That mystery barge in SF is Google’s retail launch, and it’s a Transformer …

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The mysterious barge that appeared in San Francisco Bay has been confirmed by multiple sources to be Google’s first foray into retail space, reports CBS.

First rumored to be a data centerCBS first suggested a week ago that it could be the retail space we’ve been predicting since February, and is now stating this as fact – though suggesting it may be aimed at an exclusive clientele.

Google’s mysterious floating barge on San Francisco Bay will feature luxury showrooms and a party deck for the tech giant to market Google Glass and other gadgets to invitation-only clients, multiple sources told KPIX 5.

It’s not clear whether it’s just the upper entertainment deck that is reserved for VIP guests or the whole structure, but it appears the structure isn’t fixed: it’s a giant Transformer …  Read more

Google, Samsung, and others sued over Nortel search patents

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Google, Samsung, and several other Android handset manufacturers are being sued by Rockstar, a consortium backed by Android competitors Microsoft and Apple, over alleged infringement of several search patents acquired by Rockstar from Nortel in 2011. Last year HTC reached a ten-year agreement with Apple as part of a patent infringement settlement. That deal would result in both companies licensing existing and future patents from one another, but it seems that agreement does not apply in this case.

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Google, Red Hat, Oracle workers enlisted for Obamacare “Tech Surge”

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Bloomberg reports that Google and other Valley companies are contributing “dozens of computer engineers and programmers to help the Obama administration fix the U.S. health-insurance exchange website.”

The help is arriving as the government’s main site to offer health insurance remains plagued by repeated outages a month after its Oct. 1 debut. Among those assisting are Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer on leave from Mountain View, California-based Google, and Greg Gershman, the innovation director for smartphone application maker Mobomo, according to a government official who asked not to be identified because the moves haven’t been made public.

The Google engineers are in for a rude awakening when they see the government cafeterias.  Read more

Pandora now comes to Chromecast, and likely to the best speakers in your house

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Most folks connect the best speakers in their house up to the TV.  If you are like most folks and a Pandora listener/Chromecast user, some good news today: Pandora is now available on the $35 Chromecast. You can now stream your music from your Android smartphone or tablet directly to your TV and theoretically to those awesome speakers attached.

The Pandora App for Android was also updated with an improved Tablet interface today.

Google apparently isn’t stressed about Pandora taking away from its $8/month All-access Play service which gives users more control over what they listen to. Recent Chromecast converts include Hulu.
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Smartphones Sony’s saviour as cameras, TVs, gaming and movies all lose money

Photo: digitaltrends.com

Photo: digitaltrends.com

Strong smartphone sales were about the only good news for Sony investors in today’s earnings release, mobile sales in the last quarter up 39.3 percent year-on-year, led by its flagship Xperia Z.

Cameras, TVs, gaming and movie divisions all lost money, leading the company to slash its annual profit forecast by 40 percent to $300M …  Read more

Android 4.4 KitKat leaked document indicates boosts for low-end hardware, wearables

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Amir Efrati reports that Google has been working to make Android 4.4, codenamed KitKat, work on as many devices as possible, according to a leaked internal document. Those devices would include low-end smartphones with limited RAM, wearable devices such as smartwatches, smart TVs, and anything else that needs to run an operating system.

Google has reportedly been working with developers of smartphones at the lower end of the hardware spectrum to ensure that KitKat uses its resources wisely, essentially allowing it to run on a variety of phones that may not have been able to run Jelly Bean. If Google can overcome limited hardware to put KitKat—and future versions of Android—on every new device that ships and many that are already available, the company finally stands a chance of defeating the fragmented experience that has long plagued users and software developers alike.

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