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Report: Google readying its checkbook

One clear sign that Google is feeling better about its business prospects? Its CEO is in a buying mood.

Google's Eric Schmidt said Monday the company was "seriously looking at acquisitions" in an interview with Nikkei spotted and translated by Dow Jones Newswires. The intent appears to involve start-ups working on cloud computing technologies, a huge area of focus for Google with projects like Wave, Chrome OS, and Google Apps.

Back in March, Schmidt was less bullish about the prospects of cutting a deal based on the economic conditions at the time and the prices on the … Read more

The future of Apple, Google, and Microsoft is...already here

We like to ascribe secret designs--nefarious and otherwise--to software vendors. Super-secretive Apple, in particular, tends to excite endless rumor-mongering as to what it's up to. It seems to me, however, that Apple and its top competitors, including Google and Microsoft, are increasingly transparent about their plans. We simply don't pay attention to the signs.

Let's start with Apple. The big rumor at present is the company's alleged work on a tablet computer, kicked off by The Wall Street Journal's bold declaration that "people familiar with the situation" suggest Apple is working on "… Read more

GPS device maps show their age

User-generated data may be the answer to the GPS navigation industry's problem of outdated maps on user devices, say industry voices.

According to Ed Parsons, Google's geospatial technologist, the reason users encounter inaccurate road layouts and landmark placements on their GPS devices is that it takes a long time getting updated maps to users.

From the mapping of roads to getting the maps updated and onto distribution channels such as garages, people can expect their maps to be over two years old, even on new devices, Parsons said in an interview with ZDNet Asia.

Even buying maps online … Read more

Gmail outage blamed on capacity miscalculation

Google's nearly two-hour Gmail outage Tuesday was the result of a miscalculation regarding the capacity of its system, the company said late Tuesday.

Gmail was down from about 12:30 p.m. PDT Tuesday to about 2:30 p.m. PDT, affecting millions of Gmail customers who depend on the service for everything from fantasy football roster updates to business-critical information. The problem was caused by a classic cascade in which servers became overwhelmed with traffic in rapid succession.

According to Google, the problem began when it took several Gmail servers offline for maintenance, a routine procedure that normally … Read more

Sprint's Hero gets a face-lift

It's been a long summer for Sprint customers waiting to purchase a Google Android phone. Sprint has confirmed that it would launch at least one Android device, but have given no specifics since then. Mounting evidence now points to an October release and new photos reveal what their first Android phone might look like.

We've long expected that the HTC Hero would appear on Sprint first. The phone first launched in the U.K. and was made popular by the new HTC Sense user interface.

First it was reported by an inside source that the HTC Hero would … Read more

Jaycee's alleged kidnapper on Google Street View?

Few could imagine a more chilling tale of depravity than the story that has emerged over the last few days concerning the kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard.

While her alleged kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, has now been revealed to have penned a disturbing blog, some commenters on Boing Boing have uncovered visuals from Google Street View that they believe show him in pursuit of a Google car.

Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin has posted a series of Street View shots in which a van is seen progressing from Garrido's address in Antioch, Calif., toward a Street View car.

At Boing Boing, … Read more

Gmail users suffer through outage

Most Gmail users were unable to get to their accounts on Tuesday as an outage struck the Google e-mail service. Google said service returned to normal at about 2:40 p.m. PDT for most users.

"We're aware of a problem with Google Mail affecting a majority of users. The affected users are unable to access Google Mail," Google said at 12:53 p.m. PDT on its Google Apps status dashboard after it discovered the problem.

However, hours later, the problems persisted for many, and the Twittersphere was abuzz with griping.

The problems appeared to affect … Read more

Google gets what Mozilla wants: a Sony preinstall

Mozilla's Firefox has maintained its steady ascent against Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the global browser market, hitting 22.98 percent vs. IE's 66.97 percent.

However, Sony has now given Google's Chrome browser something that Mozilla has struggled to obtain: a preinstall deal. As CNET reports, Google Chrome is being installed on Windows PCs alongside IE, with other distribution deals likely.

Finally, a clear choice for consumers.

Google Chrome still accounts for less than 3 percent of the global browser market, but it has something that even Firefox can't match: a dominant, global consumer brand. … Read more

Sony shipping Chrome on Vaios

Google promised earlier this year that a major computer maker would start to ship its Chrome browser.

Sony's the one.

Sony's Vaio line has begun carrying the browser in the U.S., the Financial Times reported late Monday.

According to a Dow Jones report, all Vaio-branded PCs are now using Chrome as their default browser. A Sony representative told Dow Jones that there are no plans to add Chrome to Vaios outside the U.S.

Vaios will continue to come with Microsoft's Internet Explorer in tandem.

The Financial Times also reported that other companies are in talks … Read more

An author's guide to the Google Books flap

The issues surrounding Google's Book Search settlement are among the most complex surrounding the company this year: what do authors need to know about their rights and responsibilities?

Google has scanned over 10 million books since 2004 in participation with libraries and publishers in hopes of creating a unique digital library and storefront, and if its pending settlement with books rights holders is approved next month at a hearing, Google will be able to make a far greater portion of those works available through its search engine. Friday is the deadline for authors to decide if they want to … Read more