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Google social networking boss Gundotra leaving company

Senior VP of Engineering at Google Vic Gundotra before a Google event in San FranciscoSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's head of social networking services, Vic Gundotra, announced on Thursday that he is leaving the Internet search company. Gundotra, who has worked at Google for eight years, did not say where he was going in a message he posted on the Google+ social network announcing the move. In 2011, Gundotra oversaw the launch of the Google+ social network as the Internet search giant sought to catch up with Facebook Inc in the fast-growing social networking market. (Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Jan Paschal)

04/24/2014 01:48 PM

Facebook acquires fitness tracking mobile app Moves

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg smiles in the stage before delivering a keynote speech during the Mobile World Congress in BarcelonaBy Alexei Oreskovic SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc has acquired the maker of a mobile app that can track the distance consumers walk or run and measure the calories burned, giving the social networking company an entree into the nascent market for fitness and health monitoring technology. Facebook did not disclose the price it paid for ProtoGeo Oy, the 2-year-old Helsinki company that makes the Moves app. A Facebook spokesman said the price for ProtoGeo, which has fewer than 10 employees, was not anywhere near what the company had paid for other higher-profile acquisitions recently. Facebook has begun 2014 by going on a shopping spree, paying $19 billion for mobile messaging service WhatsApp in February and $2.3 billion for virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR a couple of weeks later.

04/24/2014 12:58 PM

FCC pushes back against criticism over Internet traffic plan

Attendees surf the internet at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly HillsThe U.S. communications regulator on Thursday sought to tame an outcry over "net neutrality" rules it is developing, saying the agency would make sure broadband providers which "unreasonably" discriminate against Web traffic are punished. New rules proposed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler would ban broadband providers from blocking Web content, but would allow deals with content providers to deliver Internet traffic to users faster, as long as such agreements are "commercially reasonable." Consumer advocates sharply criticized Wheeler's draft after details leaked out on Wednesday, as he prepared to share his proposal with other FCC commissioners. That may mean that some traffic, from content providers who do not pay, may be comparatively slower, discouraging users from visiting those sites. In a May 15 vote, the five-member FCC is expected to formally seek public comment on proposed new "open Internet" rules aimed at making sure Internet providers do not restrict consumers' access to online sites and applications.

04/24/2014 02:26 PM

Apple expands buybacks by $30 billion, OKs 7-for-1 stock split

Apple's iPad devices are displayed at its store in TokyoBy Edwin Chan SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc has approved another $30 billion in share buybacks till the end of 2015 and authorized a rarely seen seven-for-one stock split, addressing calls to share more of its cash hoard while broadening the stock's appeal to individual investors. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who had famously called on the iPhone maker to boost its buyback program, tweeted his approval of the move on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing the roughly 38 million that Wall Street had predicted. But whether Apple can again produce a revolutionary new product remains the central question in investors' and Silicon Valley executives' minds.

04/23/2014 08:59 PM

Big tech companies offer millions after Heartbleed crisis

A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in ParisBy Jim Finkle BOSTON (Reuters) - The world's biggest technology companies are donating millions of dollars to fund improvements in open source programs like OpenSSL, the software whose "Heartbleed" bug has sent the computer industry into turmoil. Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Facebook Inc, Google Inc, IBM, Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp are among a dozen companies that have agreed to be founding members of a group known as Core Infrastructure Initiative. Each will donate $300,000 to the venture, which is recruiting more backers among technology companies as well as the financial services sector. Other early supporters are Dell, Fujitsu Ltd NetApp Inc, Rackspace Hosting Inc and VMware Inc. The industry is stepping up after the group of developers who volunteer to maintain OpenSSL revealed that they received donations averaging about $2,000 a year to support the project, whose code is used to secure two-thirds of the world's websites and is incorporated into products from many of the world's most profitable technology companies.

04/24/2014 12:00 PM

Amazon to pay more than $300 million for HBO shows: report

Worker packs box at Amazon's logistics centre in GrabenSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc will pay more than $300 million over three years to offer older shows from premium-cable channel HBO over the next three years, tech blog Re/code reported on Thursday, citing multiple people familiar with the deal. Amazon's streaming video service will offer shows like "The Sopranos" starting next month. The deal value reported by Re/code is less than the $200 million a year estimated by analysts. HBO is owned by Time Warner Inc. (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman, Editing by Franklin Paul)

04/24/2014 12:55 PM

Helicopters Just Should NOT Go Upside Down Like This

Helicopters Just Should NOT Go Upside Down Like ThisHelicopters can feel dangerous enough when they're flying normally. But when they start doing flips, spins and nose dives, you get nervous just watching. This week, Red Bull posted a YouTube video of daredevil Chuck Aaron -- the first and only civilian pilot ever to be licensed to perform helicopter aerobatics -- doing just that. The 54-year-old pilot has spent more than 20,000 hours -- or 833 days -- in the air, so you can assume he knows what he's doing with these stunts. Without that experience, it's safe to say videos like the one above wouldn't be possible.

04/24/2014 02:31 PM

Amazon reportedly laying the groundwork for its own delivery service

Amazon reportedly laying the groundwork for its own delivery serviceIn a few years, Amazon may handle the entire delivery process for your impulse Prime purchases. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is in the early stages of branching out its delivery operation into something that could eventually compete directly against UPS and FedEx — two companies that play a critical role in getting its packages to customers today. The online retailer is already testing such a service with trucks making "last mile" drop-offs in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, according to the Journal. Aside from giving shoppers greater control over where and when they take a package, Amazon's big plan wculd also eventually cut expenses and bring the company closer to offering same-day delivery in more cities. Amazon has already its own delivery network in the UK.

04/24/2014 02:27 PM

Hulu Plus adds phone and tablet remote control to PS3, PS4 and Xbox One apps

Hulu Plus adds phone and tablet remote control to PS3, PS4 and Xbox One appsIf you've been enjoying the second screen-style remote control experience on Hulu Plus for the Chromecast, the streaming video site just announced similar support is coming to other devices. First up are the Hulu Plus apps for PS3, PS4 and Xbox One, and other devices are expected to add support soon. Similar to the second screen control Netflix and YouTube have offered, you'll need apps on both devices, logged into the same account.

04/24/2014 02:21 PM

Google Glass Now Available To Everyone

Google Glass Now Available To EveryoneIt looks like Google may be close to finally releasing a consumer version of its heads-up display. Right now, anyone in the U.S. can get a unit of Glass for $1,500 via Google's website, without an invite. Plus, Google is waving the prescription frames fee of $225.

04/24/2014 02:13 PM

It’s mostly Android deserters who buy cheap iPhones

It’s mostly Android deserters who buy cheap iPhonesIn its earnings call on Wednesday for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2014, Apple revealed that more than two out of three cheap iPhone buyers are switching over from Android, highlighting the move as a success for the company. Apple’s Tim Cook said that on the quarter, 62% of iPhone 4s buyers and 60% of iPhone 5c buyers ditched Android smartphones to purchase an iPhone. The more than two-year-old iPhone 4s was a hot seller for Apple during the period, and even though the company did not say how many iPhone 4s units it sold out of the total 43 million iPhone sales during the period. Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri said that Apple’s partnership with China Mobile and

04/24/2014 02:10 PM

Russia's Putin calls the Internet a 'CIA project'

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a media meeting organized by the Russian People's Front in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has mocked the Internet as a CIA project and pledged to protect Russia’s interest in the online industry. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin on Thursday called the Internet a CIA project and made comments about Russia's biggest search engine Yandex, sending the company's shares plummeting.

04/24/2014 02:10 PM

Drones Overhead, Seeing Everything, Always: Inside Google and Facebook's Latest Acquisitions
Imagine a fleet of drones, overhead, out of sight, tens of thousands of feet in the sky. Imagine those drones being powered by sunlight -- effectively aerial satellites that are orbiting constantly, never having to touch down for fuel. Now imagine thousands of them, perhaps tens of thousands of them, with cameras and radio repeaters on board. Such a fleet could image everything, all the time, everywhere, at high-resolution. They could also provide low-cost communications -- effectively cellphone towers 60,000 feet tall. ...
04/24/2014 02:05 PM

Landlords Accused Of Kicking Out Tenants To List On Airbnb

Landlords Accused Of Kicking Out Tenants To List On AirbnbSan Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera has sued several landlords he alleges evicted their tenants in order to list the apartments for elevated rates on short-term rental sites like Airbnb. In a statement released Wednesday, Herrera announced these are only the first of many investigations his office is conducting in effort to crack down on housing violations aggravating the city’s escalating unaffordability. ...

04/24/2014 02:00 PM

Google's Take Your Classroom to Work Day takes kids on virtual field trips

Google's Take Your Classroom to Work Day takes kids on virtual field tripsTake Your Child to Work Day gives a sense of what parents' jobs are like, but Google knows that kids can't always afford go to the office. Accordingly, the company is bringing the office to the kids through its first-ever Take Your Classroom to Work Day. The April 24th initiative uses Hangouts video chats to show workplaces that even the luckiest students might never see in person, such as the Chicago Bulls' locker room and the Stan Winston School of Special Effects.

04/24/2014 01:55 PM

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