Spotify’s New Serendipity Feature May Make Music Social Again

Spotify’s Artist in Residence Kyle McDonald created a new map feature known as Serendipity that shows when two people in the world are listening to a song at the same time. The interactive map plays a snippet of the song, which both users had to start within a tenth of a second of each other, and spins around to show the two users’ locations in the world. The new feature may help Spotify rise above other music streaming services, and make music a social experience once again. Continue reading Spotify’s New Serendipity Feature May Make Music Social Again

Google Tablet Prototype Touts Advanced Vision Capabilities

The team behind Google’s Project Tango research initiative has reportedly developed a tablet with advanced vision capabilities. The tablet is said to have a 7-inch screen, two back cameras, infrared depth sensors, and advanced software that can capture precise 3D images. Google expects to produce 4,000 prototype tablets beginning next month. Similar to its recent introduction of a smartphone with advanced vision capabilities, Google plans to initially offer the prototype to developers. Continue reading Google Tablet Prototype Touts Advanced Vision Capabilities

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Last week, Yahoo announced the launch of its News Digest app for Android devices. The company has also made the iOS version available for all users worldwide by adding Canadian and International editions (it was originally only available to iOS device users based in the United States or United Kingdom). Using algorithmic and human curation, Yahoo News Digest provides news round-ups twice a day, each story presented with a collection of articles, maps, Wikipedia entries, videos and photos. Continue reading Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Pinterest Touts 30 Billion Pins, Sees Big Hit in Related Pins

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann announced during an event in San Francisco last week that users of the social visual discovery tool have created more than 750 million boards and contributed more than 30 billion Pins since Pinterest was founded in 2010. Acording to Silbermann, the number of Pins has grown by nearly 50 percent during the past six months, due in part to the introduction of Related Pins about a year ago. More than 90 percent of current Pins are connected to Related Pins. Continue reading Pinterest Touts 30 Billion Pins, Sees Big Hit in Related Pins

Google Aims to Steal Cloud Services Top Spot from Amazon

Amazon pioneered the idea of cloud services that allow individuals to build websites and other apps without using their own hardware. Google has also offered these services, but is repositioning itself to create a larger business out of cloud services. The IT market that spans hardware and software used to operate businesses is worth $600 billion, and cloud services have the potential to take a major share. Google is hoping to make its cloud service business even larger than its enormous ad business. Continue reading Google Aims to Steal Cloud Services Top Spot from Amazon

NAB 2014: First Trifocal 3D Film Will Be Shown in Las Vegas

Walt Disney Studios’ experimental live action 3D film “Make/Believe” will be shown at NAB in Las Vegas next month. Currently in the final stages of post production, the 10-minute 3D short was shot with a new trifocal camera system. “Make/Believe” was produced by German research institute Fraunhofer HHI with Disney and Berlin firm Real Life Films using Fraunhofer’s hybrid camera system and software. The film will be shown in the Fraunhofer booth at NAB. Continue reading NAB 2014: First Trifocal 3D Film Will Be Shown in Las Vegas

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Introduces New Content and Ad Products

During the Yahoo keynote presentation, CEO Marissa Mayer announced a mobile acquisition, introduced a number of new products and services, and entertained the crowd with a “Saturday Night Live” skit featuring actual “SNL” performers. Mayer announced that Yahoo now has more than 400 million monthly mobile users, a figure which excludes social network Tumblr, purchased last year. Tuesday’s presentation was largely about simplifying Yahoo’s business and a focus on content creation and related advertising. Continue reading Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer Introduces New Content and Ad Products

Twitter Runs Location Sharing Experiment with Nearby Feature

Twitter is testing a new timeline for its mobile app based on location, called “Nearby,” which shows users recent tweets that originated in the user’s vicinity. The Nearby feature has occasionally appeared on the smartphones of users who allow the service to use their location (users can also opt out of location sharing). Twitter has yet to comment on the feature, which some suggest could be attractive to advertisers, but says it experiments regularly to provide a better user experience. Continue reading Twitter Runs Location Sharing Experiment with Nearby Feature

Celebrities Now Give Driving Directions via Traffic App Waze

The traffic app Waze is partnering with Universal Pictures in order to produce a celebrity voice navigation feature. The first celebrity to give directions is comedian and actor Kevin Hart. Waze essentially crowdsources traffic and navigation data, and friends and fellow travelers are able to post updates that provide a real time picture of road conditions. The app gained popularity after it was acquired by Google earlier this year for $1.3 billion. Continue reading Celebrities Now Give Driving Directions via Traffic App Waze

Google Launches In-App Search, Retains Control of Android

Just when it looked like Samsung was taking over Android, Google swooped in with a new in-app search function, as well as app content in mobile search results, for Android users. In the next few days or so, the features will be available not only for phones using the recently released Android 4.4, or Kit Kat, but also for older Android models within Google’s Search app. Google partnered up with Expedia, Trulia, Etsy and about nine other apps for the launch. Continue reading Google Launches In-App Search, Retains Control of Android

Study Suggests Video Game Playing May Increase Brain Size

A new study from the journal of Molecular Psychiatry explores the impact of video gameplay on the brain’s gray matter, which is responsible for muscle control, memory, and language and sensory perception. Researchers from Berlin’s Max Planck Institute for Human Development and St. Hedwig-Hospital gathered adult subjects to play a game, “Mario 64” on Nintendo’s DS system, in order to analyze the potential effect of gameplay on the brain. Continue reading Study Suggests Video Game Playing May Increase Brain Size

Turn Your iPad into a 3D Scanner with New Structure Sensor

San Francisco-based startup Occipital, creator of the 360 Panorama app and RedLaser barcode-scanning app acquired by eBay, is developing a 3D scanning accessory for iPads called the Structure Sensor. Inspired by the sensor technology of Microsoft’s Kinect, CEO Jeff Powers decided to change the direction of Occipital to develop a new scanning tool. The result is the Structure Sensor, which earned the company more than $250,000 in a single day through its Kickstarter campaign. Continue reading Turn Your iPad into a 3D Scanner with New Structure Sensor

Microsoft to Pay $7 Billion in Deal for Nokia Phone Business

Microsoft is paying $7.17 billion in a deal to acquire Nokia’s devices-and-services business and license its mapping services. By purchasing Nokia’s core cellphone business, Microsoft is hoping to better compete with Apple, Google and Samsung in the fast-growing mobile business. The move follows the announcement of Steve Ballmer’s planned retirement as Microsoft CEO. Several Nokia executives will transition to Microsoft as part of the deal and could become contenders for Ballmer’s position. Continue reading Microsoft to Pay $7 Billion in Deal for Nokia Phone Business

Google and Waze Integrate Their Mobile Maps for First Time

Google introduced this week the first integrations between its Google Maps for Mobile and the newly acquired Waze traffic app (Google purchased Waze for $1 billion in June). Obstacles such as construction, accidents and road closures reported by Waze users will now be available via the traffic tab on the iOS and Android versions of Google Maps. The Waze app will support Google search, while its map editors will have access to Google’s satellite imagery and Street View. Continue reading Google and Waze Integrate Their Mobile Maps for First Time