Google testing encryption to hide your Drive files on heels of NSA surveillance controversy

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Privacy protection in the apps we use on a daily basis has been a big topic of conversation following accusations that Google and other large tech companies were working with government agencies to provide user data. Google has worked tirelessly to clear its name during the scandal, and today CNET reports that the company is testing encryption for Drive files that could further keep its users’ data protected from prying eyes.

As a reminder, Google does not currently encrypt files store in its Drive cloud storage service, but rather only encrypts files being transferred on their way to Drive: Read more

Evernote for Android updated with OfficeSuite and Skitch support, performance improvements, more

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Evernote for Android has just been updated with a handful of new features and general stability improvements. The update adds the ability to edit documents with the OfficeSuite app, as well as the ability to mark up PDFs with Skitch, though the latter requires a premium subscription. You can also now add a new reminder, introduced earlier this summer, right from the Reminders list.

The Evernote widget has also received several improvements, including support for Reminders and lists of notes, as well as lock screen support for Jelly Bean.

New in Evernote

  • Edit documents saved in Evernote using the OfficeSuite app
  • Mark up attached PDFs with Skitch (Premium feature)
  • Add a new Reminder right from the Reminders list
  • Numerous performance and stability improvements
  • This update requires Android version 2.2 or newer
New in the Evernote Widget
  • View notes in a list
  • View and add Reminders
  • Improved scaling for different screen heights
  • Supports lock screen on Jelly Bean

Check out the update on the Play Store now.

Google sending invites for July 24 event with Android/Chrome boss Sundar Pichai

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Google has just sent out invites for an event next Wednesday, July 24th. The invite says that it is a “breakfast with Sundar Pichai,” which means that the focus of the event will probably be on Android and/or Chrome, which are the two departments that Pichai oversees. For those that can’t make the breakfast or were not invited, it will be live streamed on YouTube as well.

More than likely the event has something to do with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which is expected to be a very minor update over 4.2. It’s also possible that it’s the Nexus 7 successor, for which we just saw leaked pricing. We’ll be sure to let you know what Google has to say next week.

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Google follows through on proposal to kill pirate sites by cutting off their cash

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The Guardian reports that Google is acting on the proposal it made back in May to hit pirate sites where it hurts – their wallets – by depriving them of ad revenue.

Websites offering pirated content will be blocked from offering adverts from Google and other big web advertisers, in a US scheme intended to strangle illicit revenues.

The initiative will mean copyright holders from the music, film and other creative industries will be able to alert the big ad networks if their ads are appearing on sites offering links to pirated content or counterfeit goods …  Read more

As expected, EU rejects Google’s proposed changes to anti-trust complaint in search

European Union Competition Commissioner Almunia addresses a news conference on state aid rules for airports and airlines in Brussels

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia (photo: Reuters)

Google’s proposed changes to its search results don’t go far enough to address claims that it is using its dominant position to freeze out competitors, says the EU (via Reuters).

The decision comes as no surprise after EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said back in May that he was “almost 100 percent certain” to reject the proposals, in which Google’s key offers were to clearly separate organic results from sponsored links and to provide links to at least three rival search services in its results …  Read more

Revamped Google Maps for iOS launches, supports iPad, indoor maps, enhanced navigation

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In line with last week’s expectations of an updated Google Maps app, Google, has begun rolling out version 2.0 of Google Maps for iOS today. Most notably, the new application includes support for the large touch screens found on the iPad and iPad mini.

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Additionally, like with the recent update to the Android version, enhanced navigation with incident reports and live traffic updates are included.

Also new is an Explore function to browse popular places such as restaurants, shopping, playing, and sleeping. This feature is integrated with Zagat ratings and deals via Google Offers.

The 2.0 update also includes indoor mapping functionality for malls, transit stations, and airports, according to Google. The new update has begun rolling out to some countries in Asia, but is not yet available in the United States. In fact, Google Maps is currently unavailable to download in the App Store for many countries until this update is released.

Update: Some people have had success downloading the new version of Google Maps by deleting their current version and downloading it from iCloud. (Thanks @ITSFEST)

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Chrome Beta for Android updated with speed improvements, WebRTC support

Chrome for Android

Google has updated its Chrome Beta Android app today with several small new features. First, the update adds support for WebRTC, which is a web feature that allows for real-time voice and video communications. WebRTC is useful for things like voice calling, video chatting, and peer-to-peer file sharing. The update also improves page loading performance and offers up a handful of bug fixes and general stability improvements.

Full changelog:

  • Support for WebRTC, a web platform feature to enable real-time voice and video communications
  • Faster page loads
  • Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance

Download it on the Play Store now.

Verizon schedules July 23rd event, hints at next generation Droids

DROID MAXX

DROID MAXX

Verizon just started sending out invites to the press for an event taking place later this month in New York City (via TheVerge). While the carrier isn’t specifically mentioning what we’ll be seeing at the event, it did say to expect the next generation of its most popular family of devices, which leads us to believe it will likely be an announcement for new Droid devices.

If Verizon is unveiling new Droid devices, it’s likely we’ll see one or all of the much rumored Droid MAXX, Droid Mini, and Droid Ultra. Motorola’s already started talking about the Droid Ultra, and the Droid MAXX was already tipped for Verizon in the latest round of leaked press shots.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about these devices, but the latest leaks for the Droid MAXX advertised the device with 48 hours of battery life and availability exclusively through Verizon starting August 8th.

We’ll have to wait until later this month on July 23rd to find out for sure, but we’re expecting one of these new Droid device to make an appearance and replace the current aging lineup of Droid devices at Verizon.

Google in talks with media companies for new internet TV service w/ cable TV-style programming

Google-TV

Google already has its feet into the TV space with its somewhat neglected Google TV platform, as well as its recently launched cable TV service as part of Google Fiber in select states. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has entered negotiations with media companies for a new internet TV streaming service that provides cable TV-style programming:

Google Inc. has approached media companies about licensing their content for an Internet TV service that would stream traditional TV programming, people familiar with the matter say.

If the Web giant goes ahead with the idea, it would join several other companies planning to offer such “over-the-top” services, delivering cable TV-style packages of channels over broadband connections. Chip company Intel Corp. and Sony Corp.are both working on similar offerings, while Apple Inc has pitched various TV licensing ideas to media companies in the past couple of years.

Google has even apparently demoed the product in meetings with programmers in recent months. According to the report, it would differ from Netflix and Hulu by offering a television experience similar to traditional cable companies but through the internet. In other words, “offering conventional channels, allowing consumers to flip through channels just as they would on cable.” Read more

Google offering free Play songs by Nirvana, Band of Horses, The Shins, and more to celebrate 25 years of SubPop

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Google is offering a handful of MP3 tracks for free via the Play Store to celebrate the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee festival in Seattle. The sale offers free songs such as “About a Girl” by Nirvana, “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, “New Slang” by The Shins, and much more.

Mega-indie record label Sub Pop marks its 25th anniversary with a Silver Jubilee festival July 13 in Seattle, and there’s plenty to celebrate. From introducing Nirvana and grunge to popularizing modern indie rock, folk, electropop and more, Sub Pop has stayed nimbly ahead of trends and launched countless great bands including Sunny Day Real Estate, Mudhoney,The Shins, Fleet Foxes and more. They’ve also maintained their experimental edge, releasing records by such outliers as LA noise punks No Age, chillwave success Washed Out and outré hip-hop unit Shabazz Palaces. Here’s to 25 years of Subterranean Pop, “Loser” t-shirts and avowed “world domination”—and to many more to come.

You can check out the deal on the Play Store now. Read more

Claimed leaked render suggests promised HP smartphone will be stock Android

Update: HP has officially denied the rumor

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A claimed render of HP’s promised smartphone sent anonymously to phoneArena apparently shows it running stock Android.

The render is pretty crude, and the hardware appears rather generic, so there’s no guarantee it’s genuine – but the company did opt for near-stock Android for its Slate tablet. If the leak is real, we’d applaud a decision to go with a pure Android experience but add that HP will need to pull something out of the hat with either specs or apps to meet its promise of “a differentiated experience.”

We suggested earlier that HP’s credentials as the world’s largest PC manufacturer might make a business-orientated phone a smart move now that the market share of the former business smartphone leader, Blackberry, has fallen to less than 5 percent. Something special in the hardware – perhaps a fingerprint sensor for security (assuming Apple doesn’t do it first) – would one possibility.

Enterprise-orientated apps would perhaps be a more likely one, especially given the company’s partnership with Google to offer Google Apps to small businesses. A similar approach with a smartphone might enable the company to meet that new-and-different promise despite a rather ordinary-looking box running stock Android.

Cool demo of how augmented reality could look on Google Glass

It’s not the best video in the world in terms of production values, but the techniques being demonstrated are pretty cool. For example, asking Glass the height of the Washington Monument when looking at it and being shown a visual scale overlayed on the real thing, translation of a sign on a sidewalk and overlaying a restaurant with star rating and opening times …  Read more