This has been a pretty big week for Google. They’ve announced quite a few new applications, feature enhancements and more during the Google I/O conference going on right now in San Francisco.
One of the new applications announced is called Hangouts, which seeks to unify the company’s existing chat and video services. The application was released for Gmail, Android, iOS and Chrome, and it supports Google Talk, Google+ Hangouts and Google Messenger.
But wait, it’s gonna do more even more. According to Dori Storbeck, community manager of Google+ Hangouts and Chat, SMS integration is also “coming soon,” noting that is it one of the company’s “most requested features.”
This will be the final addition that will make this app a worth competitor to Apple’s iMessage or other services like WhatsApp or the upcoming Messenger from Blackberry.
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.
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During a keynote presentation for Google I/O at San Francisco’s Moscone Center this morning, Google announced several new services and technologies including a new music service called Google Play Music “All Access” and a pure Android Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.
Google Play Music “All Access” gives users the ability to search through Google’s huge amount of songs and the ability to play them instantly. An all new UI allows you to swipe away songs if you don’t want them and the ability to make radio stations instantly based on one song.
The price of this new streaming service is $9.99 per month, but everyone gets a 30 free trial. If you are an early adopter and sign up before June however, your price is only $7.99 per month.
Google also announced they will sell a Samsung Galaxy S4 directly through Google Play with a stock Android experience, LTE support, connectivity on AT&T and T-Mobile. It will aos feature an unlocked bootloader, will receive updates promptly and offer the full “Nexus experience.”
The device will launch June 26 on Google Play for $649. Yeah, that’s a bit steep. Although, they’ll probably sell a ton of ‘em.
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Not that long ago RIM’s BlackBerry was the most popular smartphone in the world. It’s a bit hard to believe now, with the immense popularity of the iPhone and Android devices, but at one time the BlackBerry was the king of the mobile world. I had several, and I loved them.
One of the features that made BlackBerry so popular, other than how well it handled email, was BlackBerry Messenger. In case you’re not familiar, BBM is a service that allows BlackBerry users to send direct messages, chat in real time and more. It works pretty much like Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime do in iOS or OS X.
Like iMessage and FaceTime, which are only available on Apple devices, BBM has always been BlackBerry-only. That is, until now.
RIM announced today that BBM will launch this Summer for Apple’s iPhone and for Android devices. The announcement came during the company’s BlackBerry Live conference, which is going on this week.
While I believe this will be a welcome development for some people still stuck in 2005, I need to ask this question: Who cares?
With other messaging services like iMessage, WhatsApp and Google’s upcoming Hangouts, this announcement isn’t going to make much of a difference to anyone. I don’t think it’s BBM on iOS or Android that’s going to bring people back to the BlackBerry in droves.
Sadly, at this point, I don’t think much of anything will.
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.
By now you’ve heard the great news: Arrested Development is coming back. We have Netflix to thank for the returin of one of the funniest shows to grace our TV screens in a long time and that day of return is fast approaching.
To get things started off on the right foot, there’s a brand new teaser for the new, 15-episode, season of the show. In it you’ll see the entire Bluth family is back (as well as a host of other famous faces) and still, thank goodness, just as quirky and funny as ever.
As with House of Cards, Netflix will release all of the new episodes simultaneously on May 26. In the meantime, check out the teaser after the break.
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We know it’s sometimes hard to be an Android user in what must seem like an iOS-dominated world — at least where new apps, or updates to current ones, are concerned. Yes, most new apps and updates appear for iOS first. But at some point, and that gap is narrowing all the time, the app or update comes to Android.
Case in point today is the extremely fun and useful app Flipboard. We use it all the time on our iPhones and iPads and have even gone so far as to create a few magazines to highlight our interests. And now Anrdoid users can get in on that fun with the latest update to Flipboard for their OS.
In addition to the magazine feature, the app also had several other updates including the following:
• Integrated Android share: add content from the Gallery & other apps to your magazines
• Bookmarklet to add items to your magazines from a browser
• Get notifications when people like, comment or subscribe to your magazines
• Share magazines via email or social networks
• Personalized recommendations for more to read
• Search is now front & center, with improved results
Get the brand new Flipboard for Android over at Google Play.
Even though a majority of us here at The Flickcast use smartphones made by Apple, that doesn’t mean we only care about iOS or things from Cupertino. We also like Android quite a bit too. And when a new smartphone is reportedly ready to be announced by Google itself, we pay particular attention.
That phone is the much-discussed “X Phone.” And now we’ve got a picture (or two) of it, curtesy of gadget blog Tinthe.tn, so you can see exactly what it’s all about.
From the pics we can say that the device does look a lot like other Android smartphones, particularly those from Samsung. Not that that’s a bad thing. In addition to the pics, there’s also info about the internals of the device.
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It isn’t that often that iOS users don’t get the latest and greatest aps first, before their Android-using pals. However, when the app in question happens to come from Android-maker Google, iOS users tend to take a back seat.
Most apps from Google do eventually arrive for iOS (thank you Google for Maps) and when they do, iOS users are usually very happy. However, when the app in question causes a problem, that happiness can turn to anger pretty fast.
Sadly, that seems to be the case with the newly-released Google Now feature update to Google’s iOS search app. The shot story is the updated app, which just went live earlier this week, seems to be draining users batteries at an alarming rate.
Fortunately, the folks at Cult of Mac have got you covered. Over at their site they detail just how to make sure Google Now doesn’t kill your battery in short order. You simply turn off location reporting from the privacy setting in the app.
It’s really pretty simple and we’ve included the pic (courtesy of LifeHacker) of where to look for the setting after the break.
If you’re an iOS user who has installed this app are you having any issues with battery life? Let us know in the comments.
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Even though they don’t release updates quite as often as a company like Microsoft, Apple does tend to update its products pretty often. In fact, they just issued an update today.
Today’s update is for iOS and the iPhone 5 and brings the software on that device to version 6.1.4. In typical Apple fashion the notes for this up;date don’t really tell a whole lot what the update actually contains.
In fact, ion this particular case, they only contain one sentence: Updated Audio Profile for Speakerphone.” Heck, maybe that’s all it does? Although, it’s kinda hard to believe Apple would got to the trouble to release this update for only one issue.
Still, you never know. iOS 6.1.4 is available from Apple immediately as an over the air (OTA) update. It should also be available for download through iTunes soon.
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.
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Google is a major player in the tech world. So much so that they have their very own convention, called Google I/O. At this convention, which takes place in San Francisco from May 15-17, developers and other Google-enthusiasts gather to discuss, learn and get a glimpse of what Google has in store for Android and its other ventures.
As of late yesterday, the company has posted the full list and schedule of sessions avilable at Google I/O. With ove 120 choices ranging from Android and Chrome to developing for Google Glass and Google Wallet.
In short, if you’re a developer (or a Google-enthusiast) you won’t have any trouble finding something interesting and informative to see and do.
Sadly, if you don’t already have a ticket to Google I/O, you’re out of luck. They’re sold out. However, you can be sure most of the major sessions and keynotes will be available live via streaming or later online at Google’s Developers Live.
Even though we’re big Apple fans, we’re very interested to see what Google unveils at this event. They do create some pretty cool stuff.
Could be pretty exciting indeed.
Not one to be left behind when there’s a fight to be had, Microsoft has decided to take on what it thinks are two of its biggest rivals: Apple and Samsung. Or, at least, it wants you to remember that it also makes phones too and the fued between Apple and Samsiung is a silly distraction from the awesomeness of its products.
One way Microsoft is trying to accomplish this is with a new ad. In this one iPhone users make fun of Galaxy owners and their “enormous” phones, Galaxy owners make fun of iPhone owners and call them children and the list of insults goes on and on.
If it wasn’t so heavy-handed and obvious, it would be kinda funny. Still, we do like stylized martial arts action in a church and overblown sound effects as much as the next guys/gals. The guy with the Apple tattoo is also a nice touch.
So kudos to Microsoft for at least trying to have a sense of humor and trying to do something. We may never buy a Windows Smartphone (check that, we never will), but at least it won’t be due to a lack of effort on Microsoft’s part.
Hey, we still love the XBox 360. Check out the add after the break.
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For Android users who’ve had a chance to experience just how good the Google Now service can be, this article won’t interest you as much. However, for the iOS users out there, this should be of great interest.
Not that we have anything against Apple’s Siri, but the Google Now service just gets the job done a bit better. Fortunately, Google Now has arrived for iOS.
It’s not a stand alone app but is, instead, part of the updated Google Search app for iOS. If you haven’t already downloaed it, you can grab it right here.
In case you’re somehow not familiar with Google Now, it’s an intelligent assistant that automatically presents users with information based on location, search history and more, without any action required by the user. It’s also really good at finding things like the nearest food when users asks specific questions like “I want tacos” or similar. Yes, that’s what Apple’s Siri is supposed to do, and it does. . . prety well.
Google Now just does it better. Sorry Apple. As with Maps, you’ve got some work to do in this area. Fortunately, competition is a good thing.
For more on Google Now, check out the official video after the break.
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If you’re a developer of software for Mac OS X or iOS, the event you probably want to go to is Apple’s WWDC in San Francisco. That is, if you can get a ticket.
Turns out tickets went on sale today and sold out in minutes. That’s great for Apple and those who managed to complete their purchases without errors, but what about the rest of the Apple developer community that’s been left out in the cold?
Fortunately, there’s an alternative. It’s called AltWWDC, is organized by the folks behind Appsterdam, runs June 10-14 and best of all, it’s free.
Some of the folks expected to speak at the event include Mike Lee, Saul Mora, Steve “Scotty” Scott and a couple of my old TUAW colleagues, Brett Terpstra and Victor Agreda, Jr. The event takes place at the downtown campus of San Francisco State University, which is only a block from Moscone Center where Apple’s WWDC is held.
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