Google buys SlickLogin, a startup offering secure, password-free website logins

SlickLogin launching at TechCrunch Dusrupt five months ago

SlickLogin launching at TechCrunch Dusrupt five months ago

TechCrunch reports Google has acquired the startup company SlickLogin, which appears to live up to its name with a whole bunch of clever ways of allowing you to login to a website without using a password. The key ingredient is sound.

To verify a user’s identity and log them in, a website would play a uniquely generated, nearly-silent sound through your computer’s speakers. An app running on your phone would pick up the sound, analyze it, and send the signal back to the site’s server confirming that you are who you say you are — or, at least, someone who has that person’s phone …  Read more

Nest team to become Google’s new money-no-object hardware designers

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Tony Fadell and the rest of the Nest team will become Google’s “core hardware group,” working on a variety of hardware projects and given access to “as many resources as it needs,” according to an unnamed source cited by TechCrunch.

The new division will still work on hardware devices, but not necessarily thermostats or smoke detectors. In fact, Google would like Fadell to work on gadgets that make more sense for the company. Will it be a phone or a tablet? It’s unclear for now […]

When it comes to budget, Google is willing to let the Nest team use as many resources as it needs. In other words, the company is getting serious about consumer hardware, and Motorola was just a false start …  Read more

Twilio integrates with Google Cloud Platform to bulk Google App Engine with voice and messaging services

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.53.40 AM

Twilio, a voice and messaging API solution, announced a partnership with Google’s Cloud Platform today.

Twilio is the first of its kind to integrate with Google App Engine and give developers voice and messaging services for their apps with just a few lines of code, and its APIs are priced on a pay-per-use scale, as first noted by TechCrunch. Voice services like making calls, for instance, start at 2 cents per minute, and the ability to receive calls costs just $1 per phone number and 1 cent per minute.

“We’re very excited to partner with Google to be the first voice and messaging platform integrated with Google Cloud Platform,” explained Twilio on its blog, while also listing step-by-step instructions on how to register with Google App Engine, build a messaging app, etc.

Twilio’s SDK notably includes one-to-one voice and messaging, SIP support, in-app conference calling, group texting, two-factor authentication, phone numbers, and mobile app distribution. Hipmunk, for instance, uses Twilio’s distribution feature to supply users with a text message and link to download its app.

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Google’s shopping delivery service gets a little more official and a little more hush hush at the same time

Google is taking on Amazon Prime with a shopping service later this year. You know this. TechCrunch is filling in some of the blanks today with more details like pricing (free for Googlers, $4.99 for beta testers, and a final target a little below Amazon’s) and some more beta stores like BabysRUs, Targét, and Nob Hill Foods. Also, don’t tell anyone about it because it’s a total secret! Google HR e-mail below:

Hi,

As you may have seen, there was a leak last night about Google Shopping Express, including several very specific product details. Our PR team is working to quiet this down, but we need your help — please don’t add fuel to the fire by discussing or even confirming Google Shopping Express. If you are contacted by a member of the press, please follow normal procedures and refer them to press@google.com.

But wait, you asked me to ship to my home to help you test … so what about spouses and roommates? We trust your judgement. If your roommate writes a tech blog or works for a company in this space, please don’t ship it home. But if you feel it’s safe, then by all means, we still really need your help dogfooding this.

Get free same day delivery with Google Shopping Express

After weeks of testing, we’re now excited to open Google Shopping Express to every Googler in the bay area including temps, vendors and contractors.

Save yourself a trip to the store and stock up at places like Target, Nob Hill Foods, Babies “R” Us and more. Googlers who sign up early for a free membership will receive free same day delivery for one year! Non-members pay $4.99 per delivery per store.

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LTE enabled on Nexus 4 in Canada, here’s how to do it

While lack of LTE connectivity in the Nexus 4 seemed to be one of the biggest controversies surrounding the device’s launch, Canadians will at least get to access local LTE networks on the device for now. As discovered by Canadian blog Tekgadg, which posted the video above (via TechCrunch), enabling support for LTE by simply switching the network type in settings seemed to do the trick. Unfortunately, the trick, which only supports Canadian networks running LTE Band 4 put o 20MHz, could possibly be shutdown by Google in the near future. Until then, those who want to enable LTE on their Nexus 4 will have to type in *#*#4636#*#* to access the necessary preference pane. TechCrunch has step-by-step instructions, if you’re interested.

Microsoft launching Xbox Music tomorrow for Xbox, with an Android app coming later

Image via The Verge

Microsoft announced this evening its new music service, called “Xbox Music”, that aims to compete with iTunes, Spotify and RDIO. The service is set to launch tomorrow for the Xbox 360 and Oct. 26 for Windows 8 (coming pre-installed) and Windows Phone 8 devices. GigaOm noted the service will also launch as an Android app shortly after:

But the biggest story to me is that Xbox Music will embrace Android and iOS. Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music, wasn’t able to tell me exactly when the apps for those two platforms are going to come out, but the sense that I took away from the briefing was that his team is working on making it happen sooner rather than later. Xbox Music on Android and iOS will look very much like Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8, which itself in many ways follows the style formerly known as Metro.

There is no word on what pricing Android users will see, but Microsoft said it will offer a free ad-support version for Windows 8 device owners and a $10 ad-free plan for those wanting an ad-free experience.

More details are at TechCrunch.

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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.

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Meebo enters into acquisition agreement with Google

Reports circulated last month that Google wanted to buy social messaging service Meebo for roughly $100 million, and now those stories have finally received official confirmation.

Meebo verified the news today in a post on the company blog (above):

We are happy to announce that Meebo has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google!

For more than seven years we’ve been helping publishers find deeper relationships with their users and to make their sites more social and engaging. Together with Google, we’re super jazzed to roll up our sleeves and get cracking on even bigger and better ways to help users and website owners alike.

We’ve had a blast building Meebo so far and we’re really excited to start the next leg of our journey.

Thank you all for coming along for the ride!
Meebo Team

Meebo began in 2005 as a browser-based instant messaging program with support for Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, and others. The service now boasts mobile apps, and it features multi-user chat rooms, a content aggregator, and the ability for users to check-in and share media across popular social networks. It even offers APIs for developers.

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Facebook announces App Center for all platforms and devices

Facebook just announced that it is launching a new App Center—but it is not just for Facebook apps.

9to5Mac reported for months that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and company were planning a web-based alternative store to Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play dubbed “Project Spartan.” Speculation said the project is a framework for apps that would use social hooks, while working inside of Facebook’s ecosystem.

It seems those reports are ringing true, because the highly-anticipated HTML 5-based App Center will give Facebook users access to iOS, Android, web, mobile web, and desktop apps. Interestingly, Facebook reiterated that it is not competing directly with Apple or Google, because the App Center will send users to both the iOS and Android platforms. For example: If you are visiting Facebook’s App Center on an Android Device, and then enter Words with Friends, or one of the many Facebook-compatible games, you will soon beam to that app’s Google Play page for installation. The same holds true for iOS users.

“In the coming weeks, people will be able to access the App Center on the web and in the iOS and Android Facebook apps. All canvas, mobile and web apps that follow the guidelines can be listed. All developers should start preparing today to make sure their app is included for the launch,” explained Software Engineer Aaron Brady in a Facebook Developer’s blog post.

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Facebook Messenger app updated with read receipts and personal typing indicators

(early beta of the functionality, above)

Update: The app is now live on the App Store. A full list of new features is below.

Alongside the Facebook Messenger for iPad app and updated iPhone app with video chat that we revealed earlier this week, we have also been beta testing a new “read receipts” feature. Today, Facebook is apparently rolling out the new feature to its existing iOS Messenger app, which gives you the ability to see when someone received and read your message.

While the update is not live, TechCrunch confirmed with FaceBook’s Peter Deng that the update is coming to the current iOS Facebook Messenger client and Android’s counterpart. According to the report, the feature will appear as “Seen by username” under the message itself, but our build of the app used checkmarks—as seen in the image above.

As noted by TechCrunch, the update will include the name of the location when the message was sent, if the user has enabled location services. It also replaces the three-dot typing indicator with the name of the person typing.

The updated Facebook Messenger iOS app is available here.

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Finger Gate causes an uproar among blogger, while Google states official stance on the matter

CrunchFund partner and TechCrunch contributor MG Siegler made quite the stir over the past few days, when Google removed his Google+ image that showed him raising his middle finger. Once Google removed the image, Siegler uploaded the photograph a second time, only to be removed again. The second time, Google provided the following explanation to Siegler:

As the first point of interaction with a user’s profile, all profile photos on Google+ are reviewed to make sure they are in line with our User Content and Conduct Policy. Our policy page states, “Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content.” Your profile photo was taken down as a violation of this policy. If you have further questions about the policies on Google+ you can visit http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/policy/content.html, or click the “Content Policy” link located in the footer of Google+ pages.

Google explained that this is not directed just towards Siegler. Google revealed that it reviews every user’s profile when it is first created, and that all profile pictures are reviewed. Siegler himself wrote a post on the subject, and then later followed up. Marketing Land pointed to the rule Seigler broke that some might call debatable:

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