As far as online payment services go, if you want to send money to someone, you’re pretty much stuck using Paypal.
Not because it’s a great service (ask anyone who’s ever needed support or had to dispute an arbitrary Paypal decision) but because there’s pretty much no other choice. Well, that’s not good enough. We like competition and we think competition is good.
Enter Google. Today at their I/O conference Google announced a new featuring coming to its existing Google Wallet and Gmail services. That feature? Payments.
Put simply, once this feature goes live, you will be able to send and receive money via your Gmail account.
Continue Reading →
Even though Google occasionally does things people don’t like (killing Google Reader comes to mind), they stil offer a host of great services that millions of people rely on each and every day. Last year, Google launched Google Drive, storage for your data in the cloud.
One thing that was odd about the service was how items and the storage in your Google Drive was separate from what you had in Gmail and in Google+. However, that’s all going to change as of today as Google announced that they are combining all the separate storage space and making it into one complete storage solution. All Google users now have a free 15GB of storage space across the three applications and Google Apps users will receive 30GB of space.
Google has also launched a new page to help you keep track of all your storage and what you’re suing it for. A pie chart will show you just how much space you are using in each app and how much that eats into your overall space. The options to upgrade to more storage are the same as they have always been, so if you see that you need more you can purchase it right there. This change will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
Another day, another video from Google about Google Glass. Hey, dont’ blame us, if this really is the “next big thing” we don’t want to be accused of not bringing you all the details about it so you can be ready.
With that in mind, Google did release a new video today highlighting more of the features of Google Glass. This time around the video shows how users can navigate through the Glas menu simply by swiping and taping on the side of the headset to find and select icons.
Seeing how users can interact and control glass in this manner helps put to rest our fears of hoards of people shouting commands to their headsets in public. We still find it odd when people seem to be talking to themselves but then actually have some sort of earpiece in and are really on a mobile phone.
Fortunately, if this video is any indication, verbal commands are not the only way to get Glass to work. Nice to see we still have to use our hands for something.
Check out the full ideo after the break. Google Glass arrives for the rest of us sometime next year.
Continue Reading →
When you think of companies who innovate and come out with compelling new features ahead of the competition, Apple may spring to mind as a leader in that area. However, as this new commercial from Android seeks to remind you, Apple isn’t always first with new, innovative concepts and products.
In fact, where the “cloud” is concerned at least, it would seem Apple is well behind another upstart tech company: Google. Today’s newly released Galaxy Nexus/Android commercial highlights that idea. In a nutshell, the commercial reminds users (and potential users) that you don’t need a separate “cloud” service add-on to take advantage of those features in an Android/Google world, you just need an account. An account you probably already have.
To take advantage of this service, simply sign-in to your Google account on your Android phone and you have access to it all: email, contacts, calendars, browser info, and more. It’s really that simple.
Let’s face it, Apple is a great company that does a lot of things well. Sadly, they haven’t ever really gotten the whole “cloud” thing right. Not with .mac, not with Mobile Me and not really with iCloud either. Google, on the other hand, has done a great job and was pretty much there from the beginning before the “cloud” was even a thing. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Google does it right.
Check out the new commercial after the break.
Continue Reading →
If you’ve been paying attention you probably know that Google is in the process of revamping Gmail and its interface to offer new features and new looks. In fact, if you’ve looked at your Gmail today, you may already have the new look and features.
You may notice a button at the bottom right that will enable the new interface. Here’s some details on the new look.
Gmail’s conversation view has been streamlined and now includes photos of each contact. Additionally, it will automatically resize itself to look best depending on your screen size thanks to a new “elastic density feature.”
Themes now support HD images and there is a new “smarter navigation” panel on the left hand side of the display that is customizable. Google also added a drop-down search box for more accurate email searches.
Check out Google’s video that explains even further (with visuals!) after the break.
Continue Reading →
This news should make you feel safe about your Gmail accounts. Might be time to change those passwords that contain your birthday and your kids names. Why are we so paranoid? Read on.
Google on Wednesday confirmed that a hacker from China was able to break into hundreds of Gmail accounts. Fortunately, Google detected the attack almost immediately and notified the victims. Almost as quickly, China has denied involvement in the hacking scheme and denounced the allegations as “unacceptable.”
Several high-profile accounts were reportedly hacked including senior U.S. government personnel, Chinese political activists and government officials from South Korea. The actual hack was a phishing scheme that prompted users to enter their user names and passwords on a web page.
“It’s important to stress that our internal systems have not been affected—these account hijackings were not the result of a security problem with Gmail itself,” Google said on its official Gmail blog.
So again, check those passwords and make them more complex. Also, don’t ever trust anyone who sends you an email asking for your password or other personal information. No legitimate website or company will ever do that.
Late yesterday Google released an update to its Gmail Android application for smartphones. The update brings with it several bug fixes, improvements, and feature additions.
The biggest improvements/changes include enhanced priority inbox support, an improved compose email feature, and in-line rely responses. With priority inbox support, users can now see importance markers in the main message list and rank messages right from their device. That is if you actually use priority inbox.
The new compose feature will allows users to switch between reply, reply all, and forward while in the compose screen as well as set the outgoing account on the fly if they have more than one Gmail account on their devices. In-line message replies work similarly to how they work in the traditional Gmail interface.
The new Gmail application, which carries the designation of version 2.3.2, is available in the Android Market now. So far the update seems to be working fine on our test HTC Incredible. We’ll let you know if something breaks.
Good news for those of you currently using something other than an iPhone and in particular users of Android powered devices. Google has, in their infinite benevolence, updated the Gmail application for Android and has given it some new features and fixed a few bugs.
Some of these new and improved goodies include message actions sticking to the top of the screen while scrolling, view previous messages more easily like with the desktop client, performance boost for most features and limited support for Priority Inbox. Although, as someone who really didn’t take to Priority Inbox when it came to the desktop Gmail app, I’m not that excited about that particular part of the update.
Still, it’s nice to see that Google seems to be on top of it when it comes to improving the user experience on Android powered devices. With the recent (or pending for some of you) update to Android 2.2 (aka Froyo), Google seems to be on a path of improvement for its software. As an Android smartphone user, I couldn’t be happier about it.
The update is in the Android Market and available for all those running Android 2.2.
If you’ve been following the evolution of Google’s Voice product, you had to know something big was coming. Originally launched in March of 2009, Google Voice was initially offered on an invite-basis only, yet for a free service, invitees were treated to some pretty amazing features.
First on the list was the ability to obtain a free local number to associate with your Google Voice account. Doing so allowed users granular control of how to handle incoming calls. Users could specify routing instructions for specific incoming numbers, establish rules on what numbers to ring when calls came in, powerful features like text transcription of voice mails that could be delivered via SMS or email, and that’s just a few examples.
Recently, in June of this year, Google opened the service up, making it available to anyone in the USA with a Google account. Consequently, some users have been unable to secure local numbers within their own area codes as a flood of new user sign-ups inevitably occurred. As of a few days ago, Google Gmail users began noticing an interesting new feature in their Gmail sidebar.
Mixed into the “chat” area is an innocuous “call phone” option that for most people, probably would have gone unnoticed. Click it though, and you’d see a call interface with number-pad appear, prompting you to call someone.
There is a browser plug-in that you will need to install, however it’s fairly quick and painless. After restarting your browser, you can begin making calls directly from within your browser; definitely an improvement over Skype, which requires a separate app window to initiate. In my testing, the Google Voice calls were clear and sharp, comparable to Skype and the VOIP services offered by AT&T or Verizon.
Continue Reading →
Over the years, Google has had some pretty amazing ideas. Google Maps has revolutionized the way we travel, Gmail has changed the way we communicate, and Android has taken the smartphone world by storm. One thing that really never caught on, though, was the Google Wave service.
At first it sounded cool: on AIM or Google Talk, you’d always be able to see that whoever was chatting with you was in the middle of typing something. Instead, Google Wave allowed conversations to exist in real-time, with no more waiting in anticipation as the person on the other end typed away. This, theoretically, would speed up conversations, leading to more productivity and less time just staring at the screen, waiting for a reply.
Unfortunately, Google Wave is no more. Google had this to say today on their blog on the subject:
Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.
Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.
We wave goodbye to Google Wave, those of us who used it. Those who didn’t shall carry on emailing, IMing, Tweeting, Facebooking and texting as usual.
If you’ve been using Google Docs because you’re looking for a collaborative platform to work in that resides in the “cloud” or you just hate Microsoft and its Office products, then this post is for you. This week, the search giant announced a series of updates to Google Docs which are sure to make fans of the cloud-based service very happy indeed.
Some of these updates included the documents editor, which received additions such as a margin ruler, tab stops, comments, a re-worked system for placing and maintaining bullets and numbers and support for real-time collaboration of up to 50 people. In addition, spreadsheets now allows for cells to be edited from the formula bar, the use of auto-fill and the dragging and dropping of columns.
Plus, the system is reportedly going to be much faster, smoother and more intuitive. In truth, there are so many improvements announced by Google that it would almost be a disservice to them to try and list them all. Besides, why read about something when you can watch it instead, right?
Fortunately, Google has put together a little video highlighting the changes and we’ve got it right here for you after the jump. Check it out.
Continue Reading →
People said it would never happen and it hadn’t for several years. In fact, before today, we would have bet money that this change would never come. Google seemed perfectly content to keep its Gmail and Google Apps services with the “Beta” tag forever. That is, until today.
According to Google’s “official’ blog, they have removed the “Beta” status from Gmail and Google Apps (which consists of Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk) as of today. Both consumer and enterprise Google Apps categories are now out of beta in fact, and its pretty likely the enterprise version of Google Apps was the driving force behind the change. With 1.75 million companies currently utilizing Google Apps (including The Flickcast), the “Beta” moniker seemed a bit ridiculous, not to mention odd, at this point. Plus, if I’m a business guy trying to sell my boss on a “Beta” service, even a really useful and cool one like Google Apps, I’m probably not going to get very far.
Google obviously agreed. . . finally. Unfortunately, even with this momentous news, Google didn’t actually change or enhance the services at all to make the move out of beta. They probably feel that removing the beta tag is enough for one day and will no doubt add features down the road. They certainly were not shy about improving GMail and Google Apps while they were in beta, so there’s no reason to think they won’t continue the trend now that the “Beta” is no more.