New Google data centers to bring 30 percent speed increase to areas worldwide

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According to a report from the Economic Times, new data centers in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are set to bring more speed to Google’s services for many areas. Construction on these data center sites began in 2011 at the sum of $300 million, and, according to today’s report, they are pegged to bring a 30 percent speed increase to Google services for neighboring regions. The Singapore facility is expected to go up in the next few months, while the Taiwan is pegged for the second half. No timetable has been given on the Hong Kong facility.

As an Internet-relying company, one big focus area for Google is speed. The new data centers are going to hopefully bring more speed to areas that normally aren’t as fast. Lalitesh Katragadda, head of product at Google India, explained: “Internet connectivity speed in India is not very high. These data centres will be crucial to this market due to its proximity.” Outside of Asia, Google has seven other data centers across the world. Several are in the U.S., with one each in Finland, Belgium, and Ireland as well. [Economic Times via TNW]

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MK802 Mini Android PC for $35.21 offers an affordable Android computer

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From 9to5toys:

Perfect to hook-up to a television, Amazon is offering the MK802 Mini Android PC for $35.21 — lower than the regular list price of $59. For those unfamiliar, this little gadget offers a full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experience in the size of a USB flash drive. A mini HDMI port is on the device for connecting it to an external display, making it a compelling device for the living room.

Additionally, the Mini Android PC features a full-sized USB port to connect to another computer or add peripherals. It ships with an HDMI, USB, and power cable and supports 802.1b/g/n Wi-Fi. Of course you’ll need a keyboard and mouse, so something like the Logitech diNovo Mini Keyboard plus a Bluetooth Micro Adapter may be the perfect solution. [Amazon] Read more

Head of Google Glass Babak Parviz talks what is next for the platform

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As 2013 kicks off, Babak Parviz, head of the Google Glass project that launched in spring of last year, sat down in an interview with IEEE Spectrum to give word on what to expect next.

We saw several prototype versions of Google Glass, as it readies shipping to the mainstream, and today, Parviz gave some insight into what has changed. “We constantly try out new ideas of how this platform can be used. There’s a lot of experimentation going on at all times in Google,” said Parviz. “We’re also trying to make the platform more robust. This includes making the hardware more robust and the software more robust, so we can ship it to developers early this year.” The early 2013 shipping time was announced at Google I/O 2012. It is nice to see Google is still on-track; however, new features for the platform have not been revealed. “The feature set for the device is not set yet. It is still in flux,” Parviz said.

Parviz also covered how Google will make a business out of Google Glass, and, maybe as a surprise to many, the Mountain View company currently doesn’t have plans to include advertising—its bread and butter. The business model is still being worked on: “This is still being worked on, but we are quite interested in providing the hardware…At the moment, there are no plans for advertising on this device.”

Other revelations in the interview include a cloud-based API so developers can integrate their Android apps into Google Glass. An example given was email and calendar services. Lastly, Parviz said the Glass team has worked hard on battery life and making sure the device is safe on the eyes. You can read the full interview for more. [IEEE Spectrum] Read more

Student (or play one)? Here, have $50 off a Kindle HD 8.9-inch, now starting at $249

From 9to5Toys.com:

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If you are a student (or have access to a .edu email address), Amazon is having a special New Years Day deal on the Kindle HD 8.9. The online retailing giant is offering $50 off the price of an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire that yields a $249 price.

Exclusive Discount on Kindle Fire 8.9″
Special pricing available only to Amazon Student Members with an active Prime account (free six-month or $39/year plan). Join Amazon Student or start your [$39/year] discounted Prime membership to take advantage of this sale. The promo codes below will become available 24 hours after activation of your account, through January 30. New members, don’t forget to check your .edu email and verify your account.

How to Redeem This Deal
Place a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ or a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless in your cart. At checkout, enter the promo code KNDL4STU. If you are an Amazon Student member in a free or paid Prime plan, the discount will be applied to the items in your cart. This promo code may be redeemed once per customer. offer good only while supplies last. Read more

Ring in the New Year with the official New Year’s Eve Ball countdown app (and keep those resolutions too!)

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The countdown is on.

It’s New Year’s Eve and folks are either getting ready to go out and party or assembling a junk food fest to sit on the couch and gorge the night away, but it’s guaranteed that almost everyone will have their eyes locked on Time Square’s Ball when the clock strikes midnight. Instead of watching this year’s countdown on television, however, just use an Android smartphone.

The Times Square Official New Year’s Eve Ball App is the official app to celebrate New Year’s Eve live from New York City, as the app’s description indicates, and it’s free. The main features include the ability to watch the co-hosted official show live, opening ceremonies, musical performances, celebrity appearances, hourly countdowns, and the midnight Ball Drop.

Check it out:

Users can also submit images and then vote on friends’ photos to possibly be selected for display on the Toshiba Vision Screen beneath the New Year’s Eve Ball, and they have access to tidbits related to history, news, weather, photos, map, and event schedule. The app also offers New Year’s Eve eCards and the ability to customize the Toshiba Countdown Clock with a personal photo and time zone.

Get more apps below.

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