Google: Users have casted content 1 billion times, Chromecast most popular streaming device in U.S.

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Google’s Chief Business Officer Omid Kordenstani gave several updates on the status of the company’s $35 Chromecast streaming device during the this evening’s Q4 2014 earnings call. Kordenstani first stated that users have “casted” content to their television more than one billion times. The company says that this is a huge milestone for the streaming stick and the implementation of the Cast functionality in a variety of different apps.

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WhatsApp’s web-based chat client launches, only works with Google Chrome (for now)

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One of the service’s most-requested features, WhatsApp has today launched its web-based chat client. Rumors of it coming soon started appearing yesterday when screenshots of the latest WhatsApp app leaked showing an interface for logging into the web app, and now we have an idea of how that interface is used. With the quick scan of a QR code in-browser, you can start chatting with your WhatsApp friends from the desktop. Read more

Acer announces first 15-inch Chromebook with Core i3 processor, 1080p display

To kick off CES 2015, Acer has announced its first ever 15-inch Chromebook. The 15.6-inch screen makes it the biggest Chromebook released to date, but keeping trend with other Chromebooks on the market, the device is still affordable, starting at $250. Acer’s 15.6-inch Chromebook comes in at a hefty 4.85 pounds, which means you probably won’t want to move this one around too much once you get it.

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Google reveals plans for kid-friendly versions of Chrome, YouTube, Search, and more

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Earlier this year, a report emerged claiming that Google was hard at work making its services more appropriate and accessible for children. The report noted that the company wanted to overhaul its online products to allow children to legally use them. USA Today has now published a new report, confirming the rumors earlier this year regarding specific services catered to young kids. Google VP of Engineering Pavni Diwanji told the news outlet that Google is currently working on versions of its most popular products, such as Search and YouTube, for kids aged 12 and under.

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Google sold more Chromebooks to US schools than Apple did iPads in Q3

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According to the latest data from IDC, Google, for the first time ever, has overtaken Apple in United States schools. The research firm claims that Google shipped 715,000 Chromebooks to schools in the third quarter, while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads to schools. Chromebooks as a whole now account for a quarter of the educational market (via FT).

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Google Drive now lets you open files in compatible Mac & PC apps w/ new Chrome extension

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Google announced today that it’s releasing a new Chrome extension called Application Launcher for Drive that allows users to open files directly from its Google Drive service in compatible apps on a Mac or PC. The extension adds an “Open With” option that will let users launch files in apps like, for example, Mac OS X’s Preview app or third-party editing apps like those from Adobe and Microsoft. Read more

Inbox for Gmail: hands-on and first impressions

Mail for Inbox

Google this afternoon announced Inbox for Gmail, its all-new emailing solution that is intended to coexist with the regular Gmail platform. Inbox for Gmail is available on an invite only basis for Android, iOS and Chrome. I am fortunate enough to have received an invite to Inbox for Gmail, and I have been giving the iPhone app a rundown to see how it works. For the most part, Inbox is everything that you know and love about Gmail in a sleeker package.

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