<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Tech News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/tech http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:16:31 -0400 Fri, 27 Mar 2015 09:16:31 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Apple Store Employees Learn How to Be Fashion Stylists]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:19:26 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/apple-watch-new-event.jpg

Apple Watches will come in a variety of styles and prices, and the company's retail division is reportedly being instructed on how to give fashion advice to customers.

9to5Mac published what appears to be a visual training guide for Apple retail employees to help them suggest the right Apple Watch to prospective customers based on fashion, lifestyle and job cues.

Among the tips: "Don't focus on price as a reason to recommend an option because many customers may be willing to spend more for a model that makes them feel good."

The tech media is already casting a side eye.

"The notion that a plainly dressed, modestly paid worker could become a fashion expert is a bit silly, and Apple's example customers don't always make sense," wrote Engadget. "What kind of waiter makes enough money to drop $1,000 on a steel smartwatch without flinching?"           

Apple Watch goes on sale on April 24, with a suggested retail price range of $349 to $1,049. There is also an 18-karat gold "Apple Watch Edition" option that starts at $10,000.

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<![CDATA[Driverless Car Starts Journey from San Francisco to New York]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 00:44:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/autonomous-driving-vehicle-turning-into-traffic-for-delphi-drive-cross-country-road-trip.jpg

A driverless car took off from the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge for its cross-country trip to New York.

The 10-day, 3,500-mile trip will be the first and longest coast-to-coast drive by an automated vehicle. The Delphi will navigate highways and other roadways with no human hands on the wheel.

But there will be an operator in the driver's seat at all times in case of trouble.



Photo Credit: Delphi]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook Launches Money Transfer Tool]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:54:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/payments.png

Facebook is launching a new tool to let users transfer money in its Messenger application, competing with services like Venmo and Paypal.

As seen in the video above, users will be able to tap a dollar sign in the app, select an amount, and then tap send. It will be available across Android, iOS, and desktop.

Although the money transfer happens immediately, Facebook said it can take one to three business days for the funds to become available to use, depending on your bank.

Users will need to link their Visa or MasterCard debit card to Messenger the first time they send or receive money. Once added, users can also create a pin to make transactions more secure.

The company insisted that personal information will be protected in each transaction.

“We use secure systems that encrypt the connection between you and Facebook as well as your card information when you ask us to store it for you,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “We use layers of software and hardware protection that meet the highest industry standards.” 


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<![CDATA[Self-Flying Rideshare Cars?]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:25:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/201*120/aeromobilprototype.jpg

Imagine a car that flies in the air and dispenses passengers to the ground via parachute in case of emergency.

It may be closer to reality than you think: a European company called AeroMobil has created a prototype for a self-flying car and would like to put a taxi service in the air in the next two years.

"The sharing economy is excellent for us," AeroMobil CEO Juraj Vaculik said to Mashable after delivering a keynote at the South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin. "People will have this opportunity to call a 'flying Uber,' which will not just deliver you to the airport, but to your final destination."

With a projected date of 2017 to put them in the air, AeroMobil could land in the Bay Area long before the San Francisco to Los Angeles bullet train, which isn't scheduled to be completed until 2029.



Photo Credit: AeroMobil]]>
<![CDATA["Google Feud" Game Plays on Autocomplete Results]]> Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:52:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-03-16+at+12.50.12+PM.png

The Google search bar is well known for displaying autocomplete results you might not have considered. Now, those results have become fodder for an online game called "Google Feud."

"Google Feud" is similar to the popular TV show "Family Feud." The game asks players to complete a number of queries based on what users search for.

How does it work? The game has four categories: culture, people, names and questions.

If you choose people, and the game asks you to complete the phrase 'My best friend is a ...' you might guess "girl, singer, or doctor." If your responses line up with the top 10 popular queries searched by Google visitors, then you earn a point. If not you get a strike. The round is over when you hit three strikes.

Google Feud is not the first online game based on Google autocomplete results. Last year, a board game called Query was launched, Mashable noted

The game's developer has not yet responded to a request for comment. 

Play Google Feud here.

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<![CDATA[Pi Day 2015: 3.14 Things to Know About Pi]]> Sat, 14 Mar 2015 07:15:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pi-97065863.jpg

Saturday is Pi Day, a national celebration of the mathematical concept, which is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Pi equals 3.1415... and Saturday, 3-14-15, the only day this century that matches pi.

Schools and museums across the country have planned events to celebrate the concept, which has fascinated humans for centuries. Pi Day is also a good excuse for paying tribute to pies, whether sweet or savory. 

In the spirit of the holiday, here are 3.14 things you may not know about pi:

1. No one is certain who discovered pi as we know it today

But we do have some ideas. It seems that the Egyptians used pi in the construction of the Great Pyramid because when the perimeter is divided by its height, one gets a close approximation to 2π. It’s the same result if one divides the circumference of a circle by its radius.

But the most significant pi research might have come from the astronomer, Archimedes, around 250 B.C.

His mathematical calculation showed that pi was "between three and one seventh and three and 10 seventy firsts,” Steven Strogatz, an applied mathematics professor at Cornell University, told NBC Owned Television Stations. “He approached that putting a six sided figure into a circle, then made it 12 sided, and went all the way up to a 96-sided polygon.”

He proved that pi was found somewhere between these two numbers, which applied to all circles.

2. You can find your identity in pi

One myth is that since pi is a continuation of numbers, people’s identities can be found in the pattern: like social security numbers or birthdays.

This theory became popular when this meme appeared on George Takei’s Facebook:

But Professor Strogatz stressed that the meme is misleading.  Even if it is true (which is not yet known), the digits in pi would tell us nothing about a person's life or identity, because along with correct social security numbers and brithdays, there will also be wrong social security numbers and birthdays.

3. Proving pi with matches

You can prove pi exists with matches, toothpicks, a pen, or anything else that is the same length, explained Johnny Ball, the author of “Why Pi? (Big Questions).”

“There’s a wonderful way to find pi for yourself. You find a floor with parallel lines; you find matches, pins, pens, exactly the same length. If you drop a hundred of them at random on the floor, the points touching a line will equal pi,” Ball said.

The matches' length must be equal to the distance of the two parallel lines. After the matches are dropped, you multiply the number of matches thrown down by two and divide it by the total number of matches that touched a line, which will equal pi.

This problem was discovered in the 18th century by French mathematician Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.

Check out this video on Dr. Tony Padilla's YouTube channel Numberphile where he demostrates Buffon's Needle Problem:

3.14...Legislating against pi

In 1897, Indiana state legislators tried passing a Pi Bill that legally defined pi as 3.2. Edward J. Goodwin, a physician, convinced a well-known mathematical monthly newspaper that he had solved what mathematicians had tried to do for generations: squaring the circle. Simply put, squaring the circle is the impossible task of finding the area of a circle by finding the area of a square around it. Goodwin claimed that pi was 3.2 instead of a continuous number. The bill never became a law thanks to Professor C. A. Waldo who convinced the Indiana Senate that Goodwin’s discovery was not possible.



Photo Credit: Washington Post/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Is Hello Barbie Spying for Mattel? ]]> Thu, 12 Mar 2015 10:12:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/187*120/HelloBarbie.jpg

Hello Barbie, Mattel's new wi-fi enhanced doll with a tiny microphone, isn't even available yet, but she's already causing controversy, according to reports.

The latest Barbie features speech recognition software that enables conversations and recall's the owner's preferences. However, now privacy advocates say that the doll is violating children's policy and could be used for "stealth marketing" with toymakers listening in on the conversations or encouraging children to buy accessories.

"If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child's intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analyzed," Angela Campbell, faculty adviser at Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology, said in a statement.

Using a microphone, speaker and LED lights inside the doll's necklace, and rechargeable batteries in its legs, Hello Barbies will be able to tell stories, jokes and play interactive games. After listening to its owner's conversation over time, the $75 doll could also reference some of the child's likes. The doll was created by Mattel and uses San Francisco-based startup ToyTalk for voice-recognition software.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a petition Wednesday asking Mattel to stop the doll, calling it "creepy," according to the Christian Science Monitor. The group and others believe that Hello Barbies treasure trove of information will be usedful to marketers.

Campbell said, "In Mattel's demo, Barbie asks many questions that would elicit a great deal of information about a child, her interests, and her family. This information could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children."

Susan Linn, executive director of the Campaign, said that she was leery of Mattel's motives. "It's creepy — and creates a host of dangers for children and families,” she said.

Mattel said there is no controversy because it conformed to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and partner ToyTalk said that any information retrieved from Hello Barbie's owner is "never used for anything to do with marketing or publicity."

Ultimately the decision to buy the $75 doll is up to parents, but the doll won't go on sale until near the end of the year.



Photo Credit: Mattel]]>
<![CDATA[Global Outage Shuts Down Apple's iTunes, App Stores]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 14:06:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/158329790.jpg

Apple's widely used iTunes and app stores suffered a rare breakdown Wednesday, frustrating millions of music lovers and mobile device owners around the world.

The iPhone and iPad maker confirmed the outages in a post on its status notification page without providing any cause for the problem as of 1 p.m. ET. By then, the both the iTunes and app stores had been inaccessible for several hours to the exasperation of Apple users venting on social media and various online forums.

"We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple," Apple said in a statement to CNBC. "We're working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience."

Besides the iTunes and mobile app stores, Apple's online book store and app store for its Mac computers weren't working either.

The disruption affects some of the world's most widely used — and most profitable services.

About 800 million accounts with credit cards linked to them have been set up on Apple's iTunes store since it opened in 2003 to sell digital music for the company's iPods.

More than 75 billion apps have been downloaded from the store that Apple opened in 2008 for the iPhone and, later, the iPad. Many of those apps charge a fee, or generate revenue from purchases of other services while people are using the program.

Last year, Apple's revenue from its iTunes, app, iBook, Mac app stores and other services totaled $18.5 billion, or an average of $50 million per day. That's still a small fraction of Apple's total revenue of $200 billion during that period.

The outages also will cut into the sale mobile app developers who keep most of the revenue from the programs sold in the app store. Last year alone, Apple distributed $10 billion to mobile app developers, an average of about $27 million per day.

The global outage comes two day after Apple unveiled its latest technology, the Apple Watch.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, is hoping to attract even more traffic to its app store next month when the smart watch goes on sale.

The company's stock slipped 60 cents to $123.91 in early afternoon trading Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CIA Sought to Hack Apple Devices: The Intercept]]> Wed, 11 Mar 2015 15:21:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/248*120/tlmd_apple_tecnologia_620.jpg

Several CIA-sponsored presentations over a two-year period reportedly described attempts at decrypting security in Apple mobile and laptop devices, according to reports.

Abstracts of the presentations were reported on The Intercept Tuesday, citing documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who now lives in exile in the former U.S.S.R. From the reports, it seems that attempts at hacking Apple products went back as far as 2010 at an annual conference called the Trusted Computing Base Jamboree, which is sponsored by the CIA's information operations center, the Intercept reported.

The same conference continued to talk about ways to bypass security on Apple devices, according to the report.

The government has complained about increased default encryption in mobile devices and the Internet that makes "lawful electronic surveillance impossible," according to Computerworld. Instead, the FBI and others would like encryption that could be bypassed for government requests for data. However, building this "backdoor" could be leaving a security exploit open for hackers.

In short, the government seems like it's been trying to hack into Apple's system without permission. Since the government can simply request information, we don't know why it would have to break into Apple's system to procure information unless the request was denied or deemed unlawful. Apple chief Tim Cook has previously said he doesn't want a government "backdoor" through the system because he doesn't want to invite the government onto Apple's servers. It's probably a wise move, but the U.S. government could find its way there with or without permission.

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<![CDATA[Veteran Technology Blog Gigaom Pulls The Plug]]> Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:05:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/om-malik-462854174-%281%29.jpg

One of San Francisco's earliest technology blogs has suddenly folded.

Nine-year-old Gigaom released a statement on Monday announcing the closure, citing an inability to pay its creditors in full: "All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy."

Company founder Om Malik left Gigaom in 2013 and joined venture capital firm True Ventures as partner, according to The Verge.

"Every founder starts on a path — hopeful and optimistic, full of desire to build something that helps change the world for the better, reshape an industry and hopefully become independent, both metaphorically and financially," Malik wrote about Gigaom on his own website. "Business, much like life, is not a movie and not everyone gets to have a story book ending."

Gigaom's website has not been taken down, but there is no new content as of Tuesday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Reacts to the New Apple Watch ]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 15:11:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/apple-event-465689046.jpg

The buzz around Apple's announcement of the new Apple watch exploded on Twitter as Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke of the product's features. Reaction to the new watch was mixed and fun. 

Apple called its newest creation the "most advanced timepiece ever created."

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Photos from Apple's "Spring Forward" Event]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 15:43:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TLMD-portada-apple-watch.jpg See live photos from Apple's "Spring Forward" March 9, 2015 event.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[13 Smartwatches Worth Watching]]> Mon, 09 Mar 2015 14:34:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/03-pebble-time.jpg Apple, the global computing giant, released its smartwatch in early 2015. Here's a survey of some smartwatches on the market — some available now, some coming soon — to keep an eye on. ]]> <![CDATA[Top Google Doodles]]> Tue, 17 Mar 2015 12:25:29 -0400 See the doodle here.]]> See the doodle here.]]> http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GoogleDoodle_StPats.jpg Since 1998, Google has created more than 1000 colorful and imaginative doodles to commemorate important holidays and people. Take a look back at some of the most iconic designs from around the world.]]> <![CDATA[Watch this "Machine Gun" Laser Mosquitos in Slow-Mo]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:30:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_mosquitozapper0304001_1500x845.jpg New high-tech bug zapper identifies certain types of mosquitoes, then shoots them out of the air with low-power lasers.]]> <![CDATA[Tinder Charging Age-Based Fee for New Update]]> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 17:58:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/140411-tinder-dating-app-mn-1310_6f284758e68894d5f153e1d324a00965.nbcnews-fp-1360-600.jpg

If you are over 30, finding love on Tinder is going to be more expensive.

The dating app has released a new premium version that includes new features to help people connect, but the cost of the update depends on the user’s age.

Users in America over 30 will pay $19.99 per month, while users under 30 will pay $9.99.

Tinder said in a statement that the fees are not out of the ordinary for subscription services.

"Lots of products offer differentiated price tiers by age, like Spotify does for students, for example," said spokesperson Rosette Pambakian. "Tinder is no different; during our testing we’ve learned, not surprisingly, that younger users are just as excited about TinderPlus, but are more budget constrained, and need a lower price to pull the trigger."

The premium version also comes with two new features: “Rewind” allows people to undo "left swipes," or rejections of other users, while “Passport” also allows the ability to change geographic locations, meaning you can try to connect with people in different countries.

The update also now limits the number of “likes,” or right swipes a person can make within a certain time frame. 

Tinder wouldn't say how many people use the app, but an unnamed person told the New York Times late last year that it has managed to draw 50 million monthly users.

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<![CDATA[Yahoo! Turns 20 With a Yodel]]> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:29:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/163*120/AP97030303425_YahooFilo.jpg

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is celebrating its 20th anniversary on Monday, and the employees — and the Nasdaq bell in New York — are yodeling for joy.

"We're thrilled," CFO Ken Goldman said before the Nasdaq yodeled, not rang, before the opening bell, a first on the New York stock exchange floor, according to Yahoo.

He said the Silicon Valley company has come a long way since being house in a construction trailer on the campus of Stanford University, saying it's now a "global tech company" with more than 1 billion customers.

It was in 1994 that Jerry Yang and David Filo, two Stanford University electrical engineers debuted "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web," according to — where else? — but Yahoo News.

In its first iteration, the site was a directory other pages on the web, organized in a hierarchy.

The pair renamed it Yahoo, an acronym for, "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle," and on March 2, 1995, it was incorporated. The search engine is no long the leader in search engine capability or email. But it does have a growing news site, and it’s now headed by CEO Marissa Mayer.

To mark the #YodelOn festivites, a customized Yahoo Y20 animation took over the Nasdaq billboard in New York Times Square, and in San Francisco, City Hall will light up in the company's favorite color: purple.

At lunchtime, Yahoo employees will link up online to try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous yodel.

Click here to see what 20 Internet words didn't exist before Yahoo launched.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Google Expansion Worries Hometown]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:58:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/google22.jpg

New expansion plans for Google headquarters, known as the Googleplex, has the city of Mountain View in a tough position as city leaders try to accommodate their biggest corporate taxpayer as well as non-Google residents who feel the tech giant is swallowing their town.

“I think most of us in Mountain View are concerned about where are we going to house the employees that work there, the new employees. How will they get to work given the traffic bottlenecks that already exist?” asked Mountain View councilman Lenny Siegel.

Reportedly, the new plans highlight a campus focused on walking or biking to work, which means one thing to Siegel: Mountain View must build new housing.

“We’re expecting as we put housing in north Bayshore and near north Bayshore that we’ll reduce the amount of miles traveled by commuters,” he said.

A mobile home park in the shadow of Google headquarters is also in the cross hairs.

“There is a mobile home park in north Bayshore, about 360 units and a growing number of Google employees are moving in there,” he said. “Now it’s unfortunately displacing some of the residents, they’ve been bought out basically.”

Gregory Legg, who lives in Mountain View said many of his neighbors are Google employees and they’re doing wonders for property values

“It’s actually bringing it up, the property values, which is good. It’s real good,” Legg said. “I mean, before, it was pretty low. And now it’s brought it up quite a bit.”

But with the higher prices, Rosemary Dozie Antoine said she will probably have to move.

“We would like to get out of here because everything’s too expensive for what I do,” she said. “And for what my husband does. So we need to kinda’ need to get out of here.”

The higher real estate is benefiting some, but pushing out others.

“It’s the housing and transportation issues that make me question the value of all this high-tech growth,” she said.

Siegel said opening up Moffett Field for a type of park-and-ride plan that would help alleviate street congestion could be in the works. But his main focus is discussing new housing developments around Google, something the council said no to last year.
 


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<![CDATA["Spring Forward": Apple Watch Expected at March Event]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:52:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/APPLE10.jpg

Could it be time for the Apple Watch's big debut?

In its typical mysterious style, Apple announced on Thursday it will hold a “special event” on March 9, in San Francisco. While the Cupertino company didn't mention the watch - it never publicly identifies the subjects of its much-ballyhooed unveilings - it did use a time pun in its sparsely written invitation, colored in pastels.

"Spring Forward," reads the text for the invitation-only event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, which kicks off at 10 a.m.

Bolstering the watch theory, the company bought 12 pages of ads in Vogue magazine to tout its new Apple Watch, which is set to be released in April. The ad features three versions of the new smartwatch: the leather standard model, the rubber Sport , and the high-end Edition, all in glossy print ads.

And keen industry observers, including TechRadar, MacRumors and the Wall Street Journal predict that soon most everyone who wants one will be walking around with a new Apple wearable on their wrist.



Photo Credit: Apple invitation]]>
<![CDATA[Uber and Starwood Hotels Partner]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:54:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uber-safety.jpg

San Francisco-based ridesharing company Uber is partnering with a hotel rewards program for the first time.

On Tuesday, Uber announced a partnership with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, headquartered in Connecticut.

Now people in Starwood Hotel’s Preferred Guest program can earn hotel “points” at the chain every time they ride with Uber. The Starwood chain is made up of more than 1,100 hotels and nine brands including St. Regis, W, Westin, The Luxury Collection, Le Méridien, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element.

According to Uber’s blog, 72 percent of the over 290 cities where Uber is available, you can also find a Starwood hotel.

This partnership includes larger promotional events around the world, including a day of special freebies and deals for San Francisco customers on Feb. 28.

While Uber is a popular ridesharing company, it has also been surrounded in controversy both in the Bay Area and around the world.  Uber has come under fire recently for its safety record, executive missteps, and for being embroiled in several lawsuits with local governments.

Riders will have to rack up quite a few Uber trips to earn their free stay. Starwood Hotel guests earn one “Starpoint” for each dollar they spend with Uber. Guests need a minimum of 2,000 of those “Starpoints“ to stay at the least expensive Starwood rooms.
 

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<![CDATA[Google Teams Up with Wireless Carriers]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:09:54 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/186*120/google12.jpg

Aiming to undercut Apple's latest hit service, Google is teaming up with three major U.S. wireless carriers to prod more people into using its mobile wallet.

The counterattack announced Monday is just the latest example of how the competition between Google Inc. and Apple Inc. is extending beyond the technology industry's traditional boundaries. Besides payments, Silicon Valley's two richest companies are expanding into fields such as home appliances and cars to increase their power and profits.

Google's latest volley calls for its payment service to be built into Android smartphones sold by AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA later this year. Smartphone owners currently have to download the service, called Google Wallet, and install the app on their phone if they want to use it to buy something instead of pulling out cash or a credit card.
 
Apple's rival service, Apple Pay, already comes embedded in the latest versions of the company's mobile software.
 
Besides trying to make it more convenient to use Wallet, Google also is hoping to improve the nearly 4-year-old service. Toward that end, Google Inc. is buying some mobile payment technology and patents from Softcard, a 5-year-old venture owned by the wireless carriers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Although Google and the wireless carriers got a head start with their digital wallets, the concept hadn't gained much traction until Apple Pay debuted last fall.
 
The service has become more popular than Apple expected, according to a recent presentation by CEO Tim Cook.

Just three months after Apple Pay's November debut, Cook said the service accounted for two out of every three dollars spent across the three major U.S. card networks, when no card was used. About 2,000 banks and credit unions have agreed to offer Apple Pay to its customers. Apple hasn't said how many merchants are set up to handle its mobile payment services.
 
Apple builds on that early momentum, the Cupertino, California, company could become the leader in what is expected to be a booming market. Nearly 16 million U.S. consumers spent about $3.5 billion on tap-and-pay services last year, according to the research firm eMarketer. By 2018, eMarketer predicts those figures will rise to 57 million U.S. consumers spending about $118 billion.

Companies that provide mobile wallets make money by collecting processing fees from merchants and banks.

Samsung Electronics, another major smartphone maker, may be ready to join the fray after buying a mobile payment startup called LoopPay. That deal, announced last week, fueled speculation that Samsung will include a digital wallet on its next phone.

Apple Pay's popularity probably helped forge the unlikely alliance between Google and the wireless carriers. Google traditionally has had a prickly relationship with the carriers, largely because it doesn't believe enough has been done to upgrade wireless networks and make them cheaper so more people can spend more time online. Media reports say Google is considering selling its own wireless plans to consumers.

The pre-installation of the Wallet app is similar to what Google already does with its search engine, Gmail and YouTube on millions of other phones running on Android -- an operating system that Google has been giving away for years to ensure people keep using its products on mobile devices. Google profits from the traffic by showing ads.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dating App for Pot Smokers]]> Tue, 10 Feb 2015 09:49:48 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/High+There+App.jpg

Stoners looking for that special someone, rejoice: There is a new way to light up connections with others who share a love of weed.

High There! is a dating app, similar to Tinder, designed especially for marijuana smokers.

The Denver-based app is available for Android phones in states where use of marijuana is legal, according to its download page in the Google Play store.

High There! doesn't yet have an iPhone app, though several media reports say one is in the works.

Similar to Tinder, High There! lets users create profiles and swipe through potential matches. But the app also lets weed-smokers let others know what they like to do when high. A preview on Google Play shows the options to set your "energy level" to "low" if you like to veg out, or to "high" if you want to go for a run after you partake.

The app also matches people based on their preferences for consuming THC -- vaping vs. smoking, for example.

"High There! solves the problem many cannabis consumers face in connecting with similar people," according to the app's download page. "Whether looking to connect with new friends, current friends, fellow patients, or simply to find that special someone who understands and supports your choice to consume, High There! helps by giving you a safe place to express yourself."

CEO Todd Mitchem told Mashable the app is designed for more than just dating.

"A lot of people say we're the Tinder of weed, but that's only one facet of the whole thing. It's so much bigger," he said.

Mitchem said the app can help users find recommendations for local medical marijuana dispensaries, or just make friends. (Presumably, friends with some weed.)



Photo Credit: High There! Screen Grab from Google Play]]>
<![CDATA[Google Now Calculates Your Mortgage]]> Thu, 05 Feb 2015 17:22:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*121/GoogleMortgageCalculator.JPG

Google now has a mortgage calculator for users who don't want to bother looking up a mortgage site.

Apparently it was created to capture those searching for a mortgage calculator because it shows up in the search results, much as its regular calculator does, according to Search Engine Land. From Google Plus:

Preparing for homeownership just got a bit easier. Starting today you can ask Google things like “How much can I borrow at $200 a month?” or “At 5% APR how much can I borrow over 10 years?” You can even adjust the mortgage amount, interest rate, mortgage period and more to see which financial options fit your needs.

Google's plan is to keep eyeballs on the site, and providing free online tools has been their successful way of doing just that. Its other tools, such as Google's currency converter and Google Translate are also ways to keep people using the search engine and coming back for more.



Photo Credit: Google]]>
<![CDATA[Google Takes on Uber]]> Tue, 03 Feb 2015 13:29:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uber-illustration-451549230.jpg

Uber, Lyft -- and now Google.

With no drivers, to boot.

The Mountain View search engine and advertising giant is reportedly working on an Uber competitor, with Google employees already using an app-hailed ride service, according to Bloomberg Business.

Google is working on multiple ventures, including a driverless, self-driven car. Google is also an Uber investor, after the company sank $258 million in Uber in 2013.

Bloomberg believes that Google's ride-hailing service will be launched "most likely in conjunction" with the "driverless car project."

The project is so real that Uber is close to asking David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer who has sat on Uber's board since 2013, to resign his position, Bloomberg reported.

Multiple companies are working on driverless cars, but Google's emergence as an Uber competitor rather than a partner might spell trouble for the San Francisco-based Uber.



Photo Credit: Illustration/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Super Bowl 2015: Top Moments on Twitter, Facebook]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:00:11 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/brady-belichick-sb49-win-462644256.jpg

Sunday’s Super Bowl battle between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks was the most-talked about NFL championship ever on Twitter and Facebook, the social media giants said Monday.

There were more than 28.4 million global tweets about the game and halftime show, surpassing last year’s 24.9 million tweets during the Super Bowl, Twitter said.

For Facebook, 65 million people wrote some 265 million Super Bowl-related posts, comments and likes.

Some of the game's highlights generated more buzz than Katy Perry's halftime performance and dozens of commercials.

The most popular moment on Facebook was the Patriots' win (1.36 million people-per-minute). This had the second highest volume on Twitter with 379,000 tweets per minute. Katy Perry’s “Firework” finale at halftime was the second most talked-about moment on Facebook (1.02 million people-per-minute); Perry's halftime show was third on Twitter with 284,000 tweets per minute.

When Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass by Russell Wilson one yard from the goal line with 20 seconds left in the game, Twitter exploded with 395,000 tweets per minute to become the top moment of the night. Butler’s move was the third most popular moment on Facebook, which sparked some 676,000 conversations per-minute.

Women between ages 25 to 34 were the most represented demographic in the conversation about the game on Facebook. The social media platform added that Tom Brady was the most-discussed New England Patriots player, and Marshawn Lynch from the Seahawks.


 



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cutting Class? New App Could Blow Your Cover]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:49:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/smart+phone+generic+.jpg

Want to see if your college student is skipping class? There’s an app for that.

For $200 a year, parents, professors and campus administrators can use Class120 to check to see if a student is in class at the scheduled time.

The minds behind the app, which was debuted by start-up Core Principle this month, say the accountability app could help students stay on track with their studies and prepare them for being punctual once they enter the workforce. But some students say it gives parents too much control over the lives of their adult children.

Jeff Whorley, founder and CEO of Core Principle, developed the app after a conversation he had with a college professor that left him thinking that if colleges treated all students the way they treat Division 1 athletes, whose attendance in class is closely monitored, then graduation levels would rise.

“If we could get students everywhere to attend at least 90 percent of their classes, over 80 percent would graduate,” Whorley told NBC Owned Television Stations.

The app tracks if the student is in class, and sends an alert to the student’s parent or teacher if they do not show up to class for two days in a row. Core Principle can also call the student directly if a parent or teacher does not feel comfortable contacting the student. The app must be downloaded by the student, and it can only be used to track if a student is in class, not at parties or other activities.

Still, some have criticized the app for being too controlling over students who should be treated like adults.

"I would probably be more annoyed than anything," Natalie Pike told NBC affiliate WTHR. "I would feel like my life is being pried into."

But Whorley argues that in the post-college world, a recent grad will face immediate consequences if they do not show up or even show up late to work. More students, he says, need to be treated with similar consequences by having a teacher or parent point out that they are late and help get back on track before the entire semester goes down the drain.

“We don’t think this app is anti-adult," Whorley said. "It’s an introduction to the real economy.”

The app has made recent headlines, with coverage in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. In the last four days alone, the start-up has seen a huge increase in traffic from parents in Europe and Asia looking to track their children who are studying abroad in the U.S., he said. So far the app is available for close to 2,000 college campuses across the country that the company has geomapped.

Whorley hopes that in the future this app can work to take class attendance.

“The future of taking attendance is Wi-Fi or GPS where a professor looks down at a piece of smart technology instead of calling roll," he said.

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<![CDATA[College Students Will Have a Harder Time Cutting Class ]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:04:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/NC_attendanceapp0129001_1500x845__677564.jpg College students will have a much harder time trying to skip class now that parents and professors can track if they're in class or not. ]]> <![CDATA[Newsweek Criticized for Silicon Valley Cover]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:19:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Newsweek+sexism+in+tech+cover.jpg

Newsweek's latest exposé has social media in a frenzy over the choice of cover art.

To illustrate the "What Silicon Valley Thinks Of Women" article, the American news magazine created a cover illustration showing a computer cursor lifting up the skirt of a woman in a red dress.

Billed by Newsweek as a report of the "sordid, shocking and systemic" sexism in the Northern California technology hub home to Apple, Google and Yahoo, the attention-grabbing art has pundits and social media users questioning its appropriateness.

"Clickbait, designed to piss off women while pretending to investigate sexism in tech. Fail--but you know it," tweeted Jennifer Pozner, executive director of the analysis group Women In Media and News.

Newsweek editor Jim Impoco has not directly responded to the outcry but instead tweeted a line of approval taken from an Adweek review of the article, and also retweeted one commenter's reworking of the cover art to show the woman kicking the cursor away and her expletive-filled thought over the incident.


 



Photo Credit: Newsweek
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<![CDATA[Instagram Down for a 2nd Time This Week]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 10:15:21 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/158539421.jpg

The photo-centric social media site Instagram was down Wednesday night, just two days after it suffered a similar outage.

The website Is It Down Right Now showed the site as being down shortly after 10:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. By 10:40 p.m. ET it said the site was back up and reachable.

The site went down on Tuesday around the same time that Facebook, which owns Instagram, suffered a widespread outage lasting roughly 40 minutes.

Instagram has about 300 million users, compared to Facebook's 1.25 billion.

Users took to social media on Wednesday night to report the problem and the pain of not being able to post their photos.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Apple Promotes MLK Day Volunteerism]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:06:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/8-22-2013-MLK-on-MEET-THE-PRESS.jpg

Apple is defending its policy on Martin Luther King Day, which will be observed nationally on Monday Jan. 19, after a Silicon Valley media blog called out the company for not making it a paid holiday.

The suggestion is that Apple is making a misstep, especially as tech companies are striving for greater diversity.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Apple, which confirms, while Monday is not a paid holiday, the company has encouraged employees to volunteer as a way to honor Dr. King. In turn, Apple, through its matching gifts program, is contributing $50 for every employee hour worked.

MLK Day is a federal holiday, which means government workers will have the day off.

In its article, Valleywag notes Bay Area-based companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo all give employees the holiday off.



Photo Credit: NBC]]>