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Earlier this year, a few eagle-eyed folks in the East Bay region in Northern California noticed unmarked minivans with what looked like an array of cameras and sensors sitting on top of it. It turns out that the vehicles were registered to Apple, which sparked a bunch of speculation that the Cupertino firm was deploying its own fleet of mapping vehicles to compete with Google Street View. Well, it turns out that could very well be the case. In a photo captured by our friends over at Autoblog, a Dodge Caravan with the same sort of camera assembly was spotted with a decal that clearly states "Apple Maps" and "maps.apple.com" on the back window. It's not clear yet whether these minivans will be the self-driving kind (as was also speculated) or if it'll lead to an eventual Apple Car, but it does look like Apple Maps could get a lot better in the future. We've reached out to Apple for confirmation and will report if we hear back.

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Frustrated with the Google Hangouts app on iOS from time to time? Us too. Mountain View updated the mobile software today with a refreshed UI and more. First, you'll likely notice the new coat of Material Design paint that tidies things up a bit. Heck, even the dialer got a redesign. There's also a new quick compose button that allows you to quickly send messages to the folks you chat with often. Access to images from the gallery, camera or emoji library is easier too, and you can now send multiple photos at once. The update includes the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, and the latter hopefully remedies a few of the headaches some of us at Engadget HQ have been experiencing lately. The goods are available now at iTunes, and the Android version is said to arrive shortly.

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'Battlezone' circa 1998

The trends of remaking and remastering classic games just kicked into overdrive. Rebellion (best known for its Sniper Elite games) has revealed that it's developing not just a virtual reality version of the original Battlezone, but a refresh of the 1998 Battlezone title for PCs -- yes, it's a remake getting a remaster. It's too soon to know what this new version will entail, although it'll probably be fun if it maintains the 'original' mix of tank-based action, real-time strategy and an alternate-history space race. Let's just hope that someone doesn't try to re-do the remaster a decade from now... that would be a bit much.

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Facebook continues to refine what you see in your news feed. Today, the social network that your mom uses announced that it will track more information about your video watching habits to include whether or not you perform any actions like turn up the volume or make a video full screen. Facebook will use that information to place what it believes are more relevant auto-playing videos into your feed. Facebook recently announced that it would track how long users look at posts in addition to when someone clicks the Like or Share button to aggregate posts. Today's news is just an extension of that. The company says it will roll out this new way to weight posts in user feeds over the coming weeks and that Pages shouldn't expect "significant changes in distribution as a result of this update."

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Sprint Reports Q4 Loss Of $224 Million

Sprint is trying to do everything it can to compete with T-Mobile's audacious, budget-friendly plans. As such, the carrier's introducing a new plan called Best Buy One Family, featuring two lines with unlimited data, talk and text for $100 per month -- each additional number (up to eight total) will cost $40. Back in March, Sprint also announced a Best Buy-only plan that gives people a smartphone and all-you-can-have service for a flat monthly rate, so this isn't the first time the network and retailer have teamed up. Naturally, if you're interested in taking advantage of this offer, you'll have to visit a Best Buy or Best Buy Mobile store.

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Xfinity Sports baseball extras

If you're a baseball stats hound, you probably don't enjoy tearing your eyes away from the game just to dig up facts about the latest at-bat matchup. You might not have to distract yourself for much longer if you're a Comcast subscriber, though -- the cable TV giant has introduced a Baseball Extras feature to its Xfinity Sports app that turns your X1 set-top box into a real-time stats machine. Fire it up and you'll get a carousel of info that pops up as it becomes relevant, such as the batter's chances of defeating the pitcher or post-game recaps. You can also use it to track a game even when you're watching something else, so you don't have to interrupt your kids' show to get a better sense of how your favorite team is doing. This isn't as unintrusive as keeping your phone out while you watch, but it's definitely more convenient.

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It turns out that Uber's desire for mapping tech didn't really stop with Nokia's Here maps. The ride-sharing platform just picked up a portion of Microsoft's Bing maps technologies and about 100 of Redmond's employees as TechCrunch tells it. The way that TC describes the deal, the employees that Uber is absorbing were responsible for putting image data into the search engine (aerial, 3D and street footage, apparently) and the folks'll likely be doing the same task at their new employer. What's that mean for you? Well, that the map display in Uber's app is probably going to get a bit more detailed now, hopefully making it easier for your driver to figure out exactly where you are. Nah, they'll still likely drive around in circles while you watch in frustration.

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LG Chem's hexagonal battery

Quite a few smartwatches are round, so why are they still using rectangular batteries? LG Chem certainly doesn't think that makes sense. It just started shipping a hexagonal battery that should deliver 25 percent more capacity in circular watches, where a lot of space normally goes to waste. You're theoretically getting another four hours of juice, or enough to make it through a long night without resorting to a low-power mode. The company isn't naming customers, but it's safe to say that LG's next wave of rounded wristwear will last that much longer. And that's just the start -- LG is planning more unusually-shaped batteries that will extend the running time of gadgets without dictating their look and feel.

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Myon is a shiny white humanoid robot and the star of My Square Lady, an opera that opened this month in Berlin's Komische Oper in Germany. The operatic robot is a product of the Neurorobotics Research Laboratory at Berlin's Humboldt University and the European Union's Artificial Language Evolution on Autonomous Robot's project. Myon sings, of course, and it shuffles in stilted, mechanical motions while interacting with the rest of the carbon-based performers. No one controls Myon from backstage -- researchers and the cast worked with the robot for two years, teaching it how to sing with the orchestra, move around the stage, and react to visual and auditory cues. The opera itself is all about Myon, a robot trying to learn what it means to be human and feel emotion.

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If you fancy playing with Lego blocks and you're not familiar with Jason Allemann, take a few minutes to browse his work. He's one set of hands behind JK Brickworks, a site that posts rather unique builds with the plastic bits, including gravity-powered walking animals. For his latest project, Allemann built Bricasso: a device that scans an image and then "prints" a mosaic of it using 1x1 tiles. What's more, it's constructed entirely out of Lego parts. Bricasso uses a Mindstorms EV3 color sensor to scan the source photo -- which has to be pixelated from the jump -- and saves the data needed to complete the finished piece.

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By Sarah Kessler

"You've never heard of 'Man Crush Monday'?"

Michael Martin, a recent graduate of Musselman High School in Inwood, West Virginia, has graciously agreed to explain his class's Instagram habits to me.

"Well, 'Man Crush Monday' is the hashtag #mcm. On Monday, you post a picture of either your current boyfriend or person who you would want to be [your boyfriend]. #wcw is 'Woman Crush Wednesday.'"

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Can you believe that Google Earth has been around for a full decade now? To celebrate this milestone, Google unveiled a pair of striking new (and expanded) features to the planet virtualization system on Monday. The first is Voyager, which available on the desktop edition. It's designed to help you pick out and explore the coolest and newest imagery from around the world. These are organized into five categories: Street View, Earth View, 3D cities, Satellite imagery updates, and Highlight tour.

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