Retailers blocking Apple Pay and Google Wallet as they build their own service

CurrentC_App

A slew of retailers are taking a stand against mobile payment services like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. They are blocking the mobile payment services from Apple and Google (and even SoftCard) because one of their own will be launching next year. Companies including Old Navy, Lowes, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sears, Best Buy, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Wendy’s, and a bunch of gas stations are behind the CurrentC mobile payment service scheduled for 2015.

The benefit of using CurrentC will be the lack of processing fees as the credit card companies are not at all involved. CurrentC is designed to work by taking funds from the user’s checking account. With the credit card companies taken out of the equation, retailers behind CurrentC will offer exclusive promotions as an incentive.

Via: The Verge

Googler Alan Eustace breaks parachute jump record from 25 miles up

 

eustace_jump_01A senior vice president with Google, Alan Eustace, parachuted from about 25 miles above Earth to break the world altitude record for a parachute jump, breaking the speed of sound during his descent in the process.  The jump by Eustace differed in many ways from the successful attempt of Felix Baumgartner from 128,100 feet in 2012, not the least of which may be the relative secrecy surrounding Eustace’s attempt.
Read more

Google reassigns Sundar Pichai to oversee all of its products

sundar_pichai

Sundar Pichai is no longer the face of Android, Chrome, and Google Apps. He is now the face of every Google product there is. The company has reorganized its staff and CEO Larry Page gave Pichai expanded leadership over just about everything offered by Google. According to a staff memo released internally on Friday, executives will begin reporting to Pichai rather than Page.


Read more

Nest thermostats add compatability with third-party home automation products

Nest privacy

It was only a matter of time before the now Google-owned Nest Learning Thermostat (and smoke detector) became even more integrated in the “Internet of things.”

Now, the device can be paired and controlled with other home automation products, including Pebble smartwatches (to check and control the temperature in your home), ivee (voice-controlled home manager) and Life360 (an app used to check the location of family and friends and can adjust the temperature when people enter and leave your home).

WallyHome, a device that checks for water leaks, is also on the list of compatible products, as is Rachio, which controls sprinklers in the house for fires. Expect more and more products to become compatible with Nest, as Google is looking for more partners to expand the capabilities of its device.

Source: Engadget

Firebase, a cloud database company, joins Google’s Cloud Platform team

firebase_logoGoogle has announced that they’ve acquired a new cloud database company, Firebase. The Firebase team will join Google’s Cloud Platform developers in an effort to make development for mobile devices even easier.

Firebase exists to allow developers easy ways to keep data synced between mobile applications and web sites and apps, which can be a pretty tricky and difficult task otherwise. By bringing this technology under Google’s cloud platform fold, it should help speed up development for mobile apps as it gives developers one less thing to worry about.
Read more

Solar eclipse and police activity cards now showing up in Google Now

Google_Now_Launcher_02

Good news for heavy Google Now users; you’re getting two new types of cards in your automatic information feed. Google has added in support for police activity as well as solar eclipses. The police activity is pretty useful, as it shows nearby criminal activity which can give you a heads up on areas or roads to avoid.

The solar eclipse card is pretty weird, but it gives you information on ways you can safely view the eclipse, so that’s pretty cool. Not life changing, but a cool feature regardless.

Fortunately, these cards won’t require an update to the Google Now app (as long as you’re already on the latest version) since the info comes from Google. Keep an eye out and let us know if you see either of them on your device.

source: Reddit

via: 9 to 5 Google

Google may sell Project Ara modules in a Play Store type marketplace

project_ara_the_verge_1Google’s Project Ara is one of the most highly anticipated developments in the modern smartphone world, assuming it gains traction with developers, manufacturers, and consumers. We know the basic idea behind it, but one thing that Google has never truly clarified was how potential customers could purchase smartphone “modules” for their devices. Thanks to a new interview at a Purdue Presidential Lecture, the head of Project Ara, Paul Eremenko, talked a bit about how the modules would be sold, and it’s shaping up to be pretty interesting.
Read more

Google introduces ‘Inbox’, an alternative to Gmail that works for you

Google_INbox_App_Large_Icon

Google just unveiled “Inbox,” which sounds a lot like our earlier story on Bigtop. It’s a completely separate app from Gmail, which aims to be a better alternative for those that find they are overburdened with email. When Email started, it was a simple way to pass messages, and it made you more efficient. However, as email as grown over the years, it’s gotten so distracting that it sometimes is hard to actually get things done. One could argue that it no longer makes us efficient.

According to Google, Inbox works for you and helps you get to the important information quicker. This is all done by new features such as Bundles, Highlights, Reminders, Assists, and Snoozing.


Read more