android Police has screenshots suggesting that both SMS and MMS messaging are being integrated into Google Hangouts, with the standalone Messaging app likely to be dropped from KitKat (Android 4.4) – first on Nexus devices and later on others.

The screenshots claim to be from Hangouts 1.3. It’s just speculation that this will ship with KitKat – it’s possible that it may be released before or after. We have recently seen claimed screenshots of KitKat that include the Messaging app, but that isn’t inconsistent with the idea that it would be dropped from the Nexus first …  Read more

Google Shopping rolling out new local product listing ads and storefront

Google noted today on its InsideAdWords blog that it has been slowly rolling out two new features for Google Shopping that will provide users with more results for local business whens searching Google for products. As pictured above, Google is now including ads from local businesses when users search for products, and clicking those ads will take them to a brand new “local storefront” where they can browse items: Read more