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Google may separate Photos from Google+ in the near future

Posted by wicked August - 1 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Google+

Google’s Photo features are some of the most attractive aspects of Google+, including automatic backup, aut0-awesome effects, stories, sharing, etc. The Photos section of Google’s social network is extremely robust and offers one of the best solutions for cloud backup on Android. In an attempt to gain more users, however, it looks like Google might be planning on spinning off Photos into a standalone service separate from Google+.

The move would keep most, if not all, of Photos feature set, but it would allow the product to stand on its own similar to how Facebook manages Instagram. There would still be integration with Google+, but users would not be required to have a G+ account to take advantage of all of the features. Since Vic Gundotra left Google, there’s been a ton of speculation that G+ was on the chopping block, but it looks like Google really just wants to make the best parts of G+ available to all users, and use G+ as a platform for all of those services. Definitely a win for users, and it’ll likely bring more people into Google’s ecosystem.

Do you use Google’s Photo features on Google+? Are you happy or disappointed that the features might spin away from the social network?

source: Bloomberg

Come comment on this article: Google may separate Photos from Google+ in the near future

Report: Google Ready to Break Photo Service Out of Google+

Posted by Tim-o-tato August - 1 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

According to sources of Bloomberg, Google might possibly break its Photos service out of Google+, making it stand more independently from its social network, even going as far as to let non-Google+ users be a part of the fun. The service, which is currently called Google+ Photos, could possibly be used to take on apps like Instagram or Flickr. 

From what Google has stated in the past, 1.5 billion photos are uploaded to Google+ every week, many of which receive the Auto Awesome treatment thanks to Google’s hard-working servers. Then, once automatically edited, they are made shareable with the click of a single button both on the web and through the Photos app on Android. The Photos app, Auto Awesome features, and editing tools included are some of the best available to mobile devices.

The report isn’t all that clear, but it sounds like Google will likely re-brand the app, make little mention of G+ during the sign-in process, and see how it can compete with established photo sharing/social apps.

Purely speculating here, but could this possible divorce be another sign that Google is looking to break down Google+? We know the company hasn’t given up hope completely, but as we saw at Google I/O, there was hardly any mention of the social network whatsoever. If you were to rid yourself of a network, taking out its key feature would definitely be a step you would take.

Thoughts?

Via: Bloomberg

Report: Google Ready to Break Photo Service Out of Google+ is a post from: Droid Life

Google-Now-launcher

Since its release, the Google Now Launcher has only officially worked with Nexus and Google Play Edition devices. It’s not difficult to sideload the app to work on many other devices, but if you wanted it through the Play Store, you had to own one of Google’s “compatible” devices. With the latest update to the launcher, though, it seems like Google is opening up the application to many more devices.

While the Play Store listing doesn’t say it supports any new models, it has reportedly been showing up for several new devices, including devices like the HTC One M8, LG’s G3, the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S 5, and several others. It’s hard to tell if this is a glitch on Google’s end since it seems pretty intermittent, but there’s a solid chance the launcher will finally be available to wide selection of devices instead of just a handful.

While we wait for any new information, hit the link below to see if you can download the app on your device. It’s not working on my AT&T Galaxy S 5, but maybe some of you will have better luck.

UPDATE: It appears that it will work on all devices with Android 4.1 or higher. Enjoy!!

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Play Store Download Link

Come comment on this article: Google Now Launcher appears to support a few new devices {Update – all devices with Android 4.1+]

Google Workshop project looks to bring customization to Nexus accessories

Posted by wicked August - 1 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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Google appears to be working on a new method to custom accessories for Nexus devices that is currently dubbed Google Workshop. From the looks of it, Google may have learned a few things from their Motorola experiment, including the Moto Maker platform for creating customized Moto X devices. Google Workshop takes some of those same concepts and applies them to the production of cases and live wallpapers for the Nexus 5. It is unclear whether it would expand to other devices if it goes live.

Google has developed a couple different tools to develop customizations. One of them is called MapMe and works by scanning a users account for things like a hometown or an entry about a special meeting with someone. The case design and wallpaper then pull in Google Maps type images. For the wallpaper, it appears Google can even do things like add location-specific tweets or weather with which the user can interact.

The second tool is called Moments and is driven more by the user via uploaded photos. Users are given options to reposition images to highlight certain areas and add filters and messages. One photo is used for the case, but several images can be added to create a live wallpaper of rotating images.

There is no information yet regarding availability or what devices Google may include if it decides to proceed.

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source: Android Police

Come comment on this article: Google Workshop project looks to bring customization to Nexus accessories

Google Now Launcher Now Available to All Android 4.1+ Devices

Posted by Kellex August - 1 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

A new update is rolling out to the Google Now Launcher, making it available to just about all devices running Android 4.1+. That’s right, if you have been frustrated at the lack of compatibility for Google’s own launcher with top devices, you can finally relax.

For those new to the Google Now Launcher, think of it as the name suggests, a simple launcher that allows you to easily access Google Now. With the GNL as your launcher, Google Now can be accessed with a swipe from left-to-right. It’s also buttery smooth, gives that stock Android look, and has extra large icons for those needing pixel explosion.

The update just went live for all today, so go grab it. 

Update:  Google made the news official – all Android 4.1+ devices are supported.

Play Link

Google Now Launcher Now Available to All Android 4.1+ Devices is a post from: Droid Life

Google is decommissioning one of their mysterious barges and selling it for scrap

Posted by wicked August - 1 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Google Barge

After Google got the whole world riled up about their mysterious floating buildings in Maine and San Francisco, it looks like the mystery may already be coming to an end before Google revealed the barge’s true purpose. The Portland Press Herald is reporting that at least one of Google’s four barges is being sold for scrap.

“On Wednesday, a tugboat towed the barge from Rickers Wharf Marine Facility in Portland and deposited it at Turner’s Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland. Roger Hale, owner of the terminal, said the structure had been purchased by an unnamed “international barging company” and was being prepared to leave Portland for an ocean voyage to an undisclosed location.

The containers, though, will be disassembled at Turner’s Island and scrapped, said Lance Hanna, deputy harbor master for Portland Harbor.”

The project had run into issues with various government agencies and had even been forced to move at a couple points, so its likely that the headache wasn’t worth the hassle for Google. Rumors of the barge’s purpose ran the gamut from retail showrooms (complete with a party deck) to floating technology centers, or in Google’s words, “interactive spaces where people can learn about new technology”.

Regardless of its purpose, Google’s futuristic looking barges got people talking, even inciting a bit on The Daily Show. The fate of the remaining three barges has yet to be announced, but if Google decommissioned one for legal or practical purposes, its hard to imagine they’ll continue work on the other three. Sound off in the comments with your thoughts on Google’s mini man-made islands.

Via: 9 to 5 Google
Source: Portland Press Herald

Come comment on this article: Google is decommissioning one of their mysterious barges and selling it for scrap

Android is becoming a monopoly and that could be a problem

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

android feature JD Hancock

Android has truly become an authority in the mobile market. A powerful operating system that costs nothing to the manufacturer and brings unlimited options to the consumer is hard to beat, a fact that is confirmed by last quarter’s marketshare reports. Google’s mobile OS has reached another milestone during Q2 2014, during which the Mountain View giant shipped 85% of all smartphones!

This comes as great news to us Android aficionados, but the rest of the market is not very happy. Google’s victory can, in part, be thanked to iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry losing marketshare. As with anything else, such a substantial success is bound to turn some heads, and some of those may be holding eyes you don’t want looking at you.

European authorities are said to be looking into investigating the Search Giant for its overwhelming advantage over other mobile platforms. This investigation would carry through if Android was to ship over 80% of devices within the European nations, which currently isn’t the case. Android devices account for 73% of shipped devices within said continent.

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Google is walking on thin ice here. A full-blown investigation on Google’s possible monopoly could bring some serious consequences for the operating system we all love and treasure. How would this case conclude, though? We could argue Android’s monopoly is a natural succession of how great and convenient the OS is. Most of us would say Google does compete fairly.

In fact, the European market may not be so worried about how many Android smartphones are out there. Sources familiar with the matter tell Reuters European regulators are more worried about Google’s practices, inquiring they are abusing their obvious dominance in the market.

google apps nexus 5

A clear example is that Google does require that manufacturers pre-install certain applications, like Maps and Search. That is, unless they want to steer clear of Google services, much like Amazon has done with its Fire smartphones and tablets.

It’s hard for other manufacturers to offer a good experience with no official support, though, especially because Google Play Store accessibility requires that manufacturers follow certain standards (including the addition of said apps). Certain software updates also demand these pre-requisites.

Is Google taking advantage of its position? Some may believe they are, but we must also remember this is why Google created Android as a free, open ecosystem. They wanted to bring their services to as many users as possible, and offering Android as a free alternative proved to be a successful way to do so.


Source: Reuters;

Google now out of stock on non-LTE Nexus 7 tablets

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Nexus 7 Out of Stock

Google has been selling the Nexus 7 with some pretty sweet deals as of late in order to get rid of stock before the release of the Nexus 8 tablet.

Now, it turns out that Google’s completely out of stock of the non-LTE models, according to the device’s product page on Google Play.

We’re not sure if Google plans to replenish its stock, considering the Nexus 8′s launch isn’t set until some time this fall, but it would be odd if it didn’t. Of course you can still get the Nexus 7 from third party retailers, if Google doesn’t plan on selling the tablet in the future.

Come comment on this article: Google now out of stock on non-LTE Nexus 7 tablets

Hangouts for Enterprise now allows use without G+ account

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Google’s Hangouts has been coming out with a lot of new features in the last few months to make it the default mobile and desktop communications app. Now, it’s the turn of Hangouts for Enterprise to enhance how it can be used to maximize “face to face” digital conversations within your business. The most important update now is that you can now use Hangouts without having to sign up for a Google+ account.

As long as the user has a Google Apps customer account, you can now use the video meetings of Hangouts without needing a G+ account. The feature allows up to 15 people to join a face-to-face hangout, as long as they are on a computer or a Chromebox. But they assure that this capability will also arrive soon for mobile phones and tablets as well. They are also allowing people on other video conference systems, like Blue Jeans (for H.323 or SIP-based videoconferencing systems) or InterCall (for those with mobile phones but through an InterCall audio-conference bridge).

Hangouts for Enterprise is now also included in the Google Terms of Service for other Business products like Gmail and Drive. This means that users can also avail of the round-the-clock customer support and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime. Later on, they will also be adding enterprise integration for Hangouts with the Google Apps Vault. Your company’s IT administrator will also now be able to easily manage these video meetings from the Google Apps Admin Console. You can start, mute or end a meeting all from the comfort of your own computer.

While Hangouts for Enterprise has been a great tool (as they claim) for companies like Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Eventbrite and Kaplan, it still has not caught on as they would like to in the corporate world. But as digital business meetings continue to evolve and Google Business apps try to improve integration and go mobile, Google might still be able to penetrate this market.

SOURCE: Google Enterprise

I/O 2014 app source code shows developers how it’s done

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Last month, Google released its fancy new I/O 2014 app in preparation for its annual conference. Now it’s announcing that the source code for the app is now available from Google‘s GitHub repository. While end-users might have no use for this, unless they happen to be knowledgeable about and/or like reading Java code, Google is inviting developers to take a look inside and learn about current best practices of creating an Android app and using Google’s API.

Aside from giving users a window into the world of Google I/O, the I/O 2014 app also showcases many of the staples of Android app development, whether it be components and featuers like Fragments, receivers, and notifications or design considerations like toolbars and themes. It also shows newer and better ways to use Google’s own services, like using Google Cloud Messaging (GSM) to keep devices up to date with the latest content and using Google Drive API to store users’ preferences and sync it with all connected devices. It even shows how to make an Android Wear companion app.

But aside from just hard, cold code, the app also gives developers a preview into Material Design. The app uses the design principles of tactile surfaces, animated feedback, colors, imagery, and the metaphor of paper, to give developers an idea how to theme their apps in preparation for Android L. The app also uses API found in the Android L Preview and has a separate APK for those already running it on their Nexus 5 or 7, or on the Android emulator. The video below, summarizes some of those key design points.

The source code for the I/O 2014 app is being released under an open source license. This means that more than just a reference, developers will be able to use code snippets to kickstart their own apps. Those interested in learning more about the different API and features in this app should keep tabs on the Android Developers Blog, source link below, as Google will be sharing more details about the app in the coming weeks.

SOURCE: Google (1), (2)

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