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Google Translate review

One of the most accessible translating apps currently available on Android, Google Translate does a great job at translating individual words but stumbles often when it comes to sentences, especially longer ones. Still, it remains a highly convenient real-time translator with support for all the major languages of the globe and great features like speech and camera translation, as well as offline support.

Google Translate comes with a polished, streamlined interface that's a pleasure to use. The real-time conversion means that if you don't get a word right, you can quickly try a synonym. But that won't … Read more

Google speeds WebP image format, brings animation support to Chrome

Google has built a new version of its WebP software into Chrome to let browsers display its image format 25 percent faster, the company said Friday.

The better performance new libwebp 0.4.0 is part of Google's general effort to speed up the Web, and the new software also uses less memory and fixes an issue that had blocked Google from supporting animated WebP images. The updated WebP support is built into the version of Chrome that's currently in beta.

Animated GIF images, popular on sites such as Tumblr and Imgur, are the last remaining holdout for … Read more

10 must-see videos of the week

Welcome to the weekend! We're getting you caught up with all the hottest happenings this week in CNET video right here.

Earlier this week, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony unveiled its own virtual-reality PlayStation 4 headset, and for now it's called Project Morpheus. While the product is still in concept, Brian Tong was able to take this immersive reality headset for a test spin and runs down some of the early specs in our First Take.

In the latest episode of The Fix, we'll help you master the art of smartphone photography with … Read more

Google: No, no. You've got Glass all wrong

Something I've learned over the last few years is that Google is always right.

It criticizes the NSA for snooping, when it quite happily crawls all over your e-mails. But it's right, because it's for your own good.

It pumps ads at you even when you're writing e-mails, but it's right to do so. Because these ads are far better than all the other ads you'll see on the Web.

And then there's Google Glass, which Google insists isn't a creepy, awkward intrusion into public and private life. So Google must be right.

Well, except that those who have so far resisted a Google chip being implanted into their brains still feel that Glass might be for the self-righteous, rather than the normal human being.

Of late, Google seems to have adopted a crouching posture, as the criticisms and humor have rained its way. … Read more

The thinnest and lightest small tablets

In the beginning, tablets looked more like the televisions that strap onto the back of a car's seat more than something out of "2001: A Space Odyssey." However, I'm happy to report that the times have changed and so have tablet designs.

After Apple released the iPad (let's give credit where credit is due), aesthetics and design became a more prominent selling-point for the emerging portable devices. Overall, tablet girth has declined, ushering in the new era of thin slates, and we've gathered the ones so sleek, their predecessors wouldn't even recognize them … Read more

Gmail: Encryption is now mandatory

Google has removed your ability to get out of encrypting your Gmail, the company announced Thursday.

This follows a 2010 decision to make HTTPS the default for Gmail communications, but up until today Google had given users the ability to not use encryption. Four years ago, the company explained the opt-out as necessary because encryption could "make your mail slower."

"The team has been working hard to mitigate any performance costs, which now puts us in a position where it no longer makes sense to allow HTTP connections," a Google spokesperson told CNET. "The large … Read more

Install the Android Wear launcher on your Android device

Earlier this week Google announced Android Wear, the platform that's going to bring Android to more wearables in the very near future. Along with the announcement, it also released a developer preview of the operating system for developers to begin working magic with. Naturally the preview included an emulator for devs to preview their work on. It didn't take long for the emulator to be extracted and turned into an installable APK for Android devices.

What this means for curious Android users running Android 4.4 and above is that you can install the Android Wear launcher on … Read more

Flowery Google Doodle heralds first day of spring

I hate winter. I despise it. I loathe it. I detest it. I abhor it. In case you haven't gotten the message, it's not exactly my favorite time of year. That's why I welcomed the latest Google Doodle celebrating the vernal equinox, otherwise known this time of year as the first day of spring.

Occurring twice a year, once three weeks into March and again at the same point in September, the equinox marks the time when the sun aims its rays directly at the equator. That means people in both the northern and southern hemispheres enjoy … Read more

Huawei drops plan for dual Android-Windows Phone device

Huawei has reversed course on plans for a handset equipped with both Android and Windows Phone.

In a statement sent to FierceWireless on Wednesday, the China-based mobile phone vendor indicated it will continue to support Android and Windows Phone but as separate items.

"Huawei Consumer Business Group adopts an open approach towards mobile operating systems to provide a range of choices for consumers," the company said in its statement. "However, most of our products are based on Android OS, [and] at this stage there are no plans to launch a dual-OS smartphone in the near future."… Read more

White House embarks on climate change mapping project

The White House wants people and communities to be prepared for extreme weather events spurred by climate change, like coastal flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires. So, it's making data sets and maps from some of the country's top agencies available to the public in it's newly launched "Climate Data Initiative."

The maps and data sets are being collected in one Web site, data.gov/climate, which is full of open government data on the country's infrastructure and geographical features, like bridges, roads, tunnels, canals, and river gauges. The information comes from agencies such as NASA, … Read more