With Google I/O last week, the company unveiled a brand new vision for mobile communication called Hangouts. A major component of Hangouts is the Google+ service, which is getting a major update today.
Among the many changes in Google+ are new photo features including auto backups, auto highlight of the best photos, auto enhance, and “Auto Awesome.” In addition, there is now a dedicated tab for “Locations.” This new feature enables users to see where friends are on a map so that you can set up places to meet. If you don’t want to take advantage of this feature, or are just wary of sharing your location, this can be turned off in location sharing.
There’s also a new card UI and exploring features taken from the Chrome version of Google+. Tags are shown at the top right of posts, so that you can easily browse by topic. Notifications have been updated as well and are “nicer to look at and use,” plus profile fields can be edited on the go.
The update is expected to hit today. Look for it in the Play Store.
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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.
Well, well, how things are changing. Not to be left behind as the paradigm shifts from traditional cable and satellite networks towards what paid subscription services like Apple, Hulu and Netflix are doing, YouTube today announced the first channels that it will offer via monthly subscriptions.
Following a 14-day free trial period, channels such as Sesame Street, Baby First Plus, Cars.tv, HD Net, Coreman’s Drive-In and UFC Select will be available for monthly fees raging from $2.99/Month to as little as $.99/Month. Payment will be accepted via credit card or Google Wallet.
According to the announcement, some of the programs will feature ads, but a majority won’t, with most of the content being available as on-demand. Google will reportedly collect about 45% of the subscription ad revenue.
While this list of channels and programming is not that extensive yet, Google expects other channels and networks to launch subscription services on YouTube soon and will roll them out over the coming months. For the full list of content available now, go here.
With the current amount and diversity of content, it will be very interesting to see if people actually decide to subscribe to some of these channels or wait until there’s more to choose from. Will this development end up being the digital straw that breaks the virtual camels back and starts the mass exodus from more traditional cable and satellite providers? It just might be.
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 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.
For things like movies, TV shows and games, it’s pretty easy to get excited about a certain product when you see a trailer or other prmo-type material. Movies, TV programs and games are tangible things we have a lot of experience with so we pretty much know what we’re getting into. Then there’s something like Google Glass.
This is a product so different and, at the moment, so scarce, it’s difficult to really know what to think about it. Is it the “next big thing” or is it jus another fad that will disappear as fast as it appeared? Time will tell.
What does help answer this question, at least a bit, is all the videos and more Google are putting out about Glass. In this latest one, a pretty comprehensive ‘How To”, Glass’ features and use are explained in detail.
The video shows you how to navigate the UI with the side touchpad, adjust the display for optimal viewing, and put the device to sleep to help conserve battery. It also gives a better look at the whole experience than what we’ve seen so far.
We’re still not convinced that Google Glass is the “next big thing” and/or a “must have.” However, it is nice to see more of what Google has in mind for the product. Who knows, if they keep this up, they might just convince us after all.
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As fans of Apple and its products, we love things like this. Sure, these kinds of results should be taken with a grain (or three) of salt, but still, it’s kinda cool to see and makes us love Apple stuff even more.
What are we talking about? Well, this week ZDNet reports that based on a new study from Soluto, which uses “data from its massive online database of PC crashes, hangs, and performance metrics to identify the 10 most reliable Windows PCs you can buy today”, the most reliable Windows PC in the world is a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro running Windows via Boot Camp.
How abou that? According to the study, the MacBook Pro is “at the top of the list” with other hardware like the Acer Aspire E1-571, the Dell XPS 13, the Dell Vostro 3560, the Acer Aspire V3-771 and Apple’s 15-inch Retina-equipped MacBook Pro taking the next spots.
What about other vendors like Toshiba, Lenovo or market leader HP? Yeah, they don’t even crack the top ten. Sad, but true.
So, if you need to run Windows and are looking for the best, most reliable hardware out there to run it on, guess you should get a Mac. We’re not really surprised. We could have told you that.
Austin, Texas is a great city. With SXSW, Fantastic Fest, great food, music and friendly people, Austin is one of the places I love to visit as much as possible. I might even move there one day. Almost did a few months ago, truth be told, but it didn’t quite work out.
Anyway, even with that setback, “one day” still may be even sooner than I think because I’ve got yet another reason to love Austin: Google Fiber. That’s right, Google’s super fast fiber internet is heading to the Texas capital.
Currently only available in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, Google has announced that Austin will be the next city graced by its fiber love. Although homes won’t start getting connected until 2014, Google made a little video to tell you all about Fiber and what it means to the city. It also makes anyone not living in Austin very jealous.
Check it out after the break.
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Oh Facebook, as if we didn’t already waste enough time on you, now you want to be an even larger part of our mobile lives? Oh boy. That’s right folks, Facebook today unveiled it’s new “Facebook Home” for Android smartphones designed to integrate with Android and become a larger part of your user experience.
The new software takes over several core functions of Android and replaces them with features that tie into various Facebook services. This, in effect, turns you smartphone into the much-touted “Facebook Phone.”
According to Facebook frontman Mark Zukerberg:
“You’re going to be able to transform your phone into a great social device.” Facebook Home makes it so that “phones are designed around people first,” rather than apps, as is the case with most modern smartphones. Instead of burying content that users want to see inside apps, Facebook Home makes it available at all times.
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Even with all the hype surrounding every iPhone release and the recent hubub over the Samsung Galaxy S4, we can’t forget another company that makes some pretty great smartphones. That company? HTC.
With the recent announcement of the new HTC One, the company is poised to make a comback in a big way. The device looks great and will be available soon. How soon?
Well, for AT&T at least, the mystery is gone as this morning the company announced both pre-order and in-store dates for the One. The 32GB version of the One will arrive on April 19th for $199 with the 64GB version at $299, both with a new, two-year agreement, of course.
Pre-orders officially start on April 4 at 1:00 PM CT, which is this Thursday. For those who pre-order, AT&T is including a free HTC Media Link HD wireless HDMI adaptor. The phone will come in both black or white.
For more on this new, awesome device, check out the video after the break.
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After so many years, people had pretty much written off T-Mobile as a carrier who offered Apple’s iPhone. It seemed, except for those of you inclined to jailbreak, using an iPhone on T-Mobile’s network was just never going to happen.
That is, until now. Well, not until April 12th to be exact. That’s right T-Mobile fans, the iPhone is coming to a network near you.
Today the company announced that it would start selling the iPhone 5 for $99 on April 12th. You won’t have to sign any long-term contract either. You will, however, have to agree to pay T-Mobile an extra $20 a month over a 20-month period to fully pay off the cost of the device.
You also have the option of paying full price for the device up front and then the extra fee is waived. For more, check out the full press release after the break.
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