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CNET Update: Google gets romantic with photos, fireplaces

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CNET Update: Google gets romantic with photos, fireplaces

2:51 /

Google+ puts hearts on smooching photos, Chromecast sets the mood with a fireplace, and the wireless industry has no love for a smartphone "kill switch" bill.

The quest for kill switch continues as we get romantic with Google. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. If your smartphone is stolen, that's a big bummer but if there was a way to self-destruct your phone so the thief couldn't use it, then there would be less incentive to steal phones, right? Well, that's the idea behind a new smartphone kill switch bill that U.S. Senators are proposing. Some in the government want to require smartphones to have software with a kill switch that would render a phone as useless as a brick if it was stolen. Now, nearly one in three thefts in the U.S. involves a stolen cellphone and in big cities like New York, the rates are much higher. So stopping this sounds like a great idea, right? Well, the wireless industry lobby group and wireless carriers are fighting against the bill, saying that a kill switch is a bad idea that could be abused by a hacker who might hijack and wipe all of our phones for ransom and they have a point. But then again, the wireless industry would make less money if there were less steps and maybe we wouldn't care to buy insurance. Expect this battle to heat up in the near future because California is also trying to push a state law requiring kill switches. And with the arrival of Valentine's Day comes a bunch of new ways to use tech to be lovey dovey. Google's social network, Google Plus, just added a feature that will add animated hearts to any photo of kissing or hugging. Upload the photo from your desktop and Google will add the hearts automatically, it even works with bear hugs. The app Lovematically launched to help spread the love on Instagram by automatically liking all of your friends' photos for you but soon after launching, Instagram broke our hearts and blocked the app. So, we're now still burdened with having to scroll and tap to like everything manually. And if you want to get in the mood, the Chromecast HDMI TV streaming stick has a new feature, a virtual fireplace. When streaming Google Play music to the TV using the Chromecast, a cozy, crackling fireplace can display on the television. It's like Yule Log 2.0. To turn it on, go to the gear icon in the upper right corner of Google Play music, select Labs and enable the Chromecast Fireplace Visualizer. And here's a high tech pillow that just may save your relationship if you're sharing a bed with a snorer. The $150 snore activated nudging pillow can detect sonic vibrations from snoring and it will inflate three inches to encourage the snorer to shift positions. That's your tech news update but you can get more details at CNET.com/update and you can also stay updated by following along on Twitter. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.
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