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Android KitKat teased with updates for Hangouts, Gmail, Search

Android KitKat teased with updates for Hangouts, Gmail, Search

This week the teams behind several of Google's key apps for Android have ushered in updates that tie the family together closer, ushering in an environment ripe for a new operating system iteration. That new version is, of course, Android 4.4 KitKat, and considering Google has been ushering in the press on the subject so readily over the past couple of weeks, there's little doubt that this system is far from ready for prime-time. This weeks' app updates include Gmail for Android, Hangouts for Android, and Google Now - through Google Search, of course.

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Kindle MatchBook introduced with discounted digital copies for hardback book buyers

Kindle MatchBook introduced with discounted digital copies for hardback book buyers

Amazon has announced a new service for certain customers who purchase the physical version of a book called Amazon MatchBook. Under the program, those buyers will be able to grab the digital copy of the same book for a steeply discounted rate, a sort of subsidized legal format shifting endeavor that gives readers the option of having an extra-portable version on their Kindle slate.

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Google Project Loon explains smart balloons for flocking internet

Google Project Loon explains smart balloons for flocking internet

Google borrowed flocking patterns from birds for early design of its ambitious Project Loon, rolling out blanket coverage simulations to prove to naysayers that delivering wireless internet access from the stratosphere is practical. While some have questioned how the project expects to be able to consistently provide service when the mesh-networking balloons responsible are moving at speed through the changeable atmospheric winds, Project Loon pointed to research done by one of the search giant's Rapid Evaluators that proves it can be achieved.

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Apple acquires AlgoTrim for speedier iPhone data

Apple acquires AlgoTrim for speedier iPhone data

The team behind Apple's acquisitions appear to have picked up another company this week, here with the brand AlgoTrim - a company that makes a mission of compressing data for mobile devices - and perhaps for iOS sooner than later. While the company has been mainly working in Android device software codec for the past several years, they've been in the business since it made sense to work on feature phones - non-smartphones, that is. While they're still being called a "startup" by Rapidus, AlgoTrim has been in business since well before the iPhone.

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Google self-driving car brand tipped after Big Auto turn down

Google self-driving car brand tipped after Big Auto turn down

Google is working on its own self-driving, production-ready car and could initially deploy the autonomous vehicles as a "Robo Taxi" service, insiders claims, with the search giant supposedly exploring how it could use its R&D into car-AI itself rather than license it to existing manufacturers. company has been negotiating with contract manufacturers around building an autonomous Google car, former WSJ reporter Amir Efrati claims, after supposedly getting the cold shoulder from established brands.

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Apple TV plans tip towards apps while full-fledged iTV still and end-goal

Apple TV plans tip towards apps while full-fledged iTV still and end-goal

While we've seen the Apple device known as Apple TV existing and updating steadily over the past several years, it's still the full television set - screen and all - that hold sway over talks on where the company is going. Word today from sources speaking with Quartz suggests that Apple is not going to focus on bringing a standard cable TV experience to the public if and when they create what's still commonly referred to as "iTV", but an app-focused hardware and software combination.

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Nokia HERE 3D v2: We ride the 68MP rig putting Google Maps on notice

Nokia HERE 3D v2: We ride the 68MP rig putting Google Maps on notice

Nokia may have come late to the game with Streetview-style 3D photography in its HERE Maps service, but the company is aiming to overtake Google with its second generation of mapping cars. Built using newly developed camera, LIDAR, and processing technology from 3D specialist Earthmine, which Nokia acquired last November, the updated system promises higher-resolution panoramic imagery than Google, as well as more accurate 3D buildings and sign recognition. SlashGear went out on the road in one of the prototype cars with Earthmine founder John Ristevski, to find out why Nokia's 68-megapixel mobile mapping system should be giving the Google Maps team sleepless nights.

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