Stories for Jul. 23, 2014

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In Brief

Fans of the Lowe’s Iris smart home platform can now automate their pet doors, garage doors, hoses and window blinds. The hose timer is actually pretty interesting, especially for folks that might not have an irrigation system or just want to water some plants while they are on vacation. The automated blinds will likely also prove popular. Lowe’s has been offering the Iris platform since 2012, and was one of the first DIY providers in this market, but this summer Home Depot has gotten aggressive offering the Wink platform and a variety of other connected devices.

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In Brief

When Yelp and the European Consumer Organisation joined the 4-year-old EU antitrust case against Google, it became pretty clear that competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia would not get his wish of settling the case before his departure later this year. And lo, it comes to pass: According to the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, the European Commission is now planning to reopen its settlement arrangements with Google for an unprecedented fourth round of revisions. A Wednesday letter from original complainant Foundem expressed clear dissatisfaction with existing settlement proposals, and it seems the NSA mess is providing political pressure as well.

Stories for Jul. 22, 2014
In Brief

Video curation startup Frequency added Chromecast support to its Android app this week, making it possible for Frequency users to cast any of the app’s curated channels of online video sources to the TV screen. Frequency’s app offers more than 4000 channels from sources including popular YouTube creators as well as media outlets like CNN, the York Times and BBC News. The company has also struck partnerships with TV manufacturers, and most recently launched a SDK for pay TV operators.

In Brief

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is now equipped with landing legs, which could eventually allow it to be reusable–a crucial step toward lowering the cost of carrying cargo to space. The space startup released a video today taken from the surface of the rocket as it passed through the planet’s atmosphere and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. “The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight,” a blog post states. “At this point, we are highly confident of being able to land successfully on a floating launch pad or back at the launch site and refly the rocket with no required refurbishment.”

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