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Amazon Plans to Join the Brick n' Morter Movement With It's Own Store

posted Sunday Feb 12, 2012 by Jon Wurm

Amazon Plans to Join the Brick n' Morter Movement With It's Own Store

This year might end up marking the start of major e-tailers testing the waters with regards to a hybrid infrastructure of online retail outlets and traditional brick n' mortar retail stores. Most notably, Apple has had tremendous success with their 361 physical retail stores and Microsoft has been in the process of expanding their physical reach with 75 new locations since July 2011. Google is in the process of planning their debut retail store in Dublin Ireland where their European headquarters is located and Amazon has plans to open up a test store in Seattle in the next few months. According to an Amazon spokes person,

The primary goal of the test is to determine if a physical retail presence can accelerate sales of Kindle devices and follow-on consumption of digital content at an attractive return on invested capital.

Seattle makes sense because they are required to pay sales tax in any state where they have a physical presence and given that they are headquartered in Seattle, they are already paying sales tax. The concept of a physical retail store can work for a variety of reasons, they can generate sales revenue, increase brand familiarity and serve as customer service centers. It's often difficult to be successful at all three which does raise concerns about return on investment, something that Amazon will be watching closely. Right now it seems that the Amazon stores will be mostly centered around their Kindle products and be primarily sales focused over customer service driven.

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Dublin May Get A Google Store In Real Life

posted Sunday Feb 12, 2012 by Jon Wurm

Dublin May Get A Google Store In Real Life

Apparently, even in the Internet Age, brick n' mortar stores still hold a glimmer of prestige even with mega-corp software giants like Microsoft, Apple and maybe Google in the near future. With Google's launch of the online Chrome Store back in December of 2010 it's only taken Google a little over a year to come up with some plans to pull a Tron and bring the shiniest online store ever into the physical world.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, Google has stated that their plans are only plans and no hard decisions have been made. The decision to pursue this further has come from some testing with the concept that Google has conducted in London. They built some test stores inside of PC World and Currys and attempted to sell laptops, presumably with Chrome OS.

In a planning application filed in Dublin, Google disclosed that the store would be 1,323 square-feet and sell some sort of Google merchandise, presumably Chrome OS laptops as well as t-shirts and the like. The store would be physically located in the Montevetro portion of Barrow Street.

My personal hope is that they do a good job incorporation the whole "chrome" aspect in their store aesthetic very well. Apple needs someone to step up and sell products in a much brighter environment with more reflective properties to be challenged. The plans for the real life Google store also indicates that they are still serious about continuing to pit Chrome OS and Android against one another but that could start to change as the Chrome web browser recently became available for beta on Android 4.0 devices. It will be interesting to see what kind of a showing Android makes in their stores, if any. Should the store become a reality in the near future I would suggest using another form of payment besides Google Wallet to make purchases since the security still seems to be a little on the unpolished side of things.

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More Media Partners Sign on to Xbox LIVE

posted Sunday Feb 12, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

More Media Partners Sign on to Xbox LIVE

For those living under a rock, this is the time where I inform you that the Xbox dashboard was revamped shortly before Christmas to include more media partners, features and enhancements that further helped them prove that the Xbox really is made to be the center of all your family entertainment.

Unfortunately, when the new dashboard rolled out, we only saw a handful of the new media partners we were promised when Xbox announced the list back in October. Shortly thereafter, Verizon FiOS, YouTube, msnbc, TMZ, SyFy, Epix and iHeartRadio was added to the LIVE community. However, the problem remained that about ten other partners were still awaiting US debut.

This week, Microsoft brought us one step closer to all of the content we've been waiting to see. What was added? We have the info after the break.

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Google Wallet's Newest Security Flaw

posted Saturday Feb 11, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Google Wallet's Newest Security Flaw

This week, a few new vulnerabilities were discovered in Google Wallet. The first requires that the device be rooted to allow someone near you to enable the stealing of a Google Wallet PIN. That exploit is about as easy to take advantage of as the last one we discussed, so we won't go into a lot of detail.

For those who do not know, Google Wallet allows for payment through a Citi Mastercard, a gift card or a Google prepaid card. The Google card allows you to tie any other form of payment, credit or debit from any company, as the funding method, allowing for payment through virtually any card. This third payment method, plus Google's tendency to not think before they act, are what allow a thief access to your money.

To find out how and hear Google's response, hit the break.

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Psychonauts Sequel in the Works?

posted Saturday Feb 11, 2012 by Scott Ertz

<i>Psychonauts</i> Sequel in the Works?

Many of our readers may not even know what Psychonauts was, but those who do will be very excited to hear that a sequel might be in the works. The initial release of the game was not all that successful, but after being added to several of the older digital distribution systems, some for free, people learned about a game and everyone who played it seemed to love it.

Creator Tim Shafer said about a sequel in a recent interview,

I'd love to do that game, but I'd have to convince someone to just give me a few million dollars, that's all.

One of the people who discovered it and read this interview was the creator of Minecraft, Markus "Notch" Persson. He responded to the interview via Twitter saying, "How many millions exactly?", followed by "Let's make Psychonauts 2 happen." and "Also, I'm serious." He told Ars Technica, "Their about page told me to contact Tim via Twitter, so I did!"

Why did he make this offer and what could it mean? hit the break for more.

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LinkedIn Proving Social Networks Can Profit

posted Saturday Feb 11, 2012 by Scott Ertz

LinkedIn Proving Social Networks Can Profit

It is fairly early in LinkedIn's public life and it seems to have been nothing but good for the company so far. Since going public in May of last year, their earnings, as well as their subscriber-base, has continued to rise. Their earnings, announced this week, show that their earnings this quarter have risen 105%. Yes, LinkedIn made more than double this quarter than this quarter last year. That is impressive growth for any company, even more so for a social network.

While it may not seem like it, this might actually be good for Facebook. While it may show that LinkedIn is growing, possibly at the cost of Facebook, it also shows that a social network can be profitable, which could help Facebook in their inevitable IPO.

How is LinkedIn making money, while Facebook seems to be losing? Hit the break to find out.

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