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The $399/year Google Earth Pro service is now available for free

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If you are a Google Earth user, here is some good news: the Pro version of the service, which was previously priced at $399 per year, is now available for free. This means that you can now use detailed imagery of the service as well as its advanced tools – that help you measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of your virtual flights around the world – all without paying a penny.

“Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we’re making it available for free,” Google said in a blog post. “To see what Earth Pro can do for you – or to just have fun flying around the world – grab a free key and download Earth Pro today. If you’re an existing user, your key will continue to work with no changes required.” Read more »

Google Now gets deep integration with third-party applications

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An update to Google Now brought deep integration with third-party apps to the already mighty personal assistant. Initially, there will be 40 apps available as as a source of Google Now cards.

Those 40 new apps include popular titles such as The Guardian, Pandora, Lyft, Shazam, The Economist, and Ebay among others. Read more »

UK users can now send and receive money straight through Gmail

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Google Wallet is just one of countless Google services that have become so intertwined in our everyday lives that we hardly notice it. And if you own an Android device and have ever purchased an app from the Play Store that money did indeed get wired through this very service.

The payment platform is now becoming even more readily accessible thanks to a recent Google update that integrates payments straight into Gmail. For now only UK users, aged 18 and up can enjoy the new functionality and it does look like a time-saver. Read more »

WorkMail by Amazon wants to take on Microsoft Exchange

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Amazon Web Services introduced secure email and calendar client for business. Dubbed WorkMail, the solution aims to take on the likes of Microsoft Exchange and Google Gmail.

WorkMail is priced at $4 per month for each user. Read more »

Sony announces PlayStation Music powered by Spotify

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Today Sony has unveiled a new music streaming service that will become available in the spring. It’s called PlayStation Music, and it will be powered by Spotify. It will be available on PS3 and PS4, as well as unnamed “Xperia smartphones and tablets”.

You may be wondering what this means for Sony’s in-house developed service called Music Unlimited. Well, nothing good as it turns out. Music Unlimited will be shut down on March 29 in all the 19 countries where it’s available. Prior to that, from February 28, all of its users with active subscriptions will get free access to the service until it closes down. Read more »

YouTube switches to HTML5 video as default

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YouTube has revealed it has switched to using HTML5 video by default. The company had already been doing so on certain browsers, including Chrome and Safari, but will now do so even on IE 11 and the latest beta versions of Firefox.

YouTube originally relied on Adobe Flash player to support all its features and be browser independent. Flash, however, is a bit of a resource hog, and also required installing the plugin on most browsers. Read more »

Dropbox acquires Pixelapse creative collaboration and version control suite

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Dropbox has recently been putting a lot of effort into expanding its service and striving for better integration with various third-party platforms and products. The latest step in this direction is the acquisition of Pixelapse with the intent to eventually integrate the interesting service into the core Dropbox experience.

Pixelapse offers a modern take on managing the workflow of various creative areas. It is intended to provide artist and designers with a fluent, intuitive and very visual way of managing the work process and collaborating. The software itself is beautifully executed both visually and in terms of performance. It runs on both Windows and OSX and is completely free for hosting public projects. Read more »

Yelp update brings event RSVP and improved photo/video upload for Android and iOS

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Online reviews service Yelp has updated its app for both Android and iOS with some small but useful features, including event RSVP and better media uploads.

The updated app now allows you to RSVP to events – you can check out your profile to see as well as comment on all the events that you’re attending. Read more »

Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder face outage

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If you are particularly addicted to your Facebook, Instagram, or Tinder social life, you may have noticed by now that none of the services are currently available.

The exact cause of the outage is unknown, but I assume whatever took down Facebook took down Instagram as well. Both services are not available on both, the web as well as the mobile apps, although WhatsApp, another Facebook owned property is working fine. Read more »

Amazon discounts Prime membership to $72 for a day

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In order to commemorate the Golden Globe awards its original show ‘Transparent’ received, Amazon have its Prime membership a serous discount. Today only, signing up for Amazon Prime will cost you $72, not the usual $99.

The $72 one-day price tag of the membership is not a coincidence. Read more »

Google will block Play Store, AdWords, and AdSense use in Crimea starting in February

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Complying with US sanctions on Crimea and following in the footsteps of Apple, Google will soon restrict the use of some of its services in the peninsula. Late last year the US government issued a new round of sanctions to retaliate against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and this is the direct result of that.

Google can’t collect money for services from the peninsula, nor can it make payments to anyone over there. So the company will cut off services – some that will mostly impact businesses, such as AdWords and AdSense, but also one that will have an effect on ordinary citizens too, namely the Play Store. Read more »

Dropbox app finally arrives on Windows phones and tablets

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Just over a couple of months after the company entered into a new partnership with Microsoft, Dropbox has announced that its cloud storage app is now available for Windows phones and tablets.

The company is claiming that the new apps will offer all the standard features, which means that you can use them to automatically back up your photos to the cloud storage service, mark files as favorites so you can access them even while offline, as well as access both your personal and work accounts at once. Read more »

Mega announces video calling service called MegaChat

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Kim Dotcom, controversial founder of the online file sharing service Mega, has announced a new service called MegaChat. MegaChat is a video calling service that competes with Skype and integrates within the Mega service within your web browser.

The main draw of MegaChat is that it is end-to-end encrypted. This is unlike Skype, which has in the past revealed to have allowed the NSA to monitor communications. MegaChat also does not require installing an application and can be accessed from within your web browser. It also uses Mega’s file sharing feature to securely share encrypted files over the video chat. Read more »

WhatsApp Web officially launches for Google Chrome, yet sans iOS support for now

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The much leaked Web interface for WhatsApp is now live. As you may have imagined, this allows you to use your computer to send and receive WhatsApp messages. But, true to this app’s very obvious “mobile first” mantra, the Web client is acting simply as an extension of your phone.

Thus, all the messages still actually live on your handset, they’re just shown to you on the Web as well. So your phone needs to be connected to the Internet while you’re using WhatsApp Web on your computer, keep that in mind. Read more »

Lyft is ditching its signature “furry” pink moustache in favour of a smaller Glowstache

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Ride-sharing startup Lyft, whose cars are identified by a large pink moustache attached to the front, is getting rid of its signature Carstache, and replacing it with the Glowstache – a much smaller, plastic mustache (about the size of a banana), that glows during night, and is designed to float on Lyft drivers’ dashboards using magnets.

“It was this big giant fuzzy thing,” said Lyft President John Zimmer, referring to the Carstache. “If you were going to an important business meeting, it might not be the best way to roll up.” Read more »