Mozilla and Samsung partner to build ‘Servo’, a next-gen web browser engine

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Mozilla and Samsung announced a partnership today to build a next-generation web browser engine for Android and ARM devices called “Servo”.

Google executives allegedly worried earlier this year over Samsung possibly using its dominance in the handset space to renegotiate revenue cuts from mobile ads and search, but now it seems Google should really have fretted over Samsung joining forces with the competition to create a new Android web browser engine.

Mozilla explained in a blog post what the new engine will do:

Servo is an attempt to rebuild the Web browser from the ground up on modern hardware, rethinking old assumptions along the way. This means addressing the causes of security vulnerabilities while designing a platform that can fully utilize the performance of tomorrow’s massively parallel hardware to enable new and richer experiences on the Web.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 12.35.19 PMAs mentioned by The Verge, Servo will rival WebKit, Google’s browser engine, rather than Google’s Chrome browser.

Servo is built with Mozilla’s Rust programming language, and Mozilla said Samsung has already “contributed an ARM backend to Rust and the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android.”

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Google Places for Business gets interface update and improved integration

Google refreshed Google Places for Business last night with a new look and feel.

The streamlined interface now makes it easier for businesses to update their information, and a helpful widget will even outline what they should do to fully complete profiles.

Profile edits will also now appear across all of Google’s products, like Google Maps, within 48 hours, but the improved integration doesn’t stop there. The official Google and Your Business blog has the story:

Through this upgraded interface, you will be able to access your local Google+ page to take advantage of social features like sharing photos, videos, or posts. For businesses who also use AdWords Express and Google Offers, managing your ads and promotions is easier than ever. You can check results and make edits directly from your upgraded Places for Business dashboard.

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HTC ‘first’ ‘Facebook Home’ phone to come in multiple colors

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Following up on his first render of the HTC “first” earlier today, @evleaks has published additional renders of the device on Weibo. These new renders show that the device will come in multiple colors: red, white, and a light blue. That’s in addition to the black phone seen this morning. The funky colors seem to match up with what we heard: Facebook and HTC are targeting their phone to the younger crowd.

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Photo of ‘HTC first’ smartphone leaks, sources say it is likely the first ‘Facebook Home’ device

Last week, we reported that Facebook and HTC are teaming up to launch a smartphone: HTC is building the hardware while BG33fUDCQAEBzDh.jpg-largeFacebook is building an experience to run on the device. As we previously reported, this new Facebook interface gives quick access to Facebook functionality like messaging, photos, and contacts. It is called Facebook Home. We also previously reported that the first HTC launch device for Facebook Home would be akin to a slightly larger iPhone 5 with capacitive buttons along the bottom.

Sources who have seen the Facebook/HTC smartphone hardware in-person say it is reminiscent of an iPhone. It includes an iPhone-like “home button” on the bottom center, and this button is surrounded by horizontal function keys on the right and left side. These buttons are said to be capacitive. Above the keys is a display slightly larger in size to the 4-inch display found on the iPhone 5. Recent rumors have pointed to a collaborative Facebook/HTC phone featuring a 4.3-inch display.

Today, @evleaks has published a photo of an HTC device called the “first.” It looks pretty much identical to the Facebook-HTC device that we described last week. Given that the image lines up with what previously heard, we expect the device shown to above to be the first, or one of the first, Facebook Home handsets. Additionally, our original sources are now saying that this device appears to be the FaceBook Home device that they have seen.

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Twilio integrates with Google Cloud Platform to bulk Google App Engine with voice and messaging services

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Twilio, a voice and messaging API solution, announced a partnership with Google’s Cloud Platform today.

Twilio is the first of its kind to integrate with Google App Engine and give developers voice and messaging services for their apps with just a few lines of code, and its APIs are priced on a pay-per-use scale, as first noted by TechCrunch. Voice services like making calls, for instance, start at 2 cents per minute, and the ability to receive calls costs just $1 per phone number and 1 cent per minute.

“We’re very excited to partner with Google to be the first voice and messaging platform integrated with Google Cloud Platform,” explained Twilio on its blog, while also listing step-by-step instructions on how to register with Google App Engine, build a messaging app, etc.

Twilio’s SDK notably includes one-to-one voice and messaging, SIP support, in-app conference calling, group texting, two-factor authentication, phone numbers, and mobile app distribution. Hipmunk, for instance, uses Twilio’s distribution feature to supply users with a text message and link to download its app.

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RadioShack to offer Sprint HTC One for $199.99+$50 Google Play gift card, T-Mobile offering free car kit on $99 down

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PhanDroid has received a promotional flyer from RadioShack that shows the price of the upcoming HTC One for $199.99. The interesting part about the flyer is that RadioShack offers a $50 Google Play gift card with the purchase of an HTC One on a 2-year contract. The flyer doesn’t give any word on a release date, but the HTC One is expected to launch sometime in April.

T-Mobile on the other hand offers a deal of its own: Order the HTC One online and receive a free car kit. The kit allows you put your phone on your car’s windshield or dashboard to use as a GPS. T-Mobile offers the HTC One for $99 down plus an extra $20 a month.

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Bing vs. Google: Competition gets turned up on April Fool’s Day (Video)

While Google has played several light-hearted April Fool’s jokes today, Microsoft’s search engine Bing took things to the next level by pretending to be Google.

To see the somewhat harsh joke, go to Bing’s website and then search for “Google.” A Google-like search page will appear with the header “Bing.” The fake search page features floating squares that criticize Google, but it most notably changed Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to “I’m Feeling Confused” with link to a blog post that fully explains the joke. 

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According to Bing.com’s blog:

So today we’re running a special test, where if you visit bing.com and enter a certain telltale query, you’ll get something a little more bland. We decided to go back to basics, to the dawn of the Internet, to reimagine Bing with more of a 1997, dial-up sensibility in mind. We may see some uptick in our numbers based on this test, but the main goal here is just to learn more about how our world would look if we hadn’t evolved.

So, Microsoft has basically slammed Google’s look and deemed it dated. Yeah. Way to keep things light, Redmond. Don’t worry, though: Google has lashed back.

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Google April Fool’s Day Roundup: ‘Nose’ scent search,YouTube closing, Gmail Blue, Treasure Hunt Maps, Google+ Photos +Emotion, SCHMICK, more

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Google has begun its yearly unveiling of April Fool’s Day jokes with some clever new ideas that probably come up in strategy meetings throughout the year.

Google Nose. Searching a query on Google and clicking the ‘Nose Beta’ button can only find this ‘service’. The service isn’t real of course, but you can read about its features on Nose’s homepage. Funniest bit?

Don’t ask, don’t smell: For when you’re wary of your query – SafeSearch included.

More Google jokes are on the way… Read more

Best Buy to give Samsung Apple-style store-in-store facilities

Geek.com reports that Best Buy plans to introduce Samsung ‘store-in-store’ facilities: an area of the store devoted exclusively to Samsung products and with specially trained staff on hand to demonstrate features.

Apple is so far the only company to be featured in this way:

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An unspecified number of Best Buy stores are said to introduce the Samsung areas to coincide with the launch of the Galaxy S IV.

Ouya Android-based gaming system gets reviewed, begins shipping to backers, June 4 retail launch

We’ve discussed the Ouya before. It was initially an incredibly well-funded ($8.5 million from 65,000 backers) Kickstarter Game console project based on Android that costs $99. The hardware is similar to a Nexus 7 with a NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage (expandable via USB), but that outputs to a 1080p display.

Along with games (which are all free to try), Ouya allows streaming apps such as Twitch.tv, Crunchyroll, iheartradio, TuneIn, XBMC, Plex and Flixster, so your $99 is getting some solid features right off the bat.

Reviews are in today, and it appears that it is still a little rusty but has serious potential.

Hit up reviews at VergeWiredCNETAllThingsD, and others.

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Facebook smartphone with HTC launching soon, ad campaign in the works

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Follow years of rumors and speculation, Facebook is finally readying an entry into the mobile phone market. The social network is again hooking up with HTC which will design the hardware. The two companies have been working on a major marketing campaign in Southern California in recent weeks.

According to people familiar with the development of the marketing campaign for the Facebook/HTC phone, the advertisements are designed to focus on the potential user of the device, not on the hardware or software. As a nod to this phone being a much expanded version of the Facebook application found on iOS and standard Android devices, one of the tag-lines for the device is “more than just an app”.

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