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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 16

Apple drops $30 million to buy talk radio app Swell

Fans of talk radio may be familiar with the app called Swell. It's rather like Pandora, but specifically for talk radio and the company behind the app had raised $7.2 million from investors. Word has surfaced from multiple sources that Apple has now purchased Swell for about $30 million.

 

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Apple has been on a buying spree of late with the massive $3 billion purchase of Beats and another purchase of a book recommendation service called BookLamp. Swell is an app designed to make it easy to listen to talk radio and podcasts in your car.

 

With Apple purchasing Swell, the app will be shut down this week. That is definitely not good news for fans of the app, but Apple is likely to integrate the tech into one of its existing apps. Odds are Swell tech will be used to replace Apple's own Podcast app. A large portion of the Swell team will be joining Apple.

Google photographs Liberty and Ellis Islands for Google Maps

Google has been mapping tourist locations around the world for years now and puts the images it generates into virtual tours you can take via Google Maps. Reports have come in that indicate Google is now getting ready to make tours of Ellis Island and Liberty Island available for virtual tours.

 

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Google has reportedly been collecting images of both islands in preparation to add the content to its online maps service. The images were taken by a Google backpack wearing man named Alberto Elias according to the NYT. The reason it's taken so long to get access to Liberty and Ellis islands is that the National Park Service operates them and a long process has to be worked through to gain access to the islands.

 

The Trekker backpack has 15 cameras along with GPS and a laser system on top that is used to measure the distance to objects. Liberty Island is a heavily visited landmark and the faces of those in the images will be blurred out before they are put online.

Crytek says that it is going through a 'transitional phase'

Crytek has been going some tough times lately, not paying its employees on time, key talent leaving, and more, but the German studio behind CryEngine and Crysis has finally made a formal statement to GamesIndustry.

 

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The company said that it "has been in a transitional phase" as it changes from being a developer to an online publisher, something that requires considerable sums of money. Crytek said that it has secured the money required, and is better prepared for the long term, but added that "we won't be communicating further details about our developments and progress".

Continue reading 'Crytek says that it is going through a 'transitional phase'' (full post)

Verizon will be pumping the brakes on its unlimited LTE plans

It looks like Verizon is about to make its unlimited LTE plans a little less appealing by throttling customers who download too much. Droid Life has confirmed that Verizon will be reducing the speed of its consumers' unlimited LTE plans once they reach a certain amount of traffic.

 

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This magic number is set at 4.7GB, and is the result of something Verizon is labeling as "Network Optimization". This will see unlimited LTE users experiencing throttled speeds once they jump over 4.7GB of usage within a month, is on an unlimited data plan, and in a two-year contract, and attemps to "use data on a cell site that is experiencing high demand".

Google purchase of Twitch has been confirmed

It has now been confirmed by a source that Google has signed a deal that sees it buying live streaming firm Twitch used by gamers all around the world. The confirmation comes from people who claim to be familiar with the deal, and according to the source, the transaction cost Google $1 billion.

 

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It's unclear when the deal will be announced no confirmation form Google or Twitch has been made so far. Some analysts feel that the deal emphasizes the increasing appeal of watching live gaming as a competitive sport.

 

Reports indicated in the past that Google had made an all cash offer to buy Twitch. Google certainly has the money sitting in its coffers to make an all cash purchase. Twitch is a service that allows people to broadcast their game play live on the PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

Oyster all you can read digital book service hits browsers

If you really like to read a lot, you may already have a subscription to Oyster. Oyster is a subscription service that gives you access to around 100,000 digital books for a monthly fee of $9.95. The service has been around for about ten months now and started on iOS.

 

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Not too long ago Oyster expanded to Android and the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets as well. The library Oyster offers has also grown to about 500,000 titles. Some more good news has come from Oyster this week as it has announced subscribers can now read via a browser.

 

Begin able to read via a browser means that you can open your favorite book on a computer and read all you want. Amazon plans to compete with Oyster and recently announced Kindle Unlimited with 600,000 titles available for the same monthly fee as Oyster.

Comixology now offers DRM-free digital comics to fans

Comixology is a digital distributor of comic books that was purchased by Amazon in April of this year. During Comic-Con international in San Diego this week, the company made an announcement that fans of digital comic books will love.

 

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Comixology is ready to offer users a number of DRM-free comic books. With no DRM to mess things up, buyers of the digital comics can copy and share DRM-free comic books and can store them on their devices permanently. This may seem a bit strange to fans of comics considering that Comixology was reportedly working to get the tools for stripping DRM taken off Github not long ago.

 

The important thing here is that this announcement doesn't mean all comics the site offers will be DRM-free. Publishers of the digital comics will have the option of making them DRM-free if they choose.

Google approves only about 50% of right to be forgotten requests

Google has found itself in hot water over how it is handling the right to be forgotten requests it receives in Europe. Google lost a case not too long ago that meant it has to remove links to some stories about people, if asked by the person the story is about.

 

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Google has reportedly only granted half of all right to be forgotten requests sent in by consumers so far. Requests to have content forgotten have been coming in since May and so far 91,000 requests have been made, with only about half granted according to a source.

 

Google reportedly believes that the ruling on the right to be forgotten case strikes the wrong balance between the right to be forgotten and the right to know for other consumers. Google has been notifying publishers when a link to a story is removed under the right to be forgotten ruling to give the publisher a chance to fight the removal.

Alienware announces it now accepts bitcoin as payment, offers $150 off

It was only a few days ago that the now privately-owned Dell opened up another payment option: bitcoin. Now the company has announced that its subsidiary arm, Alienware, also accepts the digital currency as payment for its custom-made goods.

 

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Alienware took to Twitter to announce the news, with @Alienware saying: "Alienware now accepts Bitcoin! For a limited time, get up to $150 off when using this payment method! http://www.alienware.com/". As you can see, Alienware is actually offering $150 off any purchase on its goods when using bitcoin, which is a nice way of attracting some new customers.

Amazon adds hundreds of thousands of tracks to Prime Music catalog

Amazon is doing very well with its Prime service that offers free and discounted shipping on thousands of items on its website. Amazon also offers Prime subscribers access to streaming video and recently added free music streaming to the mix.

 

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Amazon has announced that it has now added hundreds of thousands more songs to its music library to address one of its main drawbacks at launch. When Prime Music launched it lacked song selection and a mix of current hits. The expanded offerings include artists new to Prime music and additional tracks from artists already available.

 

Among the new artists added to the catalog are David Guetta, Al Green, Miles Davis, Kendrick Lamar, Linkin Park, Shakira, Deadmau5, Ella Fitzgerald, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Neil Young, DJ Snake & Lil Jon, Young the Giant, A$AP Rocky, Elvis, Oasis, Kacey Musgraves, Ray Charles, Panic! at the Disco, Wyclef Jean, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Skrillex, and John Coltrane among others. Many of those aren't exactly current, but more music is a good thing. Amazon still has no deal in place with Universal, which is the home of some of the most popular artists of today.

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