Google testing new direct-to-business chat platform powered by Hangouts

Matt Gibstein on Twitter: %22Super interesting: @Google search now offering the ability to chat with local businesses (a la @Path Talk). http:::t.co:eksoBhZ6wk%22 2015-02-24 16-08-49

Google is testing an interesting new feature in search, as spotted by one Matt Gibstein on Twitter. As you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a small “Chat” icon next to the phone number of a business called “Dizengoff” in Philadelphia—and it looks like clicking it will launch you into a chat session directly with that business via Hangouts.  Read more

IDC: Android continued to increase its lead in smartphone market in 2014

IDC just released its latest numbers on the top smartphones by operating system showing Android and iOS continue to collectively dominate the market with both experiencing growth during 2014. Together, iOS and Android grabbed 96.3% of all smartphone shipments, which IDC points out is up from 95.6% in 4Q13 and from 93.8% in calendar year 2013.

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‘Pebble Time’ officially announced at $199 with color e-paper display, new timeline interface, Kickstarter discounts

Pebble Time - Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises by Pebble Technology — Kickstarter 2015-02-24 08-58-47

Update: Less than 30 minutes after launching its Kickstarter campaign, the Pebble Time is fully funded.

Pebble has this morning announced the next generation of its smartwatch, called Pebble Time. The device, as we reported last week, sports a color e-paper display, a thinner design, a microphone on board, and a completely revamped ‘timeline’ interface. Pebble Time is launching on Kickstarter with early bird pricing tiers at $159 and $179, but the device will retail for $199.

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Google updates Blogger terms, bans explicit content starting March 23rd

blogger-homepageGoogle announced tonight that it will be updating its adult content policy on the Blogger platform once again. Starting March 23rd, no sites built on Blogger will be allowed to publicly share “sexually explicit” content or media containing “graphic nudity.”

Sites that currently host objectionable content will be required to either remove it or set the blog to private. Google also suggests exporting a site and moving it to a different host if neither of those options are suitable. Blogs that violate the policy after March 25th will risk being set to private automatically. Google says no sites will be completely deleted due to this change.

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Google publishes, then pulls, video confirming Chromebook Pixel 2 is on the way

1st Gen Chromebook Pixel

1st Gen Chromebook Pixel

We’ve seen evidence recently that Google has a second-generation Pixel Chromebook, but the Mountain View company has finally (seemingly accidentally) confirmed that the machine is on its way.

Earlier this evening Google published a video on YouTube in which Renee Niemi announced that a limited number of Pixel 2 notebooks will be available in the coming soon. No specific timeframe was given for the release, but Niemi said that because the Pixel 2 is primarily meant as a development platform, only a few would be made.

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Render of Verizon’s 2nd generation Moto E w/ LTE leaks out

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The second generation Moto E was spotted earlier this month on the Best Buy website, but now we have what looks to be a render of the device all stamped up and ready to ship on Verizon (via Android Police). And to the delight of many, it looks like the device is going to pack 4G LTE, a feature that isn’t common in phones in the price range this one will likely fall into.

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Google opens invite-based Inbox app to Google Apps for Work users

Inbox3

Just days after Google’s Sundar Pichai announced the company’s new Inbox email app would arrive for Google Apps customers soon, today an invite system is launching to allow for exactly that.

Like the invite system that is currently being used to allow new users to download the Inbox email app, Google is today allowing Google Apps for Work admins to request service access for their users. Google said it will let in only select users that request access as it works to get feedback from early adopters and improve the experience:  Read more

Google buying ‘some’ tech & IP from Softcard, Wallet to be pre-installed by select carriers

google-wallet

Google has announced this morning that the company is planning to pre-install its Google Wallet mobile payments app on the phones of some carriers, notably those sold by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless. While Google was reportedly in talks to acquire the mobile payments company Softcard—previously known as ISIS— earlier this year, the Mountain View company says that it is at this time simply acquiring “some” technology and intellectual property…

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