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Tag: Tech (11-20 of 857)

Psst, Netflix is onto you: Introducing taste profiles

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Revelation #1: Netflix knows you’ve been sharing your username.

Revelation #2: They’re not even mad!

Revelation #3: They also understand how irritated you get when your account keeps recommending Cerebral Seattle-Set Emmy-Winning Comedies with Largely Pun-Based Scripts because your dumb boyfriend won’t stop watching Frasier on your iPad — ahem — and they’ve finally come up with a solution.

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Google unveils new Nexus 7 tablet, apps, and Chromecast

Google’s got some good news for tech-happy binge-watchers and gamers: The Mountainview, Calif.-based company held a “breakfast” meeting Wednesday to unveil the second generation Nexus 7, new Android updates, and the new Chromecast TV-streaming device, which aims to solve the age-old “How can I watch this awesome cat video on my big screen?” problem.

Hosted by Sundar Pichai, senior vice president overseeing Android, Chrome, and apps, the conference was live-streamed via YouTube and ran over an hour.

Pichai opined on the ubiquity of their Android operating system and the growing trend of tablet purchases eclipsing personal computer purchases. With consumers populating mobile, tablet, and laptop fronts, “Our goal is to deliver an experience that is seamless and consistent and beautiful across all these screens,” said Pichai.

First on the hardware front, Google announced the specs for the new Nexus 7 (on sale July 30), which will improve the gaming and movie-watching experience:
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A new way to waste your time online: Instagram video!

Think six seconds just aren’t enough to properly illustrate Ryan Gosling refusing to eat cereal, or the cast of Much Ado about Nothing having a goof, or Lucille Bluth shouting epithets at Princess Jasmine? Instagram has heard your cries — and is answering them by adding its very own video capability. Just call it A Longer Vine.

As the Facebook-owned photo service announced Thursday, users now have the option of creating 3- to 15-second videos, altering them with 13 filters, and posting them to their Instagram accounts. This new feature promises to revolutionize the way we procrastinate, share shaky concert footage, and — in all likelihood — watch celebrities behaving badly.

Check out a dreamy, Apple-ad-esque clip of Instagram in Motion (courtesy of, uh, Vimeo) below — and catch Instagram’s own maiden video at the company’s official page. (The next step: Making these videos embeddable on WordPress! Pretty please, guys?)
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Facebook adding hashtags -- #GoodIdea?

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Scrolling through our News Feeds, stopping to admire photos of our newly engaged friends’ left hands, wishing with all our hearts there were some way to easily access even more shots of diamonds, or wedding dresses, or babies, or whatever, especially those belonging to people we don’t actually know in real life — we’ve all been there.

And Facebook has finally come up with a way to solve this pressing problem. Starting Wednesday, the world’s biggest social-networking site has officially integrated hashtags into its interface. Not sure what a hashtag is? It’s cool, Gramps — let the nice Facebook people explain: “Similar to other services like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest, hashtags on Facebook allow you to add context to a post or indicate that it is part of a larger discussion. When you click on a hashtag in Facebook, you’ll see a feed of what other people and Pages are saying about that event or topic.”
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Apple announces iTunes Radio, iOS 7, Macbook upgrades at Worldwide Developers Conference

At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced upgrades to its OSes, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro — and a direct competitor to your favorite internet radio station, Pandora.

iTunes Radio is coming this fall and will contain, at least, the following features: It will be available on all iOS 7 devices (that means it won’t be on your iPhone without an upgrade); it will include ads, unless you subscribe to iTunes Match; it can create custom stations built around a song or artist; it will allow you to buy the songs that you stream; and it will allow you to “thumbs-up” a track you like. Yes, it’s a lot like Pandora.

Other highlights from the WDC below:
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A la carte cable? John McCain wants to make it possible

An interview with my DVR (his name is Leonardo — after the Ninja Turtle, not DiCaprio in case you were wondering), confirms that despite regularly watching up to 30 different scripted television shows a week, I am only using a handful of the channels currently offered to me by my cable provider. Should a new bill from Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain pass, Leonardo might be recording my favorites from a far smaller batch of networks.

McCain’s proposed legislation, called The Television Consumer Freedom Act, aims to establish a television environment in which cable television customers only pay for the channels they choose.

By current practices, certain companies — like Disney and NBC Universal — sell their channels in bundles, thus charging cable operators for lower-profile channels, an expense that is then passed on to consumers. McCain’s proposal would seek to remedy that by forcing networks to unbundle channels and encourage cable operators to do the same. (What’s in it for them? Incentives around licensing.)
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Google launches 'The Peanut Gallery' or a new thing for you to do instead of working

Remember when the Google Doodle was that soccer game for the Olympics and you didn’t get any work done all day? Well Google’s The Peanut Gallery may give that a run for its money.

Google’s new Web Speech API is a voice recognition tool that writes out what you say. To show off this technology, Google released “The Peanut Gallery,” which lets you add intertitles to classic silent films like The Kid and The Lost World by just talking to your screen.

Plus we get this great comedy sketch/commercial. If you’re yelling like this young girl, your accuracy has to go up.

Read more:
Google Reader shutting down
Google unveils ‘talking shoe’ at SXSW Interactive
Google Glass video reveals that Google’s RoboCop glasses will let you take pictures and skydive and whatever

Google Reader shutting down

google-readerStarting July 1, you’re going to need a different RSS feed: Google Reader will be no more.

Google announced the news yesterday, writing on their blog, “We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too. There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout.”

While the numbers may be declining, fans took to social media last night to express their outrage. A Change.org petition asking Google to reconsider the decision has already garnered over 51,000 signatures — although Google is unlikely to change their minds. According to NextWeb, Google is pulling the plug to concentrate resources on the still-floundering Google+.

What are your favorite Reader alternatives — or, thanks to social media, do you not use an RSS program at all?

Read more:
SXSW: Reading The New York Times on Google Glass
Google unveils ‘talking shoe’ at SXSW Interactive
Google Doodle celebrates Douglas Adams and ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

SXSW: Reading The New York Times on Google Glass

Google gave app developers (and curiosity seekers like us) a first look at how its eagerly awaited (by some) headset computer will serve up breaking news and integrate with popular apps and web services at a packed session at SXSW earlier today.

The demo was designed to get developers excited to create apps to run on the device, expected to be released later this year.

After showing Glass’ ability to snap photos and provide on-demand translation (“Arigato!”) — features that have been well documented in countless promo clips — Google Sr. Developer Advocate Timothy Jordan showed how Glass wearers would be able to scan headlines from the New York Times: Images overlayed with text appear in a timeline — essentially a horizontal scroll of notification “cards” floating in the user’s peripheral vision. Tapping on a card reveals a secondary scroll of additional stories; by tapping the device or, apparently, nodding her head, the user can read a short summary of the story, or have the full text of the story read aloud.

Subsequent demos showed how a wearer could read and dictate responses to Gmail messages and notifications from friends they follow on Path, a social journaling app. Jordan also showed how a wearer could snap a photo and send it to her (Android) tablet, where she could annotate the image Perez Hilton-style using an app called Skitch, then save it to popular notebooking app Evernote.

The demo was a bit of a breakthrough in understanding how the hardware could apply to real life: Up till now, we had a hard time imagining any practical application for Glass (we’re not often struck with the urge to launch a Google Hangout while skydiving). The voice input feature and ability to have incoming messages read aloud were particularly exciting to see.

Others remained unconvinced. Attendees rushed to pack the auditorium at the Austin Convention Center … but they played it cool once inside, refusing to respond to the presenter’s frequent exclamations of “Isn’t that cool!?” During the short Q&A session following the panel, one audience member asked, What can I do with Glass that I can’t already do with my phone? The dwindling audience erupted in the most enthusiastic applause of the entire session.

But the question missed the point. It’s not what Google Glass does that’s innovative; it’s how it does it.

How about you, PopWatchers? Will instant, hands-free access to headlines, tweets, and mail inspire you to try Glass on for size?

SXSW 2013: Five tech trends we can't wait to see

Just a brief look at the South By Southwest interactive schedule can boggle even the most experienced festival-goer’s mind. There are panels and conversations and films and workshops and even a daily 7:30 am run (in cowboy costume!) in case you weren’t getting enough exercise dancing your pants off at one of the many parties. But for everyone not going to the festival, which marks 19 years of interactive and film coverage this year, we have started to make sense of some already-emerging trends and news to look out for as the unofficial “spring break for nerds” kicks off in Austin, Texas.
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