posted 5 days ago on the next web
The BBC is giving the free BBC News app for iOS and Android its first major redesign since it launched in 2010. The new app will roll out for both platforms in the UK over the next few days and go global over the next few months. The new app showcases top stories, most watched stories and live coverage with personally selected and recommended topics based on what you read and what’s trending. The update now lets you follow topics that particularly interest you, bring them together in the My News section. There’s access to live coverage from the BBC News channel and… This story continues at The Next Web

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If you still enjoy using a pen and paper for sketches and notes in 2015, this is for you. The Equil Smartpen 2 lets you draw and write naturally on any kind of paper or on your iOS/Android device, and captures your ideas digitally — so you can continue your work on mobile devices or desktops. Perfect for taking notes at meetings and lectures, or for sketching ideas and illustration, the Equil Smartpen 2 uses real ballpoint ink cartridges so that it feels just like a real pen. And when you’re done working, the Smartpen saves your notes to the… This story continues at The Next Web

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Tech companies including Google and O2 will support a £3.6 million campaign to improve the teaching of computing skills in England’s primary schools. The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, will announce the partnerships at the BETT educational technology show later today. In her speech, Morgan will say that schools should be better connected to technology firms and announce a series of projects linking schools, universities and businesses to strengthen the computing curriculum. The initiatives will include a university consortium, including Queen Mary University London and Hertford College, Oxford, which will collaborate with Google to produce training materials to encourage the development of… This story continues at The Next Web

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Apple has acquired Semetric, the London-based startup behind music analytics service Musicmetric. The news was first reported by Music Ally and independently confirmed by The Next Web. Semetric hasn’t commented on the deal but Apple confirmed it to Music Ally in a boilerplate statement. No information on the terms or acquisition price has been revealed so far. However, TNW has learned the deal is likely worth less than the reported $100 million Spotify paid for Echo Nest. Musicmetric was launched in 2008 and offers a dashboard for music industry clients to track social and sales analytics as well as streaming data. We’re hearing that, similar to Apple hiring… This story continues at The Next Web

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Dropbox has just bought CloudOn, a mobile productivity startup based in Herzliya, Israel, for an undisclosed sum. CloudOn made a name for itself with apps that allow users to create and edit Microsoft Office files online and on mobile devices. The company says it will shut down its service, currently being used by nine million people worldwide, on March 15 and won’t be accepting new users from today. CloudOn’s 30-member team will be the largest acquisition for Dropbox in terms of staff numbers. ➤ CloudOn joins Dropbox [ CloudOn via TechCrunch]

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Google has announced today that it is simplifying the process for merchants to apply to its Trusted Stores certification program. Interested stores can sign up by providing details about their business and adding two snippets of code to their site to get started. They will no longer need to submit shipment and cancellations feeds, and can now specify a custom position for the Trusted Stores badge on their sites and display it on HTTPS pages. Google says it has been running its Trusted Stores program in the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan for a few months, and that hundreds of merchants… This story continues at The Next Web

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UK ISP Sky has announced in a blog post that it will block pornographic content on its broadband service by default, in an effort to protect children from visiting unsuitable sites. Going forward, Sky Broadband Shield, the company’s content permission tool, will be set to ‘on’ for all users, unless they opt out. Once the tool is activated, those who wish to view adult content will need to log in and adjust their Sky Broadband Shield protection settings or turn it off manually in order to view filtered sites. Users who don’t want to use Sky Broadband Shield can set… This story continues at The Next Web

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PlayStation Network members across the US, Canada, Latin America and a few other regions can now use Plex, the media organization and streaming app on their PS3 and PS4 consoles. Plex brings together local media like movies, TV shows, music and photos into an information-rich library and allows users to access and stream this content across their devices. At launch, Plex for PlayStation will only support video streaming, but Sony says that music and photo streaming will follow shortly. While Plex has been capable of streaming music for a long time, it recently added new features to display metadata and generate… This story continues at The Next Web

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Last year we wrote about We Are Social’s huge report on everything internet, mobile and social and the company is back with an even bigger report on trends than last year. In this year’s huge 376 page report, the social marketing agency details how the internet has changed in the last year in-depth. If you ever wanted a single place to get statistics from all around the world, this is it. The company says that there are now half a billion more people online than in the last report, clocking in at 3 billion users and that half of the… This story continues at The Next Web

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Amazon Prime users in Canada can now use the company’s free Prime Photos service to store as many photos as they like in the cloud. Amazon had made this service available to US and UK customers last November. Prime Photos allows users to upload full resolution photos from Mac and Windows desktops, as well as iOS and Android devices and Amazon Fire tablets. Prime members can access their photo collections on Fire tablets and iOS and Android devices. ➤ Amazon Prime Photos  

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posted 6 days ago on the next web
QualityTime, a new app for Android devices which launched today, hopes to make you more aware of how much time you spend on your device. The app keeps track of your usage habits; everything from time spent on individual apps to the number of times your phone was accessed, to help paint a picture of your phone usage throughout the week. After QualityTime has been installed for a while and has some data you can quickly view your top usage by day and drill down into what apps you use most at particular times during the day. If you’re worried about how… This story continues at The Next Web

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SpaceX today confirmed that Google and Fidelity have invested $1 billion into the company, hot on the heels of Elon Musk sharing last week that the company is working on the internet for space. The investment means SpaceX is now valued at around $10 billion. The Information reported earlier today that the purpose of the deal is to bolster the company’s micro-satellite efforts. SpaceX is still in the early stages of developing advanced micro-satellites operating in large formations. Announcement in 2 to 3 months. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 11, 2014 SpaceX says that Google and Fidelity now collectively own just under 10% of the… This story continues at The Next Web

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Few movies has had a stranger premiere than Sony’s “The Interview“. After being released online following a slew of hacks and unsubstantiated terrorist threats, there was one platform it was notoriously missing from: Netflix Fret no more. During its earnings call today, the streaming serviced announced “The Interview” would be released on its platform on Saturday, January 24th. That sucks a bit if you already paid to watch the movie, but should surely please those with a subscription who have been on the fence about watching it so far. Streaming will only be available in the US and Canada however. There is a theatrical… This story continues at The Next Web

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YouTube launched its music platform late last year to little fanfare, offering all you can eat music for $7.99/month on the site, with no ads. While many of us use YouTube to listen to the occasional song, it’s no match for a real music service like Spotify or Google Music since it doesn’t offer background listening or the ability to search for songs without using the site. A new third-party Chrome extension called Streamus is changing that, however, turning the site into a legitimate music service that lives in a popup in your browser. Streamus feels like something that Google itself… This story continues at The Next Web

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Google today announced the arrival of Chrome 40 for iOS, an update that comes with iOS 8 and iPhone 6 Plus optimization, browser handoff support and Material Design. Handoff support will allow users to transfer their current mobile Chrome tabs to whatever their default browser is on OS X and vice versa. This, combined with a refreshed look to fit the company’s Material Design aesthetic, image optimization to fit large screen phones and a few bug fixes, rounds out the latest Chrome for iOS features. The update is now available. ➤ Chrome for iOS Update [Google]  

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Everyone on Facebook has that one friend that posts outlandish stories that end up being a hoax, but usually they’re utterly convinced that it’s the real deal. Today, Facebook has added the ability to flag a news story as a hoax. When you see something that is obviously not real like a made-up celebrity death or fake startup, you can choose to report posts as a “false news story.” When many people flag a post as a false story, it’ll show less in the News Feed and eventually will show a warning that a number of others have reported it for false information.… This story continues at The Next Web

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LastPass is a really useful tool for managing all your different passwords and keeping them safe, but always having to manage it from the Web can be inconvenient. Mac users, fret no more: LastPass is today rolling out as a standalone OS X app. Of course, the new app has all the features you’d expect from the Web iteration, including the ability to log in to your favorite web pages and accounts or change their passwords automatically, but there are few unique tricks up its sleeve. First off you can now instantly log in to websites before even launching your browser. LastPass will… This story continues at The Next Web

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From the headline it would seem that this would be the awesomest thing ever. A robot that rides a quad. The reality is a lot more meh. Sure the robot looks like a stormtrooper from Star Wars. And everyone knows quads always lead to a good time. But after a watching the robot-biker slowly make its way around the track in this video from RT, even the fire in the background can’t make this video as cool as it should be. Even Putin has trouble being excited about his country’s robot technology. You can see the moment he wishes he had stayed at… This story continues at The Next Web

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A new app called Quickie, from the developers behind email app Hop, aims to make mobile conversations just like real life by sending messages as soon as they’re created and deleting them as soon as they’re read. The app is touted as a “live messaging app for the next generation” and it keeps it dead simple. Add up to eight of your close friends, then you can send quick messages, GIFs from your camera, voice messages, or drawings. Quickie’s sheer simplicity reminds me of how single-purpose apps like Yo quickly gained popularity; the friction to actually sending a message is completely… This story continues at The Next Web

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Elon Musk may be trying to share the internet in remote places using high-altittude devices, but Google has been working on a similar idea since 2013 with Project Loon. Wireless airwaves are already quite cluttered, however, so Google is requesting new spectrum above the 24 GHz range to deliver signals from its internet balloons. Although those bands have typically been considered poor for mobile services, the company sent the FCC a letter suggesting the new bands could “be useful for offering broadband access via airborne platforms such as high-altitude balloons or unmanned aerial vehicles.” This suggests the new airwaves could also be used… This story continues at The Next Web

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Following on from the start of its US rollout in June last year, Starbucks is today starting to introduce wireless charging stations inside certain London locations. Unlike Qi-based, NFC charging, Starbucks’ system uses magnetic wireless charging, meaning you’ll need a little adapter to plug into your phone. The dongle’s, pictured below, are available for free use in store, or you can buy your own for £10, a spokesperson told TNW. For now, the trial is contained to just 10 stores in London, and there are no plans to take it further afield right now. However, in the US, the company pursued… This story continues at The Next Web

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This post is brought to you by SimilarWeb: get insights for any website or app.Who were the biggest winners and losers on the Web in the USA during 2014? At SimilarWeb, we looked closely at the data we collect about Web traffic to find out. We compared the ranks of 100 popular websites in the USA during October 2013 and October 2014. Here’s what we found… Here’s the full list of winners and losers: The losers: Japanese electronics manufacturers are having a hard time when it comes to sales at the moment. That’s reflected in their Web traffic, too, with Toshiba and Sony coming high in the Losers list. Other electronics manufacturers, like Cisco and… This story continues at The Next Web

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If you find the Amazon homepage just too busy, here’s a handy solution. Clearcut, a new Chrome extension, strips the page back to just the search box and the top right hand menu with access to your account details, Amazon Prime, the shopping cart and your Wish List. The one downside is that Clearcut only works for Amazon.com right now, not international versions of the site. ➤ Clearcut Read more: Amazon to Push into Movie Theaters with 12 Original Titles per Year

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Canonical is today bringing Snappy Ubuntu Core out of the cloud and into physical devices with the reveal of Snappy Core for smart devices. First announced in December 2014, Snappy Core is a new lightweight Ubuntu distribution designed for the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) specifically. Before today, only the cloud image had been revealed, but now the company is showing off its work on real connected devices. Among the first wave to use Snappy Ubuntu Core on devices will be “pioneers in robotics, drones and open hubs for connected things,”the company said. With this launch, Ubuntu is looking… This story continues at The Next Web

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Finding royalty-free video, photos and sound clips may be getting a little easier following the news that Pond5 is releasing a huge number of items into the public domain. Announced today, the Pond5 Public Domain Project has been conceived with content “specifically for media makers,” Pond5 said. Included in this first batch of content are 10,000 video clips, 65,000 photos, “thousands” of sound recordings and “hundreds” of 3D models. In the collection you’ll find things like George Meliés’ 1902 movie A Trip to the Moon, footage from the 1952 Helsinki Olympic games, NASA rocket launches and 5,000 previously unseen video clips. Pond5 said there are also notable speeches from historical… This story continues at The Next Web

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