New Google Wallet app lets you send money to any U.S. email address, adds loyalty cards & offers

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Google announced today on its Google Commerce blog that a new version of Google Wallet is beginning to roll out to all Android devices in the U.S. running Android 2.3 and up. It also brings the app to users on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, although those carriers won’t be allowing NFC payments as they opt for competitive ISIS mobile payment platform.

The new app rolling out this week will allow users to send money to any US email address and also adds improved features for saving loyalty cards and redeeming offers. While Google is currently in the process of rolling out the ability to send money using Google Wallet through Gmail, the new Wallet app for Android will let users send money to any friend age 18 and up through any U.S. email address:

It’s free to send money directly from your bank account or Google Wallet Balance, and low fees apply when using your linked credit or debit card. And as an added bonus, once you send money with the Google Wallet app, you’ll also get early access to sending money in Gmail from your desktop while we continue to roll out the feature broadly to Gmail users.

The new app will also let all users (not just those with NFC enabled devices), scan barcodes of loyalty cards in order to earn points and use the app at checkout. Google notes that you’ll be able to “join new programs like Alaska Airlines, Belly, and Red Mango within the Google Wallet app.” Some other programs coming soon include: Avis Car Rental, BJ’s Restaurants, Cosi, Hard Rock International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, Raley’s, and The Body Shop.

Google is also adding some new and improved features for Offers in the new Wallet app: Read more

New leaked shots of LG Nexus show KitKat startup screen, other details

Earlier this month images from FCC filings showed what appeared to be Google’s LG-made Nexus 5 following the device first leaking in Google’s promotional video for Android 4.4 KitKat. Today we’ve received the images above showing what looks to be the Nexus 5 in the wild, and it looks identical to pre-production units floating through the FCC and elsewhere. The tipster also sent along the videos below, which could give us a glimpse at Android 4.4 KitKat running on the Nexus 5, although it looks like the bootup from Google Play Edition phones.

The device in the images was apparently left charging unsupervised by a Google employee at a bar (yeah, lol) where an employee of the bar was able to snap the photos and short videos… Read more

Google acquires mobile sharing app ‘Bump’

Bump, the mobile app that lets users share photos, videos, contacts, files and more by physically bumping their devices together, today announced it is joining Google (via TechCrunch). There’s not many details about the acquisition in a short message posted on Bump’s website by its CEO and cofounder David Lieb, but it does confirm that “the Bump team is joining Google.”

Our mission at Bump has always been to build the simplest tools for sharing the information you care about with other people and devices.  We strive to create experiences that feel like magic, enabled behind the scene with innovations in math, data processing, and algorithms.  So we couldn’t be more thrilled to join Google, a company that shares our belief that the application of computing to difficult problems can fundamentally change the way that we interact with one another and the world.

Bump says it uses “math, data processing, and algorithms” to allow users to share data wirelessly through its mobile app, but didn’t share how Google might take advantage of the technology. Lieb confirmed that Bump, and the company’s photo sharing app Flock, “will continue to work as they always have for now; stay tuned for future updates.”  Read more

Sony’s TV stick offers full Google TV functionality, but only with this year’s Sony TVs

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The Sony TV device spotted in an FCC filing last month was briefly unveiled by Sony in a blog post that has since been deleted. Engadget spotted the post for the Sony Bravia Smart Stick before it was pulled.

It’s an MHL dongle that runs both Google TV and Sony’s own BRAVIA apps. The features are just like Google TV boxes Sony has released before, with a remote (that the FCC filings showed is at least similar to the previous ones) that has QWERTY and voice search support. Additionally, its “picture-and-picture” feature lets users see a browser in one window and TV in another …  Read more

Heartwarming story of abandoned dog rescued after being spotted on Street View

An abandoned dog spotted outside an abandoned building in LA on Google Street View has been rescued after a local rescue centre was alerted, reports UK newspaper Metro.

Jennifer Velasquez contacted the Los Angeles-based group Hope For Paws and told them where she had seen the dog. Luckily the lost-looking canine had not moved from outside the abandoned building – where Hope For Paws’ employee Eldad Hagar found her …  Read more

FCC gives us a closer look at LG’s upcoming Nexus 5 with larger camera lens

After accidentally leaking the device in its video for the upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat software release, today we get a better look at the upcoming Nexus 5 thanks to FCC documents (via Phonescoop).

It’s clear the device in these FCC images is the same as the one we spotted in the promotional video earlier this month, and we also get a clearer look at the much larger camera lens on the back of the device. It’s also more solid proof that the device will indeed be manufactured by LG– and likely based of its new LG G2– after rumors that Google’s Motorola could potentially produce the Nexus 5 started circling last month.

Last week FCC documents surfaced online that also pointed to an LG-made device, as well as a Snapdragon 800 processor, a 5-inch display, and LTE support for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. As with past Nexus launches, it will also be running the latest version of Android, which by the time the device launches will be Android 4.4. Kitkat.

Read more

Leaving Google for Xiaomi nothing personal but “a dream job,” says Hugo Barra

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Hugo Barra, Google’s former VP of Android product development, says his move to Xiaomi was planned long before it emerged that Sergey Brin was romantically involved with his former girlfriend.

In an interview with AllThingsD, Barra said that the opportunity to play a key role in the global expansion of the company dubbed ‘the Apple of China’ was one he could not resist.

“To me, right away, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, truly a dream job, this idea of building a global company which could be as significant as Google from the ground up,” said Barra. “It was just something that I will never come across, with a team whom I know, with a company that has DNA similar to my own and, on top of that, to live in Asia for at least some period of time” …  Read more

A behind-the-scenes look at Motorola’s U.S. Moto X factory in Texas [Gallery]

The Verge has a great behind-the-scenes look at Motorola’s Moto X factory in Texas that is currently pumping out around 100,000 units of the new flagship device per week. We reported this morning that Motorola is currently shipping a disappointing 100k units a week, so it’s not that surprising to learn that around 200,000 square feet of the factory is not being used.

To accomplish this, Motorola partnered with Flextronics to refab a factory in Texas formerly used by Nokia. In a mere six months, the factory was completely updated and transformed to Motorola’s specifications, which including the hiring of 2,500 workers to make it run. Motorola did not actually make a final call to do manufacturing in the US until late 2012, but the factory was operational by August 6th of this year. The factory currently puts out about 100,000 devices per week, but Motorola says that it’s possible to scale it to tens of millions of units. Given that more than half of the over 400,000 square foot factory floor sits unused right now, that’s not too hard to believe.

It also spoke with Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside about why bringing assembly to the US was crucial for the Moto X’s MotoMaker customizations features.  Read more