A first hands-on look at the S4 mini (video)

There’s obviously less to show here – it’s essentially a smaller, less powerful younger brother to the S4, but if – like me – you prefer your phones to be, well, phone-sized, this may well be the handset you’ve been waiting for. The poor Samsung rep said this was her first ever video demo, and it shows a little, but we can cut her some slack …

Read more about the S4 mini here. Read more

Quick hands-on demo of the Samsung S4 Galaxy Zoom Android compact camera (video)

Essentially an S4 mini married to a compact camera. With a 16MP CMOS sensor, it ought to solve the biggest problem with smartphone cameras – they are pretty hopeless in low-light conditions. With a sensitive sensor and optical image-stabilisation, this should give impressive results in bars, clubs and outdoors at night.

Read more about the Galaxy Zoom here. Read more

A quick hands-on demo of the Samsung NX interchangeable lens Android camera (video)

As a keen photographer, I use a DSLR for proper photography and my phone for snapshots. But in a world in which everything is connected, I do miss the ability to instantly share a photo from the DSLR. Here Samsung is attempting to bring the two worlds together. It’s not quite a DSLR, but with a 20MP CMOS sensor and a choice of 30 lenses, it ought to be a pretty capable camera – and with 4G on board, you can share photos instantly. It’s a very, very nice concept and I look forward to testing one.

Read more about the Samsung NX. Read more

Google Fiber creates thriving startup industry in Kansas City

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Ben Barreth, owner of the Homes for Hackers house

When Google first announced Fiber, thousands of cities jockeyed to be the first test location, but to many people’s dismay, Kansas City was eventually named the winner. For the past year, internet service in the area has been booming thanks to the network, which in turn has made it a popular area for startups and entrepreneurs, according to a new report from CNET. When Google announced Fiber, web designer and Kansas City local Ben Barreth bought a house in the startup district in hopes of being one of the first people to be connected to the network. In order to pay for the house, he started it up as the “Home for Hackers,” which he says is a place for startups and entrepreneurs to rent out a space to work and be connected the incredibly fast internet service. Read more

Google will face fines in France if it doesn’t fix privacy issues within 3 months

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Google has run into trouble with the French government yet again for its privacy tactics. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the company has three months to change its policy surrounding its users’ data to avoid being fined. Five other European countries will supposedly follow France’s actions by the end of July. The country says Google is violating its privacy laws because it “prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use.”

Google, of course, denies these allegations and said that its “privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services” and it has “engaged fully with the data protection authorities involved throughout this process and will continue to do so going forward.”

The French data protection watchdog ordered the company to spell out for users why it collects information “to understand practically the processing of their personal data,” better inform users of its privacy policy, and “define retention periods of personal data processed that do not exceed the period necessary for the purposes for which they are collected.” CNIL is also asking the owner of the Gmail messaging system to request users’ permission for “the potentially unlimited combination” of their data, ask users’ approval to collect their data with tools such as the “Doubleclick” and “Analytics” cookies, “+1” buttons or any other Google service on third-party websites, and “inform users and then obtain their consent in particular before storing cookies in their terminal.”

Google can be fined a maximum of 150,000 euros, or $198,000, and 300,000 euros in for a repeated offense. Spain, the U.K., and Germany are all expected to take action soon, as well. This all comes on the heels of five countries ordering for more information about Google Glass privacy yesterday.  Read more