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Apple Maps may be heading in better direction

CNET Update rounds up the rumors:

In this episode of Update:

- Hold on to hope that Apple Maps will improve in iOS 8.

- Get a warning about the password-free period for in-app purchases on iOS 7.1. (Google is hit with a lawsuit over the same issue.)

- Find new incentives to join Amazon Prime with reports of Amazon's upcoming music-streaming service and a video-streaming box.

- Watch for Google to create a game system after its acquisition of Green Throttle.

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every … 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

Keurig 2.0 brews up DRM to freeze out copycat cups

In an effort to reclaim control over the single-serve coffee market, Keurig parent company Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' new generation of "Keurig 2.0" brewers will include interactive readers programmed to work only with Keurig-licensed K-Cups. The company confirmed the news in a recent earnings call, as reported by Techdirt. The new brewers are due out in stores later this year.

The move comes at a time when Keurig's grip on the booming single-serve coffee market might be slipping. The company's original K-Cup patent expired at the end of 2012, and not surprisingly, bargain-priced competitor cups … Read more

GL Golf for Mac review

GL Golf for Mac provides a realistic virtual golf experience by employing responsive physics and features such as water hazards. You're able to customize the appearance of your character as well as the environment, and you can choose from three difficulty levels. While lacking online multiplayer, the game provides a global leaderboard.

When launched, GL Golf for Mac presents you with its main settings screen. There you can choose the type of game, weather conditions, time of day, number of players, and difficulty, as well as customize the player's appearance and the clubs they will use. Through the … Read more

Tim Cook advises climate change deniers to get out of Apple stock

In his job as Apple CEO, Tim Cook is mostly known for having a demeanor that's in some ways antithetical to that of Steve Jobs. Instead of bombast and bold claims, Cook's soothing Southern-tinged speech and steely temperament have marked him as a man whose head could be nothing but level. That is, unless you're a shareholder who thinks climate change is bogus.

At Apple's annual shareholder meeting Friday, Cook shot down the suggestion from a conservative, Washington, D.C.-based think tank that Apple give up on environmental initiatives that don't contribute to the … Read more

Washing machine uses beads for clear savings

Everyone knows a washing machine requires water and detergent to clean your clothes.

So when you think about halving that amount of water and adding beads -- yes, imagine beads flinging around in the washing machine -- into the equation, it might sound a little off.

But that wasn't the case for University of Leeds' Stephen Burkinshaw, professor of textile chemistry, and his students.

They have developed a washing machine that uses nearly 1.5 million tiny polymer beads mixed with a small cup of water and detergent to thoroughly clean one load of laundry.… Read more

Tesla raising nearly $2B for battery-building 'gigafactory'

Tesla is raising up to $1.84 billion dollars to realize its plans of a massive, lithium-ion battery-producing plant -- dubbed the "gigafactory" by CEO Elon Musk -- that will, among other things, help it more quickly and efficiently develop, bring to market, and produce its cheaper third-generation electric car, the company announced Wednesday.

"Tesla intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to accelerate the growth of its business in the US and internationally, for the development and production of its "Gen III" mass market vehicle, the development of the Tesla Gigafactory, and … Read more

Microsoft's hardware chief changes roles before Elop return

Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green announced Monday she is leaving her role as leader of hardware development to lead the My Life & Work team inside the Applications and Services Group.

Larson-Green, who announced the move in an internal memo obtained by GeekWire, also will serve as chief experience officer for the division, which oversees online services such as Bing, Outlook.com, MSN, and SkyDrive. She will report to Qi Lu, who runs the Applications and Services Group.

Before taking over development of hardware such as the Xbox and Surface last July, Larson-Green was tapped to lead all Windows software and … Read more

Elon Musk talks Tesla Model X details, Model S upgrades, at Europe Q+A Sessions

Tesla Motors is notoriously stingy with information about its cars and future plans, to the great frustration of news-hungry Model S owners and fans.

But in a Q & A session in Norway on February 1, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company's CTO JB Straubel revealed several intriguing tidbits about the Model S, the upcoming Model X electric SUV, and the company's planned mass-market Model E sedan.

Among the Model X highlights:

The Model X will have the same wheelbase as the Model S, and its length will be within 5 cm (about 2 inches). Width will … Read more

Bio-on hopes its bioplastics will replace metal, too (Q&A)

The automotive industry is famously reliant on the oil industry for fuel. But a partnership between Italian startup Bio-on and automotive supply giant Magna could reduce that reliance just a little by introducing plastic components derived from plants, not petrochemicals.

On Thursday, Bio-on announced an exclusive partnership with Magna International, a 125,000-employee automotive supplier to BMW and many other companies. Through the partnership, Magna will investigate "how production of this natural polyester product can be elevated to an industrial, cost-effective scale" and integrated with manufacturing processes, the companies said.

It's a feather in the cap of … Read more