Mozilla ditches Google as default Firefox search engine, negotiates new agreement w/ Yahoo

Virgin-flight-27

Mozilla and Yahoo today announced a joint five-year “strategic” partnership that will see the Firefox browser’s default search engine change to Yahoo. Since 2004, Google has been the default search engine for Firefox, but when the agreement came to an end this year, Mozilla said that it decided to make a change.

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Lollipop will see big update to Gmail app, will handle non-Gmail accounts too

If you were wondering why Google hasn’t yet introduced an updated version of the Gmail app on Android to match its Material Design guidelines, the answer appears to be that it has something big in store. Gmail 5.0, which will be introduced as part of Android 5.0 Lollipop, will for the first time allow you to access all your email accounts within the same app, Gmail and non-Gmail alike …  Read more

Yahoo Aviate Launcher now available for Android

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Following its recent acquisition of Aviate, Yahoo has relaunched the company’s home screen replacement software today. Rebranded as Yahoo Aviate Launcher, the app is now out of beta and introduces some new features like Favorite People, which automatically places your most popular contacts into a list of favorites for fast access. To place a call or send a text, simply swipe upward from your device’s home screen.

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PSA: Flickr is dropping Google and Facebook sign-ins after June 30th

Flickr

After June 30th, Yahoo will completely remove Google and Facebook sign-in options from Flickr. As the company transitions towards its own login system, it’s sending out emails to users of its photo sharing service offering them a chance to make the switch before it closes these two doorways. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a major company attempt to cut its ties with Google and it probably won’t be the last. A few weeks ago, Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer was reportedly trying to persuade Apple to drop Google search in favor of Yahoo’s engine for the company’s iOS platform. So Yahoo distancing its own products from Mountain View’s reach definitely to make sense.

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Yahoo launches its News Digest app on Android, adds international & Canadian editions

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Following confirmation during an interview with Marissa Mayer at the TechCrunch Disrupt event this week, a version of Yahoo’s popular News Digest app is now available to Android users. Yahoo made the announcement on its blog today where it also noted that new international and Canadian editions of the app have arrived.

Mayer noted in the interview this week that News Digest was one of the company’s mobile apps that its most proud of. The app, which offers users a daily dose of news in a concise format, has been experiencing impressive engagement among users on iOS since launching last year.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll get where in terms of the new editions in each country: Read more

Marissa Mayer planning to push Apple to replace Google with Yahoo! as the default iOS search engine

Jony Ive and Marissa Mayer eat pizza with other industry executives

Jony Ive and Marissa Mayer (right) eat pizza with other industry executives

Re/code reports that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is planning an attempt at persuading Apple to switch its default iOS search engine from Google to her company’s own offering. According to Re/code’s sources, Mayer has built what she hopes will be a convincing arguement in favor of the change.

Yahoo! current powers the weather and stocks apps and Notification Center widgets found in iOS 7 as well as a few Siri functions, such as sports, but lost out on the chance to power Siri’s web search to Microsoft’s Bing. Both Yahoo! and Bing are included as optional search engines in the Safari browser, but the default selection is Google.

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Android developers blog highlights “Beautiful Design Winter 2013 Collection” on Google Play

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For the second time this year, Google’s Android Developers Blog is highlighting some of the best designed apps for the Android platform. We all know that app design guidelines can be used to ensure a great user experience so it’s no surprise Google chose 11 apps this time around that “go above and beyond the [design] guidelines.”

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Yahoo building Google Now/Siri voice-controlled competitor

Update: TechCrunch reports that this video is fake.

Update #2: TechCrunch now reports the video is real and commissioned by Yahoo!, but not a real product yet.

With Yahoo’s acquisition of SkyPhrase, a natural language processing startup this month questions immediately arose as to how Yahoo would incorporate the technology. Now, thanks to a video on Daily Motion discovered by Android Police, we may have our answer as Yahoo prepares a Google Now/Siri voice-controlled personal assistant.

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Google joins tech titans in calling for government spying reform and limitations

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has joined Microsoft, Twitter, Apple, Yahoo!, Facebook, and other giants in the tech industry in calling for a reform of the NSA’s surveillance tactics. Earlier this year it was revealed that the National Security Agency was using information from these companies and more to monitor citizens across the nation without warrants.

The companies allegedly involved in the “PRISM” program denied turning over any user data to the government, but a leaked NSA slidedeck (seen above) seemed to imply the opposite.

The new collaborative campaign, called Reform Government Surveillance, cites five driving principles in its drive to curb excessive government spying:

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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

Google remains digital ad king, Facebook making gains in mobile, no one else close

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Increased competition in digital advertising doesn’t seem to be hurting Google: the company is on track to increase its market share to almost 33 percent this year, with a commanding 53% in mobile advertising. The projections were made by research company eMarketer based on an analysis of company reports, though both dollar and percentage figures are slightly down on its earlier predictions back in June …  Read more

Report: YouTube to launch paid subscriptions between $1 and $5/month by spring

YouTube Ad Blitz

We heard last summer straight from YouTube chief Salar Kamangar that Google’s video service considered introducing subscription-based content that would rival traditional cable channels and see users paying a fee to access some partner channels. Today, a report from Ad Age, quoting “multiple people familiar” with YouTube’s plans, shared some additional details.

According to the report, YouTube will not only charge somewhere between $1 and $5 per month for access to certain channels, it will also charge for some “content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.”

YouTube has reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. As of now it appears that the first paid channels will cost somewhere between $1 and $5 a month, two of these people said. In addition to episodic content, YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.

Ad Age’s sources said the service could launch as early as the second quarter of 2013 with around 25 channels and a 45-55 revenue split for content creators: Read more