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_01

A 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.

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.

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_logo

Google 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.

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_1

Google’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.

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.

Just how big is the Nexus 6?

Nexus_6_With_Lollipop

The Nexus 6 isn’t for everyone because of it’s enormous 6-inch (5.96) display, but how does it stack up against its predecessors? Thanks to Phone Arena, we have images of the Nexus 6 next to each Nexus phone ever released.  Some of these images my scare you, but what was a large phone in 2010 is not a large phone today. Hit the break for all the images and let us know what you think of the Nexus 6. Too big? Just right? Or dare I say, too small?

Google rumored to be working on task-oriented email client Codenamed Project Bigtop

google-bigtop1

Email is an aging form of communication, and many people have stopped using it simply because it has become so hard to manage their inbox. Apps like Mailbox have come along to make email management easier, and Google have added a few features like Priority Inbox to streamline your mail, but new rumors seem to indicate that Google has something planned that could change the way we use our email.

Users of Chrome OS and Android 5.0 reporting Easy Unlock feature is operable

android_l_easy_unlock_report

In April, we learned that Google would be implementing a way for an Android phone to unlock a Chrome OS device. That feature is reportedly operable for some users with Android 5.0 Lollipop. It is called Easy Unlock and just asks Chrome OS users to hit a single button to login when their phone is nearby, forgoing the need to manually enter a password. It all works through Bluetooth Low Energy.

Have you found the Easy Unlock feature to be available yet? Let us know in the comments.

Via: OMG! Chrome!

Google adds USB Security Key support to make their 2-Step Verification more robust

google-u2f

Google’s 2-Step Verification is currently the most secure method of signing into your Google account but today the search giant have one-upped their own robust security system by launching Security Key. Security Key is similar to 2-Step Verification except instead of typing in a unique code, you simply insert the USB Security Key. The USB first verifies that the site you’re on is a legitimate Google site and then prompts you to tap the USB key.