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College students who subscribe to Spotify just got more money to spend on pizza: The streaming music service announced a half-price discount on Tuesday. Instead of the standard $9.99 a month subscription fee, U.S. collegians can take advantage of a new $4.99 plan available on Spotify’s website. The monthly fee offers the same Premium features as the full-priced plan, including ad-free playback of more than 20 million songs, downloadable playlists for offline listening, improved sound quality and Spotify access on various devices and home entertainment systems.

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google now desktop

After months of appearing in experimental and beta versions of Chrome, Google is rolling out Google Now notifications in its mainstream edition of the Chrome browser for Windows and OS X. If you’re signed in with your Google account when using Chrome, you’ll begin to see contextual notifications from the Google Now service, such as when to leave for appointments due to real-time traffic data or reminders for favorite television programs. The Google Now service already supports mobile devices and Chromebooks and will also be the basis of smartwatches built using the Android Wear software platform.

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ASUS Chromebox
photo: Asus

Some people who pre-ordered the Asus Chromebox saw their delivery date come and go while others were able to rustle up a unit in retail stores. Is there an issue of supply or demand? Tune in to our weekly podcast to hear our thoughts. Read more »

In Brief

Sprint announced Friday that Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone will be available in stores and online beginning April 11, or you can pre-order it starting today. It’ll cost you $199.99 with a two-year contract, just like on AT&T and U.S. Cellular, or you can get it for $0 down (along with 24 monthly payments of $27.09) via Sprint Easy Pay. You can also buy the phone outright for $649.99. And for a limited time, customers that buy a GS5 on a Framily plan with Easy Pay will get a free Galaxy Tab 3, though you’ll have to pay for a data plan.

In Brief

Google Search camera commands

Google added a new function to Google Search for Android on Wednesday that lets users speak to their phone and open the camera application in a specific mode. By saying “OK Google, take a photo,” the camera app will open for image capture while an “OK Google, record a video,” command sets the camera up for movie taking. The additional function is another example of Google using voice input on mobile devices, something that will come in very handy for the company’s Android Wear platform that will power smartwatches.

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