Microsoft latest to mimic Snapchat with new Skype Qik ephemeral video messaging app

Microsoft has just joined the ranks of companies looking to capitalize on the success of ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Through its Skype division, the company has launched a new cross-platform app for iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone called Skype Qik. The premise of the application, as can be seen in the video above and screenshots below, is simple: you can record a quick video, and then share it to either one person in your address book or multiple groups of people.

By default, videos will expire after two weeks, and you can also un-send messages at any time. A cool feature of Skype Qik is the ability to pre-record various 5 second GIFs that you can send as instant replies. So, if you don’t have the ability to send a live video reply, you can just choose one of your pre-record defaults. The app is free today on the aforementioned platforms, and Microsoft says that updates, such as one for blocking iPhone contacts (that feature is available today on Android and Windows Phone), will come often to enhance the feature-set.

You can view some screenshots of the Android app in action below:

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FBI director continues push against Google & Apple on smartphone encryption (Video)

James Comey FBI Director

FBI Director James Comey isn’t backing down from his position that Google and Apple are wrong to encrypt customer smartphone data preventing law enforcement agencies the possibility of access if requested. After last month sharing that the FBI was in talks with the two companies to discuss concerns with marketing devices as being inaccessible to third-parties including the government, the FBI Director spoke with CBS News in an interview where he continued to make the case against such encryption… Read more

Google launches Primer mobile app to help startups with their marketing needs

Primer-Android

Today, Google launched a new mobile app for startups called Primer, an interactive tool that helps companies with their marketing needs. Available now on iOS, the software cranks out five minute lesson plans for subjects like Content Marketing, PR & Media and Search Advertising. A simplified experience, Primer is packed with case studies, insider tips and quizzes designed to make marketing easier.

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Google unveils The Physical Web project, ‘an open web spec to walk up and use anything’

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Google today unveiled The Physical Web, a project that will allow anyone to walk up to a smart device and use it without downloading an app. Google UX designer Scott Jenson published details on what he described as “an open web spec to “Walk up and use anything.” Jenson says “The Physical web isn’t about replacing native apps, it’s about allowing interaction for the times when native apps just aren’t practical.” Read more

Starbucks for Android updated w/ new widgets, ability to digitally tip, shake your phone to pay, more

The Starbucks app on Android has always been on the forefront of mobile payment and technology features, and this evening, the app has received an update making it even more useful for customers. Bumping the app to version 2.7, the update today adds a handful of new features, including the ability to pay tips digitally and shake your phone to pay.

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Graphic: The iPhone 6 should be embarrassed compared to the Nexus 4

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The above photo has been making the rounds on the internet, especially on Google+ where the vast majority of users are definitely on the Android side of the pond. Put together by Ron Amadeo of ArsTechnica, the little graphic compares the specifications of the iPhone 6, which was only announced yesterday, to Google and LG’s Nexus 4, which was released in November of 2012.

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Google Hangouts for Android updated with Google Voice integration, free VoIP calls

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It’s finally all coming together. As many suspected would eventually happen, Google Hangouts is finally—in an update rolling out over the next few days—going to be getting integration with Google Voice. The latter service seemed to definitely be getting neglected by Google as of late, with much of the company’s focus going to its Hangouts platform. But it appears that Voice may even moreso eventually become a thing of the past because, starting today, Google is putting it straight into Hangouts as part of a new update to its apps across Android, iOS, and the web.

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A week after Apple launches iPhone 6, ZTE has a NYC launch event

Probably ill-advised timing but why not?

Talking Schmidt: Know your competition, but don’t copy it

talking schmidt how google works

“Know your competition, but don’t copy it.” Those words of wisdom come from the image above accompanying a message put on the entirely original – not a copy of Facebook – Google+ by Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is promoting his new book with Jonathan Rosenberg called How Google Works due out next month where the billionaire lays out the principles that made Google what it is today.

Included with the lemonade stand image and ‘don’t copy’ caption is another Schmidt line on originality and competition. “Playing catch-up with the competition will never help you get ahead by creating something new,” Schmidt says. Google would be the “hard” boozy lemonade to the competitions’ fresh lemonade. In the case of Google Plus, the booze could be the hangouts or perhaps the photo editing features or integration with other Google products.

Now picture this tidbit from Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

It’s hard to deny that Android started looking a lot more like iOS after the iPhone’s introduction, and iOS has clearly borrowed its fair share of features from Google’s mobile operating system, but there’s no denying that Schmidt’s message could be challenged. File this one with the rest under Talking Schmidt.

Android picks up five points from iOS in the enterprise market, reaches 32 percent market share

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The latest enterprise market share data from Good Technology shows that Android gained five points from iOS, hitting almost a third of the market at 32 percent while iOS fell from 72 to 67 percent. Windows Phone remains flat (and irrelevant) at just 1 percent. (BlackBerry data is not included as the company uses its own servers and activations are invisible to Good Technology.)

What’s particularly impressive about the numbers is that Good’s technology mostly connects mobile devices to Exchange servers and organizations that use Google services for enterprise, which are more likely to Android, aren’t being counted here…

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