Google brings Street View inside more than 65 airports and train stations, calls it a ‘first effort’ – Foreign airports and train stations can often be confusing places to find your way around. Perhaps with that in mind, Google today launched an interactive map featuring Street Views of over 65 mass transit hubs. The map features some locations you may have already explored, like Emirates’ A380 or London’s Gatwick Airport, alongside some new sites across Europe, South America, and Asia.
Today’s map is described as a first effort to map global transit locations, featuring 16 international airports, more than 50 train and subway stations, museums, and a Hong Kong cable car station. Google plans on adding more transit Street Views as it continues on its quest to map the world.
Major benchmarking service delists Samsung and HTC phones it suspects of cheating – Oh yes, things are really starting to kick off in the arcane world of smartphone benchmarking. First, there came clear evidence of phone makers manipulating scores in apps like AnTuTu and GFXBench, and now a more mainstream benchmarking company, Futuremark, has publicly delisted specific Samsung and HTC phones that it suspects of cheating.
Motorola now selling unlocked Moto G in the US – Motorola just gave Americans a surprise holiday gift: it’s now selling an unlocked version of the Moto G in the US. Starting today, you can purchase both 8GB ($179) and 16GB ($199) editions of the entry-level smartphone with HSPA+ data optimized either for most US carriers (including AT&T and T-Mobile) or for international travel.
The Beastie Boys don’t want their music in this girl-power parody ad – The parody music video is a staple of pop gender studies, but girl-focused toy company GoldieBlox is accused of crossing the line between commentary and commercial exploitation. In late November, the company posted a YouTube video taking aim at a homogeneous “pink and pretty” toy aisle, showing a trio of girls building a Rube Goldberg machine while singing a rewritten version of the Beastie Boys’ song “Girls.”
But according to GoldieBlox, the band accused it of copyright infringement and called the unauthorized rewrite a “big problem,” leading GoldieBlox to preemptively ask for a court ruling on its legality.
Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition scores Android 4.4 KitKat update – If you own a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition, you can now put down your pitchfork and stop dripping with envy. Apparently, Android KitKat is also gracing not only the Sense-less version of HTC’s One today, but also the non-TouchWiz device. When the phone getting Android 4.4 in its purest form, you can look forward to all the features the updated platform promises, including a better camera app and longer battery life.
Unnamed US officials speculate on Snowden’s ‘doomsday cache’ – Since the leaks began, government officials have speculated about various NSA documents that former contractor Edward Snowden might have accessed. Today, that speculation reached a fever pitch, as unnamed officials told Reuters they now believe Snowden may have accessed the so-called “doomsday cache,” which includes the names of US and allied intelligence personnel. The NSA takes great precaution to safeguard the data, with sophisticated encryption and multiple rotating passwords required to decrypt it, but officials say Chinese or Russian intelligence could be capable of decrypting the data under the right circumstances.
Body blow: How 23andMe brought down the FDA’s wrath – From the very beginning, 23andMe was the stuff TED talks are made of, promising to harness the staggering quantity of information in the human genome with big data and user-friendly web savvy. Now, it’s all but shut down. This morning, the FDA ordered an immediate halt on sales of 23andMe’s saliva test kit, the company’s only product. Until the company passes the FDA’s marketing approval process, it will be forbidden from shipping anything to users. All of the company’s ambitious plans are officially on hold.
Qualcomm’s Toq smartwatch debuts as Appscomm Fashioncomm A1 – If you walk through a Chinese electronics market, you’ll find countless wearables, including a variety of smartwatches. Why, then, is this China-exclusive a significant introduction? Well, the Appscomm Fashioncomm A1 is the first smartwatch to include the Mirasol display we first saw in Qualcomm’s Toq prototype, which means that 1.55-inch MEMS panel is actually coming to market.
The A1 delivers much of the functionality we experienced with the device in our September hands-on, with an added GSM chipset, enabling you to make and receive calls directly from your wrist.
Using an army of robots to dominate Twitter – Jim Vidmar controls an army of 1,000 Twitter robots that he sells to up-and-coming rappers, musicians, and anyone else who needs them. The Wall Street Journal tells how he deploys them to boost his clients’ standing, using thousands of pretend people to spout designated hashtags and keywords that propel artists hungry for fame and gigs into Twitter’s trending topics.
The Wall Street Journal explains how Vidmar bought a recent batch of robots for $58 from a vendor in Pakistan, why Philadelpha-based rapper Philly Chase calls using Vidmar’s services “the best decision I ever made,” and how the owners of fake accounts are finding easy ways around Twitter’s spam crackdowns.
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