Google acquires mobile video startup Directr, adds talent to the YouTube ads team

YouTube has acquired a startup called Directr according to a post on the company’s website, as noted by the Wall Street Journal. Directr is a startup that makes two iOS apps for video creation—one focused on everyday users, and the other designed with small business marketing videos in mind.

The company says that for now, “everything you love about Directr is staying the same.” Directr’s current employees, however, will be joining the YouTube video ads team. Neither party has said how much the buyout cost yet, but Directr has confirmed that despite the change of ownership, it will continue to offer its current apps, which will now be available for free.

Read more

Google Play Music updated w/ new ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ widget, other interface tweaks

play-music

Google this afternoon, as part of its Update Wednesday regiment, started rolling out an update to the Play Music app on Android. The update bumps the app to version 5.6.1616 and includes several interface tweaks and new features. For one, the update adds a newly-skinned 4×1 widget, as well as a new 1×1 widget that allows you to instantly listen “I’m Feeling Lucky” radio. For those unfamiliar, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature provides an infinite stream of music that Google thinks you will like.

Read more

Facebook Messenger adds Android Wear voice replies, conversation mute, more

android_wear_watches

In an announced by Facebook’s Ian Lake, an updated version of Messenger, version 9, will include lots of new Android Wear focused improvements. First on the list is voice replies. The update includes the ability to tap the reply button when a message comes in, and speak what you want to say. Also included is the ability to mute a conversation directly from a Wear device.

Read more

Multi-user mode seemingly making its way to Android smartphones with Android L

Android-L-Preview-Nexus

Android tablets have been capable of handling multiple users since Android 4.2, and being able to do this on our Android smartphones has been a long-time request from the community. Today, it looks as if Google has confirmed — by way of the Android issue tracker — that this is a feature coming to the “next public build” of Android (via Android Police).

Read more

Google acquires Emu messaging/virtual assistant app, will shutdown app Aug. 25

Emu-Google

Mobile messaging app Emu today confirmed that it’s being acquired by Google in a message on its website (via TechCrunch). Google is yet to confirm the purchase on its end, but the message from Emu notes that the app will be shut down as of August 25, meaning it will no longer be available to iOS users via the App Store and current users will no longer be able to receive send or download messages: Read more

Wikipedia stands up against ‘right to be forgotten,’ uploads Google removal notices

wikipedia

In the company’s first transparency report, Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has revealed some information regarding the site’s censorship under infamous European “right to be forgotten” laws — and it’s clear that he’s not very happy with the people who take advantage of them. This isn’t the first time Wales has spoken out against censorship, but now he’s making it very clear that he feels governments are going just a bit too far.

Read more

Google Science Fair finalists are improving healthcare and battling world hunger

Google-Science-Fair

Today, Google announced the 15 global finalists for its 2014 science fair and with participants ranging from 13-18 years old, this next generation of geniuses give a glimpse of just how bright the future might be. Useful entries like 15-year-old Kenneth Shinozuka’s wearable sensors that help healthcare providers keep track of Alzheimer’s patients who may unknowingly wander away demonstrate the type of forward-thinking being applied to this showcase.

Read more

Hong Kong court finds Google liable for defamation via auto-complete suggestions

triad

Things are getting interesting for Google on the legal front. Not long after the ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling and the messy fallout from that, a Hong Kong court has ruled that the company is responsible for auto-complete suggestions where they could be said to defame.

MyBroadband (via The Loop) reports:

A Hong Kong court has ruled that a local tycoon can sue Google Inc for defamation because searches for his name on Google suggest adding the word ‘triad’, Hong Kong’s notorious organized crime groups.

Searches in both English and Chinese for Albert Yeung Sau-shing, the founder and chairman of Hong Kong-based conglomerate Emperor Group, will automatically suggest phrases related to organized crime using Google’s ‘autocomplete’ function.

On Tuesday, the High Court of Hong Kong dismissed Google’s argument that it was not responsible for the autocomplete suggestions related to Yeung and that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over the U.S. search giant … 

Read more

Moto 360 wireless charging dock revealed, serves as bedside clock

front

This is what the Moto 360 wireless charging dock looks like, according to Italian site Gadget.net – and it certainly looks persuasively real. Assuming you can choose to show the time as well as the charge state, the dock effectively turns the smartwatch into a bedside clock while it’s charging overnight.

The blue circle around the outside of the watch face shows the charge level. Looking at the rear of the dock, we can’t see any detail, but it’s likely that it’s some kind of USB connector …  Read more

Samsung and Apple agree to end all patent disputes outside of the United States

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

Samsung and Apple just announced that they have agreed to drop all patent suits against each other in countries outside the United States, Bloomberg reports. The two companies will drop suits against each other in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy. This agreement does not include any licensing agreements, though. This has no effect on United States battles either.

Read more