Watch out Amazon: Google partners with Barnes & Noble in same-day book delivery service

Google-Shopping-Express-1.0-for-iOS-Teaser-001

There will be some nervous faces in Amazon’s headquarters as Google today partners with rival booksellers Barnes & Noble to extend the Google Shopping Express service to books, reveals the New York Times.

Starting on Thursday, book buyers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same-day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores through Google Shopping Express, Google’s fledgling online shopping and delivery service …

Read more

Google Glass will get stereo headphones and lots of new music features demonstrated by Young Guru

In its Explorer Story: Young Guru [through Google Glass], Google shows a lot of new features of the Google Glass upgrade and expected upgrades including the hardware addition of the stereo headphones.

We discussed Google Music hidden in the XE11 update yesterday but we’re seeing the Shazam type of song recognition, and some nice translation work as well.

Can’t wait! via

Read more

Head of Samsung Mobile leaves company, NYT reports

(via Wired.com)

(via Wired.com)

Samsung’s chief product officer for its mobile devision, Kevin Packingham, has parted ways with the company, The New York Times reports.

Packingham, a former Sprint Nextel vendor, was responsible for leading the company’s mobile team during the notably successful launches of the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4 Android phones on all the major US carriers. Packingham cited Samsung’s aggressive advertising campaign for the Galaxy smartphones as a key to making their respective launches successful for both Samsung and the carrier stores.

Samsung Mobile confirmed the departure to NYT:

“Kevin Packingham has departed Samsung Mobile,” said Ashley Wimberly, a Samsung Mobile spokeswoman, in a statement. “We thank Kevin for his contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Details surrounding Packingham’s departure are vague at this point, and a successor to the two-year Samsung Mobile chief has yet to be announced. Read more

New York regulators crack down on fake online reviews, is Google Play next?

Google-Play-reviews

The New York Times reports that New York regulators will today announce a new initiative that aims to crackdown on fake reviews online. They’ve already reached settlement agreements with a number of companies and issued fines of around $350,000 to companies purchasing and providing fake reviews, many of which are submitted to services such as Google, Yahoo, and Yelp. Fake reviews have always been an issue for Google Play and just about every mobile app marketplace, so perhaps regulators will soon extend their investigation to mobile app stores as well.

“What we’ve found is even worse than old-fashioned false advertising,” said Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general. “When you look at a billboard, you can tell it’s a paid advertisement — but on Yelp or Citysearch, you assume you’re reading authentic consumer opinions, making this practice even more deceiving.”

Regulators found that US Coachways, one of the companies included in the investigation, had hired freelance writers to write fake reviews on Yelp and other services: Read more

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

Samsung-Smart-Stay

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

NYTimes profiles impact of $40 Android tablet in India

The New York Times has a story today on a $40 Android-powered tablet called “Ubislate 7Ci” made by London-based Datawind. The 7-inch tablet is aimed at students in India initially, and it packs an 800-by-480-pixel touchscreen, Android 4.0.3, a 1GHz Cortex A8 processor, and 512MB of RAM, USB port, headphone jack, mic, front-facing camera, and Wi-Fi. The company sold 2.5 million of the tablets so far, and it is about to provide a 100,000 unit to the government for India’s schools:

Mr. Singh says his cost of assembly for a Ubislate is about $37, and he sells it to the Indian government for $40. He keeps the price low by using Google’s free Android operating system and cheap semiconductors found in low-end cellphones. In addition, he says, his company figured out how to make its own touch panel to fit behind the liquid crystal display screen. The LCD is still manufactured by an outside company.

The tablet’s performance looks to be half-decent for the price tag from the video demo below. That is if you can get past its ad-supported apps. However, with recent rumors of a $99 Nexus tablet, we can only imagine what kind of an impact a $50 Nexus 7 could have. According to Gartner, it might be just a year or two before that is a reality.
Read more

Reminder: VP debate with Joe Biden and Paul Ryan to live stream on YouTube at 9 p.m. EST

The only 2012 U.S. Vice Presidential election debate, with nominees Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan, will live stream tonight on YouTube’s Politics Channel.

The YouTube Politics Channel often swaps its feature video on the main page, as 9to5Google previously reported, but today’s prominent live feed is from partners ABC News and Yahoo News (above). ABC News just finished airing preview debate coverage with predictions, insights, and commentary by leading analysts, but the network will go live again this evening to cover the debate at 9 p.m. EST. The debate is scheduled to conclude at 10:30 p.m. EST.

The video below, now spotlighted on the channel’s main page, is “The Choice 2012″ by PBS’ Frontline. Additional preview coverage between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. contains live streams by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Al Jazeera.

A screenshot of the schedule is also below, or just check out the YouTube Politics channel now.

Read more

YouTube to live stream Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, also adds 22 AOL-curated channels

YouTube is continuing its dominance in the online video space today by announcing plans to live stream the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential debates and launch AOL’s entire original video content library through 22 curated channels.

Woah. Google launched the YouTube Elections Hub in August as a complete video resource for all-things political until the U.S. Election Day on Nov. 6. The Hub features videos from politicians, parties, and well-known media, as well as shared coverage with live and on-demand content from ABC News, Al Jazeera English, BuzzFeed, Larry King, The New York Times, Phil DeFranco, Univision, and the Wall Street Journal.

Now, according to the official YouTube blog, Google announced the Hub would broadcast the four general election debates starting Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. EST:

Throughout the month of October, President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney will go head-to-head in a series of highly-anticipated general election debates. This year, for the first time, you can watch the debates live and in full on the YouTube Elections Hub, via our partners at ABC News, who will be live streaming all four debates on the ABC News YouTube channel. No matter where you are in the world or how you’ll be accessing the internet, you’ll be able to watch the most important events of the 2012 election on YouTube.

YouTube will also post highlight clips at YouTube.com/politics after the debate for the busy folks unable to tune-in live.

Read more

Google’s No.1 priority for US-made Nexus Q was faster design iterations, not cost

Since Google unveiled its Nexus Q streaming device at Google I/O, more and more details have come out about what is essentially a set-top box (albeit orb-shaped) Apple TV competitor with a built-in stereo amplifier. Google was first to make it clear that the device was manufactured entirely in the United States, and a report from The New York Times later confirmed the Q “was being assembled in a large factory 15 minutes from Google headquarters.”

Today, a report from Reuters quoted Google’s Senior Director of Android Global Partnerships John Lagerling explaining that the decision was based on the ability to innovate faster and not necessarily cost:

“We wanted to innovate fast. This is the first end-to-end hardware product that Google has ever put out,” said John Lagerling, Google’s senior director of Android global partnerships.

The cost of building the orb-shaped Nexus Q, a cross between a streaming video box like Apple TV and a stereo amplifier, “was not the No. 1 priority,” Lagerling said. “We wanted to see if we could do fast (design iterations) rather than having our engineers fly across the world.”

Read more

Google improves Search by Image results with Knowledge Graph

Google launched Search by Image last year, and then updated algorithms for it almost every week since, but now the search engine will use its Knowledge Graph to power the popular feature.

Search by Image allows users input an image, and then Google offers images and search results related to that image. Users select an image through the ‘ole drag-and-drop, and then uploading, or even inputting a URL. Meanwhile, the Knowledge Graph is new technology that allows Google to provide search results for concepts linked between words, rather than showing results for just the query term.

Software Engineer Sean O’Malley explained the inclusion on Google’s Inside Search blog today:

With the recent launch of the Knowledge Graph, Google is starting to understand the world the way people do. Instead of treating webpages as strings of letters like “dog” or “kitten,” we can understand the concepts behind these words. Search by Image now uses the Knowledge Graph: if you search with an image that we’re able to recognize, you may see an extra panel of information along with your normal search results so you can learn more. This could be a biography of a famous person, information about a plant or animal, or much more.

Google wants to improve its image search. When a user uploads an image of a specific type of flower, for instance, Google would previously give general flower search results. Now, Google will try to guess the exact type of flower. Google will also show the most recent content in search results, which is helpful for news images.

Read more

Google releases employees’ sworn denials in Street View data cropping case

Google released sworn denials (PDF) on Tuesday from nine Googlers who claimed they had no knowledge about data mining in the Street View mapping project.

Google Street View is a service highlighted in Google Maps and Google Earth that offers panoramic views of streets. It launched in 2007 in the United States and expanded to many cities and rural areas worldwide. The project ambitiously maps the world’s streets with photographs, but the plotting venture allegedly cropped unencrypted Internet data from wireless networks for roughly three years until 2010.

Google’s Street View automobiles gathered sensitive information, including private dispatches, as it roamed many boulevards, avenues, roads, highways, lanes, and thoroughfares across the globe. Tuesday’s unveiled declarations by nine Google engineers featured redacted names and titles, while it explicitly disclosed that the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company employees did not know about the misconduct. The Googlers were in the dark, because either content collection was not a part of their job, or they did not assess given project documentation.

It eventually became publicly clear that Street View gathered unencrypted information, like emails and Internet searches beamed between personal computers from within homes, thanks to German regulators who began to probe the mapping service in their country. When the findings came to light, Google fingered a nameless engineer as being solely responsible for the action, which resulted in a Federal Communications Commission inquiry.

The search engine did not break any laws, the regulatory body found, but it did obstruct the investigation. The F.C.C. fined the company $25,000, despite the sworn documents having been originally provided as part of the inquiry into Street View.

Read more

Hollywood shuns Google’s presence at White House dinner, still angry over antipiracy legislation protest

Google is attending this year’s annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, but the movie-making industry is anything but excited about the Internet giant’s presence.

According to The New York Times’ blog, the dinner is a large Hollywood affair equipped with buffets, banquets, and after-parties, where entertainment stars, media moguls, and famed celebrities alike gather to party the night away and mingle with the country’s most powerful politicians.

Google’s Eric Schmidt is a fresh face on this year’s guest list, but many show business executives, still scorned by the defeated antipiracy legislation earlier this year, are perturbed that the executive chairman plans to appear.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company’s role in conquering the hotly-debated legislation, coupled with Schmidt’s co-hosted pre-event party with The Hollywood Reporter in Washington on April 27, is just salt on the wound for many media executives.

The Los Angeles Times even noted the party does not “go unnoticed in the community.”

Read more