Germany - : Homepage, Website of the search engine lycos

Long before Google and eons ahead of Bing, Lycos was the Internet's search engine. In fact, the company was one of the first to implement spidered web indexing. And while Lycos hasn't made many headlines lately, the company still maintains an impressive portfolio of technology patents. Its patents are wide-ranging enough that Google already got into trouble over old Lycos tech back in 2012 before winning its case on an appeal last year. On Wednesday, the company announced that it will be offering a selection of that collection for sale as Lycos prepares to roll out a number of physical products in the coming weeks.

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Instagram filters on an iPhone

Whether or not you think photo filters represent creative assets or the death of photography as we know it, one thing's becoming increasingly clear: they're your ticket to popularity. Yahoo and Georgia Tech researchers have learned that filtered photos (at least, on Flickr) are 21 percent more likely to get views, and 45 percent more likely to receive comments. This doesn't mean that you can throw on any effect you like, mind you. Warmer-looking filters usually get the best results, while colder examples have less of an impact. In short, feel free to tweak your Instagram shots if you feel they lack a certain oomph that will draw in the crowds -- just don't try to be overly dark and edgy.

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Before you dismiss this as a slow-day news post, hear us out: these aren't your run-of-the-mill phone cases. These are the first products Google has released under its new Editions project, a series of collaborations with artists to develop limited edition "live cases" for select Android phones. For this batch, Mountain View worked with electronic dance music producer/DJ Skrillex, who designed an outer space-inspired set. Now, here's the cool part: in keeping with the space theme, the products come with live wallpapers showing images of the Earth from the stratosphere during the day and constellations visible from your location at night. The tech giant actually launched a high-altitude balloon named after Skrillex's dog Nanou to capture images of our planet and didn't just take images from NASA.

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In order for Chrome OS to succeed, Google needs all the support it can get from developers. Hardware companies are certainly doing their part, namely by offering Chromebooks to people at affordable prices. That's why it's important when a popular service such as Viber launches on the platform, like today. Now users can start using the app to communicate with friends or family directly from their Chromebook, just as they would on iOS, Android or Windows Phone. Not only can you send text and picture messages, but also make phone and video calls to your contacts. It's free too, which comes in handy if you're trying talk to people across different countries.

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It's no secret that people love white gadgets. And in case you missed out on the Xbox One Sunset Overdrive bundle from last year, now's your chance to get one. Microsoft just revealed a kit that's loaded with a white version of the console, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, 500GB of storage and a 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial. The special edition is only available in the US and costs $350, which would save you about $50. But you better hurry if you want it -- as usual, this will only be up for grabs in limited quantities.

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Troll doll

As much as Twitter is doing to fight harassment lately, it's clear that ill-willed users are still slipping past the social network's defenses -- and sometimes, in very conspicuous ways. Users have spotted trolls using Twitter's promoted tweet ads to spread racist and anti-transgender messages, guaranteeing a wide audience for their hate. The company tells The Guardian that it's pulling these ads and suspending the offending accounts, but it's not offering an explanation for why these tweets got through despite policies that explicitly ban hateful language. The failures suggest that Twitter's ad approvals are relatively hands-off, and that it needs to keep a much closer eye on things so that its ads remain friendly.

[Image credit: Señor Nejo, Flickr]

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Gaming has well known dark sides, but it can also improve spatial skills, reduce stress and even bring families together. Two new studies may further confuse you about the benefits, with one concluding that gaming makes you friendlier in the real world, and another implying it could ruin your brain. First the plus side: Texas Tech researchers think that cooperative gameplay, whether in violent or non-violent games, makes people nicer. "We found that playing with a helpful partner increases the expectation of others to reciprocate that pro-social behavior," said author John Velez. He added that teaming up even makes you "nicer to the other team... that just tried to beat you."

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Wordsmith whips up a news story

Robotic news editors promise to save the trouble of picking and writing news stories (and might put people like me out of work), but are they really ready to replace human writers? Yes and no, if you ask NPR. The outlet held a showdown between Automated Insights' WordSmith news generator and a seasoned reporter to see which of the two could not only finish an earnings story the quickest, but produce something you'd want to read. The results? WordSmith was much faster, producing its piece in two minutes versus seven, but the writing was more than a little stiff -- it lacked the colorful expressions that made NPR's version easy to digest. With that said, newsies might not want to relax just yet. It's technically possible for software to adapt to a given style, so flesh-and-bone writers may still want to update their resumés... y'know, just in case.

[Image credit: Justin Cook, NPR]

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Konami has made some major, mysterious changes this year. It canceled Silent Hills, a horror game from Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, even after the exceptionally warm reception to its PlayStation 4 teaser, PT. Kojima himself is, in all likelihood, going to leave Konami after production wraps on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Plus, Konami delisted itself from the New York Stock Exchange and wants to aggressively pursue mobile game development. Put all of that together and you get a PT spoof from nerdy-comedy video crew Mega64. Watch the video below.

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