Google Earth and Maps get sharper satellite imagery

Several years ago, Google engineers figured out a way to stitch together satellite imagery to remove clouds, giving Google Earth and Google Maps users a better and more comprehensive view of the ground below. Today, the company has repeated the process, but this time with newer, crisper imagery from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Landsat 8 satellite.

Microsoft tweaks activation rules

Microsoft this week announced a seemingly minor change to its activation rules for Windows 10, effective with the Anniversary Update coming this summer. The announcement was buried in the release notes for build 14371 of Windows 10, released a few days ago. Those notes were published in the Feedback Hub, which is available only to registered members of the Windows Insider Program running a Windows 10 preview edition.

Google rolls out AMP for iOS

Google is finally bringing its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to the Google app for iOS, it announced Friday.

AMP, which has been in the works since October, rests on a diverse architecture that taps into Javascript, HTML and open source technologies. It delivers mobile-optimized content with minimal data requirements on mobile networks, and it should help Google compete with Facebook's Instant Articles.

Microsoft: Privacy Shield is good

The new EU-US Safe Harbor agreement, Privacy Shield, is a step in the right direction for transatlantic transfers of personal data, but it's not enough by itself, according to Microsoft. The firm's EU government affairs VP John Frank is upbeat about the yet to be finalized agreement, a draft of which was published by the US in February, following President Obama's signing of the Judicial Redress Act.

Apple re-releases iOS 9.3

Apple has released a new version of iOS 9.3 just for the older iPhones and iPads that became locked due a flawed activation procedure in the setup. The new version, which is still called iOS 9.3, addresses the so-called "activation bug" that left some older devices unable to proceed beyond the step to confirm the Apple ID and password linked to a device, if the user had forgotten the password.

Oracle to Google: Pay us $9.3bn for using Java in Android

Oracle thinks it is due $9.3bn in damages from Google, mostly from profits the search company is claimed to have made from using Java in Android. The tech giants are scheduled to duel again in May at a federal district court in San Francisco to settle a long-running feud over whether or not Google was covered by "fair use" when it copied 37 Java application programming interfaces to build Android, now the most widely-used mobile OS in the world.

Microsoft quietly drops bitcoin support

Microsoft has quietly stopped supporting bitcoin payments just over one year after it added support for the crypto currency within the Windows Store. Software encyclopedia Softpedia first noticed the change, which is confirmed in an FAQ note for customers: "You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can’t be refunded."

Opera adds a built-in ad blocker

There has been a lot of talk about mobile ad blocking lately, but on the desktop, this is an old phenomenon. Until now, however, desktop ad blocking was all about plugins. But Opera is about to change this and the latest developer release of the company’s desktop browser now includes a built-in ad blocker.

Google joins the Open Compute Project

Google today announced that it is joining the Open Compute Project (OCP), a five-year-old project founded by Facebook and a number of other companies that aims to drive IT infrastructure development forward through open source hardware. For Facebook, for example, this has meant open sourcing how it builds some of its servers and other data center hardware.

Adobe Launches Animate CC and Improved Muse

Adobe today officially launched Animate CC, the latest version of its animation tool for the web. Animate CC was previously known as Flash Professional, but the importance of Flash has (thankfully) declined over the last few years and the company decided it was time to rename the product to better represent what it is actually being used for. Animate CC, as well as an update to the Muse CC web design tool, is now available to all Creative Cloud subscribers.

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