Will Google ever reopen signups for its Google Play Books self-publishing platform?

Google “temporarily” stopped allowing new publishers to sign up for its Google Play Books Partner Center more than a year ago, largely due to rampant piracy on the service. Now, a year and a half later (it was originally shuttered in May of 2015), the Partner Center still hasn’t opened back up…

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Google Pixel Review: Android’s new flag bearer isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the best phones ever

We didn’t expect it to come as soon as it did, but Google’s first solely self-branded smartphone, the Google Pixel, is finally here. In light of how mature the smartphone market has become in the last few years, it’s hard for a new phone to stand out as something that takes anything more than a few baby steps forward. This phone isn’t that much different. But what is different is that it isn’t just any Android phone made by one of Google’s partners. This one is Google’s, and that’s special.

It’s special because Google really has made an effort at building a good top-to-bottom user experience. It’s special because Google has made some clear — in some cases major — improvements to its software and how it works with the hardware. It’s special because it has a great camera. It’s special because it’s the first Android phone to ship with the Google Assistant. It’s special because it’s the first Daydream-ready smartphone. It’s special because it’s the best portal to Google’s services, full stop.

But most of all, I think the Pixel is special because it seems to me that Google’s newly-rebirthed smartphone line has a lot of potential. Yes, there are some things that this phone doesn’t have. But what phone doesn’t? Let’s talk about what the Pixel has going for it.

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Ookla has a new Chrome extension that makes testing your internet speeds easier than ever

Whether its at a hotel, a coffee shop, or even a friend’s house, one thing we tend to do at a new place is check the internet speeds, especially if they seem slow. It’s always nice to know what you’re dealing with when trying to get stuff done and the most reliable place to do so has always been Ookla’s speedtest.net. That site has always been a go to spot for a quick and accurate speed test, but now Ookla has released a Chrome extension to make things even easier.

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Opinion: With Pixel in the picture, 2017 could be one of Google’s most important years ever

Google has finally, officially entered the hardware game. When SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer took to Twitter a few days prior to the event and stated that eight years down the line we would remember October 4 as a day just as important as the birth of Android itself, I strongly believe that this move is what he referred to. Not just the Pixel phones, not just the Assistant, but rather a unified — if a bit prototypical — package that marries the two under the label “Made by Google”.

And what that means, if my understanding is correct, is that over at Mountain View things are just getting started…

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Galaxy Note 7 pre-orders are apparently the highest ever for a Galaxy device, double that of the S7

According to analysts in Korea, people are going pretty nuts over the Galaxy Note 7.  After pre-orders opened up last week, reports compiled on August 9th revealed that the device had been preordered 200,000 times in just the first two days, just in South Korea. Considering that the device is set to release in other portions of Asia, Europe, and the US, it’s pretty safe to assume that that number is actually exponentially higher.

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With the new Nexus line & Android 6.0, Google wants you to talk to your phone more than ever

Google’s long stated vision, if not obsession, is turning your smartphone into the Star Trek computer. A key part of the computer on the Enterprise is that the primary means of interaction is through voice. The entire process mimics more asking a person a question rather than the ‘typing out what you want to know into a search box’ process that has made the Google so well known.

To meet this goal, the company has been continually doing massive research and investments into speech recognition and machine understanding. The latter is Google’s Knowledge Graph, announced in 2012, that understands concepts and their relationships between things.

These massive investments in speech recognition and Knowledge Graph ultimately culminated with Google Now. If ever there was a thing that paralleled the Star Trek computer in real life, it would be Now and its ability to provide verbal responses to verbally-asked questions. Now, Google is pushing the tech even further with Marshmallow and the new Nexus devices… more…

Galaxy Note 7 has one of the brightest smartphone displays ever

One of the strongest aspects of Samsung smartphones over the past couple of years has been the display. Regardless of size, these Quad HD Super AMOLED panels have proved to be fantastic both indoors and out. With the Note 7 however, Samsung is really taking things up a notch with the brightness levels as, according to DisplayMate, the Note 7 has the brightness smartphone display they’ve ever tested…

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Opinion: Google Pixel is the best Android phone ever because it’s the least frustrating Android phone ever

I had a lot of thoughts in my 4,000+ word Google Pixel review, but after a few more days using the phone as my primary device I’ve come to realize the significance of something else that’s just different about it. Some have touched on this subject, but I think I need to make it perfectly clear. The Google Pixel is the least frustrating Android phone ever. That’s something the Android community has devalued over the years in an obsession over raw specs, and it’s something that the iPhone — forgive my comparison — has quite frankly dominated in. That is, until now…

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Filed under: Google Corporate

Samsung’s market share suffered its biggest ever drop following Note 7 disaster – Gartner

The September 2 recall and subsequent cancellation of the Note 7 saw Samsung’s Q3 market share fall year-on-year from 23.6% to 19.2% – the biggest drop in its history, said Gartner.

Samsung’s smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2016 as a whole declined 14.2 percent year over year — their worst performance ever. Samsung’s previous worst performance for smartphone sales was a 12.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Research director Anshul Gupta said that the launch of the Galaxy S8 would be a crucial test for the company’s fate …

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Filed under: Google Corporate