Asus Cube – the saviour Google TV box?

Asus_cube_google_TvGoogle has been kicking around the TV space for quite a while now.

The concept is that you plug your TV into a Google TV unit, and then you can watch streaming video, web content and your own files on a regular, big screen TV. You could also download apps to use with it.

The last unit I tried was the Sony Internet Player with Google TV. It was liberating, compared to limited set top boxes and the ecosystem of its Apple TV.

And lately, I had a chance to play around with the Asus CUBE with Google TV.

It does, obviously, look like quite a box against the other slim and sleek AV components that comprise my home theatre system.

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Travel Alberta wins Internet battle with film makers, loses war

YouTube is a dirty word with two US film makers at the moment, along with two others: ‘sands', and 'oil’. The video site pulled a trailer for a forthcoming oil sands expose by environmental satirists Andy Cobb and Mike Damanskis. The site decided to stop hosting the video after Travel Alberta complained.

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Self-driving cars on roads by 2020

How do you fancy being driven around by your car? It could be a reality within the next seven years or sooner. Google has plans to develop its own commercially available robocar, say sources, and Nissan has announced that it will release fully autonomous vehicles by 2020.

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Exploring Google Glass through eyes of early users

DEBADC30886C19FA9C63D4DBAEE78_h493_w371_m2_q80_cLLpLSeDqGeeks aren't the only people wearing Google Glass.

Among the people testing Google Inc.'s wearable computer are teachers, dentists, doctors, radio disc jockeys, hair stylists, architects, athletes and even a zookeeper.

Some 10,000 people are trying out an early version of Glass, most of them selected as part of a contest.

To get a sense of the advantages and drawbacks of the device, The Associated Press spoke to three Glass owners who have been using the device since late spring: Sarah Hill, a former TV broadcaster and current military veterans advocate; David Levy, a hiking enthusiast and small business owner; and Deborah Lee, a stay-at-home mom.

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Top ten most popular smartphone apps list released

The-app-World-bigFacebook might be the most popular app on your smartphone, but a new list suggests it's second-fiddle to an app from Google.

According to the GlobalWebIndex, the most popular smartphone app is Google Maps.

The market research company released the list based on the usage of almost a billion smartphone users around the world.

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It found Google Maps was run by about 54 per cent of smartphone users. 

Is that first-place ranking surprising? Not at all, considering how Apple botched its own Maps app, sending people to Google faster than Justin Bieber draws crowds outside a Yorkville hotel.

Facebook is the second-most popular smartphone app, used by 41 per cent of people.

Google retains its dominant position with two more apps in the top five - with YouTube in third and Google+ in fourth place. 

To be honest, I'm a little surprised 30 per cent of polled users actually engage with Google+, considering how little social media traffic is actually from that social network.

Facebook has one other app in the Top 10: Instagram, coming in 10th place. The photo and short video sharing service was actively used by 11 per cent of the market, GlobalWebIndex reports.

The only unusual app that made it on the list came in fifth place - Weixin/WeChat. For those who didn't know (including myself), it's an instant messaging service based in China. 

Which app do you use most often on your smartphone? What is the app that you just can't live without?

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- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



Will Google’s Chromecast spark cord cutting in Canada?

In among the various reviews of Google's new Chromecast device, most people missed one important fact: you can't actually buy or use it here. At least, not without some annoying workarounds. 

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Alleged Rob Ford crack video prompts video game

Stay_mayor_rob_fordToronto's embattled mayor appears to have been the inspiration behind a new video game.

The game, Stay Mayor, doesn’t specifically say it’s about Rob Ford, but just check out the plot line and decide for yourself.

Users play the role of a mayor who must avoid the “Blood Thirsty Media” to buy an alleged video of him smoking crack. Only the Toronto Star and Gawker are reporting that they have seen such a video.

Note: We haven’t seen the video – and we can verify if it’s even authentic.

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Google steps inside Apple’s home with updated Google Search app

GoogleNowIt’s no secret that Apple doesn’t really love Google.

The launch of Apple’s own Maps app was an effort to get people to use a new native iOS mapping app rather than the Google-based map tool.

That project didn’t work out so well, and it even forced Apple to make a public apology online.

Now, Google is rolling out a new feature - Google Now – to iPhones and iPads with the latest update to the Google Search app.

With this move, Google is making itself comfy inside everyone’s iOS device.

Heck – the app is so convenient and it’ll feel so comfortable that Google could even be putting up its feet on the coffee table in Apple’s mobile homes.

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Is Google Keep for keeps? Who can trust it now?

Google just launched a new service to challenge Evernote, keeping all of your data and information in one place. Yay! Will I use it? Heck, no!

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New Google Chromebooks have Canadian connection, now available here

Samsung_Google_ChromebookGoogle announced that its Chromebooks are now finally available in Canada – and there’s a Canadian connection to the device’s development.

Chromebooks are relatively affordable laptops that run the Chrome operating system – a beefed up environment of Google’s popular web browser.

When you think about it, almost everything you do on a computer these days is...on the web. From checking your email to stalking friends on Facebook, a web browser seems like the perfect portal.

So the Chromebook is essentially a laptop that connects to the Internet and lets you surf the web. That doesn’t sound impressive, but then consider the price tag.

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.