Facebook rolling out revamped News Feed to Android after iOS

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Today, Facebook announced a revamped News Feed for the web and mobile, offering a consistent Facebook experience across all devices. The fresh new look offers an even greater emphasis on photos, videos, events, and articles. The new News Feed also includes improved exploration options:

- All Friends – a feed that shows you everything your friends are sharing
– Photos – a feed with nothing but photos from your friends and the Pages you like
– Music – a feed with posts about the music you listen to
– Following – a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow.

Facebook says that the updates for Android devices will follow those for iOS. The iOS updates are scheduled to rollout in “the coming weeks.” The rollout for the web version on computers will begin today. After the break are videos about the new News Feed

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Google’s location-based Field Trip serendipitous discovery app comes to iOS

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Google has released its Field Trip application for the iPhone and iPod touch. Field Trip is an application that works in the background to notify users of interesting places nearby. In addition to pointing users to the best places to visit nearby, the application can also share local historical information.

★ Discover thousands of interesting places/experiences that fall under the following categories: Architecture, Historic Places & Events, Lifestyle, Offers & Deals, Food Drinks & Fun, Movie Locations, Outdoor Art and Obscure Places of Interest around you.

★ Choose from three different modes to set frequency of Field Trip notifications. See “Field Trip” worthy places around you on a map, by tapping on cards in map view to pull up enthralling points of interest around you.

★ Go on a Field Trip while you drive. Field Trip can detect when you’re driving and automatically “talk” about interesting places and experience around you.

★ Came across an amazing story or restaurant? Mark it as a favorite to easily come back to it at any point.

★ Capture the memory of a special place, by sharing a wondrous discovery through email and social networks such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

★ Wondering where the gem that you recently discovered is? Find your discovered field trip cards in the “recent’ section.

Cross posted on 9to5Mac.com. 

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Google expands ‘Project Re: Brief’ to ‘Art, Copy & Code’ and launches ‘Volkswagen Smileage’ driving experience

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Google recreated some of the world’s most famous ads through “Project Re: Brief” last year, and now it has expanded the program to iconic brands with a new project called “Art, Copy & Code“.

Art, Copy & Code will include many famous brands like Volkswagen, Burberry, and Adidas, and the projects are in partnership with their creative teams and agencies. Others will feature collaborations with innovative filmmakers, creative directors, and technologists, and some of the final products will include ads, mobile apps, and social experiences.

Google’s first partner project, dubbed “Volkswagen Smileage“, is a new social driving experience. It’s basically just a social app for driving, according to the official Google blog:

Building off their 2012 campaign, “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them,” Volkswagen Smileage is a mobile app and web service that aims to add a little bit of fun to every drive, from your daily commutes to holiday road trips. The app measures the fun factor of each trip using a metric called “smileage,” based on signals like weather, traffic, location, time and social interactions (e.g., a long drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon might accumulate more smileage than a morning commute in the snow). You can use it with any car, not just Volkswagens.

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Google updates I/O site with new info on registration, travel and events

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After recently posting its I/O registration page to announce that registration for its annual I/O developers conference will open on March 13, Google today posted some more information about the upcoming event. In a blog post on the Google Developers Blog, Google noted that it has updated the I/O 2013 site with new info on registering, travel, events, and FAQs. It is has also posted information about the addition of subsidized childcare options at this year’s event.

Google’s updated I/O site includes a “Travel” section with a Google map for navigating to Moscone West in San Francisco, an “About” section with info on events such as the keynote and developer sessions, and a help page with FAQs. Something new at Google I/O this year is childcare:

We are excited to announce that this year Google I/O will offer nearby child care to conference attendees at a subsidized cost. When completing your registration form, please indicate if you are interested in child care services and, if so, tell us the number of children you want to have cared for. Once registration closes, we will contact you to gather more information and provide specific details on child care.

Google once again provided some tips for registration and outlined details specific to academic and international attendees: Read more

News Corp and former NYC schools chancellor launch 10-inch Android tablets for K-12 students (Video)

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Amplify’s CEO and former chancellor of New York City schools and News Corporation’s education division will jointly offer a 10-inch Amplify tablet equipped with Android OS, as well as a curriculum and infrastructure, for K-12 schoolchildren.

The touchscreen tablet will mostly land in the hands of middle-school children, and it will feature emoticons for student-teacher engagement, an “eyes on teacher” prompt for wandering eyes, and a unique design that marries technology with traditional teaching. Students can also take the tablet home at night and use it for fun.

New York City-based Amplify began testing its tablet in November 2012, but it only introduced the basic and high-end models today at SXSWedu 2013, according to The New York Times:

A preloaded tablet, training and customer care (largely from former teachers) starts at $299, along with a two-year subscription for $99 a year. A higher-end Amplify Tablet Plus, for students who do not have wireless access at home, comes with a 4G data plan and costs $349.

Amplify chief executive Joel I. Klein, who also serves as an executive vice president of News Corporation since 2011, will have tread carefully in regards to tracking children or using their data, as News Corp has been under a microscope in recent months over a much-publicized phone-hacking scandal.

Klein will also need to attractively market Amplify’s tablet in a space that is already brimming with competition attempting to capitalize on K-12 students. Apple, for instance, offers an education discount of 10-pack iPad minis and announced last week that it has sold a total of 4.5 million iPads direct to U.S. education institutions.

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Google celebrates Google Play’s first birthday with deals on music, movies, TV shows, books, magazines, and exclusive gaming gifts

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The Android Market became Google Play exactly one year ago today, and Google is celebrating the marketplace’s first birthday and re-branding anniversary with a bevy of price drops and deals.

Check it out:
Google Play: Happy Birthday!

Google has marked down best-selling albums, such as “Talk That Talk” by Rihanna, and popular movies like “Intruder”, and it even slashed prices on TV shows, books, and magazines. The Internet Giant didn’t stop there, though. It decided to also offer exclusive gaming content for specific titles like Monster Pet Shop and Cloud+ Sheep.”

“Each of these games has some custom content to get you into the celebratory spirit – something unique to Google Play,” explained Google. “Explore, get some great deals and gifts and help us celebrate by having a blast. Get your gifts and get gaming.”

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Warner signs on for Google’s music subscription service

Billboard is reporting that Google has signed up Warner Music to its music subscription service to go up against Spotify and perhaps Pandora when it is released later this year, according to reports. Warner being the first to sign up would be interesting, because it was the last to sign up with Google Play in October. Stephen Bryan also held out for almost a year after rival record companies signed deals to sell downloads on Google’s music store that launched in 2011.

Warner Music Group has struck a licensing deal with Google for two music services the technology giant is launching later this summer, according to executives familiar with the agreement. Google will offer two distinct subscription services – one through its YouTube online video property and another via its Google Play platform.

Executives at Warner, which is the first record label to commit to Google’s proposed music service, declined to comment. A YouTube spokesman issued the following statement: “While we don’t comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we’re looking at that.”

Google is also in deep negotiations with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and other labels to nail down an agreement similar to the one it now has with Warner.

Fortune reported earlier today that the deal would spill through its YouTube division, but Billboard said it would be both YouTube and Google Play. Personally, I’ve never had problems streaming just about any music I was looking for for free from YouTube.

Google updates Transparency Report with FBI information requests

nsl screenshotGoogle consistently updates its Transparency Report to reflect its methods of keeping users’ data safe, and the company has continued this practice on Tuesday with the addition of U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation information requests.

According to a new post on the official Google blog, law enforcement agencies can request access to Google users’ data. The FBI, for instance, can issue a National Security Letter to get identifying information from Google, but it can also limit the company from publicly revealing such requests.

Google, however, has found a way to publicly air the amount of NSLs it regularly receives:

Starting today, we’re now including data about NSLs in our Transparency Report. We’re thankful to U.S. government officials for working with us to provide greater insight into the use of NSLs. Visit our page on user data requests in the U.S. and you’ll see, in broad strokes, how many NSLs for user data Google receives, as well as the number of accounts in question. In addition, you can now find answers to some common questions we get asked about NSLs on our Transparency Report FAQ.

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Google rolls out Maps for iOS to 7 new countries, adds Contacts integration, quick search for local, more

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Google-maps-iconGoogle Maps version 1.1: Google Maps for iOS gets the ability to search Google Contacts, quickly access search for local places, and select between Kilometers or Miles in an update to version 1.1 today. Google announced the new features in a blog post and noted that it is rolling out the English version of the app to seven new countries, including: Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE.

Your Google Contacts are now integrated into Google Maps for iPhone – meaning that when you’re signed-in and search for a friend’s name, their address will appear as a suggestion (if you have their address saved). Simply tap their name to see the address, which will visible only to you, on the map. To learn an easy way to keep your Google Contacts synced with your iPhone, click here. Read more

Google exec Vint Cerf says real-name authentication ‘sparked intense debate’ among executives

vint-cerfVint Cerf, “father of the internet” and Google’s chief internet evangelist, is speaking out about Google’s decision to push users toward using their real names across services. In a recent interview with Reuters, the Google executive said the initiative to get users using their real names across profiles on various services such as Google+ and YouTube has “sparked intense debate” at the company:

Over the past year, the company has strongly encouraged users to merge their accounts on YouTube, Gmail and other Google properties into a single Google+ identity, the company’s social network offering that asks users to use the “common name” they are known by in the real world.

“Using real names is useful,” Cerf said. “But I don’t think it should be forced on people, and I don’t think we do.”

Vint said not using real names is “perfectly reasonable” in certain situations, especially in countries with governments seeking to ban anonymity: Read more

Another job for Google’s Driverless vehicles: Amazon Prime competin’ same-day deliveries

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We first heard last year that Google looked to take down Amazon Prime with its own same-day shipping service, but a new report by TechCrunch now offers a few specifics about pricing.

According to the report that cited one unnamed source, Google will launch “Google Shopping Express” for about $69 or $64 a year. The service will feature, like Amazon Prime, same-day delivery from retail stores. TechCrunch also pointed to Google e-commerce project manager Tom Fallows as the project lead.

9to5Google also heard this service was coming, and we have some more somewhat wild information on the program. Google, in the long run, plans to use self-driving cars and flying drones as means of delivery. We also heard Google’s delivery project came from the Google X incubator headed by cofounder Sergey Brin.

We even postulated, after hearing Google began testing its same-delivery service in San Francisco, that Google’s recent acquisitions of BufferBox, a package pickup startup, could play a role in its delivery service.

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China’s technology ministry warns country is too dependent on Android

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Google has been accused today of having too much power with the Android operating system in China, according to a white paper published by a group from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Reuters reported today that the technology ministry said “Google had discriminated against some Chinese companies developing their operating systems by delaying the sharing of codes.”

The white paper also claimed the country’s R&D in the mobile operating space is “too dependent on Android” and that there is an opportunity for China to develop its own operating systems.

The paper pointed to Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group, and Huawei Technologies as companies developing their own operating systems and claimed that Google has deals in place that “restrain the business development of mobile devices of these companies.”

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