France Stories September 3, 2016

Google Opinion Rewards debuts in France, offers payment through PayPal

Google Opinion Rewards has always been a great way to make a few bucks for apps, movies, and music, but there are two big issues. The first, regional limitations. Opinion Rewards isn’t available everywhere, so unless you live in a supported country, you can’t use it. Thankfully, Google is adding new countries all the time, most recently with France.

France Stories June 8, 2016

France launches terrorism warning app for Euro 2016 football tournament

Fears that terrorists may be planning attacks in Paris during the Euro 2016 football tournament have led the French government to create an app that sends location-based terrorism alerts to users, helping them steer clear of affected areas.

France Stories February 25, 2016

FILE - In this Tuesday, March 23, 2010, file photo, the Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels. France's data privacy agency ordered Google to remove search results worldwide upon request, giving the company two weeks to apply the "right to be forgotten" globally. The order Friday from CNIL comes more than a year after Europe's highest court ruled that people have the right to control what appears when their name is searched online. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Just one day after the UK’s public spending watchdog described the £130M ($185M) back-tax paid by Google in the country as “disproportionately small,” France is demanding a rather larger sum. Reuters reports that the country’s finance ministry believes Google owes €1.6B ($1.76B).

“As far as our country is concerned, back taxes concerning this company amount to 1.6 billion euros,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said […]

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Michel Sapin ruled out striking a deal with the U.S. search engine company as the British government recently did, saying the sums at stake in France were “far greater” than those in Britain … 

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France Stories November 13, 2015

Google Hangouts 2015-11-13 21-51-59

In the wake of some absolutely tragic and terrifying events tonight in Paris, Google has made international phone calls to France free on Google Hangouts. In other tragic past events, many companies that offer calling services have offered similar opportunities.

In a related initiative, Facebook has tonight launched a feature called Safety Check, which allows you to “quickly find and connect with friends in the area” and mark them safe if you know they’re safe. You can also let your friends know if you’re in the affected area.

You can head over to the Play Store or the App Store to grab the app for free, or head to hangouts.google.com to make free international calls to France straight from your browser.

France Stories July 31, 2015

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Google has appealed against France’s order that it must implement ‘Right to be forgotten‘ requests globally, rather than just within Europe, reports the WSJ. The company argued in a blog post that to comply would mean the Internet would only be as free as the least free country in the world …  expand full story

France Stories July 7, 2015

Google Store now selling Nest Cam in the UK, Belgium, France, Ireland, & Netherlands

Google has expanded availability of its new Nest Cam product to more countries after officially unveiling the device last month. Starting today, customers in Belgium, France, Ireland, Netherlands, & United Kingdom will be able to pick up the device through the online Google Store. Google previously launched the device for customers in Canada and United States through its online store.

The product, alongside other new Nest products shown off in June, are the fruits of Google’s acquisitions of smart thermostat maker Nest and connected security camera company Dropcam last year. Nest Cam offers a lot of what made Dropcam cameras popular, offering 1080p HD video, 130-degree field of view, 8 infrared LEDs, night vision video support, companion mobile apps, and cloud recording and video history through a subscription service.

Nest Cam is available for $199 USD from the Google Store.

France Stories June 12, 2015

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Google has so far been meeting the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling in Europe by removing links only from the local site for each country – google.com remaining unaffected. A French court ruled last November that removing links from google.fr was insufficient, and ordered Google to remove the links worldwide.

Google ignored the ruling, and Reuters now reports that the French data protection regulator CNIL has given the company 15 days to comply before imposing sanctions …  expand full story

France Stories January 9, 2015

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A minute’s silence in the newsroom of French news agency Agence France Presse (Photo: Bertrand Guay)

In response to the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Google is one of a number of companies contributing to a campaign fund to ensure the survival of the publication and to help it reach a print-run of one million copies for its next edition, reports the Guardian. The normal print-run of the publication is around 60,000 copies.

Within 24 hours of the massacre of 12 people – including eight journalists – some €250,000 (£195,000) had been earmarked to support Charlie Hebdo by the Digital Press Fund, paid for by Google, to support the French press.

Le Monde, France Télévisions and Radio France are all working to match Google’s donation of €250k (around $300k), while the Guardian is itself contributing $150k …  expand full story

France Stories November 27, 2014

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A European Parliament motion calling for the breakup of Google, separating out the search business from the company’s other activities, has been overwhelmingly approved, reports the WSJ.

In a vote in Strasbourg, 384 legislators voted in favor of the controversial initiative, with 174 against and 56 abstentions […]

“Clear adoption by the EP of Digital Single Market motion, including unbundling for search engine if needed,” tweeted Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, a lawmaker from Spain who backed the proposal.

The vote comes just a day after a separate European call for the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling to be extended to google.com as well as the European versions of its sites …  expand full story

France Stories September 26, 2014

privacy

Google has come under fire from European Union officials on a number of fronts already. It’s been accused of unfair search results, been criticized for the way it has implemented the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling and asked to stop describing apps which offer in-app purchases as ‘free.’

Reuters now reports that the EU believes Google is breaking the law in combining user data across unrelated services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps without offering users an opt-out, and the way in which it has consolidated 60 separate privacy policies into one …  expand full story

France Stories September 23, 2014

Google expands local inventory ads to UK, France, Germany, Japan, Australia & desktop users

Google just announced that it’s expanding its local inventory ads first launched for users in the US last fall to more countries starting today. The ads, which promote items from local nearby retailers to shoppers on Google, are now available in the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, and France.

Google said today that it will also start showing the ads to desktop users:

We have also expanded support for store-only products and campaigns to desktop devices, enabling retailers to promote stores to the right customers at the right time. For example, you can prioritize showing local products to get shoppers in your doors during the weeks and days leading up to the holidays. As items go out of stock online and last-minute shipping costs increase, retailers who can provide cost-effective, quick in-store purchase options stand out in the crowd

Retailers can get an overview on the program here and users will in the countries above should start to see the local “in store” ads appear in search results.

France Stories September 16, 2014

Reminder: Moto X for AT&T, Moto X Pure Edition and Moto Hint earbud on pre-order today, Moto 360 back on sale

Just a reminder that two of recently-announced Moto X handsets go on pre-order at 11am CT today, the AT&T version and the unlocked, off-contract Pure Edition. Joining them are the Moto Hint wireless earbud and a rapid charger.

Moto X for AT&T – Order the AT&T version of the new Moto X starting on Tuesday.

Moto X – Pure Edition –  The off-contract Moto X is available SIM unlocked and with an unlockable bootloader for $499.99 USD.

Moto Hint – Our discreet wireless earbud gives you complete control of your phone and allows you to access everything you need by just using your voice. It will be available for $149.99 USD.

Motorola Turbo Charger – Our fastest charger ever takes just 15 minutes on the latest Moto phones to get up to 8 more hours of battery life. It will be available for $34.99 USD.

The company also said that its Moto 360 smartwatch will be back on sale today, though in limited quantities. The watch first went on sale on 5th September and sold out the same day.

Availability of the Moto X in other markets has not yet been announced, but Motorola says the handset is “coming soon” in the UK, France and Germany.

France Stories September 5, 2014

Google Play offers discount on Nexus 5 + LG G Watch bundle in GB, IE, FR, DE, AU, KR, JP

Google is offering a new bundle through Google Play in some countries that offers a discounted price for customers that purchase both a Nexus 5 and LG G Watch. Discounts vary with local currencies, but discounts general range from $100 in Australia to £60 in the UK.

We reached out to Google to find out where exactly the deal is available, and it offered up a full list of countries: GB, IE, FR, DE, AU, KR, JP.

You can head over to Google Play now if you’re in a participating country to take advantage of the deal.

France Stories August 5, 2014

Photo: ibtimes.com

Photo: ibtimes.com

Samsung and Apple just announced that they have agreed to drop all patent suits against each other in countries outside the United States, Bloomberg reports. The two companies will drop suits against each other in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy. This agreement does not include any licensing agreements, though. This has no effect on United States battles either.

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France Stories July 2, 2014

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Google today appears to be rolling out much wider support for its “Ok Google” command within Search. This update pertains solely to the ability to say “Ok Google” within Google Now and the search box to activate a command or search and have Google automatically detect when you say it. Previously, this feature was supported only in the US, Canada, France, and Germany. Today’s update adds support for 7 new language locales, including Italian, Portuguese, and Japanese. Google’s been testing these languages in these regions for a little while now, so it’s possible that you could have been one of the lucky testers.

  • English (now supports all accents / dialects)
  • Spanish (Spain and Mexico only)
  • Italian
  • Portuguese (Brazilian only)
  • Russian
  • Korean
  • Japanese

The update appears to be rolling out gradually, so it may take a little while to hit your device. You also need to be on the most recent version of the Google Search

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France Stories June 6, 2014

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Google has created a new Cultural Institute collection to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings that were instrumental in the allies winning World War 2.

The massive collection of hundreds of photos, letters and documents helps bring to life the largest seaborne invasion in history, with 130,000 British, American and Canadian troops landing on the beaches of Normandy, France. Almost one in ten of them were killed.

The collection includes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s prayer, complete with handwritten amendments, and top-secret progress reports from Eisenhower to Marshall …  expand full story

France Stories March 31, 2014

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Kantar Worldpanel has released its latest report on smartphone marketshare for the last three months. Android share is up significantly compared to a year ago, with Kantar calling out two devices in particular for their contributions to this increase: the Moto G and the LG G2.

In the US, Kantar says that Android has a 55% share of smartphone OS sales share, up from 51.1% in February 2013, an increase of 3.9 percentage points. This compares favourably to iOS’ performance, which fell 4.9 points year-on-year to a 38.7% share. Incidentally, Windows Phone was the only other platform to grow in the US, rising from 4.1% in 2013 to 5.3%.

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France Stories March 14, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 3.55.56 PM

Google is releasing its Chromecast streaming device in the United Kingdom next week, according to a Gizmodo source. Above is a photo taken by a Currys PC World employee which shows an announcement on the store’s internal portal. That announcement pegs March 19th as the launch date. According to the article, the store already has the device in stock.

The Chromecast launched in the United States last year but hasn’t yet been available outside the country. Germany and France are also said to be included in the international launch next week. No information on the device’s price has been released yet.

Update: We’ve received a clearer shot. Shown above.

France Stories January 14, 2014

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Following its announcement last August and rollout in the US, the Google-owned Motorola announced today via Twitter a timeline for Moto X availability in select European countries. Motorola is taking its Moto X smartphone to the United Kingdom, France, and Germany beginning sometime next month.

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France Stories November 6, 2013

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What you’re looking at is not a graphic, but a memorial built by relatives and friends of a DC-10 airliner brought down by a bomb in 1989, killing all 155 passengers and 15 crew on board. The memorial was constructed some eighteen years after the tragedy.

Flight UTA 722 was flying from the People’s Republic of Congo to Paris, France, when an explosion caused it to break up over the Sahara Desert. An investigation found that the cause of the explosion was a bomb in the forward cargo hold …  expand full story

France Stories July 16, 2013

Google captures 360-degree Street View imagery from atop the Eiffel Tower

Google has teamed up with the Eiffel Tower Operating Company in Paris to capture Street View imagery from on top of the Eiffel Tower for the first time ever. Not only is it making the Street View panoramas captured with its Street View Trolley available to all, it’s also making “50 archival images, plans, engravings and photos telling the story of the Eiffel Tower’s development and social impact in the 19th century” available through its Google Cultural Institute project:

The first exhibition presents the birth of the Eiffel Tower from the initial idea until its realization. You can then followthe construction of the monument step-by-step through photos and sketches. Details on the inauguration and the first visitors lie in the third exhibition, with photos of people admiring the Paris vista on the opening day leading into today’s Street View imagery from the top floor. Did you know that during the Tower’s inauguration for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, the elevators were not yet in service but 12,000 people per day rushed to climb the 1710 steps leading to the top?

France Stories June 20, 2013

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Google has run into trouble with the French government yet again for its privacy tactics. According to a new report from Bloomberg, the company has three months to change its policy surrounding its users’ data to avoid being fined. Five other European countries will supposedly follow France’s actions by the end of July. The country says Google is violating its privacy laws because it “prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use.”

Google, of course, denies these allegations and said that its “privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services” and it has “engaged fully with the data protection authorities involved throughout this process and will continue to do so going forward.”

The French data protection watchdog ordered the company to spell out for users why it collects information “to understand practically the processing of their personal data,” better inform users of its privacy policy, and “define retention periods of personal data processed that do not exceed the period necessary for the purposes for which they are collected.” CNIL is also asking the owner of the Gmail messaging system to request users’ permission for “the potentially unlimited combination” of their data, ask users’ approval to collect their data with tools such as the “Doubleclick” and “Analytics” cookies, “+1” buttons or any other Google service on third-party websites, and “inform users and then obtain their consent in particular before storing cookies in their terminal.”

Google can be fined a maximum of 150,000 euros, or $198,000, and 300,000 euros in for a repeated offense. Spain, the U.K., and Germany are all expected to take action soon, as well. This all comes on the heels of five countries ordering for more information about Google Glass privacy yesterday.  expand full story

France Stories October 15, 2012

Report: Leaked LG and Google photos reveal ‘Nexus 4’ EXIF data tag

Another day, another leak on LG’s much-rumored Nexus smartphone.

The Verge just examined EXIF data for photographs posted on Google+. The images apparently originated from LG’s Pyeongtaek Learning Center and a Texas Google employee, and their EXIF data references a “Nexus 4” tag. The leaks from LG are no longer live, but a person captured in one image visibly wore a “LG Electronics” lanyard.

The “LG Nexus 4″ moniker first appeared last week in the inventory system for mobile device retailer Carphone Warehouse, while French newspaper Le Figaro later ousted the Oct. 29 launch date with an estimated December arrival for France.

More rumors on the device previously pegged a mid-November launch for the United States, while additional leaked photos and specs have painted a decent picture as to what the Android-powered smartphone could potentially feature and look like.

France Stories October 10, 2012

Carphone Warehouse’s inventory system lists ‘LG Nexus 4’, possible Oct. 29 unveiling (Photo)

The Verge just posted a tipster-sent picture of LG’s widely speculated Nexus smartphone entered in the inventory system for mobile device retailer Carphone Warehouse.

The Android-equipped handset, listed as the “LG Nexus 4,” apparently comes in both black and white color options. In a separate report, The Verge also claimed, upon citing renowned French newspaper Le Figaro, the LG Nexus 4 will unveil Oct. 29 and land in France by December.

Rumors on the device previously pegged a mid-November launch for the United States, while leaked photos and specs have painted a pretty picture as to what the Optimus G-derived smartphone might feature and look like.

Get the full report at The Verge (1, 2).

France Stories September 14, 2012

Tetris for Android app goes free today at the Amazon Appstore

The Tetris for Android app, normally $2.99, is free today on the Amazon Appstore as part of the online retailer’s “Free app of the day” series. Today’s free app —an iconic tile-matching puzzle video game originally released in 1984 via a range of platforms— is available to Android users in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Check it out: TETRIS by Electronic Arts Inc.

Tetris for Android is currently rated 3.5 stars on the Amazon Appstore based on 150+ reviews.

France Stories August 28, 2012

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Google is serious about its Nexus 7. So serious that it is advertising the product on its front page—something that it rarely does for anything. The short animation appears below the search bar and tells searchers that” The Playground is open – The new $199 tablet from Google”.

The $199 7-inch tablet was announced at Google I/O in June, and it went on sale last month. While Google has not published sales numbers, many reports claim it is a rare hit for the problematic Android tablet platform. Yesterday, Google expanded Nexus 7 sales footprint to France, Germany and Spain.

It will be interesting to see how hard Google pushes the Nexus 7 in the face of an almost-certain iPad Mini that Apple is expected to launch in time for the holidays. So far, consumers like the ads anyway.

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France Stories August 27, 2012

Google pushes its Nexus 7 further worldwide into France, Germany and Spain starting at €199

Google’s Nexus 7 is now available in more countries worldwide. The ASUS-made pure Android experience launched in France, Germany, and Spain this weekend. Pricing is theoretically the same as in the United States, but it makes for a higher cost with the Euro-premium. The 8GB model is priced at €199 and the 16GB model at €249, as The Verge first noted.

Google updated its availability page with the change. The chart is formatted weird, for some unknown reason, but it does display the added regions:

The Nexus 7 originally launched in June in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. It saw a huge amount of pre-orders and initial sales, causing availability issues due to demand. The situation has since improved.

Read our review of the Nexus 7. 

[Google via The Verge]

France Stories June 20, 2012

Amazon officially confirmed this morning that it would open its Appstore to international users for the first time since launching in the United States last year. The countries in the initial international rollout scheduled for “this summer” include the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Amazon is inviting developers to visit its developer portal to begin localizing and preparing their apps for distribution in the new countries. It also noted developers would be able to select specific countries and set prices by market, but developers will by default have their apps made available internationally.

As part of the announcement, Amazon also explained it would introduce two new changes to the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Agreement that benefit developers. Most importantly, developers will now earn 70 percent of paid app sales starting July 1.

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France Stories June 11, 2012

According to a post on Google’s European Public Policy Blog, the company is forging groundbreaking partnerships with French publishers that it believes “will put France ahead of the rest of the world in bringing long lost out-of-print works back to life.” The agreements, Google claimed, will put an end to roughly six years of legal disputes with several publishers and authors in the country. The deals will also allow Google to continue ahead in its goal to bring the almost 75 percent of books that are currently out of print and unavailable to most. The result is publishers working with Google to “promote and commercialize” scanned copies of out-of-print works:

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France Stories May 1, 2012

Google Business Photos goes to Canada, Ireland and Netherlands

Google’s Business Photos program, which was previously only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and France, is now being expanded to Canada, Ireland, and the Netherlands due to the service’s positive feedback.

According to the Official Google Lat Long Blog:

Since April 2010, we’ve been testing and developing the Business Photos program, which gives users a virtual peek inside businesses through interactive 360-degree imagery. After hearing your positive feedback about how showing off panoramic views of your business interiors helps you attract potential customers, we’re excited to announce further expansion of this program. Starting today, in addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and France, this service is now available in Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands.

France Stories April 17, 2012

LATEST UPDATE: Google’s App Status Dashboard, an official website that offers performance information for Google Apps services, claimed earlier today that Gmail’s status went down, but the problem is now resolved less than an hour later.

“Please rest assured that system reliability is a top priority at Google, and we are making continuous improvements to make our systems better,” contended Google.

The service interruption only affected 2 percent of Gmail’s user-base. DownRightNow, a universal monitoring service for the Web that is similar to Google’s Dashboard, described the outage as a “widespread service disruption” that started somewhere between 12:40 p.m. and 12:59 p.m. EST. The service interruption did not seem to affect mail pushing to third-party clients.

Those who tried to access Gmail.com directly found the following “Temporary Error (500)” notice with a “93” numeric technical code:

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France Stories April 2, 2012

Sony plans to expand Google TV-based set-top-boxes to Europe starting this September.

According to GigaOM (via machine-translated Les Echos), Sony France Marketing Director Stephane Labrousse said a set-top box will sell in France for €200 ($266 USD) and another box with a built-in Blu-ray player will go for €300 ($399 USD).

Aside from a France launch, Les Echos indicated a simultaneous release in Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Google TV is currently only available in the United States, but Sony announced at Las Vegas’ 2012 Consumer Electronics Show that two Google TV-compatible set-top boxes would go international within the year.

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France Stories February 28, 2012

The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties announced today that Google’s new privacy policy might violate European Union law.

The allegation comes just days before the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant planned to enact the policy that unveiled last month. Google said the updated policy streamlined privacy practices for 60 different services engaged around the globe to bring transparency and clarity.

“We’re getting rid of over 60 different privacy policies across Google and replacing them with one that’s a lot shorter and easier to read,” explained Google’s policy website.

A portion of the letter.

The French privacy agency picked a bone with the search engine’s intent and wrote a letter (PDF) to Google’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Page that painted the new rules as questionable. The central focus of the letter inquired how Google would use the reaped private data, but it is well-known the advertising firm collects personal information from tracking cookies to build targeted ads.

“Rather than promoting transparency, the terms of the new policy and the fact that Google claims publicly that it will combine data across services raises fears about Google’s actual practices,” wrote the agency, also known as CNIL, in the letter. “Our preliminary investigation shows that it is extremely difficult to know exactly which data is combined between which services for which purposes, even for trained privacy professionals.”

The new policy takes effect March 1, and while users’ privacy preferences remain, the new arrangement allows Google to gather and implement user data across its services. Google is charging ahead with Search plus Your World, Gmail, Picasa, YouTube, and Google+, so it is probably just connecting all the loose legal ends to make one continuous experience….

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France Stories December 12, 2011

An installation like the thing depicted above, we imagine, is definitely something CNN’s Wolf Blitzer would die to use on the set of The Situation Room, his evening newscast. To mapping aficionados, it’s an absolute dream come true. Too bad this monstrosity won’t be coming to your retailer any time soon. Stemming from Google’s Liquid Galaxy project from 2009, what began as a typical 20 percent project has turned into a 40-square meter display consisting of 48 screens that render high-resolution Google Earth content in all its glory.

It serves almost a hundred million pixels, insane! And how do you control this blown up display with so high pixel count? Using four separate multitouch screens to pinch and zoom your way around, that’s how. Combined, Google explains in a blog post, the 48 screens create a stunning effect due to the sheer size of the viewable area and the fact that life-like satellite imagery is being rendered in incredibly high fidelity. If you’ve ever seen Google Earth running on a 50-inch plasma television, you’ll know what we mean.

“We believe this to be the largest screen showing Google Earth to date”, the company wrote in the post. These are not your ma and pa’s maps, folks, though you can always try out a pedestrian version by loading this KML file in Google Earth on your computer and pretending you were at an NSA briefing in the White House situation room. Oh yes, Google will be open sourcing the Liquid Galaxy project soon and releasing the graphical interface “over the next few months”.

And if that wasn’t enough, how about shooting your way around Street View, FPS style, with an M4A1 assault rifle by your side?

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France Stories October 5, 2011

Remember how Samsung threatened to ban sales of Apple’s next iPhone the second it becomes official? They are keeping good on that promise by filing two separate motions for preliminary injunctions in Paris and Milan in an attempt to bar sales of the iPhone 4S in France and Italy. From Samsung’s corporate blog:

Samsung Electronics will file separate preliminary injunction motions in Paris, France and Milano, Italy on October 5 local time requesting the courts block the sale of Apple’s iPhone 4S in the respective markets.

Samsung’s preliminary injunction requests in France and Italy will each cite two patent infringements related to wireless telecommunications technology, specifically Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) standards for 3G mobile handsets.

The infringed technology is essential to the reliable functioning of telecom networks and devices and Samsung believes that Apple’s violation as being too severe and that the iPhone 4S should be barred from sales.

Apple has continued to flagrantly violate our intellectual property rights and free ride on our technology. We believe it is now necessary to take legal action to protect our innovation.

Samsung plans to file preliminary injunctions in other countries after further review.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com.

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France Stories September 16, 2011

In addition to mapping and navigation, the ability to control your handset with voice commands is another treat that sets Android apart from the crowd, even if other phones had voice commands before Google’s software. Pity than that Android Voice Actions were introduced last year to the U.S. audience only.

Well, Android fans overseas can breathe a collective sigh of relieve because Google announced that Voice Actions are now available to users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Even better, non-English speakers are able to issue Voice Actions in British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. There are three ways to invoking Voice Commands on your Android 2.2+ smartphone or tablet:

  • tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen,
  • open the Voice Search app,
  • or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the “Speak Now” screen

Some of the supported Voice Actions: send text to [contact] [message]; call [business]; call [contact]; go to [website]; navigate to [location/business name]; directions to [location/business name]; map of [location].

You can get a better idea about the usefulness of Voice Actions by spending less than two minutes of your time sitting through Google’s video tour embedded right above.

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France Stories September 13, 2011

This is a Samsung-branded Windows 8 tablet Microsoft is giving away to BUILD attendees today. Wanna take bets on possible actions from Apple? Go past the break for unboxing clips. Image courtesy of MobileTechWorld

The latest in the ongoing patent saga involving Apple, Google, Motorola and Samsung includes an unexpected twist as Samsung goes after iPhone and iPad with a complaint filed before a Paris district court in July. The filing alleges infringement of Samsung’s three technology patents, reports AFP. The first hearing is expected in December of this year.

Meanwhile, patent expert Florian Müller notes on his blog FOSSPatents that Apple has filed motions to temporarily halt two Motorola lawsuits until Google completes its $12.5 billion acquisition, which shook the technology world last month. Put simply, Apple argues Motorola waived its rights to sue when it transferred patents to Google. Apple wrote:

To further its pending acquisition by Google, Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action. According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit

As you know, Google has transferred some of the Motorola patents to HTC, in addition to the ones acquired from Palm and Openwave Systems. HTC then used those patents to counter-sue Apple. Back to Apple vs. Samsung…

Financial Times today opined that Samsung needs to hit the reset button, predicting a licensing agreement of sorts provided Apple succeeds in blocking Galaxy products in the U.S. next month. Contrary to the reports, the publication thinks “Apple is restricted from taking its chip business to Samsung’s rivals in Taiwan because Samsung offers a complete package of components that other firms cannot match”. However, there are indications that Apple’s been lowering Samsung orders for some time and it’s widely believed the company is eager to take its silicon business to TSMC beginning next year.

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France Stories July 11, 2011

Nearly three-quarters of Android sales in Britain during a twelve-week period ended June 12 came from people upgrading from so-called feature phones to their first smartphone. In addition, only 1.8 percent of new Android sales came from iOS users jumping ship, a Kantar Woldpanel ComTech survey reveals. The research didn’t take into account corporate sales or contracts and was based on extensive interviews with up to one million consumers in Europe alone.

Android has grown its share of total US handset market to 9.2 percent in June of this year, up over just one percent a year ago. The platform had a 45.20 percent share of the entire smartphone market in the country, while iOS fell from 30.6 percent share in June 2010 to 18.3 percent share in June 2011. A big part of this was price: Apple’s is among the priciest consumer smartphones and only 45 percent contracts offer the device for free versus 90 percent for Android phones.

The fall of iOS came as a result of the overall UK market growing at a faster pace than iPhone sales, which have been overshadowed for the past two months as Samsung’s Galaxy S II smartphone emerged as the best-selling smartphone. In the US, Android and iOS had 57 percent and 28.7 percent market share last month, respectively. Android is clearly victorious in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Japan, where the platform enjoys a whopping 64.7 percent share of the smartphone market versus 27.7 percent for iOS.

Kantar analysts predict that by this time next year smartphones would account for nearly 50 percent of the overall handset market, thanks to more and more feature phone owners dumping their devices for smartphones. This is not unexpected because trends hint that eventually all phones will become smartphones. Other phone vendors are experiencing sharp declines around the world, especially Symbian which has been bleeding share as Nokia fights for survival.

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