Could this be Google’s floating Google Glass showroom for the east coast?

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When reports emerged that a massive floating building in San Francisco Bay could possibly belong to Google, it wasn’t long before the original rumor was shot down. While it might not be the floating data center reported in the original story, CBS followed up with a report claiming that the barge would actually be a floating Google Glass showroom that Google could move from city to city to show of its new wearable and distinguish itself from the typical retail experience. Lending more weight to that theory over the data center rumor is the fact that another similar mystery barge has recently been spotted in Portland Harbor in Maine.

Portland Press Herald reported last week that a four-story structure is currently docked on a barge at Portland Harbor. The marina owner and workers aren’t talking about who the client is, but they did confirm that Maine will not be the structure’s final destination. At the time the report, like the original report about the barge in San Fran, speculated it could be Google’s floating data center detailed in a patent from 2009.

If these buildings are indeed floating Google Glass retail stores and not data centers like CBS claimed, it would make sense for Google to have a store on either side of the country to move to cities along the coasts. The structure certainly look quite similar to the floating building spotted in San Francisco. Read more

Google faces class-action lawsuit over do-not-hire arrangements with other companies

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A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Google and several other companies can proceed as a class-action suit today after determining that a significant number of employees across the tech industry were hurt by “do-not-hire” arrangements between their employers and other companies. The policies in question were practiced by Google, Apple, Adobe, Pixar, and more as a way of keeping their own employees from defecting to competitors for higher pay. Essentially the agreements barred two companies from offering jobs to competing employees for a higher salary. Because doing so gave employees leverage with which to bargain for higher pay at their own jobs, employers were often faced with the decision to either pay any given employee more to keep them around or lose them to a competitor willing to pay more.

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Google could be working on a floating data center [Update: or retail presence) in SF

UpdateCBS San Francisco reckons it’s actually going to be a floating Glass showroom:

There has, of course, been speculation about the barge’s purpose, much of it centering on the belief that it’s a water-based data center for Google.

KPIX 5 has learned that Google is actually building a floating marketing center, a kind of giant Apple store, if you will — but for Google Glass, the cutting-edge wearable computer the company has under development.

Although Google wouldn’t respond to requests for comment for this story, sources close to the project told KPIX 5 that Google hopes to tow the completed structure from Treasure Island across the Bay to San Francisco’s Fort Mason, where it would be anchored and open to the public.

It looks big for a store, but it could make sense as Google’s first full retail presence.

Original story:

According to a new report from Cnet, something big is currently under construction in San Francisco Bay and evidence shows that it could possibly be a new Google project. The four story floating structure hasn’t been officially linked to Google, but Cnet has discovered some evidence that Google could be working on a secret data center related project in the building.

Perhaps more persuasive is that in 2009, Google was granted a patent for a “water-based data center,” defined as a “system [that] includes a floating platform-mounted computer data center comprising a plurality of computing units, a sea-based electrical generator in electrical connection with the plurality of computing units, and one or more sea-water cooling units for providing cooling to the…computing units.”

The patent, however, isn’t the only evidence linking Google to the project. Cnet also notes that the contact for the company that is leasing the location has ties to Google:  Read more

Samsung fined again for posting fake product reviews on forums

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Image: growingleaders.com

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has fined Samsung $340,000 after finding it guilty of paying bloggers and staff to post fake product reviews on forums, praising Samsung products and criticizing competitor ones, reports Phys. Taiwanese company HTC is believed to have been the main victim of the campaign.

The FTC set Samsung’s fine at New Taiwan dollars 10 million ($340,000). It also levied smaller fines on two Taiwanese trading companies it said were responsible for mounting the Internet campaign.

Earlier this year the FTC fined Samsung NT$300,000 for misleading advertising about the camera functions on its Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102 phone …  Read more

T-Mobile’s un-carrier initiative for tablets arriving in November, 200MB of free data/month, devices for $0 down

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T-Mobile today announced that it is launching a new un-carrier initiative for tablets next month (November). The plan will offer tablets to T-Mobile customers (new and existing) for no money down. Like with smartphones, the customers will be able to pay for the device over the life of a 24-month plan. T-Mobile is yet to provide pricing specifics for tablets other than the iPad, but those details will arrive soon. What is known now: customers on T-Mobile with tablets will be able to get 200MB of data per month for free. T-Mobile recently announced the Simple Choice international unlimited data free roaming plan, and T-Mobile will likely support this for tablets.

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LG’s upcoming G Flex smartphone w/ curved display leaks in new photos and video

We’ve been seeing more and more leaks for the now confirmed LG G Flex smartphone, which will be the company’s first to sport a top-to-bottom curved display and compete with Samsung’s upcoming curved Galaxy Round device. Today we get perhaps our best look at the device with Argentinian news site Telefe Noticias posting a hands on video with the device and TheVerge obtaining a few high quality shots from the publication.

A few hardware features confirmed from the hands-on: The display apparently measures 6-inches diagonally, while the device also features buttons mounted on the rear of the device like’s LG’s new flagship G2.

The device is expected to launch in South Korea in the coming weeks, but there’s no word on availability for the rest of the world. LG hasn’t confirmed that the device in the video above is the real deal, telling TheVerge it’s “unsure of the device’s veracity and would have to contact the company’s Argentinian office to confirm if it is “the real thing.” Head below for more high quality images: Read more

Tesla CEO says they will upgrade Model S browser to Chrome, will add Android emulator to car

From Electrek:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was speaking in Germany when he caught a question about developing Apps for the Model S car. Musk said that it was likely that Tesla would open up an Android emulator after it did other things like localization and upgrading the browser to Chrome.

The Model S 17-inch capacitive display currently runs on Linux so porting Android or even iOS apps isn’t incredibly hard.

He also called Fuel Cells “Such Bullshit” Read more

Google now threatening to pull Adsense accounts of those who mention YouTube downloaders

We got quite a nasty letter in the mail from our Adsense reps today. It is pasted below:


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The problem was that someone in our forums had posted a link to”Your Sound” an iOS App Store app which allows people to download Youtube videos (we deleted the post but screenshot is below the fold). This move seems to be part and parcel to Google’s statement that it  would cut funding from crooks.  Your Sound has since been removed from the App Store and there would be no way of getting this app from the post in any case.

Still, for mentioning a YouTube downloader, we could lose a revenue stream. That doesn’t quite seem fair.

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Vic Gundotra hints new Hangouts for Android coming soon, urges Android users to get along with iOS users

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When Google rolled out a big new update for iOS on Friday, it introduced incoming and outgoing voice calls through Google Voice and number of other new features for the app. Android users made it clear that they weren’t exactly happy that they didn’t receive an update, but since Google’s Vic Gundotra responded with a hint that a new Android version of Hangouts is on the way.

In a comment responding to complaints from Android users on Google+, Gundotra hints at upcoming announcements for Android saying, “I promise you will be happy soon.”

He also asked Android users to not get upset when the company releases iOS products and urged Android and iOS users to get along with each other. “There are a lot of them. And they are good people.”

Gundotra’s full comment is below: Read more

Google closing up Android to stem fragmentation, defend against competitors and *gasp* make money

An interesting story from Ars Techinca examines the state of Android as an open source project and how Google is attempting to better control fragmentation of the platform. According to the report, Google is moving to help maintain its control over the platform from competing companies like Amazon and others that are using Android but forgoing Google’s services. The result, according to the report, is Google will bring more aspects of Android out of the Android Open Source Project and designate them Google services:

Google has always given itself some protection against alternative versions of Android. What many people think of as “Android” actually falls into two categories: the open parts from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which are the foundation of Android, and the closed source parts, which are all the Google-branded apps. While Google will never go the entire way and completely close Android, the company seems to be doing everything it can to give itself leverage over the existing open source project.

Google search has long been a victim of moving away from AOSP, and the recent introduction of Google Play Music means Google is no longer updating its AOSP music app either. Ars notes that Calendar is the most recent app to move to closed source, while the Google Keyboard and Camera appear are moving in the same direction. The screenshots above show AOSP versions of the app mentioned above vs Google’s latest closed source versions. You’ll notice that Google tends to abandon the AOSP versions of the apps once relaunching them under the closed sourced Google services banner.

What does this mean for Android going forward? Google is making life much harder for Amazon and other third-party manufacturers that want to build a competing version of Android without Google’s services… Read more

Google announces Q3 2013 earnings: $14.9 billion revenue, $3.64 billion in net income

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Google just released its earnings report for Q3 2013, announcing $10.74 per share on consolidated revenue of $14.9 billion. That’s compared to the 19% year-over-year growth with $14.11 billion in revenue it reported last quarter, and up around 12% from the $14.10 billion in revenue it reported in the year ago quarter. It’s also slightly higher than the average of around $14.80 billion in revenue and $10.35 per share Wall Street predicted.

Google also reported $3.64 billion in net income (up from $2.96 billion last year), $56.52 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and operating income of $4.34 billion (29% of revenues), up from $3.76 billion in the same quarter last year.

Google had another strong quarter with $14.9 billion in revenue and great product progress,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google.  “We are closing in on our goal of a beautiful, simple, and intuitive experience regardless of your device.”

Of the $14.9 billion in revenue it reported for Q3, Google’s sites and other services accounted for 92% of consolidated revenues, or $13.77 billion, while Motorola accounted for the remaining 8%, or $1.18 billion. Goog also reported a $248 million operating loss for Motorola, which is around 21% of the unit’s revenues and up from a loss of $192 million last year.

Larry Page also announced during the earnings call today that YouTube revenue is now at 40% on mobile up from just 25% last year.

Google’s headcount is also down again this quarter to 46,421 full-time employees (42,162 in Google and 4,259 in Motorola Mobile) from the 44,777 full-time employees it had in June.

GOOG closed the day hovering around 888, down approximately 1%, but shot up over 50 points in after hours trading to over 940 and rising.

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The full report is below: Read more