Google taking legal action against Turkish government over YouTube ban

YouTube-for-Android

After first blocking Twitter across the nation, Turkey officials began blocking YouTube last week as well, after Google failed to comply with the prime minister’s request to delete all videos that it deemed critical of government officials. According to a report from the Hurriyet Daily News, YouTube is now taking legal action against the country. The company has reportedly filed a complaint with Turkey’s Constitutional Court protesting the block. Google is also appealing the reinstatement of the ban and is suing to cancel the decision all together.

In a statement to Engadget, YouTube acknowledged that it was taking legal action to restore access to its service in the country and said that it is “obviously very disappointing” that censorship is still taking place in the world today. It didn’t have any further details to share about the court battles, though. Seeing that Twitter successfully won its battle with Turkish officials, however, it seems likely that YouTube will be able to do the same.

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Google enters deal with startup Room 77 to improve hotel search features

Google-Hotel-Finder

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has struck a deal with startup Room 77 to boost its current hotel search efforts. The company, which makes hotel-booking software, will be joining Google’s hotel-search team that is currently working various efforts related to Google’s Hotel Finder product. In addition, Google is said to have also struck deals to “add more hotel-related content to its search results, including photos and room rate and availability information.” Read more

Report: Google developing new ‘Hera’ service to further unify Chrome, Search, and Android

nexusae0_Hera_thumb1

Android Police is reporting that Google is planning a new feature, known as Hera, for the next major version of Android. Hera is reportedly the company’s latest attempt to unify the experience that users have within all major Google services, including Android, Chrome, and Search on Android-powered devices. Hera looks to be based on a special Chromium build that is meant to run on Android and execute certain tasks though the web, as opposed to within an app.

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Twitter acquires ‘Cover’, makers of context aware lock screen for Android

Cover, makers of a popular context aware lock screen app for Android, today announced that it is joining Twitter. The team didn’t disclose any financial details related to the deal, but said that it would be joining the Twitter team and continuing to offer its lock screen app on Google Play.

“Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android. They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter — more useful and more contextual — and together we’re going to make that happen,” the founders of Cover said when makig the announcement in a blog post today. They also added that Cover will be creating “something even better at Twitter” and would provide an update if things change regarding availability of the Cover app for Android.  Read more

HTC pinning all its hopes on the M8 version of the HTC One as losses continue

htc-verge

Graphic: The Verge

HTC had better hope the new HTC One (M8) sells well: it has just reported its second quarterly loss in three quarters after essentially doing no better than breaking even since the third quarter of 2012.

The company had warned investors that it would begin the year with a loss, but The Verge reports that the figures were worse than expected.

Even its downbeat estimates weren’t pessimistic enough. The company fell short of the expected NT$35 billion in sales, posting NT$33.12 billion, and disappointed analysts who had been predicting a narrower loss … 

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30-second smartphone charge demonstrated using biological semiconductors

I’d find this video hard to believe were it not for its credentials. The WSJ reports that StoreDot, the start-up behind the technology, has its background in the Nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv University, and it’s been demonstrated at Microsoft’s Think Next conference.

Ultra-fast battery charging has been seen before, but using special (and not very portable) battery technology. This system charges batteries compact enough for smartphones. It’s demonstrated here with a Samsung Galaxy S3, but the company says that it plans to make versions for other phones …  Read more

Video compares Galaxy S5’s heart rate sensor to Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s heart rate monitor apps

Samsung took a big step into the health and fitness market with its Galaxy S5. One of the device’s main selling points is its built-in heart rate sensor. This new feature allows users to check their heart rate using the preinstalled S Health app, but the truth is, nothing special is happening here. According to Samsung’s official Galaxy S5 page, it’s the first smartphone with a built-in heart rate sensor, but technically almost any device with a camera and flash is capable of providing this functionality. The same sensor is found on Samsung’s new Gear smart watch lineup and certainly makes more sense ona wearable device, but unfortunately it’s nothing more than a gimmick on the Galaxy S5.

The heart rate sensor found on the back is no different than what many third party apps have offered for quite some time. Runtastic’s Heart Rate Monitor app is a perfect example. This app uses the LED flash and camera on almost any smartphone to read your heart rate, and it works surprisingly well.

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Moto X ‘Plus One’ coming soon, with leather option?

moto-x-plus-one

We know Moto is going to make an updated version of the Moto X. I mean they’ve even said so, setting expectations at ‘late summer’. But when and what will it be? Evleaks seems to think it is coming soon and has the branding to back that up. As for specs, you’ve got to imagine Moto will make the jump to a 1080P display at around 5 inches, obviously a faster processor and hopefully running a late summer version of Android 5?

Update:

Leather would be nice.

Android TV screenshots reportedly leak, show off simplified card-based interface

For years now companies have been claiming to that they make the perfect set-top box, with Amazon being the most recent to do so with its FireTV. Notably missing from this arm’s race, however, has been Google. The company was one of the first to offer a set-top box OS with Google TV, but the idea quickly failed and was never widely adopted. Over the past year, reports have started to emerge claiming that Google is plaining a reentrance into the set-top box market with an Android-powered set-top box. The Verge has now published an extensive report on Android TV, with screenshots of the actual interface and much more.

The report, which cites internal Google documents, claims that the idea is far along in development with major app providers already building for the platform as we speak. While Google TV was also based off of Android, this new revision is entirely rebuilt and is something very different. “Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform,” writes Google. “It’s all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction.” It will be “cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast.”

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Samsung has reportedly lost five high-ranking executives in the past two months

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

CNET reports that over the past two months, “at least” five high-ranking executives have departed from Samsung’s US mobile business, also known as Samsung Telecommunications America, or STA. The report, citing “people familiar with the departures”, claims that the departures have included the head of national sales, the mobile devices product chief, and a key strategist for the company’s Galaxy tablets and Gear smartwatches.

Notably, these departures all come less than a year after Gregory Lee took the reigns as president and CEO of Samsung’s US mobile and electronics business. The departures also come in the midst of the company batting Apple in yet another patent infringement case.

“As our US business continues to diversify and expand, we will continue to build an industry leading organization with people who will contribute to even greater success for Samsung,” Samsung said in a statement. “Some have left voluntarily to pursue other opportunities, and we thank them for their service.”

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Report: YouTube’s music streaming service delayed until later this year

youtube-logoLast October, Billboard reported that YouTube was planning to launch a music streaming service in late 2013 or early 2014. This evening, however, Billboard has published another report claiming that YouTube’s music streaming platform has been delayed until the second quarter of this year or beyond. According to the report, which cites “an executive briefed on YouTube’s plans”, YouTube is approaching this service with a “get it right” attitude.

The company wants to launch the first version of the service in an incredibly polished form that will help it stand out against competitors like Spotify and Rdio, which have been around for a while and have had several iterations of improvements. “They feel that there’s just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate,” said a senior label executive speaking to Billboard. This, of course, contradicts the strategy of YouTube’s parent company, Google, which launches services left and right in beta form, many of which get shut down relatively quickly.

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