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By: Katie Roof
 
After a decade long attempt to popularize the service, Google (GOOGL) is shutting down its social network, Orkut.
 
Users can no longer create new accounts as of Monday and the site will officially close on Sept. 30. Orkut communities can still be accessed through an archive and profile data can be downloaded through September 2016.
 
One of Google’s early efforts in social media, the site struggled to gain traction in most regions beyond India and Brazil. At one point it was Brazil’s most popular social network, but Facebook surpassed it in 2012.
 
“Orkut was Google’s first foray into social networking,” Paulo Golgher, Orkut engineering director, said in a blog post. “Orkut helped shape life online before people really knew what ‘social networking’ was.”
 
Some of the company’s other social attempts like Google Wave and Google Buzz have also been shuttered. Going forward, Google will focus its social efforts on YouTube, Blogger and Google+.
 
"Google has been pushing Google+ so it is no real surprise that they are consolidating properties," Neil Doshi, analyst at CRT Capital, said. 
 
Google announced a revamp of its Google Docs service at its Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco last week. On Monday, it also announced it was shutting down Quickoffice, an app for document editing.
 
"Now that Quickoffice is being built directly into Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, users can edit Microsoft Office files without needing a separate application,” Google said in a statement. "If you've already downloaded Quickoffice, you can still continue to use it.”
 
Google shares are up 31% in the past year. They are currently trading around $576, with a market cap of $391 billion.
 
 

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By: Karim Lahlou
 
Oculus Rift’s $2 billion purchase by Facebook made it clear that the social networking giant was betting big on virtual reality, or VR. This technology immerses the user in a digital world through a headset that tracks a user’s head movements. Also in March, Sony, the maker of the PlayStation 4, announced Project Morpheus, a VR headset that the company hopes will unlock new possibilities for gamers to interact with virtual environments.
 
While both headsets are currently not yet available for consumers (although the Oculus Rift may be ordered as a developer kit for $350), there have been some interesting attempts to showcase the possibilities these two hold for gaming and simulation enthusiasts. Here are three of the most promising projects we found.
 
Bird simulator
Designed by students at the Zurich University of the Arts, Birdly is a virtual reality simulation that gives players the ability to take to the skies in the form of a red kite, a bird of prey. Using the Oculus Rift headset and a pneumatic plank, the players may “flap” their wings to gain altitude and move their heads to get a bird’s eye view of the landscapes below.
 
To make the virtual flight even more realistic, a fan is placed in front of the player to provide the feel of air streams, and flying over different locations releases various scents. 
 
Hack and slash
Revealed at the Game Developers Conference in March, Project Morpheus emphasizes the player’s immersion in games by using accessories that enable enhanced interactivity, such as the PlayStation Move controller.
 
“We’ve discovered that the more you integrate the analogy of your body in the game,” said Andrew Kelly, a Public Relations Manager for Sony, “the better it feels, and the easier it is for your brain to get used to the virtual world.”

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By: Trevor Mogg
 
With Ukraine’s army coming under increasing pressure in its battle to keep pro-Russian forces at bay, supporters have turned to crowdfunding in a bid to build a drone designed to offer assistance to its troops on the front line.
 
According to a Guardian report Sunday, the web-based “people’s drone” campaign hit its $35,000 target after

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By: Dado Ruvic
 
The authors of a controversial Facebook study are apologizing after an effort to see if emotional states are contagious caused quite a stir over the weekend.
 
Facebook was abuzz with complaints over the weekend after it was revealed that the social networking site secretly manipulated the posts being seen by nearly 700,000 users in early 2012 in

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By: Matthew Rocco
 
General Motors (GM) on Monday announced six new recalls covering 7.55 million vehicles in the U.S., as the automaker continues to address safety issues.
 
After calling back 2.6 million compact cars for a defective

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By: Jonathan Ernst / Mary F. Calvert

 

Hillary Clinton may still be leading potential Republican rivals Jeb Bush and Rand Paul in polling for the 2016 presidential election, but a new poll shows her advantage is shrinking considerably.


According to a new Zogby poll taken between June 27 – 29, Clinton leads Bush by 12 points, 47 percent to 35 percent. That’s a seven-point decrease when compared to poll results from

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By: Paul J. Richards

Previously undisclosed files leaked to the media by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden now show that the United States National Security Agency has been authorized to spy on persons in all but four countries.

The Washington Post published on Monday official documents provided by Mr. Snowden that

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The U.S. Military has blocked Infowars.com, with active duty personnel contacting us to confirm that the website is inaccessible to over 700,000 servicemembers worldwide having been labeled “violence/hate/racism.”
A servicemember forwarded the above print out which shows that the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), which serves “more than 707,000 Sailors, Marines and civilians in 620 locations in the continental United States, Hawaii, and Japan, making it the largest internal computer network in the world,” is censoring Infowars.com in order to