Google plays catch-up to Apple. Again.


It’s that time of year again.

Google’s I/O conference begins today and Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference follows in a week and a half. Get ready for a barrage of competing leaks, releases and screaming headlines as each company tries to upstage the other, egged on by a click-hungry tech press.

Today it’s Apple Pay. Tomorrow it will be something else.

We’ve come a long way since Steve Jobs called Android « a stolen product » and promised to destroy it. The rhetoric has cooled, but the issue is the same. Google copied Apple to make Android. It copied the App Store to make Google Play. It’s copying Apple Pay to make Android Pay.

There’s much to admire in Google. I’m awed by their willingness to tackle truly daunting engineering problems: Machine learning, Autonomous cars. Mapping the Internet. Mapping, for that matter, the world’s roads and highways.

But Android…

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Google’s secret to doubling your phone’s battery life


Google is aiming to give your phones and tablets a little more juice to make it through the day without dying.

At its annual I/O developers conference Thursday, the company announced a new power-conservation feature in its upcoming mobile operating system Android M. Called “Doze,” the new feature uses motion sensors to detect when a device hasn’t been moved for an extended period. Android will then automatically shut down processes for certain power-hogging apps, which should significantly extend the device’s battery life.

When testing the feature, Google said a Nexus 9 tablet running Doze on Android M had a battery life twice as long as the same device using the older Android L operating system.

The new feature won’t turn your phone into a total paperweight. Users will still be alerted to alarms and high-priority messages even when the phone or tablet is dozing.

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Don’t worry unicorns, public market validation is a mirage


« The valuations are just made up. »

This is a line I’ve heard (and read) over and over when it comes to the high prices that venture capitalists are paying to invest in tech startups, including the so-called unicorns. It’s said as a contrast to how companies are valued by the public markets, which is broadly-believed to be a better arbiter due to its relative size, dynamism and transparency.

And, to be sure, precious few of these unicorns have chosen to go public. But I’m not so sure that the public markets deserve their reputation as smarter than the private markets.

Since the beginning of last year, Pitchbook data shows there have been 17 U.S. IPOs of VC-backed tech companies that were valued at $1 billion or more either at the start or close of their first day of trading (excluding six such biotech companies). Of those, nine closed trading…

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Charter-Time Warner deal reflects changing TV industry


Charter Communications’ move to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $56.7 billion has raised several questions about what the deal would mean for subscribers, but more importantly why both companies – and Comcast for that matter – don’t compete in the same markets?

During last year’s failed merger talks between Comcast and TWC it was noted that the two companies rarely overlap in service areas. In fact, few cable companies compete with each other in general, except in rare cases.

The reason for this has to do with the way the cable industry was formed. Just 40 years ago cable was in its infancy and was largely the only option for those with limited access to over-the-air signals. Only in the 1980s did cable transform into something with a wide plethora of channels including pay TV options, with pay-per-view and DVRs following years later. More importantly cable was truly local…

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Google is testing hands-free payments with McDonald’s and Papa John’s


Google is testing a futuristic way for shoppers to pay for what they buy without having to take out their wallet — or even their phones.

The technology, known as hands-free payments, is supposed to make paying in stores that much easier. All a customer has to do is download an app onto their phone. When checking out at a store, all they have to do is stand in front of the cash register and say their name to the cashier. A blue tooth sensor automatically detects whether they have the app and then bills them.

Google revealed the test Thursday at its annual developers conference in San Francisco. Fast food giant McDonald’s [fortune-stock symbol= »MCD »] and pizza chain Papa John’s [fortune-stock symbol= »PZZA »] have partnered with Google to experiment with the technology in the Bay Area.

Details about Google’s payment system are still fuzzy. The company emphasized that it is…

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GDP and FIFA election — 5 things to know today


Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are set to open lower, after weak GDP data from Europe set the stage for what’s expectedly to be more gloomy U.S. figures from the Commerce Department later. U.S, crude oil future are up on a report by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch saying the U.S. could lift its export ban within two years.

Today’s must-read story is by Fortune‘s Leena Rao and it looks at what updates to Google Play could mean in the battle between Google [fortune-stock symbol= »GOOG »] and Apple [fortune-stock symbol= »AAPL »] for a bigger slice of the mobile device market.

Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. FIFA election

The U.S. Justice Department and Swiss police just arrested nine FIFA officials of corruption, but that won’t stop soccer’s international governing body from holding its presidential election today. Fortunately, for incumbent Sepp Blatter, he was not one…

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How to recover data off of your microSD card: a valuable lesson in backups



If you have important or sensitive data on the microSD card of your smartphone or tablet, it’s important to make sure that data is backed up immediately. You could store it in the cloud or on another device without paying a dime.

If it’s too late for that, there are still a few things you can do to try and recover the data off of your microSD card. Keep in mind that nothing is a guarantee when a microSD card malfunctions, has physical damage or can’t be read by the computer. It’s quite possible that critical components for the microSD to work have stopped functioning.

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