Google’s London HQ delayed by a year as the company asks for re-design

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Building Design Online reports that the opening of Google’s new London headquarters will be delayed by a year after the company asked the architects to come up with new designs – after the development had already been granted planning approval.

It has asked the architect to draw up a new design within the original floor plan that will push the boundaries of office design and better fit the needs of the local community [...]

A decision to overhaul the project is thought to have been made within the last week. As a result of the change in plans, the building’s completion date is thought to have been moved back from 2016 to 2017 …  Read more

The folks at iFixit show us what’s under the Nexus 5 hood

There are few things I look forward to more with a high-profile handset launch than the iFixit tear down. The good folks at the company are tearing the Nexus 5 up as only they can do and showing us all the wonderful cords, plugs, parts, pieces and everything that makes up Google’s newest flagship device.

Some notable takeaways from the video include the discovery the battery is held in place with only “very mild adhesive” making it “fairly easy to remove and replace.” Ten #00 Philip head screws hold everything in place “simplifying repairs and reassembly.” As for any bad news, that arrives with the glass and LCD both fused to the display frame making any fixes to the glass either “expensive or very difficult.”

Ok, so we’ll take the good with the bad but watching the whole video is more than worth the 3:45 of your time.

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via iFixit

Samsung S4 retains best battery-life title in rigorous consumer association tests

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 has retained its title as winner of the highly-regarded Which? UK consumer association battery-life tests, despite competition from newer handsets. The S4 achieved call times 37 percent greater than its nearest rival, the HTC One. The results in web use were far closer, but the Samsung S4 took the lead there too.

The Galaxy S4 also won back in June, but retained its title in the face of new competition from the latest iPhones and an updated Nokia Lumia. Android handsets took the top three slots in call times, and the top four in web use …

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Google launches Helpouts, paid one-on-one Hangouts that put you in touch with experts

As we reported previously, Google has just publicly launched a new platform for getting real-time help with any problem you might be facing. Helpouts is a new video chat service that lets you talk one-on-one with experts in a variety of fields such as art, fashion, healthcare, and gardening.

Some of the Helpouts are free while others will cost per session or per minute, depending on the topic and the expert. The chats are powered by Hangouts, but only involve two parties—you and your instructor. The instructors can set times that they are available for a Helpout, and users can book a session in advance. Instructors credentials, certifications, and experience are listed right on the booking page and users can leave reviews of their sessions.

It appears Google will at least partly be allowing providers on Helpouts manage their own experts. For example, TakeLessons, one of Google’s partners providing music lessons on Helpouts explained out it will offer services by tapping into the experts already using its own service:

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Why won’t I be buying the Nexus 5? The camera

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When Google’s Vic Gundotra promised “insanely great cameras” on upcoming Nexus devices, we took his statement to heart. Now, with the release of the Nexus 5, early reviews of the camera are decidedly mixed. It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to take a pass on the newest Nexus device, and will continue to focus on Android devices where the camera doesn’t appear to be an afterthought. I had hoped that we might see something that truly lived up to Vic’s “vision” for the Nexus line of smartphone cameras, needless to say, “insanely great” doesn’t seem to apply.

Now, I grant you, some of the pictures I’ve seen from the Nexus are good—some are very good—but the consensus seems to be for every “very good,” there’s “not so good.” As a new-ish parent, a smartphone camera is one of the most important aspects of my life, as the best camera I have is the one I have with me. I want to love the Nexus, the large display and quick updates and all the sunshine and rainbows that comes from owning Google’s flagship device. Still, the real-world tests don’t give me much hope that is the right Android device for me:

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Fear not Moto X fans, the Wood backing is still very much alive

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Moto X fans take note as prolific mobile leaker @evleaks has indicated that the wood-based model is still very much alive. It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything out of Motorola regarding the wood units, but where there’s a will there’s a way and @evleaks is providing the goods. It was back in August that @evleaks first previewed and teased the four variants of the wood-based cover. There’s still the extra $50 cost associated with the wood and we’ll just assume that extra cost is simply the price of going up to your friends and bragging you have a “wood” smartphone.

The image itself comes from a screen-grab taken from MotoMaker and shows off Teak, Ebony, Rosewood and Bamboo wood tones. The styles are expected to arrive anytime in the fourth quarter which began at the beginning of October so any.day.now.

BlackBerry ditches its CEO as potential buyer falls through

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While Google may have been among a lengthy list of rumored suitors for BlackBerry, it appears its latest attempt to sell the company has failed. In fact, the collapse of the deal with Fairfax has led to the ousting of CEO Thorstein Heins and the raising $1 billion in convertible debt. So, you win some you lose some, eh?

The “new” BlackBerry will be led by John S. Chen who will be appointed Executive Chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors and is now responsible for the strategic direction, strategic relationships and organizational goals for BlackBerry. We wish John the very, very best of luck in this difficult climate.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant vote of confidence in BlackBerry and its future by this group of preeminent, long-term investors,” said Barbara Stymiest, Chair of BlackBerry’s Board. “The BlackBerry Board conducted a thorough review of strategic alternatives and pursued the course of action that it concluded is in the best interests of BlackBerry and its constituents, including its shareholders. This financing provides an immediate cash injection on terms favorable to BlackBerry, enhancing our substantial cash position. Some of the most important customers in the world rely on BlackBerry and we are implementing the changes necessary to strengthen the company and ensure we remain a strong and innovative partner for their needs.”

It’s an unfortunate day for the folks in Waterloo and while there was an inkling of hope that Google might scoop up the company formerly known as RIM, it appears they are now back at square one in their attempts to knock Android and iOS off their pedestals.

via BlackBerry

Google’s new Connected Classrooms program takes students on virtual Google+ Hangout field trips

Google today announced that its launching a new education initiative that will see students taking “virtual field trips” using Google+ video chat Hangouts. Google explains that it’s now allowing teachers to sign up for the field trips through a program called Connected Classrooms.

Teachers are already using Google+ to make learning more relevant, collaborative and accessible—from exploring a world-class art museum to staging a play to venturing into space. Connected Classrooms aims to make it easier for teachers to access exciting educational content to share with their students. In addition to the virtual field trips, teachers who visit the Connected Classrooms site will have the opportunity to join a Google+ Community with other educators to collaborate on field trips and share best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.

The first locations featured as virtual field trips will include the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo and the Solar Impulse hangar. Google is also partnering with over 20 organizations to that will help organize the field trips, some of which include National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Read more

AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom arrives Nov. 8 for $199 on contract w/ free Galaxy Tab 3

As rumored earlier this month, AT&T announced today that it will become the first U.S. carrier to offer Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom starting November 8 for $199 on contract or $25 a month on AT&T Next instalment plans. AT&T is also throwing in a free Galaxy Tab 3:

For a limited time, Galaxy S 4 zoom customers can take advantage of two amazing promotional offers. Those purchasing the Galaxy S 4 zoom with a two-year contract or on an AT&T Nextsminstallment agreement and qualified voice and data plans can get a Galaxy Tab™3 for free. The Galaxy Tab 3 requires a new qualified 2-year data plan in order to be eligible. Customers won’t have to choose between a phone and tablet. Now they can get both for the price of one. With AT&T Mobile Share, customers can add the Galaxy Tab 3 to an existing Mobile Share plan for $10 more per month. And with Mobile Share, up to 10 devices can share data without needing to purchase separate plans for each one.

The Galaxy S4 Zoom is a hybrid smartphone/point and shoot that packs in a 16 megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom, a manually adjustable zoom ring, dedicated shutter button, and a built in Xenon flash. Other specs include a 4.3” Super AMOLED display, microSD, a 2330mAh battery, 1.5GB(RAM), and 8GB(eMMC).  Read more

Talking Schmidt: Google Chairman SHOCKED at NSA hacking of Google network, says he told buddy Obama that it is ‘not OK’

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt expressed his shock at reports that the NSA tapped into the internal communications links between Google servers, describing it as “outrageous” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The claim was made as part of the ongoing PRISM revelations.

It’s really outrageous that the National Security Agency was looking between the Google data centers, if that’s true. The steps that the organization was willing to do without good judgment to pursue its mission and potentially violate people’s privacy, it’s not OK …  Read more

Check out the winners and performances from last night’s YouTube Music Awards

Following last night’s first ever YouTube Music Awards, YouTube has posted some highlights from the event and below we have a full list of winners for each of the six major categories from the show.

Unfortunately the broadcast, hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts and featuring live music video-like performances from Eminem, Lady Gaga and others, didn’t manage to attract many viewers during its live stream last night. According to Time, YouTube’s award show was able to capture only around 250,000 simultaneous viewers. That’s compared to around 1.9 million for the live YouTube stream of the Coachella festival each year and 10.1 million viewers for MTV’s latest VMAs award show.

Reviews of how the show went seem to be mixed, but we’ll post the full video of the show as soon as its available here. Head below for the full list of winners and hit the playlist above for more videos of last night’s performances: Read more