TechCrunch Stories August 26, 2015

Update: Google has posted a vague tweet to its Android account on Twitter, presumably in response to these reports. It simply says to “stay tuned” and ends with a #soon hashtag. Hard to draw many assumptions.

Android Pay will not go live today despite signals of otherwise from major fast-food chain Subway, and a purported leaked staff memo from McDonald’s, TechCrunch is now reporting.

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TechCrunch Stories July 21, 2014

The ultra-simple setup offered by Chromecast leaves them vulnerable to being hijacked, with an attacker able to direct any content they want to your TV, says a security analyst – who proved the point by building a box to Rickroll any Chromecasts within wifi range …  expand full story

TechCrunch Stories February 17, 2014

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 …  expand full story

TechCrunch Stories January 30, 2014

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 …  expand full story

TechCrunch Stories April 2, 2013

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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TechCrunch Stories March 11, 2013

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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TechCrunch Stories November 23, 2012

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.

TechCrunch Stories October 14, 2012

Image via <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/15/3504532/xbox-music-pricing-availability-microsoft-xbox-360-windows-phone-8-windows-8" target="_blank">The Verge</a>

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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TechCrunch Stories October 1, 2012

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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TechCrunch Stories June 13, 2012

‘Rage of Bahamut’ game reaches No. 1 on Android and iOS, pulls similar revenue from both platforms

Japan-based DeNA announced that its “Rage of Bahamut” app became the No. 1 grossing game on both Android and iOS yesterday, while earning roughly the same revenue per day from each mobile platform.

The game’s success pokes holes in recent findings from Flurry, which claimed revenue generated per active user is four times greater on iOS than Android. The analytics firm noted that for every $1 earned on iOS, a developer could expect to earn about 24-cents on Android.

“Contrary to what we read, we’ve been very happy with Android monetization. There is not a big discrepancy between the two now,” said DeNa Director Neil Young to TechCrunch.

Rage of Bahamut is a free trading card game that lets users battle either through a live single or multiplayer action mode against a “database of battle hungry foes.” It is on the Google Play Store and boasts a 4-star rating on nearly 11,000 reviews as of press time.

TechCrunch further elaborated:

The game had the top slot on both platforms yesterday, but Kabam’s Kingdoms of Camelot took back the #1 iOS slot in the U.S. this morning. […]Young says Rage of Bahamut is seeing some impressive revenue numbers per day per user. In casual games, you usually see an average revenue per daily active user of a couple cents to 10 cents per day on mobile. The better games can get to 15 to 25 cents per day per daily active user. But Young says Rage of Bahamut has been able to do 4 or 5 times that. He didn’t say how much revenue overall the title is earning, but we’ve seen dual platform hits like Draw Something earn anywhere between $5 and 10 million per month through in-app purchases and advertising.

Those numbers are welcomed news for developers with growing concerns about mobile platforms lacking solid business models that encourage monetization.

This article is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

TechCrunch Stories June 4, 2012

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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TechCrunch Stories May 21, 2012

Google-Motorola deal transaction will close by May 23

Google made headway on its $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility acquisition late last week when China finally gave the pending merger an O.K., and today the soon-acquired company filed an 8-K form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that specified the deal’s transaction will close either May 22 or May 23.

According to TechCrunch

So what happens next? A ‘listening tour,’ a source tells us, with new management visiting the whole of the operation, ‘seeing what everyone does, then making decisions.’ One decision that may be close at hand has to do with headcount: we have heard that there will be layoffs coming imminently — with one person close to the situation even putting the number as high as 30 percent of Motorola’s staff, worldwide. At the same time, more details are emerging about the conditions that China put on the deal: they include a guarantee that Android would remain free and open source for the next five years.

TechCrunch Stories May 9, 2012

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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TechCrunch Stories May 4, 2012

(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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TechCrunch Stories December 29, 2011

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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TechCrunch Stories September 24, 2011

From some slides of an internal presentation given by Google, it appears that where there is now Google Docs, there will soon be ‘Google Drive’.  Most of the functionality, like uploading files of any type, of the mythical Google Drive now lies in Docs Hopefully, with this upcoming rebrand, Google allows more storage (let me buy it) and also has some utilities like backing up the home folder on Windows or Mac.  Seriously, what better way to get users to adopt your system than to offer to sych your files to the cloud.

Oh, now that we have all of your files, you might as well get a Chomebook.

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TechCrunch Stories September 1, 2011

If you believe the rumors, Google’s been working on a cloud-based drive for your computer since 2005. Code-named “Platypus” and also known as GDrive, it was supposed to arrive long ago, as I wrote over at TG Daily in January 2009. Today’s article by TechCrunch asserts that the search company may be close to launching Gdrive, based on code hooks discovered in Chrome that point to the drive.google.com URL:

Diving a bit deeper into the code reviews, what’s most striking is that drive.google.com doesn’t appear to be referenced anywhere besides this one exposed ticket. This suggests that it’s either no big deal, or that Google is keeping this very secret.

TechCrunch also reminds us of Steven Levy’s book “In The Plex” which describes how Google+ lead Bradley Horowitz “convinced Google’s top executives not to launch” Gdrive back in 2008 because he felt “the concept of a ‘file’ was outdated”.

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TechCrunch Stories August 11, 2011

Google today announced that the Google Plus platform is also a gaming platform.

Today we’re adding games to Google+. With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conversations. The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life.

That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences. Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don’t.

Facebook stalwart and Google fundee Zynga is already on the list having built an app called Poker.  So are Bejeweled and Angry Birds(below).

As an added bonus, google today announced the Google+ Developer Platform so that other game makers can build their wares into the Plus platform. expand full story

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