Gadget Lab Podcast: We’ve Got Android Watches Coming Out of Our Ears


Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

What’s that thing on Mat’s wrist? It’s a Samsung Gear Live, one of two Android Wear smart watches that became available to consumers this week (The other one, LG’s G Watch, was reviewed by Christina Bonnington). On this week’s show, Mat and Mike talk about both of these watches, discussing what they do, and how much of a difference they’re poised to make in our lives. Also on the agenda is a discussion about Satya Nadella’s memo to Microsoft employees. Color us flummoxed! Finally, we talk about the latest additions to our respective families: our beautiful new televisions.

Download this week’s episode directly from iTunes or subscribe in iTunes. Note: There was a weird glitch that caused the wrong file to upload this week. If you start listening to episode 216 and you hear a show from June, refresh your feed. You should hear Mat and Mike start talking about Android Wear watches right at the top of the show.

Send the hosts feedback on their personal Twitter feeds (Mat Honan is @mat, Michael Calore is @snackfight) or to the main hotline at @GadgetLab.

World Cup Piracy Crackdown Hits Sites That Weren’t Even Streaming


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An Indian company is trying take down about 500 web pages in the name of the World Cup, set to reach its climax on Sunday in Brazil. The idea is to cut off pirate sites that offer illegal streaming of World Cup events by having Google remove them from its search engine, but this sweeping crackdown is hitting all sorts of other legitimate sites as well.

The June 13 takedown notice covers several sites that simply talk about watching the World Cup online, including the Bleacher Report, the BBC, and a number of interesting books hosted by Google itself. And it appears to be the result of some sloppy work by Markscan, a company that India’s Sony Entertainment Network hired to enforce its World Cup Streaming rights.

So far, Google has ignored many of the requests, and that’s a good idea, says Nate Glass, the owner of Takedown Piracy, a U.S. company that does similar copyright takedowns. “It sounds like this one company is kind of a rogue agent who’s maybe taking a scattershot approach and not really being very precise with their notices,” he says.

This Sunday’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina will, no doubt, be one of the most-watched sporting events of all time. The group that puts on the World Cup, FIFA, says that close to 1 billion people watched the 2010 finale, and this year’s game—a trans-continental match-up pitting a European Team against one from South America—seems likely to draw in even more viewers.

Here in the U.S., the final game will be broadcast on ABC, so it will be available even to cable-cutters. But that hasn’t been the case with all of the World Cup games. ABC and ESPN, for example, made early World Cup games available to non-subscribers via broadcast television and internet streaming, but then pulled the plug on this giveaway during key elimination matches. And Sunday’s final won’t be available for free in some countries, particularly in Asia, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

That means that sites such as Firstrow and Rojadirecta will probably be busy Sunday. It’s “likely be the most pirated sporting event in history,” says Glass. “You’re talking about, potentially, millions of people.”

FIFA itself has taken steps to cut down on copyright infringement. It’s sent warning letters to streaming sites, and DMCA notices to Twitter. News of the Markscan takedown was first reported by TorrentFreak. Google, Markscan, and Sony Entertainment Network could not immediately be reached for comment.