Google gives AT&T the boot, will supply 7000 US Starbucks locations with WiFi starting next month

StarbucksWifi (1)

After a brief announcement back in June that it had partnered with Starbucks to offer free, unlimited music through its new Google Play All Access streaming service, Google today announced that it will soon be supplying WiFi to all Starbucks locations in the US. That also includes its new gigabit Google Fiber internet service where available:

When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.

Up until now, AT&T provided free Wifi access to Starbucks customers in the US (and T-Mobile before that), but it appears that will no longer be the case following the roll out of Google’s networks in the coming weeks.

Google plans to start rolling out its new Starbucks networks next month and hopes to have all 7,000 US locations up and running on its networks within 18 months. Google noted, “You’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.” Read more

Google lends Glass to film schools to “change the way we capture and tell stories”

glassfilm

Google is lending three sets of Google Glass to each of five film schools for the fall semester as part of what it calls the Glass Creative Collective.

We’re really interested to find out how Glass will contribute to the craft of storytelling, specifically through film. So, we reached out to various film schools, including The American Film Institute, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television and University of Southern California. They’ll start exploring how Glass can be used in production, documentary filmmaking, character development and things we haven’t yet considered …  Read more

Google launches Zagat restaurant guide app for iPhone, fitting replacement for Google+ Local

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Following its acquisition of Zagat in 2011, Google has launched a brand-new iPhone app for Zagat on the App Store. The app features in-depth guides and ratings for restaurants:

Zagat is your guide to discovering the best and most notable restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs. We’re starting with nine cities (Austin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington DC), and are expanding to more cities soon.

Read about the hottest openings, get useful lists of weekend ideas, intriguing how-to videos, chef interviews, and more. No need to wade through dozens of reviews–we’ll tell you in a nutshell what other people are saying.

Restaurant menus, articles, advanced searching tools, and reservations via OpenTable are also available from within the app. Zagat for iPhone is seemingly a replacement for the soon-to-be-discontinued Google+ Local app. New video overview of the the new Zagat:

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Chromecast could be pocket-sized lifesaver for business presentations and family outings

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Google’s new $35 Chromecast device has huge potential in a living-room environment, but as PC World notes, the device also could be a major player in the enterprise market as a presentation tool. If you have to give a presentation now, it’s tricky to make sure you have the right converters to connect to the projector at the office, and if you get there and it turns out you needed VGA, not DVI, you’re in big trouble. With the Chromecast, all you would have to do is bring it to your meeting and have your documents stored in Google Drive. From there you can cast all of your Chrome tabs to the big screen with no issues.

The Chromecast would also be the perfect device to take on a family outing, as it would allow you to easily watch Netflix content on any TV with an HDMI connection at your hotel.

While it may take a little work to get all your documents in Google Drive, the process has gotten simpler and simpler over time and with more businesses switching to Google Apps anyway, there’s no reason not to use a Chromecast in the office.  Read more

Wondering why YouTube keeps buffering on your high-speed connection? It’s no accident …

Image: techinasia.com

Image: techinasia.com

If, like me, you often find that 1080p content on youtube buffers even when your download speed is more than sufficient to stream HD content, arsTechnica has the explanation.

Behind the scenes, in negotiations that almost never become public, the world’s biggest Internet providers and video services argue over how much one network should pay to connect to another. When these negotiations fail, users suffer. In other words, bad video performance is often caused not just by technology problems but also by business decisions made by the companies that control the Internet …  Read more

After winning award from NSA, Google engineer says NSA shouldn’t exist

The NSA's $2b data centre in Bluffdale, Utah (source: businessweek.com)

The NSA’s $2b data centre in Bluffdale, Utah (source: businessweek.com)

Joseph Bonneau, a Google engineer, was the first person to be awarded the NSA’s “Best Scientific Cybersecurity  Paper” award last week for his “The Science of Guessing” report. Bonneau’s paper analyzed more than 70 million user passwords to see why people are not good at making strong passwords. While winning the award is great and all, Bonneau says he is not a big fan of the NSA in the first place.

In a blog post, he thanked the NSA for the award, but then went on to say that organization’s attempts to collect data from users are not something he agrees with. “I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organization like the NSA in its current form,” he wrote.

In accepting the award I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance. Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form. Yet I’m glad I got the rare opportunity to visit with the NSA and I’m grateful for my hosts’ genuine hospitality.

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Google believed to drop Asus, partner with LG for 2014 Nexus 7 to bolster hardware

While Google has only launched its latest tablet just last week with the redesigned, higher-resolution Nexus 7, there is already talk about next year’s model. Analyst Ming-Chi-Kuo has issued a new report today that outlines his belief that Google will drop its tablet-hardware-design partnership with ASUS in favor of LG.

Google has partnered with ASUS for many hardware components for the Nexus 7 in both the first-generation model and the 2013 edition. The two companies are closely knit in this regard, with Google even stamping ASUS’s logo on the rear of the 2012 model.

For 2014, Kuo says that Google will team up with LG to advance display design. Such a partnership would not exactly be unprecedented. Google and LG have worked together on the Nexus 4, Google’s current flagship smartphone. With this successful partnership on the phone side, a translation over to tablets would seem to be sensible…

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New Nexus 7 now available through Google Play ahead of expected release date

Google Play Nexus 7

While the new Nexus 7 has already been arriving in some retail stores and online ahead of its expected July 30 release, Google just announced that the device is now available to purchase through Google Play. It’s still only available to customers in the US, as an official date for the rollout to Canada, UK, Germany, France and a handful of other locations has not yet been confirmed.

We already reported that retailers were planning on receiving the new Nexus 7 in and around July 30, but others have reportedly already been able to get their hands on the device through several channels.  Staples is already offering $30 off the device through a discount on tablets that it’s currently running. Reviews of the device have been strong, with most pegging it as a serious iPad mini competitor, but we’ll see in the coming hours and days if demand for the device is just as strong.

The new Nexus 7 is 50 grams lighter and 2mm thinner than the previous version, and comes with a 1920×1200 display with 323 pixels per inch, 2GB of RAM, and a 1.5GHz Snapdragon chipset.

Both the 16GB model ($229) and the 32GB model ($269) are available to order through Google Play now with an estimated shipping date of July 30. A 32GB LTE version of the device will be arriving on AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the coming weeks for $349.

T-Mobile going $0 down for all devices tomorrow as AT&T’s Next program begins

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 6.56.24 AM

As part of its new un-carrier strategy, T-Mobile USA today announced that it will begin a new deal tomorrow: $0 down for all devices. Now, eligible customers can receive a phone with no money down and pay for the device over 24 months. Above is a chart with the monthly pricing for some of T-Mobile’s most notable devices.

“The number of reasons not to switch to T-Mobile this summer is ZERO,” said John Legere, president and chief executive officer, T-Mobile US. “This is a fantastic offer and we’re making it easier than ever for customers to get the latest amazing devices. Adding Zero Down in addition to JUMP!, and Simple Choice with no contract is all about making wireless work for consumers and shaking up this industry.”

T-Mobile says that the promotion will last for a limited-time, but the company does not specify much beyond that. Today’s announcement goes hand-in-hand with T-Mobile JUMP upgrade program, according to the company. Notably, AT&T’s JUMP competitor, which is called Next, goes live today. Verizon’s competing Edge plan starts next month. 

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Google prepares for living-room push as 4k support added to Android 4.3

4k

Google is clearly serious about its intentions to make a sizeable push into the living-room market, as Android Police spotted a small clue revealing that Android 4.3 has added support for 4k displays.

Google has added a new DPI category to Android: XXXHDPI. This is for screens with an approximate DPI of six hundred and forty. Did you think we were stopping at 1080p?

Android engineer Dianne Hackborn is quoted as confirming the intent behind this:

A typical use of this density would be 4K television screens — 3840×2160 …  Read more

Google ends free Netflix/Chromecast promotion due to ‘overwhelming demand’

Chromecast

According to a report from the LA Times, Google has confirmed today that it is ending the three months of free Netflix service that it launched as a promotion with its new $35 Chromecast streaming device yesterday. Reports of the device selling out at various retailers and shipping times being pushed back on Google Play started circling this morning, and Google says the promotion has ended due to the overwhelming demand:

“Due to overwhelming demand for Chromecast devices since launch, the 3-month Netflix promotion (which was available in limited quantities) is no longer available,” Google told The Times in a statement.

Reviews for the Chromecast have been fairly positive, with most agreeing the price point will be its biggest differentiator. However, the free Netflix promotion, almost a $30 value, was certainly helping to drive a lot of the early demand for the $35 device. A selection of reviews, good and bad, are below:

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Influential analyst predicts a hit for Moto X, a miss for new Nexus 7

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KGI’s Mingchi Kuo, an analyst with a good predictive track-record, has forecast that the Moto X will do substantially better than forecast, while the new 1080P Nexus 7 will do significantly worse.

According to our survey, 2013F shipments of Moto X, to be announced August 1, should reach 5.5mn units, up 57% from the previous forecast of 3.5mn units, including 1.5mn units in 3Q13 and 4.0mn units in 4Q13.

Kuo cited a combination of supply chain sources, the positive response from U.S. operators and Google’s planned megaspend of half a billion dollars on marketing the handset as key factors for the boost in expected numbers … Read more