How to share screenshots of Google Earth explorations with your Google+ circles

The Google Earth team announced today on the official Lat Long blog a new feature that makes it easy to share attractive screenshots depicting Google Earth explorations with Google+ circles. Run the recently released Google Earth 6.2 program, find a place you like, zoom in on the best possible scene and hit the “Share” button. This sends a snapshot of the 3D view to your Google+ stream. Note that you must sign into your Google Account in the Google Earth application to share screenshots with Google+ circles.

Note: Google Earth is on Google+, too!

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HTC details phones that will get Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades next month

Following its November promise, Taiwanese handset maker HTC today detailed through its Facebook page the devices that will get Ice Cream Sandwich in March. The first round of upgrades will roll out by the end of March for the Sensation, Sensation 4G, and Sensation XE. The Sensation XL will upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich “soon thereafter,” the company noted. Additionally, other devices will get Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades “later this year,” including the Rezound, Vivid, Amaze 4G, EVO 3D, EVO Design 4G, Incredible S, Desire S, and Desire HD.

After posting a 26 percent profit drop for the holiday quarter, HTC warned it will scale back its 2012 roadmap to focus on flagship devices rather than spread itself thin developing, manufacturing and marketing dozens of short-lived phones. The company will make announcements at Mobile World Congress that runs Feb. 27 to March 1 in Barcelona, Spain. The rumor-mill thinks HTC will launch the Ville and Edge handsets at the show; the latter being billed the world’s first quad-core smartphone. The device should run Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip sporting four processing cores clocked at 1.5GHz.

 

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Galaxy Camera trademark hints Android-based digital cameras and camcordes from Samsung

A new trademark filing submitted to the United States Patent & Trademark Office suggests the South Korean conglomerate may have plans to take the Galaxy brand beyond smartphones and tablets. Samsung, of course, has an established digital camera business. The new “Galaxy Camera” trademark covers “Cameras and camcorders” and it could indicate that Samsung is developing a family of Android-based digital cameras and camcorders.

This makes a lot of sense, if you ask us. One could argue this category is ripe for a change. Moreover, Android is the perfect fit, because it is a software platform conceived to power all kinds of digital devices—not just smartphones and tablets. Finally, the timing could not be better as incumbents like Kodak phase out digital cameras, camcorders and digital picture frames from its portfolios. Besides, Samsung certainly has the manufacturing capabilities and market power to deploy Android successfully across this product category.

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‘Best of the Grammys 2012′ on Google Music: 59 cent songs and $3.99 albums

With the 54th Grammys set to take place this Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8/7c on CBS, Google Music is getting ready for the big show by offering a selection of 59-cent songs and $3.99 albums from some of this year’s nominees selected by the The Recording Academy. You can visit the Best of the Grammys 2012 page in the Android Market now, and access dozens of albums and songs from artists like Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Codplay, Mumford & Sons, and David Guetta.
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Google’s first employee leaves for new role at Khan Academy

A report from AllThingsD confirmed today that Google’s first employee Craig Silverstein (technically the third employee following founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page), will officially leave the company to take up a new role at online education portal Khan Academy. Silverstein held various positions at Google since his days working to build Google search with Brin and Page from Stanford University dorm rooms. There is no word on what exactly Silverstein will be doing at Khan Academy, but AllThingsD said he was most recently mentoring engineers and working on a “variety of projects” at Google.

A Google spokesperson provided the following statement to AllThingsD:
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Google replaces Reader ads in empty Gmail inbox with Google+

If you ever happen to have no messages in your Gmail inbox, you might notice Google’s subtle way of promoting Google Reader with the small ad for Google Reader (below). Now, Google has removed the “Try Google Reader” link and replaced it with a new message promoting Google+ (via Google Operating System blog). The message now reads, “No new mail! See what people are talking about on Google+” (pictured above). Within the new message is a link to the “What’s Hot” stream of Google+.

With the launch Google+, and its incredible growth (about 750,000 new users a day), many warned the growth was attributable to Google’s ability to pull in Google+ users. So, what happens when it runs out of Gmail users to bring in? Google may have already thought that through with a recent update to the Google account creation process requiring users to both create a Gmail account and automatically create a profile and Google+ account. In other words, not only is the company pulling in Gmail users, but also anyone that wants or needs a Google account for other services.

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Google reportedly close to launching Google Drive in the coming weeks

Google Drive has been rumored to launch for quite awhile as a competitor to the popular Dropbox. Google Drive will be a file locker for users to store files accessible from anywhere. Think Google Docs, but for files. Tonight, Wall Street Journal said Google would be launching Google Drive in the coming weeks or months, citing people familiar with the matter.

Google will most likely also release a Google Drive Android app. Users will be able to quickly grab the files they upload through the web and grab them for use on their phones.

WSJ said Google Drive will run for free, but it will cost more money as more data is used like Google Docs. We will keep you updated as the launch draws closer.

 

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NVIDIA sends out invites to Mobile World Congress press event, hints to quad-core devices

NVIDIA just sent out invites (via Android Central) to its press event at this year’s Mobile World Conference. MWC is a huge conference set in Barcelona on Feb. 27 to March 1 where we will see new devices from handset manufactures. NVIDIA’s press invite said the company would be focusing on quad-core devices, which should not come as a surprise to anyone.

NVIDIA already teased its quad-core devices, and it already confirmed quad-core devices are on the way for the beginning of 2012. Android Central noticed what looks to be a Droid Incredible 2 in the model’s hands on the press invite. Is NVIDIA teaming up with HTC to announce a quad-core device? We will keep you updated when MWC rolls around.

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Google Wallet’s PIN verification system reportedly cracked

If your Android device is rooted, and you use Google Wallet, beware. zVelo reported this evening that Google Wallet’s PIN verification system was cracked through brute force. If someone were to obtain your device and deploy this hack, the stranger would be able to access all of your financial information to make purchases. Yes, this crack was distributed online so it can get in the hands of hackers.

It is simple: If you use Google Wallet, do not root your device. Check it out in action in the video above.

Update: As noted by The Next Web, Google is already working on a fix for the bug.

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Report: Justice Department to approve Motorola deal, as early as next week

In a new report from the Wall Street Journal this evening, the publication said the Justice Department is set to approve Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility as early as next week. This approval will give Google a good size push in to completing the acquisition.

The U.S. Justice Department is poised to clear Google Inc.’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. as early as next week, according to people familiar with the matter, giving Google a powerful armory of technology patents to deploy in the smartphone wars.

However, antitrust enforcers in the U.S. and Europe remain concerned about Google’s commitment to license Motorola patents to competitors on fair terms, those people said, and will closely monitor Google’s use of the patents. The European Commission has set a Monday deadline to decide whether to approve the acquisition.

Google is set to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, and it is doing so to primarily add Motorola’s large array of patents to its arsenal. Google is currently working to get approvals in Europe, too. A new report surfaced yesterday claiming that Google was going to send letters to European groups in order to smooth over the approval process. We will keep you updated.

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Google releases Google+ for Android update: Speed increase, ‘What’s Hot,’ and more

Google released its latest update for Google+ for Android, bringing an array of new improvements. The update brings an overall speed increase that will make for a much more enjoyable experience, and the Google+ team added a ‘What’s Hot’ section to the app to see the latest buzz from friends. In the app, users can also see who +1’d posts and more. The full changelog is below.

  1. Massive performance improvements across the app
  2. What’s Hot!
  3. View who +1′d a post or comment
  4. Stream posts shortened to fit more per scroll
  5. Infinite photos feed in ‘From your circles’
  6. Stream no longer jumps to the top for an automatic refresh

You can download the update on the Android Market.


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Google ‘tops the table’ in Greenpeace report for investing in renewable energy

Google is starting 2012 with a green outlook.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine took to its social network platform today to celebrate landing the No. 1 spot on Greenpeace’s Cool IT Leaderboard.

As described in the announcing Google+ post, Greenpeace analyst Gary Cook said “Google tops the table because it’s putting it money where its mouth is by pumping investment into renewable energy.”

Google has a stellar record in going green, and it scored 13 points for Climate Solutions, 17 points for Energy Impact, and 23 points for Political Advocacy in Greanpeace’s report. The organization cited Google’s “clean energy investments” as standing out “among the crowd.”

More information is available below.

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