Google ad tells emotional story of lost Indian boy who found his family 25 years later

We first brought you the story of a 30-year-old man finding his lost mother and family using Google Earth earlier this year, and Google has posted an emotional video on YouTube of Saroo Brierley telling his story of technology leading to his reunion.

Brierly was disconnected from his family at the age of five in a turn of tragedy, and decades later saw Google Earth as an avenue to search the streets he recollected in fragments for answers of his origin. Check out the compelling video below: Read more

Redesigned Netflix for Android app rolling out on Google Play

Netflix-Android-v3.0-01

A redesigned Netflix app for Android is currently rolling out slowly to users through Google Play. Version 3.0 of the app brings a revamped UI with a slide-out navigation panel on the left, and the entire app has been given a fresh coat of paint that instantly feels easier to navigate than the previous experience.

The updated app also includes streamlined lock screen controls when streaming to Chromecast, and a number of performance enhancements are noticeable throughout. The app is still in the process of rolling out, but version 3.0 should be hitting Google Play for you any minute. More screenshots below: Read more

Cheeky but clever LG phone ads auto-target Samsung, HTC & Apple handsets

samsung

Advertising Age reports on a clever mobile ad campaign by LG, in which browser identifiers are used to display an ad targeted directly at the handset being used.

To promote the brand’s G2 smartphone, [ad agency M&C Saatchi] created a series of banners that recognized — and responded snarkily — to the competitor phones on which they appeared.

In the example above, the ad seen by owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4 promotes the faster processor speed of the LG G2. See the HTC and Apple versions below …  Read more

Square launches Square Cash, allowing money transfers between anyone through email

Square has just launched a new service called Square Cash, which allows quick money transfers between any two parties using through an email. Contrary to what you might be expecting, you don’t need to sign up or get all of your friends onto Square Cash to share funds. Instead, you just need to link a debit card to your account.

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Amazon partnering with HTC for highly rumored Amazon Phone

Amazon has long been said to be working on a smartphone carrying its brand, and it looks like it HTC could be its hardware partner.

That’s according to a report from the Financial Times, which cites people familiar with the project in saying that three different smartphones are currently in development with one being “at an advanced stage of development.”

“We have been very focused on building our own brand, but we have also been very open to co-branding and collaborating with carriers and other technology brands,” HTC chief of marketing Ben Ho told the Financial Times, but declined to comment on any specific relationship with Amazon.

Shipping a phone with both the HTC and Amazon logos would mean more than just branding for the phone, as Amazon would be able to take over much of the Android operating system experience as it has done with the Kindle Fire tablets. HTC partnered with Facebook earlier this year for the not-so-popular-now HTC First featuring Facebook Home, but borrowing software features from the Kindle Fire like Mayday, an Amazon support service for users, could prove valuable to both HTC and Amazon and be very appealing to new users in a saturated smartphone market. Read more

Sony Xperia Z1, Xperia Z Ultra, & SmartWatch 2 now available in the U.S.

Sony originally only announced availability for Europe when it first unveiled its new flagship Xperia Z1, Xperia Z Ultra, and SmartWatch 2 during IFA last month, but today the company has officially put all three devices up for sale in the US. Available through Sony’s website now, the Xperia devices are selling unlocked in black, white, and purple and start at a hefty $649, while the SmartWatch 2 is now available from Sony’s website for $199.

The Xperia Z1, which packs in a 5-inch display, 20.7MP camera, and quad core processor, will start at $649.99, but that model, however, will only offer HSPA+ support and not LTE connectivity. That same price will get you the bigger 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra with HSPA+, but for LTE connectivity you’ll have to hand over $679. The new Xperia devices have a lot to offer– superior camera systems, beautiful large displays, and premium hardware– but the off-contract price means Sony is certainly a little higher than we were hoping for. There’s no word yet on carrier partners, but the latest rumors hint that T-Mobile might be the first.  Read more

Google to track mobile app usage via Mobile Meter app

Image: digitallifeplus.com

Image: digitallifeplus.com

Google has confirmed it’s working on a Mobile Meter app for both Android and iOS to allow it to monitor how smartphone owners use mobile apps. But no need for any privacy panicking: the app will be available only to those who have opted in to Google’s Screenwise paid market research panel, reports Engadget.

The Mobile Meter apps will replace an older method that allowed panelists to participate, helping Google measure media consumption across all screens but with more accurate results on mobile. Both the Android and iOS apps will be submitted to their relevant app stores in the near future, although only panelists will be able to actually use them …  Read more

Google Watch is happening soon, heavy into Kit Kat/Google Now functionality

Google-Watch-2

I recently heard word that Google was putting the finishing touches on a Watch product. Details are slim but the person seemed to think that Google Now functionality would be at the center of the product.

Thinking about this, Google could put a lot of the functionality of Google Glass in the watch product. Push a button, ask a question, get a response as the watch talks to the Now-enabled smartphone.  Also, the ‘serendipitous’ information that Google Now shows you on your phone could come up in the watch. Time to get home, Calendar alarms, emails, SMSes, etc. all could get pushed to the watch’s display

Google is focusing on longer battery life and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. There was no word on the type of sensors and health monitoring functionality that Apple is rumored to be working on.

We’d heard earlier some details from , which I can’t confirm, but considering my info now bears repeating:

Google will announce a Nexus watch, codenamed Gem, likely together with the KitKat announcement. The date I have, which, once again, is about a month old, is also October 31st.

My source also seemed to think “sooner rather than later.”

Google acquired WIMM Labs, an Android based Smartwatch SDK developer last year for an undisclosed sum. The company’s Smartwatch App store is still live here and contains some notable apps including Facebook.
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HTC One Max officially announced – with neat spin on fingerprint sensor

htc-one-max

HTC’s take on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 – the HTC One Max – has finally been officially announced by HTC after long-running rumors.

HTC, a global leader in mobile innovation and design, today announced the HTC One max, a super-sized smartphone that brings the award-winning design, functionality and performance of the HTC One to fans of larger handsets. A new Fingerprint Scan feature takes convenience to a new level while acclaimed features including HTC BlinkFeed™, HTC Zoe™ and HTC BoomSound™, combined with the new HTC Sense 5.5, which are all enhanced to continue to deliver the best overall smartphone experience, now on a larger screen.

Most of the specs are as per the rumors we’ve reported over the last few months, including the almost non-existent bezel, 5.9″ full HD1080p display, 3300mAH battery, (optional) capacitive stylus and fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint sensor unlocks the phone, of course, but also has a neat feature where you can assign a different app to each finger, switching on the device with that app loaded.

The CPU is, however, less powerful than rumored. Everyone had been expecting a Snapdragon 800 processor running at 2.3GHz, but instead the Max has the same 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 chip as the phone on which it’s based, the HTC One …  Read more

Foursquare opens up local ads to all small businesses

Foursquare is squarely moving into Google’s territory with the announcement today that it is officially opening up its local ad platform to all of the 1.5 million claimed businesses in the app. That means that no longer will only a select group of partners be able to offer “Promoted” listings within the app– something Foursquare has been testing in recent months– but now all small businesses will have the opportunity to place local ads.

The benefit over, say, Google’s ads platform for local businesses, is the ability for merchants to actually see if their ad leads to a real customer walking into their store:

Today, we’re opening Foursquare Ads to all small businesses around the world. We’re moving past the days when business owners have to figure out if a “like” or a “click” has any meaning in the real world; now they can tell if someone who saw their ad actually walks into their store. We built this to be simple and flexible, learning from our four years of data and relationships with over 1.5 million claimed businesses. Any merchant can monitor how many people have viewed their ad, how many have tapped on it, and how many actually came into their store. Merchants know what they’re paying for – real actions and real customers.

Business owners interested in creating ads on Foursquare can do so at foursquare.com/adsRead more

Leaked renders reveal LG’s upcoming G Flex curved-glass smartphone

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Following Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy Round, the world’s first curved-display smartphone, Engadget has discovered a few renders of LG’s upcoming entry to the curved smartphone arena. The phone, called the G Flex, will feature a top-to-bottom curved display—the opposite of the Galaxy Round, which left-to-right. Reports earlier this month stated that the oddly-shaped display will be a massive six inches.

Nothing more is known about the phone at the moment, but it is said to be expected some time next month. More renders are included below.

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