Showing posts with label Google+. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google+. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2011

Custom Google Music App Coming To All Devices By Cyanogen Mod Team

If you though the Cyanogen Mod launcher — Trebuchet — was the only thing CM9 had going for it you’d be wrong. Turns out those wild boys are also working on a modified version of the Google Music player app. Andrew Neal, one of the team’s devs, broke it down for everyone mentioning there will more tweaks and enhancements than you can shake a phone at. No really. One of the tweaks is the ability to set custom shake actions that will work no matter which app you’re in or if the screen is off/on. Completely customizable notification controls will also be found in the app along with a full theme engine to change up the look of the app as desired. Pretty fun stuff.
My only complaint with Google Music is that it’s not very smooth (unless you go into the landscape album view) which I’ve always found frustrating. It’s likely that because this will be replacing the stock music player app in CM9 going forward, streaming your music from the cloud should remain intact (update: it wont until Google releases their streaming API’s. Until then, this music player will remain crippled).
Best part about the new modified Google Music app? Once available in CM9, it will also be available for everyone to download via the Android Market — whether you’re rooted or stock.
Via The Verge

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Google's own Android tablet coming in next six months: Eric Schmidt

Google CEO Eric Schmidt has given an interview to an Italian newspaper that covered a bunch of different topics reports Fox News. The most interesting to us is that Schmidt has promised that Google is at work on a new Android tablet that will be of “the highest quality.” This would presumably be something along the lines of the Nexus smartphones.

The Nexus smartphones are the ultimate blend of hardware and software to show off what a fully integrated device can do with Android. Schmidt offered no hard details on the Google tablet in the interview. All he said was that the tablet was in the works, and that it would be coming in the next six months.
I think we could assume it will have Android 4.0 and the best hardware available at the time of launch. I wonder if it would also carry the Nexus name. It would be interesting to see what Google thinks the ideal Android tablet should pack under the hood.
[via SlashGear]

Google’s Eric Schmidt: The Internet and mobile can “change the world”

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has spoken about how he believes technology can change the world by bringing greater information, transparency and values to Internet users across the planet.
Speaking at The Economic Club event in Washington, broadcast by C-Span, Schmidt opened by stating that technology, and the Internet in particular, is an enabler that can help people push themselves forward:
All of us would agree that people can search for their dreams, they should be able to archive what they really want.

Government and citizens

Schmidt spoke of the emergence of two rival systems which are being brought together by the Internet: offline institutions — such as government, politics and law — and cyberspace.
They are getting into conflict in some governments and places, as technology is empowering people in ways they have never been empowered before. You can think of this as a community of citizens and a community of governments.
As technology develops and time passes, Schmidt believes that “a new equilibrium will emerge” to serve both communities in different ways. Cyberspace, he says, will ultimately serve to keep governments more honest in many ways, while equally government will have influence on the negative things that happen in cyberspace.

Companies changing the world

Schmidt continued on to look at exactly how the Internet and leading tech companies are helping to improve live across the world, saying:
Technology is at a point where we are seeing emergence of global scaled platforms, that are impressive in their reach, with a chance to change the world.
He specifically identified four companies — Google (of course), Apple, Facebook and Amazon — as those which have platforms that are impacting political and business systems across the world.
Construction of these systems is the probably most important business today. The combined market value of these corporations is very high, but they are just beginning. Within 10 yeas, computers will be 30 times faster…which will allow us to do amazing things.
The Google chief firmly believes that the Internet can make an unprecedented difference across the whole world:
My view, is that we should be very optimistic about all of this. The world isn’t perfect but it is going to a much safer and more informed place. The things that [the US] can bring to the world really will change a lot of these countries and lift people out of financial poverty, and information poverty.
Schmidt highlighted the captive market for these changes by pointing out that, in some countries, people are placing greater priority on having a mobile phone than getting running water at home.

Personal super computer

Speaking about the future, Schmidt is optimistic that computers and artificial intelligence will not take over the world. Instead he believes that a complimentary scenario will emerge:
Over five to ten years, human and computers will be distinguishable. Humans will still be very good at what we do — intuition, fun, entertainment, innovation — and computers will get extraordinarily good about what they are very good at, such as needle in a haystack problems and infinite memories.
Schmidt believes that the value of mobile devices is the networks of information that they are connected to, rather than the device itself:
I don’t think of this as my phone, it is my personal super computer that can answer any question that I care about in life.
Tablets and mobile devices are often referred to as points of access, and Google is continuing to invest it its network, having recently broken ground on two new data center in Asia, amongst many of its other projects.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

HTC and Google comment on US Apple patent loss – Andy Rubin “optimistic” about the future

HTC’s boss Peter Chou and Android top man Andy Rubin have both gone on the record regarding the recent high-profile patent loss to Apple, which had some excitable people claiming HTC’s phones could be banned from sale in the US.
That won’t happen. Chou says the infringing feature has already been removed, while Rubin is pleased that the ruling only covers user interface touches rather than anything deep within Android itself.
Rubin said:
“The majority of these patents [in Apple's complaint against HTC] were claimed in the operating system itself, but actually in this case what was allowed… is some user interface feature of an application, not the operating system itself, so that’s why I’m very optimistic in basically my desire to achieve patent peace on the overall platform.”

He has in his hand a piece of paper…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Google Said to be Suspending Nexus S ICS Update Due to High CPU Usage and Battery Life Bug

Google began rolling out the Nexus S ICS update in several regions a short time ago but it seems they’ve already had to suspend the upgrade for an issue that is affecting battery life.
Alongside abnormal battery drain users are seeing high spikes of CPU usage, two things that could be directly related. If you’ve gotten a notification that the upgrade was available but you have since been unable to apply it, don’t worry – you’re not crazy.
Now is as good a time as any to mention that Galaxy Nexus users have also been experiencing less-than-normal battery drainage for quite some time. Many believe it to be a kernel driver issue and is causing the OS to keep the device awake (this doesn’t necessarily mean the screen has to be on) which causes excessive battery drain.
I personally have been seeing half the awake time as overall up time (for instance, 4 hours on battery gives me 2 hours of awake time even if I’m not using the device more than 10 minutes throughout that period) on my Galaxy Nexus. Compared to other devices this most certainly is an anomaly. We’re not sure what’s going on but Google is apparently aware and working on a fix.
For the time being, if any of you have a Nexus S receiving the official update would you please be kind enough to go into the Battery Usage menu and letting us know what your Android OS usage is showing after using it for some time? It would go a long way toward figuring out if this is an Ice Cream Sandwich issue in general or if the two devices are unrelated. [Google Code (Galaxy Nexus), Google Support, XDA via Droid Dog]

Google’s X team working on Terminator-style HUD glasses

Wearable technology.” These days, the phrase conjures up images of laughably impractical watch-phone hybrids, single function devices like the FitBit and gigantic head-mounted displays that are useless for anything but watching movies for about 20 minutes at a time. But information leaking out of the shadowy inner test labs known as Google X indicates that the company is working on nothing less than a personal Heads-Up Display (HUD), a staple of science fiction for decades, and the goal of many converging technologies like transparent screens and microscopic transistors.

According to an anonymous source speaking to 9to5Google, Google’s take on HUD glasses is nearing the end of its prototype stage. The idea is that a pair of glasses overlays information onto transparent lenses, focusing on memory assistance – think things like a Google Maps Navigation overlay, or facial recognition that can display people’s when you can’t recall them. If you’re a literary geek, go read Daniel Suarez’s Daemon for an idea of the possibilities – the implications are staggering. According to the early leak the device, which SlashGear is calling the literal Google Goggles, will run Android, but will not be dependent upon an Android device to function. The mobile data connection and any other necessary hardware will be contained within the thick frames. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said to be taking a personal interest in the project.
All this is so speculative that calling it a rumor would be an understatement. But Google has a history of sinking tons of money into previously unknown territory, like its self-driving car program. And it’s not as if the applications don’t already exist – the military uses helmet-mounted HUD systems for fighter pilots and infantry, and even more recreational activities like skiing are starting to apply the ideas behind wearable displays.
Imagine the possibilities behind current and future tech: you receive a text party invite via your Google Voice account, it displays on your Google Goggles, you use voice input (perhaps Majel?) to respond and RSVP, then do a voice search for the address, eye tracking sensors let you indicate the right spot, and you activate a Google Navigation overlay – all without pressing a button. Fantastical? Maybe. Impossible? Maybe not.
[via SlashGear]

Galaxy Nexus Ninja Unboxing turns into 8-bit video game

I have one word for this and that is: Awesome! If you remember, Google released similar videos for both the Google Nexus One and the Samsung Nexus S (both linked to below) and my personal favorite was the Nexus S. This new Ninja Unboxing part 3 might just take the cake — until part 4 of course. In the past they used stop motion animation for these awesome videos but this brings things to an entirely new level. Play the Galaxy Nexus video game today!

Yesterday Google teased everyone that something was coming for Android fans today and while many were starting to speculate on an update for the Nexus One to Ice Cream Sandwich (dreaming) or maybe some sort of Nexus Tablet instead we have this video/game. While it’s nothing major I’m still quite excited and after I finish sharing the news with all my fellow followers and readers I’ll be sure to get back into my ninja suit and beat the game myself.

Yes, the unboxing turns into an 8bit Atari-style video game that is completely awesome. Basically you need to head down to YouTube immediately and play it by clicking here. Make sure to come back to Android Community though and see all of our coverage of the Galaxy Nexus and past unboxing videos from the timeline neatly laid out below.
Enjoy Ninjas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nexus Tablet? Eric Schmidt teases official Google-branded slate

The Nexus line of smartphones has been coveted by Android fans for its “pure Google” experience, eschewing carrier and manufacturer customization in favor of the latest clean build on Android. But if you want a pure version of Android in the tablet form factor, you’re largely limited to the original Motorola XOOM. Speaking with an Italian newspaper, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said that the company is planning to release a tablet within the next six months to directly compete against the iPad.

Schmidt’s precise words were, “In the next six months we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality.” Note, dear reader, that this is not a confirmation on a Nexus Tablet, but Google has specifically promoted devices which stayed within the pure Google experience before. The Nexus One, Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus have all been given web advertising campaigns spearheaded by Google, and the Motorola XOOM (the developer device for Android Honeycomb) continues to receive timely updates, Nexus-style. Whether a new Ice Cream Sandwich tablet would join the Nexus ranks as a developer device, or simply enjoy more informal Google support like the original DROID, is up in the air.

Google gives out customised Galaxy Nexus handsets to employees for Christmas

It appears that Google employees are going to enjoy the latest and greatest Android smartphone that the search giant and Samsung have to offer after it emerged the company is giving its staff customised handsets as a Christmas thank you.
The handset itself isn’t an ordinary Galaxy Nexus either; the device has been outfitted with a customised back cover, one that sports various Google+ and Android icons (which are one and the same) — a nice touch considering they are being specifically given to Google employees.
The rear of the device:
Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 10.50.42 Google gives out customised Galaxy Nexus handsets to employees for Christmas
We have confirmed that both Google’s London and Zurich offices are giving out free devices to Google employees, requiring staff to line up and claim their free handset, as shown in the photo below (posted by Edu Pereda, a Software Engineer at Google’s Swiss offices):
Screen Shot 2011 12 19 at 10.50.01 520x390 Google gives out customised Galaxy Nexus handsets to employees for Christmas
We have contacted Google to enquire whether all Google employees will receive a free device — we assume that will be the case. We will update the article should we receive a response.

British Telecom sues Google for Android, other services

British Telecom, also known as BT, has sued Google for alleged infringement of six patents in United States District Court for the District of Delaware. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday and BT is seeking triple damages for willful and deliberate infringement as well as an injunction.
BT is alleging that Google services like Maps, Places, Books, Search, Offers, Navigation, Android, Music, Google+, and Location based advertising infringe its six patents.
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,151,309 on a “service provision system for communications networks”
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,169,515 on a “navigation information system”
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,397,040 on a “telecommunications apparatus and method”
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,578,079 on a “communications node for providing network based information service”
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,650,284 on an “information system”
  • U.S. Patent No. 6,826,598 on a “storage and retrieval of location based information in a distributed network of data storage devices”
There has been no official comment from Google till now, and we will update the post once that happens.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Google Translate updates with handwriting recognition

Google’s translation engine has impressed me ever since the first time I used it on the web, and its continual evolution only impresses me more. The latest in a string of updates to Google’s Translate app for Android adds handwriting recognition, allowing users to write out phrases instead of typing them. At the moment, only seven languages use this feature: English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.
While most westerners can probably type out words and phrases a lot faster than they can write them (on a phone screen, anyway) the complex characters of Chinese and Japanese don’t cooperate well with keyboards formatted for languages based on Arabic characters. Obviously Android phones sold in Asia don’t have this problem, but if you’re traveling and using your phone for some technology assisted dialogue, it’s a great way to make it easier for the other party to respond. If the Google Translate team follows its regular patterns of behavior, more languages should follow in the next few months.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 Billion Apps promo, day 9: EzPDF, Guns’n'Glory and Zenonia for 10¢

The penultimate day of Google’s 10 Billion Apps promotion is upon us, and thankfully there’s a fresh batch of apps and games to pick up on the cheap. Google is celebrating more than 10 billion (with a b) app downloads with apps discounted to just ten cents / pence, a discount of more than 90% in most cases. Today’s batch of new apps includes EzPDF, Guns’n'Glory and Zenonia.

Here’s the list of new apps so far: Collapse!, Deer Hunter 3D, EzPDF, Guns’n'Glory, MX Moto, Sleepy Jack, Tank Riders, Toddler Tapping Zoo, and Zenonia. If you didn’t pick up SwiftKey X already, you’ve got another chance today. Google’s focus on games remains, but it’s nice to see them throw in another utility, in the form of the very solid ExPDF. If you often find yourself viewing Adobe documents on your phone or tablet, it’s well worth the dime.

Clever Sense nabbed by Google to provide local recommendations

Whether or not you like Apple or the iPhone; the Siri search assistant in the latest versions of the iPhone is a very cool feature. Google is gearing up to fight Siri and some of the cool local recommendation and other features that the AI assistant touts on the iPhone 4S. To help beef up the Google arsenal in local recommendations Google has plunked down the cash needed to buy up Clever Sense.

Clever Sense is a recommendation service that will undoubtedly find its way into Majel, the rumored Siri competitor for Android. Clever Sense is the firm behind the Alfred apps for Android and iOS devices that are able to keep track of restaurants close to the user and then make recommendations based on what the app determines are the tastes of the user.
The team of geeks at Clever Sense will become part of the Google local search team. Cleaver sense had plans to make its app more than just a food recommendation service. It was planning to make the app suggest entertainment options and deals in a system sort of like Groupon. I can see all of those things making nice additions to Majel.
[via SlashGear]

Google’s official Siri fighter codenamed Majel, Trekkies switch to Android at Warp 9

Majel Barret as Nurse Chapel, opposite DeForest “Bones” Kelley

Remember when that Google executive compared iOS’ Siri voice control implementation to the bumbling droids of Star Wars, and Android’s voice input to the Enterprise’s computer on Star Trek? Someone in Mountain View took that analogy quite literally. Android and Me quotes insiders that say Google is preparing a natural language update to Android’s Voice Actions feature, and they’ve codenamed it Majel, after the late great Majel Barrett-Roddenberry.

The actress is best known as the voice of the Enterprise’s computer from Star Trek: The Next Generation onward, and has had small parts in almost every Star Trek series all the way back to the original pilot. In 1969 she married Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and became known as “the First Lady of Star Trek” for her spirited involvement with the series and its fans for almost 40 years. If Google really is basing natural language input around the ideas in TNG, they may have chosen the perfect homage to a geek icon.
While details are scarce, insiders claim that Google’s software engineers are working around the clock to prepare Majel for a release this year. That may or may not happen, but an unveiling in Q1 2012 would be a good fall-back position. Whether or not Google can match Apple’s progress on Siri is a subject for debate; natural language additions to Google’s voice recognition engine have not done well so far. See Iris and Cluzee. But on the other hand, no one has brought the resources and talent to the problem that Google has – not even Apple, who essentially bought the technology whole and plugged it into the iPhone 4S. As for me, I’ll be ecstatic if I can finally command my Android phone like an actual starship: “Computer, navigate to Sears. Engage.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Google’s 10p apps for today – Train Conductor 2: USA, HD Widgets, Flight Track and more

Christmas has literally come early once again, with Google adding another collection of Android apps to its 10p discount listings. Today sees another game and repeats-heavy collection of apps, with a shameful FIVE duplicates from earlier promotional days.
Here’s today’s list of 10p discount apps:
train conducter 2 usa
Flick Golf
Slide IT Keyboard
Sketchbook Mobile
Where’s My Water
Christmas HD
HD Widgets
Instant Heart Rate PRO
Flight Track
Train Conductor 2
Shazam Encore
It looks like this one…
…is the best of the bunch on offer today. There’d better be some BIG GUNS lined up for the last couple of days, else this promotion’s going to end with an almighty whimper.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Eric Schmidt: Google Does not Work with or Support Carrier IQ

If the name itself wasn’t enough to suggest that the carriers are the one behind the installation of Carrier IQ onto mobile devices, perhaps the word of Google’s Eric Schmidt can clear things up. “We certainly don’t work with them and we certainly don’t support them,” Schmidt said of the tracking software. Despite the claims of the analytics company to the contrary, Schmidt said of the service, “it’s a key-logger, and it actually does keep your keystrokes.”
Though even if Google does not support Carrier IQ at the OS level, as mentioned earlier network providers still have the option to install the suite of data gathering software. Android is, after all, an open platform. “It’s possible for people to build software that’s actually not very good for you,” said Schmidt, “and this appears to be one.”
[via Reuters]

Facebook tops Nielsen’s list of most popular Android apps

I know, I know, stop the presses: Facebook is the most popular app on Android. The statistical wizards at Nielsen reached this conclusion based on active usage, not total downloads, noting that the recently-updated Facebook app has the most penetration across all of Android’s user groups after the Android Market itself. The fact is at least a little surprising, since Facebook beat out Google’s entrenched apps like Search, Gmail and Google Maps, which all had slightly lower user groups in every category.

Nielsen breaks down the distribution of most-used apps by how many users opened the app in the last 30 days. So while nearly 4/5th of the Android population uses Facebook on a regular basis, only about three quarters actually use Google Search, which is built right into the framework of Android. When it comes to third-party apps, Facebook absolutely kills the competition, with Angry Birds getting less than half the active users that Facebook enjoys from the 35-44 crowd. Other notably popular apps by usage include Pandora, QuickOffice, Yahoo Mail, Adobe Reader and Advanced Task Killer Free, despite the latter being unnecessary for almost all current Android devices.
The Android Market beats all, but since it’s a gateway to almost all third-party apps that’s understandable. Strangely, younger users actually seem slightly less inclined to download apps than their 25-44 counterparts. Among 18-24 year-olds, 89% use the Market regularly, compares to 92-95% for older users. Angry Birds is also significantly more popular in the older age group, a fact that lines up with some personal observations. Don’t install Angry Birds on your grandmother’s shiny new DROID this holiday season, unless you’re keen on hearing a dozen different varieties on the theme of “SQUUAAAAK” all weekend.
[via Androinica]

European Union slams the breaks on Google-Motorola antitrust review

Excited at the prospect of Google having its own in-house hardware branch? Prepare to curb your enthusiasm: Bloomberg reports that antitrust proceedings for Google’s acquisition of Motorola in the European Union will take even longer than normal, after the European Commission has halted its investigation to allow for more discovery. The Commission is requesting “certain documents that are essential to its evaluation of the transaction”, with no ETA on the continuing process.

This sort of thing isn’t entirely unexpected from the European Commission, but it does serve as a considerable roadblock for Google’s high-profile purchase of Motorola’s hardware division. While the EU couldn’t actually stop the two American companies from merging, it could essentially bar them from operating in its member nations, meaning that the merger almost certainly will not be finalized without the EU’s consent. Dedicated followers of technology news will recognize the pattern: the EU has a long history of strict regulation on large American tech companies.
A Google spokesperson in Brussels notes that the request is routine, and doesn’t expect it to seriously impede the merger, now expected to complete some time next year. “We’re confident the commission will conclude that this acquisition is good for competition and we’ll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review.” said Al Verney, in an email with Bloomberg. Motorola’s stockholders have already approved the merger, so approval form regulatory organizations is now the biggest hurdle for the two companies to overcome.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

10 Billion Apps promo, day 5: The Sims, Age of Zombies, and SlideIt Keyboard for 10¢

Google’s celebration of 10 Billion Android Market downloads marches on, and just like the last four days. there’s plenty of vastly reduced premium apps on offer. Google’s chosen some of the most loved apps on the Market and droped them to a ridiculous 10 cents/pence price. Today’s highlights, spotted early by the keen-eyed folks over at Reddit, include The Sims 3, quirky shooter Age of Zombies and SlideIt Keyboard, AKA “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Swype.”

The full list is as follows: Apparatus, The Sims 3, SlideIt Keyboard, Snowfall Live Wallpaper, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD, Season Zen HD (live wallpaper), Pano (panoramic camera), Drop7, Age of Zombies and Kids Connect the Dots. As usual the banner on the Android Market home screen isn’t up yet, so just use the links above as needed. Yesterday’s deals are still in effect at the time of writing, but they won’t last long!
The flurry of amazing price reductions has put a serious strain on Google’s payment servers, and a lot of Android users are experiencing problems getting their apps to register to their accounts. Luckily Google is feeling generous, and if you can’t purchase the apps right away, the company might just give them to you. If you’d rather avoid the whole mess, wait until the evening to download your new apps – it’s worked for me so far. While you’re waiting, be sure to check out Google’s graphical breakdown of its app achievement.

Google vulnerability reward program could really tighten up security for Android

I’ve known about Chrome’s vulnerability reward program for quite some time, but never considered moving the design over to Android. Reddit user CunningLogic suggests it would give developers a monetary reward for their handwork while making Android more secure in the long run. Sounds good to me. Just like development within Chrome, the developers hard at work within Android have been extremely good at pointing out OS security flaws; with a form of payment, devs will get that extra incentive/motivation to tighten up loose ends and help make Android OS better.

It is known that compared to other mobile operating systems, Android is by far one of the most vulnerable. Carriers have even gone as far as offering protection applications (such as LookOut) for free in the Android Market to make sure their customers don’t have a bad experience on their network. It’s an obvious issue, and knowing your device is secure means the world to many.
With the recently found Carrier IQ security vulnerabilities, it would be a great time to implement such a program. If developers have been preparing security patches and modifications for their love of Android, imagine how hard they’d work for a bit of cash too. And Chrome’s base reward is $500.00 – but if the bug appears to be “severe or interesting”, the value can rank up to $3133.70! Implement that in Android and you’ll add an entirely new team of energized developers!
[via Reddit: CunningLogic]