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In Brief

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Google added a new Orders feature to its Google Wallet software for Android and iOS on Wednesday. The updated app will now track orders that were paid for through Wallet, providing online tracking status notifications on delivery and a history of all prior orders. Android Central notes that package tracking through Wallet was already available through the web version, so the new features have migrated down to mobile devices. Personally, I use Slice on Android and iOS for online package tracking but I’d consider using the new Orders feature in Wallet if I made all payments through Google’s software.

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In Brief

The anonymous sharing iOS app Secret has raised close to $10 million from Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a round valuing it at over $40 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing unidentified sources. The company had previously raised $1.2 million in seed funding, with Google and Kleiner Perkins both participating then as well. Secret also released an update on Friday that lets users share secrets to their social networks and view secrets by location — features that might make the app more appealing to a larger audience.

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.

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.

On The Web

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.

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