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Year in Review: These were the 10 most important moves that Google made in 2015


2015 saw many announcements and developments within the Mountain View company. It was a big one. While we may not have seen as many of the flashy moonshot projects we’ve seen announced over the last few years, like Google Glass, Project Loon, Project Titan, and others, 2015 came with some big changes, upgrades, products, and services. From Google being completely restructured to be a new huge conglomerate called Alphabet to the recent launch of the company’s Nexus line, 2015 wasn’t a boring one for Google by any stretch of the imagination.

Here’s are some of Google’s most important announcements, in no particular order…


Google search data shows what people in each state searched for most in 2015


The Google searches people make can reveal a great deal about their interests and concerns. When that data is aggregated, it can reveal general trends in society. For a long time, Google used such trend data to monitor for flu outbreaks for instance. Estately, a real estate blog, mined Google Trends to reveal what terms people in each state search for the most this year. Expand

Google’s ‘Year in Search 2015’ reveals this year’s most searched for events, objects and people


Google has released its annual ‘Year In Search’ video and website that highlights what people searched for most in 2015. As the year comes to a close, other Google properties like YouTube have done the same, as well as many other tech companies.


The Year in Search video is more US-centric, but has global events intertwined. The Google Trends page allows users to view the top topics searched for in 12 countries as well as more general global one. It reveals what was popular on a month by month basis and how many searches each topic received this year.

Google has also released its Top Lists from 2015 that shows the top 10 things searched for in various trending categories, like people, movies, athletes. Globally, the top search term was Lamar Odom, who is also the number one searched for person. He is followed by Charlie Hebdo (top searched global news item) and massive multiplayer game The full list for the top searches of 2015:

  1. Lamar Odom
  2. Charlie Hebdo
  4. Jurassic World
  5. Paris
  6. Furious 7
  7. Fallout 4
  8. Ronda Rousey
  9. Caitlyn Jenner
  10. American Sniper

For global consumer tech, the iPhone 6S was the most searched for gadget, followed by the Galaxy S6 and Apple Watch, the only wearable to make the list. The full list is as follows:

  1. iPhone 6s
  2. Samsung Galaxy S6
  3. Apple Watch
  4. iPad Pro
  5. LG G4
  6. Samsung Galaxy Note 5
  7. Samsung Galaxy J5
  8. HTC One M9
  9. Nexus 6P
  10. Surface Pro 4

With Google Play offers and holiday deals, new Chromecasts are practically free

Chromecast yellow black redFrom now until January 2nd, if you buy a 2015 Chromecast you also get $20 to cast TV shows, movies and more on Google Play. Factoring in the credit, that’s the lowest offer we’ve seen for the new Chromecast. After you make your purchase you can get your $20 Google Play credit here.

You can also find a 2-pack Bundle with $12 Google Play Credit at Costco for $49 shipped. Or save $5 on one at Best Buy today as well.

Enjoy a world of entertainment with Google Chromecast (2015). Just connect to your HDTV’s HDMI interface and your home Wi-Fi network to get started. You can stream your favorite apps from your compatible phone, tablet or laptop, plus use your phone as a remote to search, play and pause content.

Note: You need to wait one week after you register for the Google Play credit to appear.

Full Terms & Conditions:

Must purchase a Chromecast device and complete initial set-up between Dec 13, 2015 and Jan 2, 2016 to qualify for the promotional credit. Not reloadable; no cash value.
Credit must be added to a Google Payments account by January 31, 2016 and used on Google Play by January 31, 2017. Certain devices (including Chromecast Audio) and subscriptions excluded. Offer good in US only. Must be 13+ years old, US resident, have Internet access, and have or activate a Google Payments account. Limit one per Google Payment account.
See Promotional Balance Terms for more information.
To redeem, go to


buy a Chromecast & get $20 to cast TV shows, movies and more on Google Play

9to5Google Gift Guide: These are the best Android wearables for the Google enthusiast


Android Wear smartwatches may not be as much of a “hot gift” this year as the Apple Watch is, but if you have friends without an iPhone, going with an Android-based smartwatch is pretty much your only option if you want to gift them a wearable. There are a lot of options to pick from across many different price points, but we’re here to help you pick out the perfect combo of fashion and tech for your loved one… Expand

9to5Toys Lunch Break: Moto E 2015 for Verizon $40, Wireless Laser printer $25, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:


Verizon Wireless Prepaid Moto E 4G w/ 8 GB flash: $40 shipped (Reg. $70) | Fry’s


Daily Deals: Pantum Wireless Mono Laser Printer $25, EnerPlex Solar Case for iPhone 5/5s $15more

USB Power Deals: KMASHI 15,000mAh USB $14 (Reg. $20), Aukey 2A Wall Charger $8 (Reg. $16), more


PS4 Destiny Taken King Limited Edition Bundle $350, Xbox One Gears of War bundle + 40″ HDTV $470 w/ .EDU, more


Roku’s new streaming media player supports 4K and finds your remote control for you


Giveaway: Trinity Delta aluminum earbuds feature a unique design and top-notch sound ($135 value), 20% discount

More new gear from today:


Beyerdynamic A200p Portable DAC Headphone Amp for iPhone/Android $160 shipped (Reg. $200)

More deals still alive:


Philips hue Lux LED Starter Kit $60 shipped (Orig. $80), 750-Lumen 9W LED Light Bulb $15 (Orig. $35)

JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Sweat Proof Headphones $90 shipped (Reg. $130), more

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New products & more:

view-master-vr-headset (1)

Mattel’s retro-rebooted $30 VR View-Master is now available for iOS and Android


Review: Rock Band 4 makes an old favorite come alive with refreshed gameplay, new songs & updated hardware


PSA: 3rd gen. Moto G (2015) now getting CyanogenMod nightlies


CyanogenMod nightly builds are available on a plethora of devices, and now you can add one more to the list. Motorola’s Moto G (2015), codenamed osprey, started receiving nightly builds of CyanogenMod 12.1 last night. There aren’t many better devices to play with some custom ROMs, considering you can grab one on Amazon for just $179.

We gave the Moto G (2015) a quick look just 36 hours after we first got our hands on it. And based on our initial impression at least, this is probably one of the best phones you can buy in the $100-$200 range. With a decent display, crazy battery life, and a price that fits the package, it’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for a phone for your kids (or to tinker with).

(via Android Police)


Report: New Android Wear devices from LG, Motorola, Huawei, ASUS coming at IFA

In what is probably one of the lesser surprising reports to come out this year, CNET this morning claims that four handset manufacturers — namely, LG, Motorola, Huawei, and ASUS — are all planning to launch new Android Wear smartwatches at the IFA consumer electronics show kicking off late next week. Much-rumored and long-awaited (and highly-leaked?) second generation Moto 360, anyone?

We’ve been seeing leaks of the new Moto 360 for a while now, and ASUS already made its ZenWatch 2 public earlier this year (albeit with very little fanfare). Huawei showed off the Huawei Watch a long time ago, and has yet to deliver, so that company will probably take the stage at IFA to actually announce pricing and availability details. LG is mostly a mystery right now (mostly), but we’ll see what’s up their sleeves soon enough.

We’ll be on the ground at IFA to keep you in the loop, and until then, feel free to read up on the latest on the Moto 360, and check out our Android Wear smartwatch comparison page.

Moto G 2015 36-hour review: This is the perfect $179 smartphone…for my kids


I’ve long been a fan of what Motorola has been doing with their smartphones and peripherals, and this week’s announcements are no exception. Both of the headphones Moto released, the Moto Surround and especially the Moto Pulse are top notch. I’ve been using the Pulse exclusively since the event and couldn’t be happier. They are so light that you forget they’re even on your head, while at the same time they have a mic for calls, a battery meter on your phone ,and they swivel so they pack flat. Oh and the sound is excellent – comparable to a $200 set of heavy cans from other mid/high tier vendors. At $60, the Pulse headphones are a no-brainer if you need light over-ears for a reasonable price.

But the Moto G 3rd edition is what we’re here to talk about… Expand

IFA 2015 preview: Android-powered TV sets, & app-controlled home and health products


Ahead of IFA in Berlin this September—the event where Samsung, Sony, and just about every other Android device maker unveils their latest products each year—a select group of companies have been giving a taste of what’s to come for the last 5 days at IFA’s Global Press Conference.

So what can you expect? Android-powered TV sets, app connected appliances, and drones are just a few product categories you can expect to see grow at this year’s show. Expand

Google announces Q1 2015 earnings: $17.3 billion revenue, $3.6 billion net income

Google today has posted its earnings for Q1 2015. The company reports revenue of $17.3 billion, which is up 12 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. Net income for Q1 2015 was $3.68 billion For the first quarter of 2015, the company also reports earnings per share of $6.57. Google CFO Patrick Pichette cites momentum of its mobile advertising business as a reason for its strong performance.


Google opens up Crisis Response Map for Blizzard of 2015

Google Crisis map-2015 Blizard

As it does for other Global emergencies, Google has opened up its Crises Map to consolidate all kinds of geo-info for folks in the Northeast and their loved-ones to get the latest info on the Blizzard of 2015.

When a disaster strikes, the Google Crisis Response team assesses the severity and scope of the disaster, and the relevance of our tools for the situation to determine whether and how to respond.

Stay safe out there!



Samsung Galaxy S6 unveiling expected at MWC sans Snapgdragon 810, ‘Active’ variant returning


It’s definitely not unexpected by any stretch of the imagination, but Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S6 has been tipped to be introduced at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (via Chosunilbo). The smartphone is shaping up to be the most technically powerful smartphone Samsung has ever made, and it looks like it’s going to be fundamentally different in many ways than every other Galaxy S phone that has preceded it.


What we expect to see from Google in 2015


It has been a pretty exciting year for Google in a lot of ways. Android Wear has started to ignite excitement behind the future of wearable technology, the best version of Android ever—dubbed Lollipop—was released, a couple of brand new Nexus devices (one of which we leaked) came to fruition, and the Mountain View corporation’s new Material Design language has taken the Play Store by storm. Everything that was already great was made better in 2014, and the company has been sprinkling a bunch of exciting innovations in along the way to keep things interesting—like the self-driving car, for example.

In 2015, Google is probably going to do much the same. Android “M” (milkshake, maybe?) will likely be unveiled at Google I/O this upcoming summer, we’ll probably see a round of new Nexus hardware come later in the year, Google will likely keep pushing Chromebooks in the affordable segment of the PC market, and Android Wear devices from countless manufacturers will continue to get thinner and have better and better battery life. But Google surely has some drastic innovation planned in a variety of areas, as well, with the potential return of Google Glass on the horizon and the second spiral of Project Ara to be unveiled in a couple of weeks.


Xiaomi valued at $45bn following $1.1bn funding round, new flagship coming in January


Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced this morning (via Weibo) that the company has completed its latest round of funding, securing another $1.1 billion for the startup to now be valued at $45 billion total. And in light of this news, the Chinese company has mentioned that it plans to announce its next flagship device at some point next month.


Kodak set to announce Android-powered devices at CES 2015


Kodak has yet to announce a smartphone, but that’s about to change very soon. Announced earlier this week, the company has partnered with Bullit Group to introduce a line of Android-powered devices, somehow aimed at photography enthusiasts (we would hope) and “consumers who want a high-end experience but aren’t always as comfortable using increasingly complicated mobile devices.”


ASUS ZenFone being teased in new video leading up to CES 2015

ASUS 2014-12-22 09-18-43

ASUS released the first devices part of the ZenFone line at CES in 2014, introducing some Intel-powered smartphones that had a decent amount of horsepower at a reasonable price. This year it looks like the company is ready to refresh its line of phones, and there’s a new video recently posted on the ASUS Facebook page teasing what one of them might look like.

We can’t see much, but there are a few seconds where we can see the light shine through and get a decent look at the back of the device:


In addition to a quick peek at the back, the video shows off what looks to be a dual-camera set up. While it doesn’t look exactly like what appears to be on the back of the device above, there must be a reason that the company let this little image show up in the video for a fraction of a second:

ASUS 2014-12-22 09-29-27

Sadly, besides these couple of images, we don’t really have much to go off. The rest of the video just sports the tagline “See what others can’t see” spread across the screen, followed by the ASUS logo. If you want to see the video for yourself and come to your own conclusions about what ASUS might have in store for us, head over to the company’s Facebook page.

Android One making strides in India as Karbonn commits to long-term partnership

Karbonn and Micromax Android One

Earlier this year, Google announced a new initiative called Android One that aims to bring high quality, affordable smartphones to emerging markets like India and China. Not long after, it confirmed that it would be aggressively marketing Android One smartphones in India, a largely untapped user base of nearly 1.3 billion people, and followed through by launching the program in the country last September. Now Karbonn, an Indian smartphone maker, is further committing to a long term partnership to the Android One initiative… Expand

Samsung to sell 30% fewer smartphone models next year to cut costs as profits decline


The Wall Street Journal reports this evening that Samsung will sell fewer smartphone models next year as part of a cost-cutting measure to fight declining profits. Samsung head of investor relations Robert Yi confirmed during a presentation in New York that the South Korean electronics maker will cut the number of smartphone models it sells by between 25% to 30% in 2015. Expand