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Google was busy on Monday, both with a new Google+ for iOS update as well as tweaking its product mix for Nik Software, the company it acquired for its Snapseed app. Speaking of acquisitions, Apple has confirmed one of its own for an indoor mapping startup, although Cupertino is being tight-lipped on exactly what they'll do with it. Ready for the all the details? Then read on...
Macworld reported Monday that Apple Inc. has acquired a startup called WiFiSlam, whose key business is to more accurately determine the location of a Wi-Fi equipped smartphone when used indoors. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple paid "around $20 million" for the two-year-old startup, but declined to elaborate on its plans for WiFiSlam or how it might implement its existing technology in its own devices. Among the possibilities are targeted advertising for indoor malls or walking guidance at locations such as an airport or museum. The move is viewed as a way for Cupertino to beef up its fledgling map service, presumably another way to combat Google's lead in location-based services.
Speaking of Google, the company pushed out Google+ for iOS version 4.3.0 on Monday, enlisting photo editing features from its own acquisition of Nik Software, the maker of Snapseed. Google+ members can now add filters, rotate and crop photos before posting them on the service, as well as enjoy a new profile design and notifications tray inside the app. New users will also enjoy a streamlined setup flow, and the update now allows better control over how many posts a user will see from individual circles or communities. You'll find all this Googly goodness in the App Store now.
Watch out, Netflix: Spotify may soon be encroaching on your turf. According to Business Insider, the subscription-based streaming music provider may soon be planning to add on-demand video to its product offerings. Potentially worse for Netflix, the company also appears interested in original content, which would also pit Spotify against the likes of HBO as well. For now, the report claims the company is "looking for partners that can help it fund and create exclusive content," a move that paid off years ago for HBO with shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City, and more recently with Netflix and its first original series, House of Cards. Can Spotify find success with the same formula? Time will tell...
Google+ wasn't the only software the search giant released on Monday. For $149, Mac and Windows users can now purchase the full Nik Collection by Google, a set of six award-winning photo plug-ins that can be used with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom as well as Apple's Aperture (Mac only). The plug-ins include HDR Efex Pro 2, Silver Efex Pro 2 for black-and-white photography, Color Efex Pro 4 for color retouching and others aimed at sharpening and reducing noise on images. The new $149 price is a 70 percent drop from their original price, and a 15-day free trial is available for those who'd like to try before they buy.
The Verge got a peek at the next version of Windows 8, an upgrade code-named "Blue" which appears to be more about refining the user interface than adding new features. In addition to smaller Live Tiles, Microsoft is also tweaking how the tiles can be arranged on the Start screen, adopting a more Windows Phone approach with small, medium and large sizes. The one area users are most likely to notice changes are with Settings, which now include new networking and apps sections not present in Windows 8; SkyDrive also gets a new settings panel for deeper integration with the operating system. Windows Blue is expected to be offered as a public preview in the near future with a final release due by year's end.
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