New patent reveals why Google invested in Magic Leap

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Back in October, Google invested in a startup called Magic Leap, a company that makes specialized augmented reality hardware. Now a new patent is revealing just what Google saw in this company.

Magic Leap’s new technology is called “cinematic reality” and will offer a 3D experience not offered on any other device. It’s a pair of smart glasses and other than seeing 3D virtual objects and scenery that can be downloaded from the cloud, users will also be able to share the real-life environment around them to another user. Imagine being at a concert, a sporting event, or some other tourist attraction and being able to share exactly what you see with someone else.


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Marriott backtracks under pressure from FCC, Microsoft, Google

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Marriott’s efforts to block its customers’ personal WiFi hotspots have ended, according to a statement from the company.

Last month, Microsoft and Google expressed concern over the issue, and Marriott is finally backtracking.

In an email to Inc., a Marriott spokesperson said, “Marriott International listens to its customers, and we will not block guests from using their personal Wi-Fi devices at any of our managed hotels,

The FCC had also filed a complaint against Marriott, so that was likely part of the decision to stop using cell jammers as well.

Source: TechnoBuffalo

Google’s self-driving car is not familiar with snow

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The technology behind the self-driving car being developed by Google is incredible. And things are starting to look very promising for the project as Google was able to secure various manufacturing partners for a launch targeted in 2020. Right now, there is one rather important roadblock for Google. Its self-driving car is not familiar with snow. The company has yet to figure out a way for its self-driving car to operate successfully (and safely) in snowy conditions. Why is that? The self-driving car has been primarily used in California and, more specifically, Mountain View where it is highly unlikely to snow. A Google employee at the Detroit Auto Show did explain that it is something the company is working on.

Via: Business Insider UK

Motorola Migrate gets updated with Material Design

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Motorola is currently in the midst of pushing out an update for its official Migrate application via the Play Store. This upgrade doesn’t transport much with regards to new features, but it does bring support for contact transfers from non-smartphones and an appearance transformation that complies with Google’s recently-announced Material Design guidelines.

Hit the break for the full changelog.


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Nexus 6 owners try to hold it together amidst new problem with devices

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Reports are starting to trickle out onto the Internet about Nexus 6 devices that are falling apart. Owners are reporting the back covers are coming off of the units although the reason has not yet been identified. In some cases it appears to be a problem with the glue that Motorola used to affix the back covers. However, others are reporting their batteries are swelling to the point they cause the covers to pop off.
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Google rumored to be purchasing Softcard

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Paying for merchandise using your smartphone via Near Field Communication (NFC) is all the buzz these days since Apple Pay was launched. A lot of people in the media gloss over the fact that Google’s Wallet app on Android has given us this capability for quite a while now, though. Despite this oversight in media coverage, one beneficial thing does come out of it: the momentum generated by Apple Pay should help Google with retailers that were initially hesitant in supporting mobile-based payments.

Apple Pay and Google Wallet aren’t the only products on the field, however. One company that is also offering the same NFC payment services is Softcard, formerly branded as Isis Mobile Wallet. (The name change was due to the company not wanting to be even remotely associated with the militant terror organization named ISIS.) Similar to Google Wallet, Softcard has been struggling to make headway in the payment sector, but unlike Wallet, Softcard has lacked the financial backing needed to keep it afloat while it waits for retailers to catch up.

Google, who has not really put a lot of work into making Wallet a bigger game-changer, is rumored to be eyeing Softcard for acquisition in an attempt to bolster Wallet’s weak offering to Android consumers. Softcard does have a few perks in its portfolio, which Google may find appetizing. 
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Google search results are packed with event information including tickets

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Need Ariana Grande tickets and need them fast? Google will help you get the job done. Event information is the latest addition to Google search. Now, the search engine will return expanded results for specific events and venues. Whether it is a musician or a comedian, Google will offer a link to quickly purchase tickets. This is just another way that Google is cutting out the need to hit multiple links before finding what a user was on the lookout for.

Source: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog

YouTube Music Key not playing nice with Google Play Music

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Subscribers of Google Play Music have access to YouTube Music Key at no additional cost. So it makes sense that users put them to work to see which works better for them in different situations. However, be careful when switching between the two because one user reported on Reddit that Play Music will experience technical difficulties if the YouTube Music Key tab is left open on a web browser. Play Music would not work properly and notified the user that another person was on the account. In the end, the user said “PSA – close that tab.”

Be sure to read our review of YouTube Music Key.

Source: /r/Android

Google Glass promoted from Google[x], Explorer program shutting down

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The Google Glass team announced today that they are moving on from Google[x] labs and will become their own business unit. The new Google Glass unit will be assigned to Tony Fadell who currently heads up Nest Labs for Google. The Glass team itself will continue to be run by Ivy Ross who will now report to Fadell. As part of the new direction for Glass, Google will stop selling the Explorer Edition of Google Glass after January 19th, although some units will continue to be made available to developers and companies working on specific applications.
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Ara Configurator: the app for building your Project Ara modular smartphone

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Google created quite the news day today with regard to Project Ara.  Talk Android had previously discussed some of the information released today when Google released the Project Ara MDK 0.2 a few days ago. We knew the new prototype would be called the Spiral 2, that there would be an Ara Manager app, the Greybus protocol was mentioned briefly, and we talked about the Ara module marketplace.

Today, Google branded the module marketplace as Ara Configurator, which will be your one-stop shop for customizing and purchasing your Spiral device’s modules. Additionally, this will be the location for customizing the modules’ shells, which are the plastic covering the back of said modules. The shells feature all those pretty designs on the modules’ backside that you see in the Project Ara photos.
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