Monthly Archives: May 2013

Is It true? This message will self-destruct: OTR plugin brings Snapchat fuctionality to browsers

Like something out of an Inspector Gadget cartoon, a new plugin for browsers called OTR allows users to send messages to other users that will self-destruct a few seconds after they are read, (hopefully) disappearing forever. The plugin was launched today by Lamplighter Games, a company run by two brothers who wanted to bring Snapchat-like functionality to Web browsers. We’ve got a demo of it in action after the jump.

For those unfamiliar, Snapchat allows users to send each other images, which are supposed to disappear forever. It was this principle that inspired Andy and Kris Minkstein, two brothers who co-founded Lamplighter Games, which is operated out of New York. According to Kris, the two “love” Snapchat, and wanted to bring it to browsers. “We figured since you’re in front of your computer all day at work that you’re going to end up sending a lot of these photos to probably the guys sitting next to you at your cubicle.” You can check out OTR in action in the demo video above. Downloading and installing it is as simple as adding the relevant plugin to your browser, of which Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer are supported, as well as the Yammer App available from the Yammer App Store. Once installed, clicking on it the first time will pull up a registration window. You’ll need to create a sign-in account, or you can sign in with Yammer if you already have an account. Unlike some apps, the only information you have to provide is your email address. Once you’ve got your account, the interface has three buttons, one for inviting contacts, one for sending a picture, and one for sending a message. Contacts can be discovered by both username and email address. From there, you simply start sending messages. Anything you receive will be available until you click on it, at which point a timer counts down, then the message disappears into nothingness. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and as has been demonstrated with Snapchat multiple times, even self-destructing messages can be kept. SOURCE: Business Week This message will self-destruct: OTR plugin brings Snapchat fuctionality to browsers is written by Brittany Hillen .

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Is It true? Google reportedly considering bid against Facebook to buy Waze

Waze is a navigational app that offers crowdsourced information on things such as traffic conditions, with the information and map updates coming from users themselves. The app has long been the source of acquisition rumors, with word having surfaced back in January that Apple was looking into buying the company, something that was later denied by sources. This was followed up earlier this month by a new rumor, this time that Facebook is looking into buying the company for $1 billion, and now new sources are saying Google is considering tossing a bid into the mix.

This new information comes from sources who are likewise unnamed, said to be familiar with the matter and having access to the private talks. Says these individuals, Google hasn’t made a decision either way, but is considering making a bid on Waze. The navigational company is looking to get at least $1 billion in an acquisition situation, but is also looking into staying independent and instead going the venture capital route. According to Bloomberg, two sources have both stated that Facebook has, indeed, been in talks with Waze, considering a purchase of $1 billion. If such is the case, and Google is indeed also interested, the independent company could see itself in the middle of a grand-scale bidding war. That isn’t the case any time soon, however, if the sources are correct. None of the companies in talks with Waze, which are said to be more than just Facebook and Google, are close to forming a deal. Although there was speculation that Apple was in talks to buy the app, with very little information surfacing about the matter, sources have told Bloomberg that Apple is not “currently part of” the business talks. Whether that means the rumors earlier this year were true and Apple has since then backed out, or that the company was never considering the purchase in the first place, is still unknown. It is particularly interesting to contemplate a Facebook acquisition of Waze, considering the vast amount of data that Facebook already has on many Internet users across the globe. A Google acquisition could be similarly interesting, although for different reasons, and it isn’t too much a stretch to imagine the Internet giant nabbing the crowdsourced navigation app to keep it out of the hands of competitors. SOURCE: Bloomberg Google reportedly considering bid against Facebook to buy Waze is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Microsoft doesn’t infringe on Motorola patent, says Commission

As we reported on March 22, a judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission took Microsoft‘s side in a legal battle that has been going on since 2010, saying the company did not infringe on Motorola Mobility patents. While Microsoft was pleased with the ruling, Google obviously was less enthusiastic, and said it would have the finding reviewed by the Commission. As of today, things have once again been found in Microsoft’s favor.

Following the ruling on March 22, a final initial determination was made on April 23, both of these concerning the last remaining patent of what was several when the legal battle was initiated by Motorola before Google acquired it. Four patents that were part of the spat were dropped, those concerning video patents and the last remaining one concerning the wireless technology used by the Xbox for communication with controllers and other devices. Originally, a Commission judge had ruled in Google’s favor, having pegged Microsoft for infringement of four of those five original patents. As with the other rulings, that went to review, where it was overturned, and later became moot as most of the patents were dropped, two because they’re about to expire and weren’t worth battling over, and two following a settlement with the FTC. As we reported, Google sought to have the finding reviewed, but the US International Trade Commission wasn’t game with that plan, and has instead filed an official notice that it will not review the final initial determination from the previous months, instead upholding the finding by the initial judge back in March, and subsequently in April. As such, Google is out of legal maneuvers in this battle, and because this is the last patent remaining in the spat, the investigation has reached its close with Microsoft as the victor. Said the statement filed earlier today by the US ITC: “Having examined the record of this investigation, including the ALJ’s final ID and RID, the petitions for review, and the responses thereto, the Commission has determined not to review the RID … The investigation is terminated.” Such a ruling comes mere days after Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One. SOURCE: US International Trade Commission Microsoft doesn’t infringe on Motorola patent, says Commission is written by Brittany Hillen .

Is It true? Verizon HTC One tipped for “later” by HTC ROM creator

As this week’s hope for an HTC One from Verizon is dashed by none other than Jennifer Lopez, fans of the device turn to a developer of ROMs for the manufacturer. In a bit of a cryptic announcement by the developer known only as LLabTooFeR, confirmed HTC addict and insider here and there, it would appear that “it will be announced later” is all that we’ll be getting.

This developer has been accurate with leaks in the past and has provided the public access to RUU files galore – almost as if he (or she) works with HTC in some way or another. It’s important to take any anonymous source’s words with a grain of salt, but in this case, there’s little reason to doubt it. The only thing you, as a consumer, should be worried about at this moment is if the Verizon HTC One will be prepared in time for it to be marketable. There’s always the chance that a device is made – and even announced – then pulled from release. Case in point: the HTC First. This device was announced for release internationally, is currently available for sale with AT&T, but has been pulled from possible release for sale in the UK. At the moment, the idea is that developers with Facebook are improving the software before it gets a push, but it’s more likely that the device simply hasn’t been selling well enough to warrant another market chance. The HTC One for Verizon, on the other hand – that’s a good bet. With all the interest we, as a publication, have seen in the possibility of this phone being released, it’s gotten to the point where it seems like it would be foolish not to release this device on this carrier. And we want it, too – bring it! Story Timeline HTC One Verizon release in question as Tweets disappear Verizon HTC One comments make “big deal” of future release Verizon HTC One speculation returns as DROID DNA offer arrives Verizon HTC One tipped for today’s press event [UPDATE: Nope] Verizon HTC One tipped for “later” by HTC ROM creator is written by Chris Burns .

Is It true? Netflix to double original content next year

While we’re aware that Netflix is planning to up its game when it comes to original programming, we were never really given a solid number or when it would all occur. However, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos says that original content on Netflix will double in 2014 compared to this year, meaning we’ll get more House of Cards, as well as a few new shows tacked on.

Netflix is wanting to change the way Hollywood views internet content, and they’re even looking to take on HBO to become the supreme when it comes to original ad-free content. Sarandos says that director David Fincher’s roll in House of Cards is changing the way people view internet streaming content, where it’s no longer a bunch B-list web shows, but actual TV series featuring A-list celebs. House of Cards is a great example of how Netflix is changing the way people view streaming content. The series stars Kevin Spacey, who is best known for his numerous roles in tons of classic films, such as American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, Se7en, and Superman Returns. The first two episodes of the series were directed by David Fincher, who also directed movies like Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This year already, Netflix has released two original series: House of Cards and Hemlock Grove, with several more original shows on the way: Arrested Development and a Hasbro-sponsored children’s show, as well as three more that we know of. That’s seven shows total that we know of, meaning that if Netflix kept their promise and doubled their original content in 2014, we’ll be getting at least 14 shows next year, but Sarandos says that’s merely a goal, not a promise. Netflix accounts for a third of all traffic that makes its way through the internet, which is something quite impressive, and the service streams more content than YouTube even. Netflix also keeps adding on new users, claiming three million more customers during Q1 2013 to make a total of 37 million users paying for Netflix. SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter Story Timeline Netflix: piracy rate goes down when we arrive BitTorrent downplays Netflix’s claim of lower torrent traffic Netflix lands new Disney/ABC Television children’s shows Netflix’s Arrested Development season four trailer hits the Web Netflix to double original content next year is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? Yahoo getting into gaming with PlayerScale acquisition

Added to the list of many Yahoo acquisitions happening recently, PlayerScale is the latest one to get bought out by Marissa Mayer and company. PlayerScale was founded on 2009 and is a startup that creates software infrastructure for cross-platform gaming. What’s perhaps the the greatest news is that the startup won’t be shutting down.

PlayerScale CEO Jesper Jensen says that the company isn’t “going anywhere,” and that the company’s platform “will continue to support the same great games that you love playing today,” saying that PlayerScale “will only get better from here.” However, half of the company’s staff will be joining Yahoo, while the other half will stay at PlayerScale. PlayerScale says that its platform has over 150 million users, with their user base growing exponentially. The company announced back in January that they surpassed the 100 million-user mark. Overall, Jensen calls the acquisition the “the next big step toward our goal of building the best possible gaming infrastructure platform.” Today’s PlayerScale acquisition comes just days after Yahoo made its largest buyout ever, purchasing Tumblr for $1.1 billion. The financial details of the PlayerScale acquisition weren’t disclosed, but it probably wasn’t as much as what Tumblr got out of the deal. However, does this mean that Yahoo is getting into the gaming business? Essentially, PlayerScale’s Player.IO platform offers game developers a place to implement multiplayer and Facebook aspects into their game using PlayerScale’s servers. Many popular mobile and Facebook games are most likely using Player.IO to run certain aspects of the game. With the Yahoo acquisition, the company may be looking into mobile and social gaming, but it’s obviously too soon to tell right now. VIA: TechCrunch SOURCE: PlayerScale Story Timeline Yahoo strikes deal to exclusively offer Saturday Night Live content Yahoo acquires Astrid, plans to shut the service down Yahoo acquires GoPollGo and MileWise, shuts them both down Yahoo boosts Flickr storage to one terabyte, reboots Android app Yahoo getting into gaming with PlayerScale acquisition is written by Craig Lloyd .

Is It true? EA CTO: Xbox One and PS4 “are a generation ahead of” PCs

The new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One come with some pretty impressive hardware on the inside. So good, in fact, that Electronic Arts CTO Rajat Teneja believes that the performance and hardware in the Xbox One and PS4 “are a generation ahead of the highest end PC on the market,” so not just gaming PCs in general, but the best gaming PC ever.

After that, he didn’t mention PCs again, only saying that “benchmarks on just the video and audio performance are 8-10 times superior to the current gen,” saying that “the compute capabilities of these platforms and the data transfer speeds we can now bank on, essentially removes any notion of rationing of systems resources for our game engines.” The Xbox One comes with an 8-core processor along with 8GB of RAM. We’re not told about specifics, but a good guess would that both the PS4 and the Xbox One are running AMD’s Jaguar chip. Compared to gaming PCs, most gamers have a quad-core processor in their gaming rigs, with a few 8-core chips floating around. However, Microsoft nor Sony have revealed what graphics their respective consoles are running, but if they’ve seen the just-announced NVIDIA GTX 780 Titan graphics chip, I’m pretty sure they’d run away whimpering. Imagine two of those cards in SLI — the gaming prowess would be practically infinite. However, it’s possible that Teneja doesn’t actually mean these new consoles are faster, but rather just have newer technology in them, meaning that the processor inside the Xbox One and PS4 are so new, that it isn’t available for PCs yet. Then again, from the way that Teneja worded his blog post, it seems to mean that PCs don’t stand a chance against the next-gen consoles, which is quite saddening to hear. VIA: Polygon Story Timeline NVIDIA announces PhysX and APEX support for PS4 NVIDIA passed on PS4 due to financial disagreement Xbox One hardware “revolutionary” with 8GB of RAM, 500GB HDD Xbox One: Everything you need to know EA CTO: Xbox One and PS4 “are a generation ahead of” PCs is written by Craig Lloyd .