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After Scuffles With Apple, Google, And Others, Holder Of Defunct Patent Goes After Independent Developers [Update]

The short version of this story is that Tse Ho Keung, holder of a patent that is currently within an inch of its life, has so far failed to get any traction in lawsuits against major tech companies (...and Blockbuster), and has resorted to threatening independent developers in a dual effort to either gain money or to avenge the name of his patent by forcibly eliciting amicus briefs and declaratory statements.

Nearly a decade ago, a company representing patent holder Tse Ho Keung went after Apple, Sony, and others on the basis of patent 6665797, which covers a DRM system that - boiled down to its essence - allows authorized users to access the same purchased digital content on multiple devices.

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Tip: Chrome Beta On Tablets Now Has An Easy Way To Close All Tabs

 

Have you ever let the number of tabs in Google Chrome get out of hand? A nifty trick has popped up in Chrome Beta's tablet interface, now making it simple to deal with a large amount of tabs. Simply press and hold on the "X" you would normally use to close a single tab, and you will be prompted with a small dialogue that says "Close all tabs." Hit that and you have a clean slate.

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Google Is Giving Out $5 Credits For Theaters, Whole Foods, Toys R Us, Staples, And Others Via Wallet App

Open up the Google Wallet app on your Android device, because there might be a $5 surprise waiting for you. Many Android users are reporting on various social media that they have found $5 gifts to various vendors for no apparent reason waiting for them in their Wallet app.

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[APK Download] My Tracks 2.0.9 Update Brings Google Fit Integration, Becomes Far More Useful In The Process

For a long time, Google's My Tracks app was basically a niche app, if not just a novelty. However, the recent addition of Android Wear support started to get things to make more sense. Location tracking on a smart watch is more convenient and may render obsolete the GPS watches of yesteryear. With the new 2.0.9 update, My Tracks has Google Fit support, giving My Tracks some credibility as a fitness app.

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Data Conservation, Improved Gender Identity Options Come To Google+ App, Post Pinning On The Way

From a recent teardown of Google+ 4.8, it seemed like Google was preparing to offer bandwidth optimizations in the app, with the option to switch on a data conservation option. It looks like that feature has cropped up (thanks David) now, along with a new gender identity setting brought over from the web.

A few days ago, the Google+ team announced that the service would now accommodate those of any gender, not just male or female, by opening up a "custom" option, as well as a method of indicating one's preferred pronoun (the selection includes male, female, and other). This functionality is now available on the web and in the Google+ app for Android.

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[I'll Take Search Engines For 400, Alex] Google Now Shows Info About Jeopardy Answers While You Watch

I love Jeopardy. If it wasn't for football and Agents of SHIELD, Jeopardy would be the only reason I have an over-the-air antenna hooked up to my TV. Apparently someone at Google feels the same way, because at least one viewer started seeing information about the quiz show's answers as they appear on television. The Google Now card live updated with the show as clues were chosen and then answered (in the form of a question).

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Long-time Jeopardy fans know that this is a big deal. A full game of Jeopardy can have as many as 61 questions, usually presented and answered in less than thirty seconds each, after which the game rapidly moves on.

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Chromecast App Now Has Working Guest Mode So You Don't Have To Share Your Wi-Fi Password

At long last, Chromecast has a functional guest mode. While it presumably has something to do with the update to the Chromecast app that rolled out earlier Wednesday, the change did not appear immediately afterwards. Google apparently flipped a switch on the server side, and suddenly anyone with an up-to-date app can cast to a TV without being on the same Wi-Fi network. We've been waiting for this feature to roll out since it was announced way back in June at Google I/O.

ChromecastGuestScreen1 ChromecastGuestScreen2

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You Can Now Access Google My Maps From Inside The Web Version Of Drive

Now when you go to create a new document, you can produce a new map by going to More > Google My Maps.

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Google is rolling the integration out over the course of the next week.

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Chromecast App Version 1.9.6 Adds Material Design UI, Beta Screen Casting For All 4.4.2+ Devices

Welcome to Google Update Wednesday, everyone, where you never know quite what you're going to get. The Wheel of Fate has given us a Chromecast update this week, and it's a doozy. A brand new user interface matches the rest of Google's various Material Design apps, more or less. But even more interesting is that the Chromecast app now allows screen casting (where your phone or tablet's screen output appears on your television) for all devices.

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Well, sort of. You'll need Android 4.4.2 or better to accomplish this, and even then, Google is making sure you know that those phones and tablets not officially supported by the extremely slow screen casting rollout might not have the best experience.

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Google Cardboard Gets Play Store Collection, New SDKs, And Viewer Specifications

 

The foldable cardboard VR kits Google gave away at I/O 2014 weren't just a one-off stunt. Today, in its developers blog, Google had some big announcements for the home-brewed virtual reality viewer.

First up, Google has grouped a handful of Cardboard-compatible apps into their own collection on the Play Store. The Cardboard app itself has also received an update, with the ability to discover cardboard apps on the Play Store, and launch them directly from the viewer.

Google has also introduced new Cardboard SDKs for Android and Unity in an effort to make developing for the cardboard box a little bit easier.

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