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Google Helps with Exploration

Have you ever been in a new place and wondered where you should eat or what you should do? Google is doing something to help with this. This week they are releasing an update to the Maps app for Android and iOS that adds an Explore button; essentially letting you see what is close by and can even change what distance it will show you! Another cool feature is that you see how the weather will affect things!

Now, whenever you want to discover places in your area, simply tap the new Explore button at the bottom right corner of your map to get a quick look at what’s nearby (where available). With Explore as your guide, you’ll see different places and activities that adapt to each area and moment throughout your day. This also works when you’re browsing other neighborhoods and cities on the map so you can plan your day’s outing or daydream about your next vacation. 

Source: Google Blog

Doused by Fire

There is no doubt that Amazon is a giant in the world of online retail, but they have lost some ground in the second quarter of 2014. This loss can easily be equated to all of the new enterprises like the Fire phone, Prime Music, Fire TV and Kindle Unlimited. The loss of the second quarter is $126,000,000.00. Amazon also expects a loss of anywhere between $410 million to $810 million in the third quarter although they are expecting growth in revenue of 15 to 26 percent.

Amazon is known for its willingness to take losses to invest in new types of products and services. This quarter was no exception. The company released two hardware devices this quarter, the Fire TV andFire Phone, and also launched two new services, Prime Music for its subscription program and Kindle Unlimited. The strain of so many new initiatives is showing.

Source: CNET

All Part of the Matrix

It's pretty amazing how connected everything is in this world and while it's no miracle that you can have Twitter post to Facebook for your thanks to the API. There is a service called IFTTT that takes this to a whole new level. Although (If This Then That) isn't all that new, they are now integrated with a ton of products and services - including Square. That's right, you can set up your IFTTT account so that when someone pays you, the lights in your house blink (as well as a ton of other IFTTT related things). It's nifty, but a little scary how much technology we are connecting to Skynet.

You could, for example:
  • Get a text alert everytime a transaction over X is made
  • Hook it into Evernote to keep an automatic running list of refunds of X value
  • Post a message of congratulations on Yammer when a big sale clears
  • Add all new payments to a row on a Google Docs spreadsheet

 

Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft Wants You to Forget Windows 8

There are quite a few rumors about the next OS from Microsoft and it's starting to actually generate some buzz. Based on this article (link below) I have to agree and digress that we will not likely see the real "Start Menu" coming in any patch to Windows 8. Microsoft is poising themselves to pull off a huge "Nothing to see here" when it comes to Windows 8 and once the next version ships, we'll see people dropping Windows 8 faster than a sneeze through a screen door.

The second half of the year will be especially telling if, as often-in-the-know bloggers like ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley have contended, Threshold is to launch in the spring of 2015. With just over seven months until the start of March 2015, eight to April, it's coming up on the time that Microsoft changes messaging from the past to the future.

Source: ComputerWorld

Samsung @ CES 2013

One of the highlights of every CES is a stop by the Samsung booth and this year didn’t disappoint. Samsung has so many products on display which makes it feel like walking through a candy story wishing you could have one of each. The big product in the TV market this year at CES is 4k displays (4096x2160 resolution) and Samsung had a bunch of those on display. Right now content is pretty tough to find in resolutions that high, but the demo clips that they were showing attracted quite a crowd. 


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Samsung 4K TV
 

Also on display was one of Samsung's curved OLED TV's. The curve in the screen wasn't drastic but it was enough to give the picture a bit of a different look and thanks to the OLED technology the picture was great. 


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Samsung Curved OLED TV

Check out more of our pictures from Samsung in our CES 2013 gallery.

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