Another job for Google’s Driverless vehicles: Amazon Prime competin’ same-day deliveries

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We first heard last year that Google looked to take down Amazon Prime with its own same-day shipping service, but a new report by TechCrunch now offers a few specifics about pricing.

According to the report that cited one unnamed source, Google will launch “Google Shopping Express” for about $69 or $64 a year. The service will feature, like Amazon Prime, same-day delivery from retail stores. TechCrunch also pointed to Google e-commerce project manager Tom Fallows as the project lead.

9to5Google also heard this service was coming, and we have some more somewhat wild information on the program. Google, in the long run, plans to use self-driving cars and flying drones as means of delivery. We also heard Google’s delivery project came from the Google X incubator headed by cofounder Sergey Brin.

We even postulated, after hearing Google began testing its same-delivery service in San Francisco, that Google’s recent acquisitions of BufferBox, a package pickup startup, could play a role in its delivery service.

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China’s technology ministry warns country is too dependent on Android

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Google has been accused today of having too much power with the Android operating system in China, according to a white paper published by a group from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Reuters reported today that the technology ministry said “Google had discriminated against some Chinese companies developing their operating systems by delaying the sharing of codes.”

The white paper also claimed the country’s R&D in the mobile operating space is “too dependent on Android” and that there is an opportunity for China to develop its own operating systems.

The paper pointed to Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group, and Huawei Technologies as companies developing their own operating systems and claimed that Google has deals in place that “restrain the business development of mobile devices of these companies.”

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More Galaxy S IV specs leak along with possible design

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@Evleaks, a Twitter-only tech-news outlet, tweeted out a picture today of what seems to detail some more Galaxy S IV specs and revealed its design. The photo shows what’s claimed to be the Galaxy S IV, in a more square shape, similar to how the Samsung Galaxy Note II is designed. In terms of specs, they seem to line up with what we reported earlier today: A 5-inch Super AMOLED full HD display, 13-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage configurations. It’s also rumored to launch with Android 4.2 Jellybean.

No matter what gets announced on March 14, we’ll be covering the event live. Be sure to tune-in for that. Read more

Report: Samsung’s Galaxy S4 will include ‘Eye Scroll’ feature

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According to a report from The New York Times, citing ” a person who has tried the phone,” Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S4 will include a new “eye scrolling” feature that tracks the user’s eye to determine where to focus and when to scroll on the page:

The phone will track a user’s eyes to determine where to scroll, said a Samsung employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media. For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text.

As noted in the report, Samsung actually filed for a trademark in Europe for “Eye Scroll” in January and again in the United States for “Samsung Eye Scroll” in February.

Apple and other companies have filed patents for similar technology that tracks the movement of a user’s eyes to zoom, scroll, and manipulate the elements on a display without physically touching it. Read more

YouTube partners complain about site’s not-so enticing monetization strategy

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YouTube is larger than ever, but it’s not forking over enough ad money to programmers and partners.

AllThingsD posted a thorough look at YouTube—and talked to a few video makers— and decided the site’s generated ad revenue isn’t “keeping pace” with increasing views:

The dollars programmers earn from YouTube’s ad-selling efforts range widely. But many big publishers say that after YouTube takes its 45 percent cut of the ads it sells, they frequently end up keeping about $2.50 for every 1,000 views their clips generate — that is, if their video generates a million views, they get $2,500. Other publishers say their split can be as high as $10 per 1,000.

For context purposes, Psy, the Korean artist behind the viral hit “Gangham Style,” allegedly earned $870,000 from YouTube ad revenue by December 2012 on 889 million views. According to The New York Times:

TubeMogul, a video ad buying platform, estimates that PSY and his agent YG Entertainment have raked in about $870,000 as their share of the revenue from ads that appear with YouTube videos. The Google Inc.-owned video service keeps approximately half.

Psy’s popular hit has since clocked more than 1.3 billion views, but, if TubeMogul’s estimate is correct, he isn’t earning much per view.

YouTube invited programmers last fall to preview YouTube Space, a Los Angeles-based studio, and many of them apparently complained to YouTube executives the entire time about not making enough money. However, according to AllThingsD, video makers with their own sites can generate better payouts than what YouTube provides, and they “frequently cite CPMs, or ad rates, of $20 per thousand views.”

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Chromebook Pixel review: The notebook that will make a very small number of people very happy

Long before the Chromebook Pixel was released, I, and surely many other Chromebook users, begged Google to create a high-end laptop that would allow technology professionals to use the Chrome OS to its fullest. To really give it a run against our high-end MacBook Pros and PC workstations, Google would have to throw more than the repurposed netbook hardware that OEMs like Samsung, Acer, HP, and others were giving this operating system.

Google’s Pixel is that high-end machine, but does it stack up where it needs to? First, the good: Read more

Samsung teases Galaxy S4 with new ad campaign, new specs leak

Samsung does some great ads. This is not one of them.

Samsung teased last week that the upcoming event would live streamed to Times Square and beyond.

Specs for the device seem to be a 4.99-inch 1080p display, quad-core Exnos 5410 1.7GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, and a PowerVR SGX 544 MP GPU. Add to that a 13-megapixel shooter. We heard these specs before—and having a 5-inch 1080p display seems to be what 2013 is all about.

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We’ll be on-hand at the event in a few weeks. In the meantime, we have these commercials to get us by.

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Google makes YouTube do the Harlem Shake with latest easter egg

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Harlem Shake has unarguably been the biggest YouTube trend in recent months and even hit No.1 on Billboard thanks to the inclusion of YouTube views on the Hot 100 List. Today, YouTube’s official Twitter account points us to Google’s latest easter egg that offers a Harlem Shake style surprise when searching for “Do the harlem shake” on YouTube. Click the link in the tweet below to try it for yourself.

Wacom to make an Android tablet?

Wacom already makes tablets…sort of. Its Ciniq second pen displays are high-end stylus pads that are actually second screens for a Mac or PC using ‘Wacom pad’-enabled applications. Today, however, it teased something bigger on Twitter:

Wacom also makes its Bamboo Paper app for Android. As far as apps are concerned, Adobe’s suite of Touch applications including Photoshop is available only on Android and Apple’s iOS. So, it seems like a pretty sure bet.  Read more

Rovio and DreamWorks to launch ‘The Croods’ Android and iOS game March 14 (Video)

Rovio, the brains behind the Angry Bird franchise, Bad Piggies, and Amazing Alex, announced on Friday that it teamed with DreamWorks to launch a new game for Android and iOS.

The game, called “The Croods”, goes along with DreamWorks’ upcoming 3D and CG animated feature film of the same name, and it will hit Google Play and Apple’s App Store for free on March 14.

“This all-new game finds the Croods breaking out of the Stone Age with the use of a new r-evolutionary tool: the IDEA,” explained Rovio in a blog post (sic). “The Croods will Hunt & Gather their way through spectacular new landscapes as they tame fantastic and never-seen-before creatures.”

DreamWorks’ film will land in theaters March 22. Check out the clip above for more details, or see the full press release below.

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Google exec says Microsoft’s Scroogled ads are ‘misleading and intellectually dishonest’

Microsoft’s latest smear campaign against Google services kicked into full gear earlier this month with the launch of several online video and print ads as part of its “Scroogled” campaign. Privacy is at the heart of the issues with Gmail depicted in the commercials, with the majority highlighting how Google scans the bodies of emails to serve up relevant ads in Gmail. According to a report from Datamation, Google executives commented on the claims during a panel discussion yesterday with heads from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla at the RSA Security conference.

Challenging Microsoft’s claims, Google’s Senior Privacy Counsel Keith Enright said the following:

Microsoft alleges that Google’s contextual ads, which show up alongside user email, is a violation of user privacy. Google does not agree. Enright noted that the use of automated algorithms is commonplace across multiple facets of technology and is not an issue of privacy. He added that automated algorithms are used to make the contextual ads more relevant. “The idea that doing that (contextual advertising) is in any way detrimental to privacy, or is antithetical to the interests of our users, I think is misleading and intellectually dishonest,” Enright said.

Enright continued: Read more

Google’s CFO says they have to ‘drain the pipe’ of Motorola products before the ‘Wow!’ kicks in

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Google Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President Patrick Pichette spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference earlier today and admitted the products in Motorola’s pipeline aren’t “wow” by Google standards.

Google bought Motorola last year, and the handset manufacturer later launched devices that had been in the works for quite some time. Many considered them good, little Droids, but they paled in comparison to Samsung’s Galaxy S III or even LG’s current Nexus 4.

Therefore, when placing this information in context to what Google’s executive said today, one could assume Pichette is slamming Motorola for having developed mediocre handsets prior to the buyout. Well, think again. Pichette is also referring to upcoming Motorola products:

“The case with Motorola is that we’ve inherited a pipeline. Motorola has a great set of products, but they’re not really like ‘wow’ by Google standards. Dennis Woodside and his team have inherited 18 months of pipeline that we have to drain right now.”

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