Heads up, Android fans: Google Earth for your phones is about to get a lot better. That's what the folks in Mountain View are promising, anyway -- they've released an update to the app brings with it snappier performance and improved labels for maps (you'll never wonder where Foster City and Redwood Shores begin and end again). Perhaps the biggest change, though -- a completely rebuilt 3D rendering engine -- means those cityscapes and mountain ranges you pore over should show up with more crispness and clarity. Try not to lord that over your friends using Apple Maps, will you? Throw in a way to import your own custom .KML files into the app from Google Drive and you've got all the makings of a pretty momentous update. Itching to take it for a spin? Mosey on over to the Google Play Store to get your globetrotting fix.

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Testing Apple Pay in September

Went on a spending spree with your Bank of America debit card the moment Apple Pay hit your iPhone? You might be in for a (brief) shock. The bank is now issuing refunds after it charged at least some Apple Pay users twice when they made purchases at retail shops. While it hasn't said what triggered the glitch, the issue doesn't appear to involve Apple's software -- there haven't been widespread reports of problems with other cards, and Apple itself doesn't process transactions. Whatever was the cause, it's not surprising that a major mobile payment service would run into some hiccups just after launch. Let's just hope that things go more smoothly from here on out.

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If you're anything like us, Google's Gmail has an iron grip on your life. Google's looking to create a whole new iron grip with a new app from its Gmail team, and it's called "Inbox." What is it? That's a good question -- Google's made a demo slash advertisement video that we've dropped below. As far as we can tell, Inbox is a combination of Google Now and your Gmail inbox -- a "smart" inbox, if you will. It combines alike pieces of email (bank invoices, for example), highlights related information (like Google Now alerting you to flight changes, traffic, etc.) and keeps track of your life (it'll give you reminders, among other heads ups). Is this the end of Gmail? We seriously doubt it, but it is Google's latest foray into simplifying email. Head below for more!

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For anyone with a Sky+HD box, the Sky+ app for Android and iOS gives you a handy way to manage recordings while away from home, and lets you use mobile devices as substitute remotes when you're plonked in front of the TV. Now, with an updated version of the app released today, you can also use it to push your summer holiday snaps to the biggest display in your living room. As long as the smartphone or tablet running the Sky+ app is connected to the same WiFi network as your set-top box, tap the new camera icon in the app's navigation bar and you'll be able to send any images stored on the device to your TV screen, or set a slideshow running.

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Padlock

Just because FBI director James Comey believes his agency has a right to see your phone's encrypted data doesn't mean he'll get his way. Members of Congress from both major parties, including House Representatives Darrell Issa and Zoe Lofgren as well as Senator Ron Wyden, are saying that there's "zero chance" they'll pass a bill requiring that device encryption includes backdoor access for federal investigators. They argue that law enforcement has blown whatever chance it had at public support -- accountability problems at multiple agencies (especially the NSA) have led many to distrust the government's data requests. As it stands, the FBI is battling some fierce legal headwinds. The House recently passed a bill banning the NSA from using backdoor searches, and it's doubtful that these politicians will heed Comey's calls for more access.

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If you ever thought to yourself, "Self, I need a crowdfunded toothbrush that tracks my oral activities," you're in luck. The folks at Goodwell estimate that we'll each go through some 300 toothbrushes over the course of our lifetime. As such, it wants to do its part to wage a war against the "planned obsolescence" of traditional fang-cleaning apparatus. For just $69, you get a hollow aluminum handle with a compostable, replaceable, charcoal brush head -- even with a $79 subscription for replacement parts that's still cheaper than Oral B's SmartSeries. If you're feeling even more spendy though, you can get what's known as the premium kit, which comes with screw-on flosser and tongue-scraper accessories, costing $89.

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When Tim Cook apologized for Apple Maps in 2012, he promised to do everything to make the app better. The company's latest push to improve its navigation app involves putting all the small businesses it can on Apple Maps -- that is, with a little help from the owners themselves and a new portal called Maps Connect. The service lets owners add or edit their establishments' locations and gives them the opportunity to beef up their their profiles with their website, Yelp , Facebook and/or Twitter pages. They can even sign up for iBeacon (the company's indoor tracking tech) installation on the page, though at the moment, Apple's prioritizing businesses with more than a million visitors every year and offer WiFi throughout their premises.

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When the Moto 360 last got an update, the painfully handsome smartwatch seemed to get a noticeable boost in battery life. Now, with a new bit of software, Motorola's itching to improve its battery life just a little more... as well as stamp out a few bugs for good measure. Perhaps the most notable addition is the 360's newfound ability to shut off Ambient Mode (which leaves the screen on, albeit at a lower brightness) automatically once its battery level hits 15 percent. Also on deck this time are some minor UI changes (you can temporarily dismiss a notification without leaving the watch face), the addition of mood lighting when you plop the thing in its dock, and some behind-the-scenes Bluetooth improvements. All of the above will be hitting your wrist sooner or later -- Motorola says the update is rolling out in waves, so be patient if your smartwatch doesn't get a little smarter as quickly as you'd like.

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It's a conflicting time for Apple. On one hand, it's a joyous occasion for the company because its latest iPhones, which come in larger screen sizes than the last, set new sales records worldwide; but on the other hand, its lineup of iPads just experienced its third straight quarterly decline. Coincidentally, this comes just a week after Apple announced its annual tablet refresh, which includes a thinner and more powerful version of the iPad Air along with a Touch ID-enabled mini with Retina display.

Just because it's down doesn't mean it's out. Giving up on a product category isn't really Apple's style, and last week, it offered up the Air 2 as exhibit A. The company made it clear that making a solid top-of-the-line tablet is on the top of its to-do list, so naturally the new 10-inch device got plenty of upgrades in nearly every aspect of its design. Curiously, it didn't give the mini lineup the same kind of treatment: The mini 3 got so little love this time around that the best news about it is the fact that last year's version is now $100 cheaper. Should the new iPads still get a place in the consumer's backpack? Read on to find out.

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Vine channel following on iOS

Vine is full of video creators talented enough to score TV deals, but keeping up with them has usually meant either following them one-by-one or browsing channels for ages. You have a much easier way to catch up on those clips as of today, though: Vine's iOS app now lets you follow channels, which puts featured videos in your feed alongside everything from people you follow. If you're a space buff, for instance, you can add the Science & Tech channel in hopes of seeing some orbital footage.

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ALCS - Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals - Game Four

Tonight, Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants will begin battling it out for Major League Baseball's biggest prize: the World Series. And to make things better for ballpark attendees, MLB and MasterCard have announced that Kauffman Stadium (Royals) and AT&T Park (Giants) are going to support Apple Pay and other NFC-based payments throughout the series and beyond. Given how MLB usually adopts new technologies quickly, this shouldn't come as a surprise -- both stadiums are the first in sports to do this, and chances are the league will bring the feature to more places soon. While MasterCard and MLB are touting Apple Pay, the Cupertino company's recently launched payment system for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, services like Google Wallet also work with the newly implemented terminals. Don't worry, we know Google Wallet has been a thing for a while.

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Following reports yesterday that China was secretly collecting data from iCloud users, Apple has confirmed to Dow Jones that it is aware of network attacks on its service. The iPhone maker said it knows about "intermittent organized network attacks" on people who were trying to access iCloud.com, although the company failed to mention China specifically in the statement to Dow Jones. Apple did say these recent attacks had not compromised its servers, and added that iOS and desktop users (who running the latest version of OS X) should not be worried -- it appears this issue was limited to the iCloud website. We've reached out to Apple for comment and will keep you in the loop should any more details emerge soon.

Update: Below is Apple's official statement on the matter, along with a link to some browser security instructions.

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PhotoMath on a Windows Phone

Need a little help getting through your next big math exam? MicroBlink has an app that could help you study more effectively -- perhaps too effectively. Its newly unveiled PhotoMath for iOS and Windows Phone (Android is due in early 2015) uses your smartphone's camera to scan math equations and not only solve them, but show the steps involved. Officially, it's meant to save you time flipping through a textbook to check answers when you're doing homework or cramming for a test. However, there's a concern that this could trivialize learning -- just because it shows you how to solve a problem doesn't mean that the knowledge will actually sink in. And if teachers don't confiscate smartphones at the door, unscrupulous students could cheat when no one is looking. The chances of that happening aren't very high at this stage, but apps like this suggest that schools might have to be vigilant in the future.

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Google Play Music on a Moto X

You know how there were hints that Google Play Music was about to get a Material Design makeover? As it turns out, that's just a small piece of what's in store. Google has updated its Play Music Android, iOS and web apps with a new Listen Now page that focuses on context-aware music stations from the company's recent acquisition, Songza. Provided you're an All Access subscriber, you'll get to stream curated playlists that fit the time of day and your likely activities -- you may get relaxing playlists to take the edge off your commute home, or uptempo tracks for morning exercise. The page also improves discovery with cards that suggest both new releases and stations based on what you like. Google's redesign should be available today in all 45 Play Music countries, so have at it if you're an avid listener.

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