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Mom sues Google after 5-year-old spends $65 on virtual currency

I had thought that, when it comes to tech, it was kids' job to educate their parents.

Perhaps that's why some parents don't get around to explaining to their kids that they shouldn't spend real money to buy funny money. (Yes, even Bitcoin.)

When the real money gets spent, parents don't find it funny at all. One New York mom was so livid when her 5-year-old spent $65.95 while playing the seminal game Marvel Run Jump Smash! that she decided to sue.

She believes she's been the victim of a run, jump, smash, and … Read more

Does Google buying Green Throttle point to a set-top box?

Google's newest acquisition could point to the company adding snazzy gaming components to its rumored upcoming set-top box. The Web giant confirmed on Tuesday that it recently snapped up Green Throttle Games.

Green Throttle Games is known for its Bluetooth Atlas controller and Android Arena app that let users convert smartphones or tablets into makeshift consoles. In a cryptic message posted to its Web site in November, Green Throttle announced that its Arena app would no longer be available and all backend support for the app was ending.

"Stick around and we'll keep you posted on the … Read more

Google Docs and Sheets now include third-party add-ons

Google on Tuesday announced the launch of add-on features for Google Docs and Sheets.

The launch opens up the software to work with outside developers, who will be able to offer up integrations that can help with specific tasks, like printing labels or sending customized emails. Like an app store, the idea is to give users access to tools that other engineers have dreamed up, instead of only having to rely on what Google has built.

To add on, well, an add-on, open up a Google doc or spreadsheet, click on the "Add-on" menue, and click "Get … Read more

Google offers new sales options for Chrome Web Store

Google has added new options for developers selling software through its Chrome Web Store.

Those selling software for Google's Chrome browser and Chrome OS operating system now have a variety of new sales possibilities, according to a blog post Tuesday by Chary Chen of the Chrome Web Store team. Among those options are the ability to offer:

Free trials of Chrome extensions and Chrome packaged apps.

Themes that cost money.

Extensions and packaged apps that include in-app payment possibilities.

Subscriptions for Chrome extensions.

Google's Chrome Web Store has brought the app store approach to Web apps and to … Read more

Apple won't own the dashboard with CarPlay

At the 2014 Geneva auto show, we got the first hands-on demonstrations of CarPlay, the feature of iOS7 that Apple announced last year as iOS in the Car. From comments on the Internet, you might think Apple software has now taken over car dashboards, leaving Android users with the choice to convert or walk.

It may seem unlikely, but many Internet commenters are wrong, at least about CarPlay. I was one of the first journalists to get a demonstration of the system at the show, and I was impressed.

Click here to read my take on the CarPlay demonstration.

Rather … Read more

Google paves the way for more wearable apps

CNET Update finds these drones stunning:

In this episode of Update:

- Get ready for more Android apps that work on smartwatches. Google is launching a software development kit for Android on wearable gadgets.

- Update to iOS 7.1, now that Apple added new features and bug fixes to its mobile operating system.

- Spoil the official reveal of HTC's new flagship phone with new leaked photos popping up online.

- Listen to what Edward Snowden said at SXSW. It was his first time speaking to a public audience since he left the country for exposing classified documents … Read more

Google launches referral program for enterprise apps

Google is hoping customers can spread the word on its suite of productivity apps.

The company on Monday announced a bounty program, offering to pay people $15 for every new user they refer to Google Apps -- a group of business-targeted software that includes Google Docs, Hangouts, and Drive.

"The referral program makes it easy to share Google Apps with your network and show them how they too can use these tools at work," wrote Prajesh Parekh, a Google Apps marketing rep.

The program is currently available to people in the US and Canada.

Google's Pichai touts wearables SDK, 'APIs for hardware'

AUSTIN, Texas -- Google plans on releasing an Android software developer kit for wearables within two weeks.

That was the biggest announcement from Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android and Chrome, during an on-stage interview with John Battelle on Sunday at South by Southwest.

But during the hour-long talk, Pichai also discussed a wide range of issues related to how Google imagines its two operating systems being rolled out around the world, and how people will use and implement them.

Pichai's announcement of the new Android wearables SDK came as he discussed the potentially huge market for the … Read more

Google to launch SDK for Android wearables in two weeks

Google plans to release a software development kit in the next two weeks that will allow third-party developers to create Android software for use on wearable computing devices

The announcement was made Sunday by Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president of Android, Apps, and Chrome, during a panel discussion with John Battelle at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.

"In two weeks we are launching the first developer SDK for Android," Pichai said. "That will lay out the vision for developers in how we see this market working."

Likening the evolution of wearable … Read more

Schmidt: Not even US gov't can get at Google user data

Though he didn't get into specifics, Google's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, told a packed house in Austin, Texas, on Friday that the company has completed its efforts to secure user data against unauthorized access.

On the first day of the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference, Schmidt told panel moderator Stephen Levy of Wired that the solution to governmental intrusions was "to encrypt data more."

"We are pretty sure that now the info inside of Google is safe from prying eyes, including those of the US government," said Schmidt, who clarified that his company … Read more