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Context-aware and carrier-free: Google’s Rich Miner on tomorrow’s smartphones

Context-aware and carrier-free: Google’s Rich Miner on tomorrow’s smartphones

Smart devices that better understand context and might even be divorced from the traditional carrier deals are the future of mobile, Google Ventures' Rich Miner has predicted, teasing that the search giant's finance arm is almost ready to announce an investment that might help deliver some of the carrier-cutting intended with the initial Nexus project. Asked during the Mobilize conference today whether Google was considering rebooting its goal to push unsubsidized smartphones and relegate the networks to dumb pipes, Miner argued that the average consumer "still prefers a subsidized device" right now, but that Google Ventures is hoping to change that. "We've made an investment in one company that we're not going to make public right now" Miner revealed, "that is going to affect that space."

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Apple buys Cue for Siri’s next Google Now assault

Apple buys Cue for Siri’s next Google Now assault

Apple has reportedly acquired Cue, a social search engine which indexed email and other user details to construct a dynamic, personalized calendar, in a move that's seen as taking on Google Now. Cue, which launched as Greplin back in early 2011 and then rebranded last year, is widely expected to be integrated into Siri as an Apple-exclusive feature; the company withdrew its app recently, refunding premium subscribers and shutting down the service.

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Google Search for Android gets “OK Google” hotword

Google Search for Android gets “OK Google” hotword

Google's search app for Android now starts a new voice search when you say the hotword "OK Google" instead of just "Google". Additionally, the new hotword also starts a fresh search while the app is displaying results from the previous search. This change comes bundled with the latest (2.8.7) update and activates when you manually update the language pack.

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Google Hummingbird secretly supercharged search a month ago

Google Hummingbird secretly supercharged search a month ago

Google quietly switched on a new search algorithm, Hummingbird, a month ago the company has revealed, impacting an estimated 90-percent of searches by improving how the engine handles complex queries. Revealed at an event earlier today, held at the house Sergey Brin and Larry Page first used while setting up Google almost fifteen years ago, Hummingbird consists of new technology that can better understand natural language and compound questions, particularly of use when handling "OK Google" voice commands such as will be added to the iOS search app imminently.

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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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Qualcomm 800 floodgates open as Moto X loses its edge

Qualcomm 800 floodgates open as Moto X loses its edge

One of the most engaging bits of technology unveiled this year with the Motorola-made Moto X was Touchless Control, allowing users to say, "OK Google Now" to begin a query with the device. This service is always listening for the voice of the person with which it's tied, and can be activated even when the device is locked. Motorola (and their parent company Google) employed this service on the Moto X as well as all three of the new DROID devices released to Verizon this month - and it's more than likely headed to a wide variety of smartphones (and tablet) once Qualcomm has their way with the market this summer.

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Google Keep notifications and Now integration added

Google Keep notifications and Now integration added

Google Keep, the note-taking service launched to rival Evernote back in March, has been updated with notifications and Google Now integration, aiming to pull out relevant notes rather than wait for users to dig through them. The reminders system works both on time, as per a regular alarm, but also on location, meaning that the app can now flag up a notification with, say, your shopping list when you go into a grocery store.

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Google “My Answers” brings Google Now personalized results to search

Google “My Answers” brings Google Now personalized results to search

Google has supercharged its search page, hooking in Gmail, Google Calendar, Drive, and Google+ information into "My Answers" so that users can simply ask for personal flight information, photos from particular trips, or reservations at hotels and restaurants. The new functionality - which effectively mines data from personal accounts - has been borrowed from Google Now, the search giant's contextual service on Android and iOS devices, and Google Glass.

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Moto X Review

Moto X Review

Motorola needed to reinvent itself, and the Moto X is the result of that forced evolution. Guided - albeit at a remove - by new owner Google, the Moto X attempts to do what, arguably, no other Android phone before it has: step off the "biggest, fastest, brightest" treadmill and focus instead on the sort of real-world functionality that Motorola claims will make a significant difference for users. In doing so, though, Motorola pits itself against handsets that on paper at least are much more powerful than the Moto X, despite being the same price. Crazy strategy, or does X mark the spot for the future of Android? Read on for the full SlashGear review.

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