Act surprised! HTC announces the HTC One Mini

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We have heard unending leaks, specs, FCC docs and just about everything except an official announcement on HTC’s One Mini.

Now we have that, (below). The One Mini is available in select markets next month and globally (including the US) after. While HTC didn’t specify which carriers would carry the One Mini, a leaked variant for AT&T appeared early this week.

As expected, it will come with the HTC UltraPixel Camera with HTC Zoe, HTC BoomSound and HTC BlinkFeed, into a smaller 4.3″ 720P display package. A good comparison shot via the Verge is above.

The device is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, and while HTC didn’t official specify which kind, a leak yesterday suggested a Snapdragon 400 chip and 1GB of RAM.

Press follows: Read more

Google planning return to Palo Alto, purchases nearly 15 acres of land

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Google’s Bay View campus render

Mercury News reports that Google is planning to soon make a return to Palo Alto, which is where the search engine company opened its first office in 1999. The now Mountain View based company has purchased a section of land on the 1000 block of East Meadow Circle, as well as an area of land on Fabian Way. Together, this comes out to nearly 15 acres of land.

Palo Alto’s Planning and Community Environment Department already has plans for what it wants Google to do in the area. Aaron Aknin, director of the department, says that area in which Google purchased the land calls for research and development and office uses.

Google, however, would not reveal what it plans to do with the land, but either way, city officials appear to be happy to have Google back in the area.

“We’re delighted to have Google come back to Palo Alto and we look forward to working with them on whatever their project ends up being,” said Thomas Fehrenbach, the city’s economic development manager.

Palo Alto mayor Greg Scharff, however, said that he believes the city should be focused on bringing start-ups into the area…. Read more

Google testing encryption to hide your Drive files on heels of NSA surveillance controversy

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Privacy protection in the apps we use on a daily basis has been a big topic of conversation following accusations that Google and other large tech companies were working with government agencies to provide user data. Google has worked tirelessly to clear its name during the scandal, and today CNET reports that the company is testing encryption for Drive files that could further keep its users’ data protected from prying eyes.

As a reminder, Google does not currently encrypt files store in its Drive cloud storage service, but rather only encrypts files being transferred on their way to Drive: Read more

Google sending invites for July 24 event with Android/Chrome boss Sundar Pichai

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Google has just sent out invites for an event next Wednesday, July 24th. The invite says that it is a “breakfast with Sundar Pichai,” which means that the focus of the event will probably be on Android and/or Chrome, which are the two departments that Pichai oversees. For those that can’t make the breakfast or were not invited, it will be live streamed on YouTube as well.

More than likely the event has something to do with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which is expected to be a very minor update over 4.2. It’s also possible that it’s the Nexus 7 successor, for which we just saw leaked pricing. We’ll be sure to let you know what Google has to say next week.

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Google follows through on proposal to kill pirate sites by cutting off their cash

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The Guardian reports that Google is acting on the proposal it made back in May to hit pirate sites where it hurts – their wallets – by depriving them of ad revenue.

Websites offering pirated content will be blocked from offering adverts from Google and other big web advertisers, in a US scheme intended to strangle illicit revenues.

The initiative will mean copyright holders from the music, film and other creative industries will be able to alert the big ad networks if their ads are appearing on sites offering links to pirated content or counterfeit goods …  Read more

As expected, EU rejects Google’s proposed changes to anti-trust complaint in search

European Union Competition Commissioner Almunia addresses a news conference on state aid rules for airports and airlines in Brussels

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia (photo: Reuters)

Google’s proposed changes to its search results don’t go far enough to address claims that it is using its dominant position to freeze out competitors, says the EU (via Reuters).

The decision comes as no surprise after EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said back in May that he was “almost 100 percent certain” to reject the proposals, in which Google’s key offers were to clearly separate organic results from sponsored links and to provide links to at least three rival search services in its results …  Read more

Chrome Beta for Android updated with speed improvements, WebRTC support

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Google has updated its Chrome Beta Android app today with several small new features. First, the update adds support for WebRTC, which is a web feature that allows for real-time voice and video communications. WebRTC is useful for things like voice calling, video chatting, and peer-to-peer file sharing. The update also improves page loading performance and offers up a handful of bug fixes and general stability improvements.

Full changelog:

  • Support for WebRTC, a web platform feature to enable real-time voice and video communications
  • Faster page loads
  • Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance

Download it on the Play Store now.

Google offering free Play songs by Nirvana, Band of Horses, The Shins, and more to celebrate 25 years of SubPop

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Google is offering a handful of MP3 tracks for free via the Play Store to celebrate the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee festival in Seattle. The sale offers free songs such as “About a Girl” by Nirvana, “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, “New Slang” by The Shins, and much more.

Mega-indie record label Sub Pop marks its 25th anniversary with a Silver Jubilee festival July 13 in Seattle, and there’s plenty to celebrate. From introducing Nirvana and grunge to popularizing modern indie rock, folk, electropop and more, Sub Pop has stayed nimbly ahead of trends and launched countless great bands including Sunny Day Real Estate, Mudhoney,The Shins, Fleet Foxes and more. They’ve also maintained their experimental edge, releasing records by such outliers as LA noise punks No Age, chillwave success Washed Out and outré hip-hop unit Shabazz Palaces. Here’s to 25 years of Subterranean Pop, “Loser” t-shirts and avowed “world domination”—and to many more to come.

You can check out the deal on the Play Store now. Read more

Google Play web interface redesigned with look similar to Android app

Google has just updated the design of its desktop Play Store. The interface is very similar  to what Android users have come to know on their mobile device’s Play Store, which was updated earlier this year, as well. The interface is focused heavily on images now, which is evident by the much larger screenshots supplied for apps.

Along the side of the site are quick links to Apps, Movies and TV, Music, Books, Magazines, and Devices. Clicking them will take you to a page specific about whatever topic you selected. The devices section is centered around Nexus and Google Play edition devices, as well as Chromebooks, just as you’d expect. The other sections show things like sales, top sellers, apps for certain people, and more.

The redesign was originally rumored last month, but only now is it available to everyone. Head over to play.google.com to check it out for yourself and look below for more screenshots… Read more

Microsoft pays its first ‘bug bounty’ … to a Google engineer

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Microsoft has just paid its first ‘bug bounty’ – a payment for discovering and reporting a critical vulnerability in Windows 8.1 – to a Google engineer, for a bug found in the preview version of Internet Explorer 11.

The security community has responded enthusiastically to our new bounty programs, submitting over a dozen issues for us to investigate in just the first two weeks since the programs opened.  I personally notified the very first bounty recipient via email today that his submission for the Internet Explorer 11 Preview Bug Bounty is confirmed and validated. (Translation: He’s getting paid.)

Microsoft hasn’t yet named the engineer in its post on the BlueHat Blog, but PCWorld names him as Google’s Ivan Fratric …  Read more