Firefox Revamps its Search Interface


Mozilla has recently made a deal with Yahoo to switch Firefox’s default search engine to Yahoo’s new Bing-powered search experience. Ahead of the switch, Firefox has upgraded its search interface so users have the ability to switch search engines with ease.

Rather than having to seek out settings to switch search engines, search settings will now appear front and center underneath the search suggestions whenever users begin to type a query.  Additionally, Firefox’s new search interface will allow users to type a keyword into the search field, then choose a specific search engine or website on which they wish to view the results, such as Wikipedia or Google.

If users wish to remove any options from the default list, they can customize it with ease. As per its standards, Mozilla is making ease of use its number one priority.

BlackBerry Will Pay Users to Switch from iPhone

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In an attempt to win back customers, BlackBerry is offering users up to $600 to trade-in their iPhones for a new BlackBerry Passport.

Canadian users with a model 4s or later can receive a trade-in value of up to $400, depending on the model of the phone, plus a $200 top-up from BlackBerry. Users in the U.S. are also eligible for this offer, which includes a $150 US top-up. However, this promotion is not available outside North America.

Anyone hoping to take advantage of this offer must purchase a BlackBerry Passport from the company’s online store or from BlackBerry will send users a prepaid Visa gift card within six weeks of receiving the iPhone and proof of purchase for the Passport in the mail. The offer begins December 1 and runs until February 13, 2015.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen recently announced the Passport is now available in red and white, along with the traditional black.

Google Fiber Gigabit Internet Launching in Austin for $70 Per Month

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Residents of Austin, Texas will soon be able to sign up for Google Fibre’s high-speed Internet. The Gigabit plan will only cost $70 per month. Google Fiber recently announced pricing details for three different Internet plans, and Austin locals can start signing up as early as December.

Google’s most basic plan will cost customers a one-time fee of $300, paid in $25 installments over 12 months. The plan offers 5Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds, and after the initial construction fee the broadband is completely free.

The construction fee is waived for customers on either of the two paid Gigabit plans, and will include 1TB of cloud storage as well as free hardware for the first year of service. The Internet only plan is priced at $70 per month, while the Gigabit Internet + TV subscription will cost $130 per month.

The television plan will feature 150+ channels and a DVR that can record up to eight shows simultaneously.

European Parliament Drafts Resolution Calling for Google Break-Up

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In an attempt to curb Google’s dominance, European Parliament is getting ready to draft a non-binding resolution proposing the company’s search engine operations be split from the rest of its business. The motion does not mention Google in such explicit terms, but it is by far the leading search engine provider, with an estimated 90 percent market share in Europe.

European politicians are seeking ways to rein in Google’s power, as concern grows regarding American companies’ control over the Internet industry. While the motion is a non-binding resolution, it would be the most far-reaching action proposed to date, and would increase pressure on the European Commission to take action against Google.

According to Reuters, the motion “calls on the Commission to consider proposals with the aim of unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term solution” to leveling the competitive playing field.

Google has already faced harsh criticism in Europe regarding everything from privacy to tax policies, which its executives believe is linked to Europe’s negative perception of the United States in general. The company is so large it is now inspiring distrust from politicians and business executives, in addition to the general public.

Andreas Schwab, the German Christian Democrat lawmaker who co-sponsored the resolution, told Reuters it was “very likely” to be adopted by his own centre-right group – the largest in parliament – and was supported by the main centre-left group as well.

Netflix Moves Down Under

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In a recent announcement, Netflix confirmed rumors that it plans to launch its television internet service in New Zealand and Australia. By March, consumers will have access to the globally popular video streaming service.

Cliff Edwards, director of communications and technology at Netflix said the company aims to get at least 10 percent of households with broadband to subscribe. However, he did not give a timeframe for that goal to be achieved.

In New Zealand alone, Netflix will be competing with local services such as Sky TV and Quickflix. Within an hour of the announcement, Sky TV shares dropped 9 cents to $6.40. CEO John Fellet said it took all competitors seriously “especially global ones”.

Netflix has yet to mention how much the service will cost. The current U.S. rate of $8.99 would be equivalent to NZ$11.40.