Geeksphone quits making smartphones, leaves its Multi-OS platform in the hands of the community

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Remember Geeksphone, Spain’s first smartphone manufacturer that developed a MultiOS platform allowing you to choose when you want to use Google’s Android, Mozilla’s Boot2Gecko or another community developed operating system on its handsets? Well, today Geeksphone has announced it will quit making smartphones and leave further development of its MultiOS software in the hands of its community.

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Google opens up code for Chrome for Android

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Google’s Chrome for Android development team has announced the mobile version of the Chrome browser is now “almost entirely open source.” The parts not open sourced include some media codecs, plugins, and Google service features that are restricted due to licensing issues. The team open sourced over 100,000 lines of code, including the entire user interface layer. For developers, this move means they can built their own versions of the browser for Android devices. Read more

Google Carboard transitions to an open source platform

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Google Cardboard, the virtual reality platform introduced at Google I/O 2014, now exists as an open source platform. Today, Google announced that it would begin to issue certifications to hardware from manufacturers that meet its criteria. The certification allows consumers to recognize that a particular Cardboard viewer is aligned with Google’s vision for the platform. Cardboard apps and games work perfectly with certified hardware.

Consumers and smaller manufacturers putting together their own Cardboard viewers are being helped, too. Define the key parameters and place a QR code on the Cardboard viewer. The official Google Cardboard app then recognizes the key parameters and tailors the experience for all apps and games.

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Google’s Patch Reward Program adds numerous open source software projects

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Approximately six weeks ago, Google launched a new program it was calling the Patch Reward Program. The program encourages coders to take a proactive approach to improve “third-party” software that Google believes is key to the health of the Internet. According to Google:

“The goal is very simple: to recognize and reward proactive security improvements to third-party open-source projects that are vital to the health of the entire Internet.” Read more

HALO project open sourced by Paranoid Android team

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The team over at Paranoid Android has announced they are open sourcing their HALO project. HALO brings Facebook Chat Heads-like notification functionality to Android apps, one of the few features of Facebook’s Home interface that actually received a positive response from users. Along with floating the notification on the screen on top of open applications, the HALO project gives users the ability to interact with app in a limited matter, like sending a response to a message. Read more

Google’s Takes ‘OPN Pledge’ to Protect Open Source and Patents

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Following in the footsteps of Open Source pioneers IBM and Red Hat, Google has taken a giant leap forward in preserving the purity of Open Source and Patents in the world of technology.  In a recent blog post on Google’s “Open Source Blog”, Senior Patent Counsel, Duane Valz, makes a less-than-obvious attack on patent and money hungry technology companies (like the one named after that one fruit that Eve took a bite out of that started this whole mess).  He states the importance of protecting this purity to ensure continued innovation in the world of computer software, and continued advancement in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the internet in general.

Today, Google announced its “Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge“.  In it they pledge “NOT to sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents…unless first attacked.”  Gotta love that last part!  Google, in their infinite wisdom, has included an Apple escape clause (Oops!  Just came right out and said it that time).

At this point Google has only identified 10 patents relating to MapReduce in their initial pledge list, but vow to expand on that list, adding “past, present or future” open-source software that might rely on pledge patents.  Good for you Google! Read more

Google introduces open-source Voter Information Tool in preparation for 2012 presidential election

Google has announced the introduction of its online Voter Information Tool, a resource that will provide in-depth and up to date information on the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Located on the site, users will find access to various helpful scripts and guides, including the ability to find nearby polling places and early voting venues. There’s also an exhaustive guide which covers the information regarding voting requirements, as well as links and details to provide you with the skinny on each of the presidential candidates.

Google has striven to essentially roll out this new Voter Information Tool to serve as a newer, updated version of its long-used US Voter Info website, which was launched leading up to the presidential election in 2008. Additionally, the new software is open-source, embeddable and completely customizable, so you can tailor it to your liking.

Source: Google Voter Information Tool

BERO open source robot announced on Kickstarter

A small startup from New York city, Reality Robots Limited, has announced a new Kickstarter project to create a “multi-motor-wireless-animated-mobile-robotic-toy-platform.” To control this device, dubbed “BERO,” Reality Robotics is planning to create an open source app running on Android. The BERO is based on a Google Bug Droid robot that was observed during Maker Faire last year, albeit running with wires connected. The inventors have not been able to get a definitive response one way or another from Google regarding use of the Google Bug Droid form, so they are moving forward with some different shells. Read more