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Microsoft, Apple earn top marks on data privacy scorecard; Amazon falls short

The Electronic Frontier Foundation today released the latest edition of its “Who Has Your Back?” report that examines how major tech companies handle government requests for data, and a number of major tech giants scored remarkably well. It’s the first of these reports to be released after disclosures about the NSA’s surveillance activities, and it’s clear… Read More

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Google selling Glass to everyone

Google has quietly started selling its Glass headwear to anyone who wants it, assuming they’re willing to shell out $1,500 for the privilege. The company said today that it saw an “overwhelming” response when it allowed anyone to buy the device during a one-day sale, and had re-stocked supplies of Glass to allow anyone to… Read More

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Microsoft reportedly prepping music locker for Xbox Music

Xbox Music users who want to have their hard-to-find music available on the go may be in luck. LiveSino has found references in source code on Microsoft’s OneDrive website to a new OneDrive Music folder, which will allow users of Microsoft’s storage service to upload tracks to their OneDrive account, and then access their tunes from Xbox… Read More

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Amazon, Microsoft ask FCC to maintain Net Neutrality

Internet companies from around the U.S. — including Amazon and Microsoft — have banded together to try and pressure the Federal Communications Commission into adopting rules that would maintain net neutrality. The New America Foundation, a non-partisan think-tank, published an open letter from more than 100 tech companies asking the FCC to avoid adopting rules… Read More

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Watch out, Yelp: Google acquires restaurant website builder Appetas

Google has acquired Appetas, a Seattle-based startup that helps restaurants build websites. In a blog post, Appetas co-founders Keller Smith and Curtis Fonger note that they will be shutting down their company to join Google. “Google shares Appetas’ vision for bringing incredibly simple experiences to merchants that strengthen their business,” they wrote. “We’re very excited to use… Read More

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Microsoft tests demand for $199 laptop, biting back at Google Chromebooks

Google’s low-priced Chromebooks are adding a new wrinkle to a PC market already being undercut by tablets. Microsoft has promised to make it easier for computer makers to compete with lower-priced Windows machines. And just in case there were any doubts, a promotion launched by Microsoft today shows that price does matter. Microsoft’s online and physical retail stores are offering… Read More

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Nuance responds to privacy concerns over its Swype keyboard having too much location data

Nuance is responding to privacy concerns today after customers complained that its Swype keyboard application was accessing their whereabouts excessively. In one case, a customer said his or her information was accessed nearly 4,000 times a day. While the post on the company’s forum is old, it was thrust into the spotlight this morning after it was posted on Y… Read More

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Google takes aim at Office for iPad with new productivity apps

Well, that was quick. Google announced standalone iOS and Android apps for its Docs, Sheets and Slides productivity web apps today, striking at Microsoft’s newly-launched Office for iPad suite. The Mountain View-based company already offered users the same capabilities through its Google Drive app, but the three standalone apps launched today have the benefit of providing users with… Read More

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Hiring spree: Amazon adds 7,000 more employees, topping 124,000 worldwide

Amazon continued its trend of explosive headcount growth this quarter, adding 7,300 new employees to its workforce, which now totals 124,600 full- and part-time workers. That’s a stark contrast to some of its tech industry counterparts, including Google and Microsoft, which both saw significantly smaller headcount gains in the quarter. Microsoft added 982 employees in… Read More

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Google+ leader Vic Gundotra is leaving the company

Vic Gundotra, the former Microsoft executive who went on to lead Google’s push into social networking with the launch of Google+, is leaving the search giant after eight years with the company. Google+ has struggled to compete with Facebook’s place in the popular zeitgeist, but its connections to Google’s online services and search engine has made it… Read More

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Microsoft hopes to move students away from Google with ad-free version of Bing

Microsoft has rolled out a custom Bing search engine for schools, allowing administrators to enable an ad-free version of Bing with privacy controls and filters that block adult content. Microsoft first debuted this program in August — back then it was called “Bing for Schools” — to 4.5 million students in a select number of schools, but now is… Read More

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Apple, Google — and now Amazon — offer game publishers top app store placement for exclusivity

Video game publishers are no strangers to signing exclusive deals with platforms, and now that practice is becoming apparent in the mobile gaming industry. A Wall Street Journal report this morning notes that Apple and Google are now offering mobile game publishers highly-coveted placement within their app stores in exchange for exclusivity. As a classic example, WSJ notes… Read More

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Microsoft Bing starts predicting outcome of ‘The Voice’ and other shows using search and social data

Can a search engine tell you the outcome of your favorite TV competition before it even happens? Microsoft believes it can. The company this morning is launching a new feature for its Bing search engine that analyzes search queries and data from social networks to predict the winners and losers of television shows in which the outcome… Read More

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Google sells out of its one-day supply of Glass

Google says it ran out of slots for people interested in purchasing Google Glass during a one-day promotion Tuesday when the head-mounted device was available for sale to the public. Like previous buyers of Google’s hardware, purchasers from this latest round had to pay $1,500 plus tax for the latest “Explorer Edition” hardware in their choice of… Read More

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Google to buy solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace

Google has reached an agreement to acquire Titan Aerospace, a New Mexico-based company that builds solar-powered drones, according to a statement from Google emailed to GeekWire. Titan builds a pair of drones, named the Solara 50 and the Solara 60, that use solar panels and batteries to stay aloft without needing to recharge. The company… Read More

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Google Glass has to get real before it gets sold

When I saw that Google would hold the Seattle stop of its Google Glass open house tour at Sodo Park last weekend, I was impressed. Finally, I thought, the device that’s been barraged by public controversy will go out in public. Moms might pull over with their strollers. Old men might try them on and… Read More

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Amazon, Facebook, Google and other tech companies deploy fixes for ‘Heartbleed’ bug

Amazon Web Services has rolled out fixes for several of its online services to address the “Heartbleed” vulnerability that has roiled the Internet this week with reports that hackers can use the flaw to access account information and passwords. It’s one of many technology companies that have been scrambling to roll out updates to fix the… Read More

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GeekWire Radio: Facebook + Oculus, Google Chromebook at college, and the meaning of Microsoft Office for iPad

We have lots to talk about on the GeekWire radio show this week, starting with Facebook’s surprising acquisition of Oculus, the virtual-reality technology company, for a whopping $2 billion. What does Mark Zuckerberg have in mind here? Facebook’s long-term relevance, for starters. From there we delve into one of the more intriguing stories of the… Read More