Google to stop calling games with in-app purchases free after pressure from EU

Google Personal Search

Following pressure from the European Commission, Google has announced that it is making changes to how it brands and advertises apps with in-app purchases on the Play Store. This comes after the EU accusing Apple of taking too long to change its in-app purchase policy.

Google says that it will no longer use the word “free” when advertising games that support in-app purchases. It will also work to come up with guidelines for games and developers to prevent them from encouraging children to buy items using in-app purchases. Finally,  Google will also implement measures to monitor for breaches of European Union Law. Google plans to implement all of these changes starting at the end of September.

Meanwhile, the EU criticized Apple and said that it has “regrettably” not provided any changes or a timetable for changes to change their “misleading” in-app purchase measures.

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Samsung managers apologize for poor results, handing back 25 percent of their bonuses

Students walk out of a showroom at the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in Seoul

Reuters reports that almost 200 Samsung managers have “voluntarily” handed back a quarter of their first-half bonuses in anticipation of what is expected to be the company’s worst quarterly profit for two years.

The decision to return some of the bonus was partly a gesture to demonstrate that managers are taking responsibility for the earnings decline, and partly a way to show that management will work harder, the source told Reuters on Friday, declining to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

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Google Alerts redesigned with modern look and alert suggestions

Google Alerts

Google Alerts quietly received a redesign overnight, gaining a brand new user interface that closer aligns with the appearance of other Google web services. In addition to a streamlined user interface, the service is also more automated now and offers alert suggestions for your name and email address, popular tech companies, athletes, celebrities, countries, places, industries and more.  Read more

Amazon’s unlimited ebook and audiobook subscription service finally goes live in the U.S., try it free

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Amazon’s worst kept secret, an all-you-can-read Kindle eBook service, is now live. Dubbed Kindle Unlimited, this $10 per month subscription service grants its members unlimited access to over 600,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks. Highlights of the library include:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Water for Elephants, Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People… plus thousands of classics such as Animal Farm, To the Lighthouse and 2001: A Space Odyssey…

Kindle Unlimited members will also get free access to Audible’s library of over 150,000 audiobooks for 3-months. After which, you’ll presumably need to pay the standard rate of $14.95 per month.

Anyone in the U.S. can try Kindle Unlimited for free for 30 days by signing up for a free trial. All of this content is available on Android, iOS, Windows phone, and of course all Kindle hardware.

Full press release follows:

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Google boasts that it generated $111 billion in economic activity for 1.5 million US businesses in 2013

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Google has published its annual Economic Impact Report (PDF) that reveals some interesting statistics about how the web and its tools are helping American businesses. Last year, the report claims that Google tools helped generate $111 billion of economic activity for 1.5 million businesses, web-based publishers and non-profit organizations across the United States.  Read more

Google Maps update adds biking elevation info, new voice commands, more

maps

Google this afternoon updated its Maps app on Android to version 8.2 with a plethora of new features, enhancements, and changes. The biggest changes come to the biking routes that Maps offers. With this update, biking routes now show elevation, including the ability to compare the elevations for various routes. This, of course, means that you can now easily tell which bike routes will be the easiest on your legs. This feature is listed as beta for now, though.

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Amazon testing $10 per month subscription-based ebook service

kindlefireos

Amazon is currently testing an all you can eat subscription-based ebook and audio book service called “Kindle Unlimited.” A product landing page spotted by GigaOM revealed that the unannounced service will provide customers with access to over 600,000 titles for $10 a month. While subscription-based e-book services for smartphones and tablets already exist, Amazon has a vast number of resources that could quickly make the company a force in this relatively untapped market.

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Google announces Q2 earnings: $15.96B revenue, $4.99 EPS, $3.42B net income

Google has shared its second quarter earnings result announcing consolidated revenue of $15.96 billion, up 22% since Q2 2013, earnings per share of $4.99, and net income of $3.42 billion.

“Google had a great quarter with revenue up 22% year on year, at $16.0 billion”, said Patrick Pichette, CFO of Google. “We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term.”

Google is scheduled to host its live earnings call with investors and analysts to discuss today’s report at 1:30 PM (PST) / 4:30 PM (EST).

Google’s full press release follows: Read more

Google Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora leaving to become SoftBank’s Vice Chairman & CEO of Internet and Media division

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In addition to reporting its earnings for Q2 of 2014, Google today also announced that its Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora will be leaving the company. Arora will be joining SoftBank as a Vice Chairman and CEO of the company’s Internet and Media division. Omid Kordestani, was Google’s business founder and sales team leader, will be taking over as chief business officer.

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Asus reportedly sold more tablets than Apple in Japan during first half of 2014

Image via TechSmartt

Image via TechSmartt

According to figures released by market research company BCN, Asus sold more tablets than Apple during the first half of 2014 in Japan. Asus’ market share rose 8 percent year-over-year during the first half of 2014, the report claims, giving it a 38.9 percent portion of the tablet market in Japan. Apple, on the other hand, holds a 36.4 percent share (via Nikkei). This is the first time Asus has ever held the top spot in Japan, according to the report. Read more

Security firm Zscaler finds 28% of Android apps request permission to read SMS logs

In a study conducted by security research firm Zscaler, 28% of Android apps request permission to read old SMS logs, while a whopping 68% request permission to send SMS messages from your phone. They also found that 36% of apps request GPS permissions, while over 46% request access to the “phone’s state”, allowing the app to gather information related to the SIM card, IMEI number, serial number and more. For the study, Zscaler analyzed over 75,000 apps from the Google Play store and logged the requested permissions from each app. Being a security firm, Zscaler considers SMS and GPS related permissions to be the two most “high risk” permissions to grant access to, with “device information related permissions” landing sixth on the list.

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