Is this next year’s HTC flagship handset? Claimed M8 photos leak

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The photographic qualities leave a lot to be desired, but if the Chinese forum Baidu is to be believed, this is the casing for HTC’s successor to the HTC One, codenamed the M8 (the HTC One was codenamed M7).

The hole above the camera is believed to be for a fingerprint sensor, already found in the HTC One Max. The rumor mill says the specs will be a Snapdragon 800 CPU with 3GB of RAM. Generally-reliable source @evleaks says it will be the first handset to run Sense 6.0 …  Read more

AT&T to preload ‘Lookout’ antivirus and security app on all compatible Android devices

personal-android-phoneLookout, a popular antivirus and security app for Android devices, today announced that it has struck a deal with AT&T to include the app preloaded on all of the carrier’s Android devices starting with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Yep, that means you’ll have yet another preloaded app to put up with on your new Android device, and if AT&T’s Lookout app is anything like T-Mob, you won’t be able to easily delete it from your device:

Moving forward, the Lookout app will be installed on all compatible AT&T Android devices (currently installed on the Samsung Note 3). With Lookout, AT&T customers can have the confidence to use their phone to its fullest capability, and rest assured knowing they are protected no matter what they do. Whether its helping to find a lost/stolen phone, managing phone security or backing up precious data, we’re helping AT&T customers with a safer, more secure, mobile experience.

This marks the third of 4 major US carriers to adopt the Lookout antivirus and security app. Sprint already preloads it on some of its Android devices as part of its Sprint Default Configuration and some T-Mobile devices, like the new LG G2, also have the Lookout app preloaded.  Read more

Nexus 7 won’t be allowed on Verizon LTE until KitKat rolls, “systems issue” blamed

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If you have a Nexus 7 you’re waiting to activate on Verizon’s LTE network, there’s good news and bad news …

The good news is Verizon has acknowledged the issue that has been preventing the device registering on its network, and says that a solution is in hand. The bad new is that solution is to wait for KitKat to be installed on the tablet, and there’s as yet no word on when this may be. Google has said only that it will be “in the coming weeks” and that is for the Wifi versions …  Read more

Google announces Nov. 19-20 Glassware hackathon for developers

tB9_zAhIzc5KHpof6D0249K7e1nqrWGeMS37ammCZMI copyGoogle has just sent out invitations for developers to attend a two-day hackathon. The event will give Glassware developers a chance to see and test an upcoming release of the Glassware Development Kit. The hackathon will take place on November 19th and 20th at Google’s San Francisco Basecamp.

Due to limited space, only a few applicants will actually be able to attend the event. The announcement will also be recorded and posted online following the event, so anyone unable to attend will still be able to get any information they might be interested in.

The full email is included below…

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Google releases Opinion Rewards app, offers Play Store credit for answering surveys

Google today released a new Opinion Rewards app for Android (via Droid Life). The app allows users to take a survey and receive a small Google Play credit in exchange. Each survey is no longer than 10 questions. Google says that users will be able to take about one survey a week and that they will be notified via a push notification when they are eligible to take another survey. Survey topics will vary, but will all be relatively simple. 

 About once a week you’ll get a notification on your phone that a short and relevant survey is ready for you. Questions will range from, “Which logo is best?” and “Which promotion is most compelling?” to “When do you plan on traveling next?”

It’s unclear how much Google will pay for each survey, but in the video demonstrating the app, both surveys payout just $1.00 and Google notes that not every survey will payout anything. The credit is immediately applied to the Google Wallet account of whoever took the survey and can be used towards any content in the Play Store.

Opinion Rewards is available in the Play Store now. Though, unfortunately, it is only open to those located in the United States.  

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YouTube begins rolling out new comment system featuring Google+

There’s little question we all would love to see an improvement in the quality and flow of YouTube video comments. That’s why the introduction of a “better commenting” system is beginning this week is cause for hope. Diving right in, we’ll take a look at what Google suggests as the three main takeaways with this comment system:

  • Comments you care about move to the top: You’ll see posts opportunities the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles. You can still see the most recent comments by switching from “Top Comments” to “Newest First.”
  • Join the conversation publicly or privately: You can choose to start a conversation so that it is seen by everyone, only people in your Circles, or just your bestie. Like Gmail, replies are threaded so you can easily follow conversations.
  • Easily moderate comments: If you also post videos on your channel, you’ll have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans. Read more

Google finally comments on its mysterious barge project

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Google has finally broken its silence and openly acknowledged its mystery barge project. The barges, which are now anchored in Portland, Maine, and San Francisco, have been a big mystery and have even spawned their very own parody Twitter account. A Google spokesperson provided TechCrunch with a brief quote advising the site that the barges will be used as an “interactive space to teach people about its technology.”

Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology. Read more

Google Maps desktop app adds 3D ‘Earth Tours’, real time traffic reports, & StreetView improvements

Find imagery coverage with Pegman

Google just announced a few updates rolling out to the new Google Maps desktop app today. Users will now be able to highlight StreetView imagery, user-uploaded photos, and PhotoSpheres on the map by clicking a new pegman icon in the lower right corner of their screen (pictured above). StreetView imagery will be highlighted in light blue, Photo Spheres as darker blue circles, and indoor imagery as yellow circles.

In addition, the update brings a touch of Google Earth over to the Maps desktop app with new bird’s-eye view 3D Earth Tours for all WebGL-enabled browsers.

Explore beautiful, 3D imagery of buildings and terrain for thousands of locations from above with Earth Tours available right in your browser.* Wherever you see the Earth Tour icon, you can click, sit back, and get a virtual tour from a soaring angle. Dive into Boston or circle the Alps.

Google is also rolling out a new preview UI for directions. Now, when viewing individual steps for directions you’ll see StreetView imagery on each step where available, allowing you to get a better sense of your surroundings for an upcoming turn or exit. Google also notes that it has integrated real time traffic incident reports from its Waze acquisition like it recently did in its mobile Google Maps apps.

The new Google Maps desktop app is rolling out to all that opted into the new Google Maps preview today and to everyone else in teh coming weeks. Google also just released a video preview for the new Google Maps desktop experience that shows off some of the new features in today’s update: Read more

Nexus 5 vs. iPhone 5s Photo Poll: You be the judge!

To check the validity of claims that the Nexus 5 has a poor shooter, we took 10 different pictures with both a Nexus 5 and the reigning champ of smartphone cameras –  the iPhone 5s.  We even split the test over two different Nexus 5s and iPhone 5s devices.  The comparison test is below. We’ll publish the results tomorrow.

Let’s see how the Nexus 5 fares against the champ:

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Google engineers less polite than Eric Schmidt over NSA intrusions

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Following a report from the Washington Post exposing an NSA program called MUSCULAR that saw the organization secretly tap into Google and Yahoo severs and collect data, Google employees have taken to social media to express their frustration.

GigaOM has gathered comments from a couple Google employees with some being engineers that actually worked to protect the security of Google’s servers. Their comments aren’t exactly as tame as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s comments about the situation:

I now join him in issuing a giant Fuck You to the people who made these slides. I am not American, I am a Brit, but it’s no different – GCHQ turns out to be even worse than the NSA.

We designed this system to keep criminals out. There’s no ambiguity here. The warrant system with skeptical judges, paths for appeal, and rules of evidence was built from centuries of hard won experience. When it works, it represents as good a balance as we’ve got between the need to restrain the state and the need to keep crime in check. Bypassing that system is illegal for a good reason.

Unfortunately we live in a world where all too often, laws are for the little people. Nobody at GCHQ or the NSA will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process. In the absence of working law enforcement,  we therefore do what internet engineers have always done – build more secure software. The traffic shown in the slides below is now all encrypted and the work the NSA/GCHQ staff did on understanding it, ruined. — Google Engineer Mike Hearn referring to the leaked NSA slide above.

Another comment from Google employee Brandon Downey who says he “spent the last ten years of my life trying to keep Google’s users safe and secure”: Read more

Moto G to be unveiled in Sao Paulo, Brazil, mid-range specs global/BRIC incoming?

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When the clock strikes November 13th, all eyes will be on Motorola and the announcement of their upcoming Moto G. We’ve just learned via Motorola’s Twitter and G+ pages that the device will be launched from Sao Paulo, Brazil. What that might indicate is that it is a mid-range smartphone meant for global emerging markets. Sao Paulo is an unusual venue for a high-profile smartphone launch and we’re hypothesizing that means the specs won’t be blowing anyone away. The tweet from Motorola this morning informed the world of the new launch details and provided a link to a Google+ page where it’s likely more information will be released as the announcement goes down. Read more

Samsung leads U.S. smartphone growth, with a 1.2 percent quarterly rise

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Samsung’s market share in the U.S. smartphone market grew by 1.2 percent last quarter, to reach 24.9 percent. While its flagship S4 models got all the attention, Samsung advised last month that most of its global growth was in lower-end handsets.

Apple retained its lead at 40.6 percent, helped by ten days of sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c, but with slower growth. LG‘s share remained flat, while both Motorola and HTC lost out.

In platform terms, Android experienced a slight drop of 0.2 percent, but remains the clear leader … Read more