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In Brief

Google announced a Gmail for iOS update on Wednesday that should virtually eliminate manually refreshing your Inbox on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The software now supports background refreshing so messages are pre-fetched and synchronized. Users will have to enable the background refresh function after updating the app, which can be found in the iTunes App Store. Apple notes that enabling background refresh for an application can impact battery life, so you’ll need to consider if the constant mail syncing is worth it compared to the manual or scheduled refreshing of your Inbox in Gmail for iOS.

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In Brief

A Belgian magistrate has mulled blocking Apple’s websites there, according to local reports on Tuesday, as spotted by Tech.eu. This was as a result of the still-ongoing kerfuffle over Apple and warranties – although EU law says consumer goods should automatically come with a two-year warranty, and although Apple acknowledges as much on a webpage, the firm still advertises its gadgets as being covered by a one-year warranty and tries to upsell customers to a two-year AppleCare plan. The reports suggest the magistrate may have realized blocking Apple’s sites would mess with iTunes and other services, so is still considering his next move.

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Apple just  launched an Apple TV promotion that looks a lot like an attempt to clear the shelves for new hardware: Apple TV buyers will get a $25 gift card, effectively lowering the price to $75, reports 9to5Mac. Last month, reports surfaced that Apple was getting ready to introduce new Apple TV hardware in the first half of this year.

In Brief

Google introduced hands-free voice search in its Chrome beta browser on Thursday for all major desktop platforms. To use it, simply open a new blank tab or navigate to Google.com in Chrome and then speak your query. The voice search works for general searches as well as Google Now information. You can set a reminder, for example, or get a list of upcoming calendar events. Google says the feature is rolling out on desktop platforms in the next few days while Chrome OS will follow. Chromebook and Chromebox owners don’t have to wait though as this extension introduced in November will add voice search.

On The Web

Part of the reason that Tinder has taken off so well in the past few months is that it shows users nearby within a mile radius. However, Businessweek reports that white-hat hackers uncovered location data for users that went much deeper than that mile designation — even triangulating someone’s position within 100 feet. The hole was patched before the beginning of this year, but the process took months and Tinder was slow to respond. It’s also not the first time the company has landed in hot water over its location technology — and its transparency about security.

In Brief

Apple on Wednesday announced that its iTunes Festival will finally be making its stateside debut. The show will take place during SXSW in Austin, Texas from March 11-15 at ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The festival will include sets by Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban, Pitbull and ZEDD, with more artists to be announced. Up until now the iTunes Festival has traditionally been a free 30-day show held in London. If you’re not heading to Austin, you can still catch all five nights of performances for free as a live or on-demand stream from the iTunes Store.

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