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We built this city

Links from Thursday's episode of Loaded:

The makers of FarmVille are set to launch CityVille

Apple had to battle Amazon and Google for rights to The Beatles' music

AT&T has a MiFi wireless router now too, catching up to the other major carriers

You can now edit Google Docs on a mobile device

Google makes peace with book publisher Hachette Livre in France with an agreement to scan and sell digital books

A Japanese vending machine uses facial recognition to recommend a drink based on demographics

How Google Docs won me over

With a single new feature added to its online word processor yesterday, Google has diminished many concerns I had about taking the cloud-computing plunge a few months ago.

That feature, autocorrect in Google Docs, fixes common typos such as converting "teh" into "the." In and of itself, it's not a game-changer.

But it carried outsized importance for me because it was one of the things I missed most about Microsoft Word and because it gives me faith that Google Docs is headed in the right direction.

As if to validate my new optimism, Google today announced an improvement that's much larger than a single feature: the ability to edit Google Docs from Android phones, iPhones, and iPads. Google Spreadsheets already were editable with some mobile phone browsers.

Google Docs, which has grown considerably since Google's 2006 acquisition of Writely, consists mainly of word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation modules that compete with Microsoft Office's Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It's become a standard-bearer for the Web applications movement and, with Google selling it in premium form along with Gmail for $50 per user per year in the form of Google Apps, Google's next billion-dollar revenue stream after advertising. … Read more

Report: Facebook event Monday relates to Office

Facebook is holding an event next week as part of the Web 2.0 Summit taking place in San Francisco, and, according to ZDNet, the topic du jour will be deeper integration between the 500 million user-strong social network and Microsoft's Office Web Apps service.

Facebook and Microsoft already collaborate on a variant of the Web-based Office suite called Docs, which the two companies launched together in late April. However, ZDNet says that this new version will be more closely integrated into Facebook's in-box experience, which is said to be getting an overhaul that builds in Microsoft's … Read more

Google Docs may soon offer cloud printing, device syncing

A peek at the source code behind Google Docs by a third-party blog site offers a tantalizing hint of some features that may be around the corner.

The Web site Google Operating System (no relation to Google itself) revealed yesterday that it dug into the source code of Google Docs to find a message that said simply: "Coming soon: Third party applications, cloud printers, and sync devices."

Cloud printing, which lets you print to any local or shared printer without the need for a print driver, is a feature that Google has teased for awhile. The company has … Read more

See the doc

Microsoft Word has long been the standard word-processing software, but it's undergone many changes and upgrades in its many years of service. Those still using older versions of Word often can't open newer Word documents in the .docx format, but what if you don't have Word at all? Anyone who needs to open .dockx files created in Word 2007 or 2010 can download DocX Viewer. It's a free utility for opening and viewing newer Word documents, even if you don't have Word or a Word-compatible word processor. You can open and view Word documents in … Read more

The 404 694: Where all kids in the future wear their pants inside out (podcast)

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the original "Back to the Future" release, so today we're running down the top 21 BTTF2 innovations everyone is still waiting to see. The list includes classic BTTF gadgets like Marty's self-drying jacket, the Mr. Fusion home energy reactor, and of course flying cars in the Skyway, but there are a few inventions on here that actually do exist in some form or another.

For example, cops in the 21st century may not have scrolling LED hats, but walk into any mall and you'll see a dude walking around in an LED message belt buckle. Same goes for bar code license plates and modern vehicle identification numbers.

Be sure to check to see if your local movie theater is screening the movie tonight at 7 p.m., exactly 25 years from when Marty first went back in time!

Halloween is coming up fast, and the holiday wouldn't be complete without the annual American tradition of forcing your dog to wear uncomfortable costumes for the enjoyment of others. On Saturday I attended the yearly Halloween dog parade in Tompkins Square Park, so check out that link to see some of the funnier costumes, like the "Tron" console, a couple of bedbugs, and my favorite: Antoine Dogson.

In other nerdly news, 23-year-old Brittney Schnecks just finished rebuilding her 1994 Dodge Caravan to look exactly like the Ninja Turtles van from the comic book/cartoon series!

A dedicated fan of the original TV series, Brittney has been building the van since last July using money she saved at her cashier's job. She used a Dodge Caravan instead of a VW due to availability of parts, but the final outcome looks great and even includes fake gun turrets, a spoiler, and hand-painted decals!

Finally, thanks to the two Zachs and Jennifer in the U.K. for sending the following video voicemails. We love watching these, so keep them coming by sending your YouTube link to the404(at)cnet.com!

Jenny from the U.K. has a message for the dudes.

Zach thinks The 404 is the best...we agree!

Episode 694 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

Google Docs coming to iPad, Android

Owners of iPads and Android devices looking to be a little more productive may be in luck.

Google plans "in the next few weeks" to offer its Docs productivity suite for Apple's iPad tablet and for devices with Google's Android OS, the company announced at its Google Atmosphere event in Paris yesterday.

Google didn't say which Android-based devices will work with Google Docs. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Google's decision to bring its productivity suite to the iPad could be the most important aspect of its announcement. Currently, Apple sells its iWork suite, … Read more

The Outlook for Google Docs is Harmonie

Google Docs untethers business users, and Microsoft Outlook anchors the business world; when they meet, they make harmony. Or, more precisely, Harmonie makes them: it's a free add-in from Mainsoft that brings easy access to your Google Docs from inside Outlook. You can edit, export, organize, star, hide, share, and search for documents from Outlook, and drag documents directly into the Harmonie for Google Docs sidebar to automatically upload them to your free Google Docs account. You can even share documents with selected contacts in your Outlook and Gmail address books, and recipients can view and edit the documents … Read more

Microsoft updates Office Web Apps, Facebook Docs

Although officially only two months old, Microsoft's Office Web Apps is already growing up a bit.

To satisfy just some of the many user requests for new features, Microsoft this week updated its online version of Office with enhancements to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

One of the most requested features, according to a company blog post, was the ability to print from the Word editor. Previously, you could only print from the Word viewer. Clicking on the File menu in the Word Web App editor now displays a Print command that lets you send a document to your local … Read more