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Google

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Google acquires French image recognition startup Moodstocks

Google has shown a lot of interest in computer vision over the last few years. You need only look at the way it digs around for similar images in Google search and identifies specific objects in your uploaded photos. It can always be better, though, so Google has purchased a French company called Moodstocks that specializes in image recognition.

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Hey Google, a warez market called BlackMart has been in the Play Store for months and has over 100k downloads [Updated]

We occasionally see apps pulled from the Play Store for trivial (but valid) violations of the rules. Google has been more proactive about enforcing its guidelines, but it's often pointed out it could be more consistent. Case in point: there are, right now, two listings on the Play Store from a warez site called BlackMart that offers paid apps for free. One of them has been up for months and has more than 100,000 downloads. C'mon, Google.

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[Deal Alert] New Chromecast offer gets you 75% off any movie rental in Google Play (US only)

The Chromecast only costs $35, which is a great value for the hardware. That's just the start, though. Google regularly offers promos for Chromecast users such that you might actually make money on the device over time. The latest offer is for 75% off any movie rental in the Play Store, but be aware this is US only.

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Google app tests notifying you when search results are ready in background

Most of us probably use the Google app for searching on our phones, rather than through Chrome or - *gasp* - another search engine. I've often found that on slow connections, the Google app can take ages to bring up results - think 2G or even 3G mobile networks. To combat this, it appears that Google is either testing or rolling out a notification to tell you when the app has completed searching and showing results.

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Three Google Search notifications. Note: this is MIUI, which is why it looks a bit... iOS-y.

This may not be used only for slow connections, but will probably come in handy the most on a network where speed is hard to come by.

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Google refreshes its Android.com feature pages, gets rid of Android One for some reason

An official name for Android N isn't the only change that Google made to its public face today. In addition, there are a handful of updated pages for major Android-related websites within the Google universe — for some reason the dedicated page for Android One is gone. Why Google felt the need to get rid of a page explaining its biggest developing world mobile push is a matter of speculation, but it surely doesn't bode well for the low-cost phone program.

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InBrief
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Google adds earthquake info card to search results

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Google Keep update includes automatically generated search topics [APK download]

It's update Wednesday, but it's been a bit of a slow one so far. Things are picking up with the Google Keep update. It's rolling out now with a revamped search feature, though. With this update, you'll be able to access automatically generated search topics without typing a thing. No update showing on your devices yet? We've got you covered.

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Sony Xperia Home beta updated with full Google Now integration

Sony isn't making the most compelling Android phones these days, but it does at least try to put out good software. It's one of the most developer-friendly OEMs and it was even the first to release the N preview on non-Nexus hardware. Now, Sony has the distinction of being the first to do something else. The latest version of the Xperia Home beta has a Google Now pane just like the Google Now Launcher—no other OEM has done this on its custom launcher.

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Google rolls out new ad settings tool to 'personalize' the ads you see

Google makes most of its money from showing ads, both on its own services and on third-party sites running Google's ad network. When you use Google products, you have to be okay with some of the things you do being used to inform the ads you see. Today, Google is making a new tool available to users that lets you see and control the information Google uses to show you ads, but it comes with an (optional) expansion of Google's advertising personalization.

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Google+ social network turns 5 years old, wants a pony and a plastic rocket for its birthday

Many happy returns, Google+, you are five today. Google's home-built social network was launched on June 28th, 2011, competing with the likes of Facebook and Twitter with a unique "circle" approach to contact management and deep integration with Google services. Many predicted it wouldn't last this long (rest in peace, Google Wave), but Google+ has proven surprisingly resilient.

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