Acer cowers to Google, nixes unveiling event for Aliyun OS-powered smartphone?

Aliyun OS

Google apparently likes to play hardball.

A new report from the Dow Jones Newswire today asserted that Mountain View, Calif.-based Google pressured Acer into abruptly canceling a launch event for the CloudMobile A800 smartphone because it runs the Aliyun mobile operating system.

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba developed the Linux-based OS—dubbed the aspiring “Android of China.” Acer intended to unveil a smartphone powered by the alternative OS today, but the Taiwan-based manufacturer called off its event after submitting to coercion from Google.

Alibaba specifically told the Dow Jones Newswire that Acer was “notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android- related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner…”

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Google Apps for Education welcomes 14 new schools

Google published a blog post today on the Official Google Blog that highlights some of the new schools it will welcome for the upcoming school year. Among them: 72 of the 100 top U.S. Universities and seven of the eight Ivy League universities. The full list of 14 is below:

By going Google, students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: They can better collaborate in and out of the classroom; office hours can be held via hangouts; e-portfolios can be created and maintained in a Google Site; professors can give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary); and group projects can take place across continents instead of side-by-side in a library.

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Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week filmed entirely with Google Glass

We brought you photos from runway models sporting Google Glass headsets last week during New York Fashion Week, including an appearance from Diane von Furstenberg and Google’s Sergey Brin. Google teamed with Furstenberg to shoot a video with Glass that documents the behind-the-scenes making of a fashion show, and now the video project has finally made its way to the DVF Google+ page. The description for the video, titled “DVF through Glass,” explained all of the footage was filmed with just Google Glass:

Experience the DVF Spring 2013 show at New York Fashion Week through the eyes of the people who made it happen—the stylists, the models and Diane von Furstenberg herself. All the footage you see here was filmed using only Glass, Google’s latest technology that lets you capture moments from a unique, new perspective. See what happens when fashion and technology come together like you’ve never seen before.

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Google adds Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon tool to Search

As pointed out by the TheNextWeb, Google appears to have recently added another easter egg to Search with a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” tool. This adds to barrel roll, Zerg Rush, and a long list of other Google Search easter eggs we told you about, while Google also recently added some more useful tools such as a 34-button scientific calculator. To use the Kevin Bacon tool, you simply type “Bacon number” followed by the name of a celebrity. Wikipedia provided an explanation of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon if you are unfamiliar:

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Google Maps updated with new Street View imagery to celebrate Space Day

In celebration of “Space Day” in Japan, Google announced today that it is releasing new panoramic Street View imagery for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan).

The JAXA imagery allows you to walk through the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) down on the idyllic beach island of Tanegashima. TNSC is the site from which the Kounotori 3 rocket recently lifted off to send supplies (and the YouTube Space Lab winning experiments) to the International Space Station…In addition, today’s release also includes 360-degree views of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known in Japan as the “Miraikan.” Now, you’re able to virtually walk inside the museum and see the famous “Geo Cosmos” hanging Earth model, as well as the other permanent exhibits like the model of the International Space Station.

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A look behind the scenes at Google’s NYC offices

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The images above are courtesy of Refinery29 who recently went behind the scenes to snap some photos at Google’s NYC offices. In the images, we see part of Google’s computer history museum, a Pac-Man arcade and Pac-Man themed kitchen, a replica B1 Battle Droid, and a lego version of the entire HQ sitting in another one of the building’s micro-kitchens. Head over to Refinery29 for another dozen photos of the offices. You might be somewhat familiar with the building already if you saw Eric Schmidt’s tour on CNN of the downtown Manhattan location. We also found out in May that Google will be lending a portion of the building to CornellNYC Tech for five years while it constructs its new engineering university campus.
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Afghanistan bans YouTube in response to US film insulting the Prophet Mohammad

Afghanistan just banned Google’s YouTube over an American film posted on the video-sharing platform that insults the Prophet Mohammad, subsequently spurred riots in North Africa, and led to the killing of Libya’s U.S. ambassador.

Aimal Marjan, Afghanistan’s general director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Communications, who rebuffed additional questions as to whether the country blocked YouTube to avert more violence or as a safeguard from further insults, told Reuters:

“We have been told to shut down YouTube to the Afghan public until the video is taken down.”

The controversial film apparently portrays Mohammad as a womanizer and a religious hoax, so Afghan President Hamid Karzai promptly condemned it and then claimed freedom of speech does not permit the disrespect of Islam.

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Review: Verizon’s Motorola RAZR M is my favorite little Droid

If I had any complaints about the original Droid RAZR last year, it was that the chrome, or bezel, around the display was a little much. The phone was extremely slim outside of its hump, but it was much wider and longer than it needed to be for a phone with a 4.3-inch display.

In presenting its new phones last week, Motorola did just as I hoped: It split the RAZR into two lines. The RAZR M has the same screen, but dramatically less chrome, while the HD took the same phone and increased the size of the screen to a 720p 4.7-inches. I briefly played with the HD, but I got to take a RAZR M home and it has been my go-to phone ever since. Here is the review:

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Andy Rubin announces 500M Android activations to date ahead of tomorrow’s iPhone 5 event

Are you ready for the latest breakdown of Android’s performance ahead of Apple’s iPhone 5 event tomorrow afternoon? Android boss Andy Rubin just announced this evening that 500 million Android devices have been activated to date, which follows Eric Schmidt’s announcement of 480,000 devices last week. Rubin reiterated Schmidt’s announcement, claiming 1.3 million Android devices are being activated daily (70,000 of which are tablets). Last week, we calculated Google could hit a whopping 1 billion devices activated in a year’s time at its current growth. Tonight’s announcement was definitely interesting timing.

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Sony explains Xperia V’s sensor-on-lens touchscreen tech

After announcing the new ICS-powered Xperia lineup last month, Sony shared some details today on the new sensor-on-lens touch screen tech being built into the Xperia V. Sony described the tech as providing the same benefits to smartphones as in-cell and on-cell touch technology, which Apple is rumored to be including in the next-generation iPhone. In a blog post on the Sony Mobile Developer blog, the company explained exactly how the sensor-on-lens technology works and some of the benefits it provides to the Xperia V. Some of those benefits include better image quality, less haze, 5 percent better display luminance, and a lighter and thinner device due to an extra layer of glass being removed:

Sensor-on-lens touch technology means that the number of physical layers in the touch panel (handset stackup) is reduced, as the sensor layer is actually part of the lens itself. This in turn means that you will get better image quality, as there is no interference from the touch sensor component.  There is one less layer of glass and one less layer of glue, compared to conventional touch panels… This technology also moves the image plane closer to you as a user, which makes it feel like you are actually touching the image itself. With this direct touch experience, you will get less parallax issues compared to a conventional touch panel, as the image and the point of touch are closer together in the sensor-on-lens touch screen technology.

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Google Apps passes Lotus and GroupWise in market penetration down under

As pointed out by Google’s Vice President of Enterprise, Amit Singh, Australian publication Delimiter reported on a study from analyst firm Telsyte that revealed Google Apps is now second to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange in the country. The news means Google officially passed both IBM’s Lotus Notes/Domino and the GroupWise platform from Novell, which battled for second and third place behind Microsoft up until now:

Yesterday, Telsyte revealed how far the pair have fallen, with new research from the analyst firm placing Google Apps — which only launched in 2006 — ahead of Lotus and Groupwise in terms of Australian market penetration… According to a statement released by the company, it conducted a survey of more than 330 local chief information officers and senior IT decision-markers on their enterprise software use and intentions…“The search engine giant’s Apps suite is now second only to Microsoft’s Exchange for enterprise market penetration in Australia and is ahead of more established products like Novell’s GroupWise and IBM’s Lotus Notes,