Google Maps now serving up driving directions in North Korea

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North Korea may not have a reputation for being a warm and friendly place, but if you ever managed to get your Dennis Rodman on and visit the country, it would be helpful to know your way around. Thankfully driving directions for select areas in North Korea are now available from Google Maps. Last year, with the help of its Google Maps Maker tool, Mountain View managed to scale its efforts to survey North Korea’s landscape. As a result, more local driving directions are starting to surface.

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AT&T Asus PadFone X available for pre-order for $200 on June 6th

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After almost being considered vaporware, the Asus PadFone X will soon be available for pre-order. Today, AT&T announced that it will exclusively offer the hybrid device starting on June 6th with financing options as low as $22.92 per month or $200 with a two year service agreement. These options include the smartphone and its docking station that takes the PadFone X from phone to tablet on the fly.

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Screenshots confirm fingerprint sensor for Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Tab S

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A previous report claimed to reveal details and specs for Samsung’s upcoming “Galaxy Tab S” tablet, but today we get confirmation from leaked firmware for the device that it will indeed include a fingerprint sensor. SamMobile dug through the official firmware that leaked online earlier today and in it discovered proof of the fingerprint scanner through a number of screenshots showing how the feature works on the larger tablet.

It’s not surprisingly a similar process and UI to the Galaxy S5, but the firmware also revealed the Ultra Power Saving Mode that first made an appearance on the S5, as well as an improved camera UI and more. Head below for more screenshots.  Read more

Key leader of Egyptian revolution rejoins Google in preparation for possible business venture

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Former Google marketing exec Wael Ghonim, who was one of the key leaders of the Egyptian revolution, has rejoined Google as an entrepreneur-in-residence in Google Ventures as preparation for a possible new business venture, reports Fortune.

Ghonim realized the power of social media to mobilize protestors in Egypt, and was a strong voice for the power of peaceful protest and non-violent civil disobedience. He is best known for creating the We Are All Khaled Said Facebook page to draw attention to a young Egyptian tortured to death by the country’s police.

Following the successful removal of Hosni Mubarak and the former regime in Egypt, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people of 2011 …  Read more

FCC documents for possible LG G Watch uncovered, no mention of cellular radio

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Yesterday, we reported on a rumor from a Korean website claiming that the up-and-coming LG G Watch will include an embedded, unremovable SIM card. While nothing is conclusive, a dig through the FCC website has unearthed some documents making up a filing for what we believe is the upcoming LG G Watch, and—unsurprisingly—there isn’t any mention of Wi-Fi or cellular radios. Read more

Sergey Brin: Google Glass will be a “commercial product” this year (give or take)

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While on stage at the Code Conference, Google co-founder Sergey Brin talked Google Glass with Re/Code editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. When asked about the commercial availability of the product, Brin said that he hopes it will be available to all consumers by the end of the year. He remarked that “Google Glass will be a commercial product this year…plus or minus.” The timeline for Glass has been a bit cloudy since its announcement, but hopefully Google finally follows through this time around.

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Google gives first look at its own built from scratch self-driving car

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Along with an announcement and interview with Sergey Brin at the Code Conference tonight, Google is officially taking the wraps off a new self driving car that it’s building from the ground up for the first time. That’s instead of retrofitting vehicles built by other manufacturers like it has in the past, but the new vehicle will also bring possibilities that weren’t possible with the company’s previous self-driving vehicles. Details of the project were previously revealed in a report from The Information, but Google gave an early official look and details about the new car to Recode: Read more

Live blog: Google co-founder, Google[X] leader Sergey Brin at Code Conference

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We’re live on the scene at the Code Conference, and now that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has finished up his interview and demonstration, Google co-founder and Google[X] leader Sergey Brin has entered the hot seat. Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher are interviewing Brin, and you can find our live updates from the interview below:

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Google drops NPAPI apps and extensions from its Chrome Web Store

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Last year, Google announced that it was working towards dropping Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) support from Chrome before the close of 2014. Today, the company took steps towards keeping its word by removing Chrome Web Store apps and extensions that use the aging cross-platform plugin. Not stopping there, this grand purge also applies to search results and category pages.

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Google’s Text-To-Speech app updated with support for Indian-English, Polish, Dutch, and Russian

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Google this afternoon released a small update to its Text-To-Speech app on Android. The update bumps the app to version 3.1, and while it may not be the biggest update, it certainly packs some useful changes for a handful of users. The update adds support for selecting and speaking text in Polish, Dutch, and Russian. It also improves its already existing support for some English dialects spoken in India.

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Nintendo to launch YouTube affiliate program for content creators

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After a long battle with YouTubers, Nintendo is ready to compromise. The house that Mario built is ready to play nice with content creators and will soon launch a YouTube affiliate program. According to a pair of tweets from the official Nintendo of Japan Twitter account, the company will share revenue with content producers who make approved gameplay videos under its new YouTube-friendly setup. Nintendo has yet to announce any further details, such as content requirements or when the program will go live, so everyone may not be welcomed. However, it’ll also be interesting to see how this new initiative coincides with the upcoming release of Mario Kart 8, which just so happens to have a YouTube upload feature built directly into the game.

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