Category Archives: Google

Google Announces Chromebook: MacBook Air Alternative?

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Google is aiming for the low end user by stripping a laptop down to its bare essentials, adding built-in world mode 3G wireless connectivity and calling it Chromebook.

Specifications

Chromebook with the 3G option will have 100MB free data per month from Verizon Wireless and a boot time of 8 seconds. It will support “the latest web standards and Adobe Flash,” there is no hard drive, or any local storage for that matter, but there is a 4-in-1 memory card reader. The ultra-cheap notebook will run Chrome OS – essentially a browser-based operating system where all of your data and applications are stored in the cloud. The login credentials of the notebook are simply your Google account details and Chrome OS will keep your data synchronized to the cloud so that you can simply login to any other Chromebook and have the exact same experience. Chrome OS will update automatically, just the same as the Chrome browser does so there won’t be anything to patch, download, or otherwise worry about updating. The 12″ Samsung model (pictured) is the sleeker design of the two – Acer is making one as well – and is not too much heavier than an 11″ MacBook Air with a significantly longer 8.5 hours of battery life.

It’s a pretty safe bet these are the same notebooks that Google will be offering to students for the dirt cheap price of $20 per month, including “hardware and online services.”

Acer and Samsung will each have a Chromebook available from June 15th at Best Buy and Amazon’s Chromebook Store.

What do you think? Would you ditch your main machine in favor of a web-based, data in the cloud, $20 a month Chromebook? This certainly seems attractive as a second machine, but Google will have to pry my 11″ MacBook Air from my cold, dead hands. The most exciting thing about this is how it will stir up the market, including Apple to boost the adoption of cloud services and 3G/4G wireless connectivity built in to all devices.

via Chromebook

What’s Google TV’s Key Selling Point?

At the I/O Conference this week, Google said that it will be bringing Android 3.1 to Google TV later this year. In addition, the company said that developers will finally have the SDK they need to start deliveringGoogle TV-based applications.

For those who currently own Google TV-based devices, like the Logitech Revue, that’s good news. Right now, those folks are using a platform that, by and large, has done little to justify its price. Worst of all, for months, it seemed that Google had turned its back on the platform, allowing it to languish on store shelves. Read the rest of this entry

Google sued over Android location tracking

Google’s legal team will be earning their keep once more, with the search giant again in hot water over privacy concerns. Hot on the heels of the Apple iPhone tracking lawsuit comes similar charges leveled at Google, with two Michigan women suing the company for $50m and the cessation of sales of devices with software that can track user location.

According to the class-action suit, filed in Detroit, Google’s use of location tracking systems puts its “users at serous risk of privacy invasions, including stalking.” Google has declined to comment on the case, but Android does give users the chance to turn off location reporting as part of the initial setup of handsets (and then again in the settings pages).

Researchers highlighted Android’s collection of location data last week, with handsets running the OS reporting back their position to Google on several occasions every hour. Apple was challenged with the same allegations, and earlier this week released a Q&A attempting to explain how in fact the iPhone was logging the location of cell towers and WiFi hotspots, not its own position. That data, the company argued, allowed it to speed up positioning fixes in mapping apps and other LBS.

Google Introduces Google Docs App for Android

Those of you who have been wanting an actual app to manage your Google Docs from your phone, your wait is over! Google has released Google Docs app for Android today to give you full control from the palm of your hand. Open and edit your documents on the fly with the built-in editor, and uploading content from the phone and sharing with your contacts all became even easier. It even includes OCR so you can snap a picture and have Docs create a text document within the app. You can also add widgets onto your homescreen to snap a pic, create a new doc, or jump to “starred” documents.  Scan the QR code below or hit the market to download.

HTC Droid Incredible 2 unboxed at Wirefly

One thing that all geeks have in common is that we are always dying to learn more details information on coming gadgets. This is the reason we sit in front of our computer starting at someone we don’t know unboxing the random gadget as soon as we can. We do our fare share of unboxing videos around there so we know exactly why you watch. The gang over at Wirefly has tossed up an unboxing video of a new smartphone from HTC that hasn’t been officially announced just yet.

The new smartphone is called the HTC Droid incredible 2. Not only did Wirefly unbox the smartphone, but they also offered up a video overview of what the phone has to offer. The Incredible 2 is the follow up to the original Incredible for the Verizon wireless network. The phone has a camera and dual LED flash on the back. The new Incredible 2 has a larger and wider screen. The original had a 3.7-inch screen and the new device has a 4-inch screen. The rear camera is 8MP and records 720p video. An 8GB microSD card is included

This is a global phone so you can travel and use different countries. It can be unlocked at Verizon to use international service via a SIM card. The device connects to the 3G EVDO network that is widespread around the country. The Incredible 2 comes with an international power adapter, charging cable, and a bunch of tips that will let you charge the smartphone wherever you end up. At one point you catch a glimpse of the boot screen and the screen says it has a Qualcomm MSM8655 processor at 1GHz, WVGA resolution screen, Android OS, and a few other tidbits.

Google and DOE at work on electric car charging network map

I live in Texas where things are more rural in many areas. That means that we tend to drive longer distances than the people that live in cities around the country do. The heat in the south and humidity along with longer driving distances combine to make the use of EVs more of a challenge for drivers and the sale of EVs more challenging for car markers. One of the big issues in the minds of a lot of people that are considering the purchase of an EV is where they will charge when away from home.

You can just plug in when you are at home and charge the EV up. When you are at the mall shopping and need to charge things are not that easy. You have to be able to locate a charging station nearby and find your way to it and that can be hard if you aren’t familiar with the area. Google and the Department of Energy are working together to build a definitive map of the EV charging infrastructure around the country that is not vendor or brand specific. That means instead of the apps on the market that only show charge stations for their network, the Google/ DOE network would show any charging stations.

The project will use a GPS database system and maps. That would mean that not only would you be able to find a station in the city to charge up, you would be able to use Google maps to find your way there. Other partners on the project include makers of charging stations for EVs like Coulomb and retailers like Best Buy that have charging stations installed in their parking lots. Being able to find charging stations in the area where the driver lives is a big step towards making the use of an EV more palatable for drivers.

[via CNet]

Google Earth Builder For Businesses To Customize Maps On The Cloud

Google has announced its newest mapping product targeted at the enterprise market called Google Earth Builder. The company stands firm at the top of mapping, with Google Maps arguably the most popular online mapping site and with Google Earth downloaded over 700,000,000 times. Google Earth Builder takes the popularity of Google Maps and Google Earth and lets businesses use this technology to build and store their own geospatial data in the Google cloud.

Google Earth Builder will eliminate a lot of costs and restrictions enterprises currently have storing and using geospatial data. This type of data takes up large amounts of memory that costs a pretty penny, and it could be spread it out in multiple locations with different work groups. Google Earth Builder allows the business to centralize and streamline all this and save on cost by storing it in the cloud. Many government agencies and businesses use complex and expensive mapping software. Google’s new product simplifies the map making and publishing process so that almost anyone can intuitively create a map specifically for their business.

Businesses can decide who will have access to their geospatial information and since it will be stored on the cloud, it can be accessed from anywhere. Google Earth Builder lets users create multiple layers to their map and they can edit and highlight certain bits of information on the map. No price was given for Google Earth Builder, but it is expected to be “competitive” with other mapping software and will launch this summer.

[via ReadWriteWeb]

Google I/O Live: Free streaming of sell-out conference

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Tickets for Google I/O 2011 sold out in less than an hour, a sure sign that there’s plenty of interest in Google’s developer ecosystem, and so the search giant has decided to throw open the virtual doors to the conference. Google I/O Live is, as the name suggests, live streaming from the Moscone Center where the event is being held, free of charge to access.

There’ll be cameras in the two largest session rooms covering the full 9am PST to 6pm PST keynotes on both full days of Google I/O, covering not only keynotes but Android and Chrome developer sessions too. Google is also aiming to get HD video available of any session not streamed up in under 24hrs.

All the feeds will be captioned (including machine-translated foreign language support) and virtual participants will be able to ask questions and those with the most votes will get answered. Google I/O kicks off on May 10 2011, and Android Community will be there to bring back all the juicy details from the opening keynote.

Google recruiting User Experience Lead for Google TV apps

Google is looking to recruit a new user experience lead, responsible for Google TV apps and the related SDK. According to the job description, the successful candidate will be “asked to pioneer new possibilities for web-based and Android application experiences on the platform and establish the patterns and standards used to develop great interactive experiences on Google TV.” The new position follows speculation that Google plans to pull the Android AOSP for Google TV, Gingerbread for phones and Honeycomb for tablets into a single code base.

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Earlier rumors had suggested that Google plans to combine all its major Android code strands into one, in an attempt to minimize duplication of work when developing bugfixes and feature updates. A side-effect would also be easier application development, with better cross-platform support across the TV, tablet and phone segments. The new user experience lead would be responsible for establishing app best-practice as well as producing templates for third-party Google TV software.

Google is expected to place renewed emphasis on Google TV at Google I/O in May 2011, having seen progress – and products – from the project go quiet since the pre-holiday 2010 push. SlashGear will be there to bring back all the details; the full job-spec is below.

[Thanks Jan!]

User Experience Lead, Google TV Apps and SDK – Mountain View

This position is based in Mountain View, CA.

The area: User Experience

We follow a simple but vital premise in the User Experience group: “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” We’re ardently interested in our users and strive to learn everything we can about their behaviors, attitudes and emotions to help define the products and experiences we create. The User Experience team is a critical driving force behind gathering these insights and then using them to inspire and inform design. We are a multi-disciplinary team of interaction designers, visual designers, user researchers, copywriters and Web developers who collaborate closely with each other and with engineering and product management to create innovative, usable, great-looking products that people love to use.

The role: User Experience Lead, Google TV Apps and SDK

As the User Experience Lead for Google TV Apps and SDK, your work will guide 3rd party application design and development on Google TV. You will be asked to pioneer new possibilities for web-based and Android application experiences on the platform and establish the patterns and standards used to develop great interactive experiences on Google TV. You will work closely with Engineering and Product Management leadership, serving as lead designer for Google TV SDK and lead design advisor to strategic web and app partners. You will work with Product and User Experience peers to identify and prioritize the team’s biggest challenges and key opportunities in the areas of app integration, workflow, innovation and strategic planning. You have led a design organization before, understand the design process, and can interface effectively with internal and external clients.

Responsibilities:
Define and manage the design resources and developer tools used by 3rd party application developers for building TV optimized experiences.
Establish visual and interaction design best practices for building well designed app experiences on Google TV.
Create developer friendly templates, guides, and source files used to build web and Android based TV apps.
Manage external design agencies and contractors used to develop relevant materials to meet the needs of our developer community.
Partner with cross-functional leadership in Android to communicate requirements, needs and escalate to resolve issues as appropriate for the design evolution of the TV platform.
Requirements:
BS or MS in Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), or Computer Science preferred.
At least 5 years work experience in a lead design or HCI role.
Prior SDK or partner experience is a plus.
Excellent leadership, communication and teamwork skills.
A deep desire to apply design and technology toward expanding what is possible and improving the world.

Samsung Nexus S with AT&T-compatable radio shows up in online catalog

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There’s been no official word from Samsung or Google, but the Nexus S with GSM 850/1900 radio bands has shown up for sale at Negri Electronics’ online store. It’s carrying a model number of i9020T, and is available in black or white for $598.50. What we don’t know is if this is the Nexus S with an AT&T specific radio, or an unlocked import of the Nexus S from abroad. I’m sure as people order these and get them in-hand, we’ll know a bit more.

In either case, it’s a Nexus S that will work with AT&T’s 3G, and more than a few of you guys have been waiting for one of these.

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