Google’s Nest Labs acquired Revolv, a maker of Linux-based home automation devices, and announced five new Nest-compatible devices. including the Pebble.
After Google acquired Nest Labs in January $3.2 billion, placing a stake in the fast-growing home automation business, Nest acquired home surveillance camera maker Dropcam in June for $555 million. Now Nest announced it has acquired another major home automation company in its purchase of Revolv. The acquisition, which was announced with no dollar amount, came shortly after the Boulder, Colo. based company announced compatibility with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect CO/smoke detector.
Whether it’s because of their very affordable prices or an aversion to Windows 8′s complexity, more and more shoppers are buying Chromebooks. There are some valid reasons to choose a Chromebook over a Windows machine, including a very intuitive interface (it’s largely browser based), a lack of upgrade headaches, and less worrying about malware. And while Chromebooks have limited offline capability, there’s a growing number of apps that work without a Wi-Fi connection.
Case in point: Samsung's new Chromebook 2, announced Friday, which has Intel's Bay Trail M Celeron N2840—not one of Samsung’s own Exynos dual-core ARM chips. Earlier Chromebook 2 versions shipped with ARM processors and will continue to do so, but in a briefing with PCWorld, Samsung product manager David Ng said Chromebooks are quickly trending toward Intel components. "More than 50% of Chromebooks sold these days have Intel processors," Ng said.
Why are Chromebooks growing while, according to NPD and other analysts, Windows PC sales are declining? ABI Research Analyst Stephanie Van Vactor said in a statement that “Consumers are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provides the versatility and functionality of a laptop. The growth of the Chromebook market demonstrates a niche that is gaining traction among consumers."
Google's Chromebook is a cheap alternative to a more expensive Windows or Mac PC or laptop, but up until recently it lacked any specific administrative oversight tools for enterprise IT. While IT might have liked the price tag, they may have worried about the lack of an integrated tool suite for managing a fleet of Chromebooks. That's changed with release of Chromebook for Work, a new program designed to give IT that control they crave for Chromebooks.
Having said that, one of the biggest gripes about the site is that it can only be accessed via a web browser. You have to start the browser, open the site, and wait for the video to buffer. Not so cool. Thankfully though, developers have come up with some nice apps to overcome that limitation. These apps allow the users to circumvent the web-only restriction of YouTube and watch their favorite videos on the desktop. Such apps are widely available on Windows and Mac and some of them even allow users to download the videos.
As for Ubuntu users, there are still plenty of reasons not to be disappointed. There are about half a dozen YouTube apps already available for Linux and in this article, we're bringing you a list of the best of them.
Surprising a lot of readers a few days ago was word that Google was dropping support for EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 file-systems from its file manager within the Linux-based ChromeOS. Now, after receiving a lot of criticism, Google is adding back the support for these common Linux file-systems.
Ben Chan of Google wrote on the bug report, "Thanks for all of your feedback on this bug. We’ve heard you loud and clear. We plan to re-enable ext2/3/4 support in Files.app immediately. It will come back, just like it was before, and we’re working to get it into the next stable channel release. Please star this bug to get the latest updates. We’ll post everything here."
Google makes a series of compelling points in its petition. The company asserts that there's split opinion on the applicability of copyrights to APIs in the circuit courts -- a classic cue to SCOTUS to intervene -- and the matter is "a recurring question of exceptional importance." These points alone seem strong to me. But Google also says CAFC has made a serious error that ignores the precedent of earlier SCOTUS decisions and violates the distinction between copyright and patent as monopolies.
On the first point, Google refers back to the SCOTUS Lotus v Borland case in 1996. Google points out that "methods of operation embodied in computer programs are not entitled to copyright protection," then asserts that the Java class APIs are a method of operating the Java class implementations. Since Android's implementations of the Java APIs are Google's original work, the company claims copyright does not apply.