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The company behind the Path social networking app might be looking for a new name. That’s because Dave Morin and crew have sold their social networking app of the same name to Korean messaging heavyweight Daum Kakao.

In a blog post this evening, Path Inc. CEO Morin the confirmed sale of the Path and Path Talk apps to DaumKakao. Terms of the deal, which had first been reported by Re/code, were not disclosed.

Path was founded five years ago by former Facebook exec Morin, who sought to create a more intimate place for users to share with the people closest to them. The result was an app that provided a mobile-first social sharing experience, but also limited the number of contacts people could share with.

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MIT recently unveiled -- or rather, unfurled -- an unusual drone specimen. The tiny robot weighs a third of a gram and is just 1.7 cm long. It starts its existence as a flat, paper or polystyrene wafer. When activated with a small heat source, the drone folds itself up into the complex shape you see above and can begin moving (or swimming!) at a rate of 3 cm/sec.

The drone's movement is "powered" by two sets of magnets: a neodymium magnet integrated into the robot itself and another four electromagnetic coils located under the operating surface that attract and repel the onboard magnet as needed. Technically, the magnets cycle on and off at 15 Hz, causing the onboard magnet to rattle in time, driving the asymmetrical feet and moving the robot. When you're done using the drone, simply drop it into an acetone bath and the external structure will completely dissolve, leaving just the magnet behind. The MIT team, led by Shuhei Miyashita, debuted the robot at ICRA 2015 in Seattle yesterday. They hope that future iterations will dissolve entirely as well as be able to fold itself within your body, operate autonomously (doing lord knows what to your gut), then melt away without a trace.

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Google Now on Tap Hands-On: Contextual Awesomeness


One of the most exciting features in the (distant future) release of Android M is the upgraded version of Google Now. It’s built to understand context better than before. I just got a quick look at it on a Googler’s Nexus 5, and while this was obviously a demo, I’m cautiously optimistic about it.

The first scenario we were showed is when somebody emails you about seeing a movie. You just Long-press the home button and Now on Tap pulls up contextually relevant apps. You can see above, someone mentioned Pitch Perfect 2 in an email, Now understand that that’s a movie, and apps like YouTube, IMDB, and Flixter automatically pop up. This is nice for app developers, too, because they just have to index their app correctly and it will pop up more often on people’s phones, giving them more exposure.

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Posted by on in CrunchGear

Android M is still in its very early days; Google just released the first developer preview for use on test devices today. We flashed it onto a Nexus 5, and took a look around to see what was new. The OS is far from feature-complete at this stage, but you can still get a first look at some key features in the video above.

The changes to the app drawer, and to volume controls, are small but could have a big impact on how user-friendly Android devices are. The new app organization makes it a lot easier to manage large app libraries, for instance, and the volume controls now actually let you control the volume on your device, instead of being more or less completely confusing.

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Google’s I/O 2015 keynote wasn’t the flashiest. The company has so many products that, even with a two-and-a-half-hour run-time, some of the demonstrations felt a bit short. No particular announcement stuck out.

That doesn’t mean nothing of consequence was introduced, though. Google announced entirely new platforms, new features for Android, and updates to Android Wear. Here are 10 highlights we think deserve your attention.

Android Pay faces off with Apple Pay

Google Pay

Google was first to the mobile payments race with Google Wallet, but that initiative languished. Now the company is making a second attempt with Android Pay. Though fundamentally the same as Wallet, Pay adds new features, like additional credit card partnerships, fingerprint verification and secure transaction tokenization.

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Hands Free, by Google

In an afternoon session of Google I/O, several Google representatives showed off the new Android Pay platform and explained to developers how they could use it within their apps. With only a few minutes remaining, senior vice president of ads and commerce Sridhar Ramaswamy showed the audience a quick preview of an “early prototype stage” mobile commerce system that was conducted without using any device whatsoever.

The new project, Ramaswamy said, is called Google Hands Free, and it will be field-tested in the coming years at McDonald's and Papa John's locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ramaswamy pointed to drive-through situations as occasions where even tap-and-pay functionality on a phone is a bit too complicated.

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samuel-hulick-portrait-2 DaiLon Weiss

In late 2013, Portland-based designer Samuel Hulick published a detailed account of his experience of signing up for online accounting software company LessAccounting‘s service.

Hulick walked through each step of the sign-up process, from hitting the company’s homepage to signing up for the service to getting started using the actual product. He documented his first impressions of the product and the problems he ran into, and made recommendations to improve the overall experience for new users. Why didn’t the homepage have a better explanation of what the product does? Why was the company asking for sensitive information, like a customer’s bank account, so early in the sign-up [process?

'People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves.' Samuel Hulick

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Posted by on in CNET

Google announced a new photo app separate from its social network. James Martin/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- For everyone who's been on Google+ deathwatch, the search giant says that's not necessary.

Google's embattled social network is alive and well, the product's boss said at a press event Thursday. But the team behind the product -- which has had trouble gaining traction with consumers -- is rethinking the goal of the service.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same, as the saying goes. Over half a decade ago, Techdirt covered a bakery out of Pennsylvania that used trademark laws to keep another bakery from putting smiley-faces on its cookies. Frankly, it's one of those stories we cover where the immediate question of how trademarks could be twisted into this nonsense is immediately followed by the assumption that the whole thing will soon go away, never to be repeated again.

Not so much in this case, as it turns out. Eat'n Park recently once again brought a federal trademark suit against another company for daring to put the universal symbol for happiness on a cookie.

Eat'n Park this week sued a Chicago company in federal court over its use of a cookie that the Pittsburgh restaurant chain says is too similar to its trademarked Smiley face cookie. The suit filed Tuesday said Chicago American Sweet & Snacks sells cookies called "Smiley's" that Eat'n Park says are a lot like its product. Eat'n Park has sold its Smiley cookies since 1985 and has filed numerous trademark infringement suits against various companies over the years to protect the design.
It should be noted that the dispute also seems to be about the two company logos for their respective smiley-face cookie brands, not just about the baked goods. Here are the logos for both.
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Now, let's leave aside for a moment the fact that the two logos don't look anything alike and are about as likely to be confused with one another as my manly physique is likely to be confused with a professional bodybuilder's. Instead, I'd like to propose that there should be a provision in trademark law that goes something like this: if your distinctive logo is so generic that tons of your competitors keep accidentally coming upon the same base design as yours, nobody gets to trademark it. Think of it as something like an independent invention test for patents. We can call it the Geigner rule, because vanity is my trademark, jerks.

“In this particular case, the “Smiley’s Cookies” logo name and design used by the company infringes on our brand trademark,“ said spokesman Kevin O’Connell.
If it was audible, Mr. O'Connell would be hearing the sound of my eyes rolling. Nobody is associating a smiley-face cookie with any particular brand, because the very idea seems like the kind of thing that everyone came up with when making cookies in their home kitchens. Maybe it's time someone do a cookie with an "R" encircled by the treat, huh?
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Posted by on in PCWorld

Goodbye, Google Wallet! It's Android Pay's time to shine. Google has finally souped up its mobile payments system—though not too much. It's a pretty straightforward upgrade, with a few new features added to make it more secure than its predecessor. If you're interested in using it yourself, here's a quick primer on what you need to know about Android Pay. 

What is Android Pay?

Android Pay is Google’s new mobile payment platform. It uses the existing NFC chip in your phone, just like Google Wallet. If you had Google Wallet setup beforehand, all of that existing payment information will transfer over to Android Pay—it’s essentially the same API. Android Pay will also work for person-to-person payment transactions and the app will also let you store any supported loyalty cards.

How does it work?

Let’s say you’re at a vending machine that accepts NFC payments. All you have to do is hold up the phone to the machine to pay for the beverage. An alert on the vending machine's small display will let you know if the transaction was successful. Just make sure to aim your NFC chip at the machine.

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On the first day of its I/O developer conference Google made a series of iOS-related announcements, including making Inbox available to everyone, bringing its Cardboard virtual reality technology to the platform, and announcing updates to the iOS versions of Maps and the Places API.

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Google InboxVersion 1.3 of the simplified email client can now be freely downloaded from the App Store. Previously, people wanting to use the app could only do so through an invite system.Google has also added several new features, such as Trip Bundles, which automatically gather together trip-related emails and highlight key pieces of information. An Undo Send option lets users retract a message within a few seconds of sending it, and any reminders created in Google Keep will appear in Inbox as well. Two new settings options let users enable a "swipe to delete" gesture or create a signature.Inbox is free and runs on any device with iOS 7.0 or higher.Google Cardboard on iOSimage
Although Cardboard previously had some unofficial iPhone app support, Google today added iOS to the Cardboard SDK, making it easier for iPhone developers to enable virtual reality options. With a compatible app running, an iPhone simply needs to be inserted into a Cardboard-ready viewer.Google also released a revamped official viewer design, which can be assembled in three steps, has a new button, and supports devices with screens up to 6 inches — enough to fit phones like the iPhone 6 Plus. People wanting to try Cardboard can download instructions to make a viewer or buy a pre-assembled third-party unit.Google Maps & Places APIimage
The Places API for iOS is now available in its final form, having first emerged in March as a beta. The code lets developers access Google's points-of-interest database, in turn making it easier for apps to do things like determine location, search for a POI, and get business details such as a phone number and Web address.One developer working to implement the API is ridesharing service Lyft, which is crafting an update that will use Google services to mark pickup and dropoff points.Google is meanwhile preparing to update Maps with an offline search mode, and even offline turn-by-turn navigation. The new features should debut sometime later in 2015.
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Apple Watch

The inevitable has happened — a man has been issued a traffic ticket for using his Apple Watch while driving. The ticket, given to one Jeffrey Macesin in Quebec, is for $120 (about $96) and includes a few points on his license. Macesin thought it was cool to use the watch, but apparently the police felt otherwise.

According to Macesin, he was just going about his business, switching songs on his car stereo via the watch when the police officer behind him in traffic decided that wasn’t okay. The citation referenced Section 439.1 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code, which bans the use of any “hand-held device that includes a telephone function” while driving a car. Many US states have similar laws on the books to reduce distracted driving, but the question remains, does that verbiage describe a smartwatch? It’s not really handheld. If anything, it’s sort of “wrist-mounted.”

Macesin was ticketed for actually using the watch, but what constitutes “using” a smartwatch? It’s straightforward with a phone — are you touching the screen? Okay, you’re using it. A smartwatch wakes up when you tilt your wrist, it shows you information, and on Android Wear, you can even navigate the interface by flicking your wrist. It was even murkier with Google Glass.

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Here at the Code Conference, we asked a handful of speakers and attendees to explain how they think the tech industry can address its diversity challenges.

Mary Meeker highlighted the challenge of unconscious bias; Simeon Simeonov discussed how growing up under communism affected gender expectations; and Apple’s Jeff Williams described some of the company’s feeder programs, including its $100 million donation to President Obama’s ConnectED.

See more in the video above.

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MojoKid writes with yet more news from the ongoing Google IO conference: Google I/O kicked off this afternoon and the first topic of discussion was of course Google's next generation mobile operating system. For those that were hoping for a huge UI overhaul or a ton of whiz-bang features, this is not the Android release for you. Instead, Android M is more of a maintenance released focused mainly on squashing bugs and improving stability/performance across the board. Even though Android M is about making Android a more stable platform, there are a few features that have been improved upon or introduced for this release: App Permissions, Chrome Custom Tabs for apps, App Links (instead of asking you which app to choose when clicking a link, Android M's new Intent System can allow apps to verify that they are rightfully in possession of a link), NFC-based Android Pay, standardized fingerprint scanning support, and a new "doze" mode that supposedly offers 2X longer battery life when idle.
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As promised back in March, the Nvidia Shield Android TV console is coming this month — today, in fact. The company has announced it's now available to order from Amazon, Best Buy, and its own website.

The new Shield — a thin, angular console with a sharp green streak of light — is powered by Nvidia's Tegra X1 mobile "superchip" with 3GB RAM. The main platform here is Android TV, and Shield is capable of streaming 4K video from compatible services (which include Netflix, YouTube, a handful of others). It's also a gaming device; Nvidia is touting over a dozen exclusive titles in addition to those already compatible with Android TV. It's also capable of streaming games via its GRID service.

The $199 standard model comes with 16GB storage, while the $299 "Pro" version comes with 500GB and a copy of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel — both include a game controller and can expand their storage via MicroSD and USB 3.0. You can buy a slimmer remote for $49.99, a stand to prop the Shield vertically for $29.99, and additional game controllers for $59.99.

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UK2015-05-28 18:25:04 UTC

LONDON — New footage captured Wednesday shows the tense scenes between protesters and police in London on the opening day of parliament in Westminster.

"David Cameron has got to go," protesters chanted as they walked through the streets of London on the same day as the Queen's Speech, which officially opened the new Conservative-led parliament.

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Yes, Google’s much-hyped Internet of Things effort is called Brillo. The company announced it today at Google I/O, where senior VP Sundar Pichai described it as “Android, polished down… an end-to-end functioning operating system.”

brillo-1 Google/YouTubeBut Brillo isn’t just Brillo—it’s also Weave, a communication layer that will enable IoT devices to talk to one another, the cloud, and of course, your phone. Pichai says Weave gives the growing world of connected, smart devices a common language. The actions each of these things is responsible for—smart ovens change temperatures, smart doors unlock and lock—won’t be so singular. Weave wants to make it so these devices aren’t linked only to your phone, but to one another as well. Weave exposes developer APIs in a cross-platform manner, so any connected device will speak the same language. brillo-2 Google/YouTubeGoogle also wants to use Brillo to refine the IoT user interface. “Any Android device [connected to] a device based on Brillo or Weave, a user will see the same thing no matter what.” You can jump into the Brillo platform via your mobile device, add owners for a device, and that’s it—that control hub of sorts will look to same to everyone who has the control, no matter the device. brillo-3 Google/YouTubeBrillo will be available to developers in the third quarter of the year, and Weave documentation will be announced throughout the year—the developer stack will be released in Q4. “We want to connect devices in a seamless and intuitive way,” says Pichai, “and make them work better for users.” This is a tall order for the Internet of Things, which remains fragmented and frustrated—but if Google can pilot real improvement from the software and hardware side, we might finally have a system that makes sense. Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
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Amazon Now Offers Free Same-Day Delivery for Amazon Prime Members

Amazon Prime, already a valuable service, just got even better. Prime members can order something in the morning any day of the week and have it delivered that same day—at least if you live in one of the cities this is now available.

Here’s the deal: Order before noon and you’ll get your packages by 9pm. Or order after noon and get free next-day delivery. Orders have to be at least $35 (or you’ll pay $5.99 for delivery) and the items have to be among the 1 million items that qualify for same-day delivery. There’s a new icon and search filter for those items that qualify.

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The jets and knots of this galaxy, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra Observatory.

Black holes of pretty much any mass can generate jets of material that shoot from their poles. These jets are so incredibly energetic that they can accelerate charged particles to a significant fraction of the speed of light. It’s still not known for sure how the particles in those jets get so much energy and hence move so fast.

One popular hypothesis is the "internal shock" model, which posits that the jets are uneven and lumpy and that some particles are moving faster than others. As a result, those particles will eventually catch up with the slower ones and collide with them. These collisions not only allow energy to be transferred through the jet, but they also allow the jets to have a magnetic field, which can further accelerate charged particles.

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google-io-20150001

Its been rumored for weeks, but consider it mostly official: Google is launching a photo service separate of Google+.

We just heard it straight from the horses mouth while walking the halls of Google I/O, though I don’t think we were supposed to hear it just yet. It’ll be announced during Google’s I/O keynote, scheduled to start in an hour.

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