Social toolbar to shut down on June 6th
Google is going to close the Meebo Bar tool on June 6th, almost an entire year after the Meebo social service was discontinued by the search company. The social toolbar, appearing on a number of sites and providing connectivity to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, will cease functioning, forcing website owners to remove the feature from their pages.
iPhone app folds in Snapseed features
(Updated with iPad info) Google has updated the iOS and Android Google+ apps with a number of new features and improvements. The iPhone interface in particular now sports basic editing tools carried over from Snapseed, such as cropping, rotation, and Instagram-style photo filters. Brightness, contrast, and saturation can be controlled through gestures, and tapping an image lets people compare an altered photo with the original.
Cross-platform system to consolidate existing IM systems
Google is looking towards unifying its messaging platforms into one single service, according to rumors. Called Babble, the new service would provide cross-platform communications between the various Google services, such as Google Talk, Google Hangouts, and Google Voice, replacing them all with a single common method.
Refined single-participant live video broadcasting in Google+
Google has updated the Hangouts feature of Google+ that will help one-person broadcasts. Hangouts On Air will now default to a full-screen single-camera video for broadcasts, instead of showing a large image with a smaller thumbnailed view in the camera roster below, something which apparently has been added after numerous requests from users.
Galaxy Note II to come in black
Samsung appears to be preparing to release a new color variant of its Galaxy Note II. Purported press images found by AndroidSlash appear to show an all-black model of the fast-selling handset. There is no word on when exactly the all black Note II might debut or on which carriers it may appear.
Twitter update brings leaked changes
Google and Twitter have each launched major app updates for iOS. The latter has released Twitter 4.3, bringing expected upgrades such as expanded tweets, which show content previews for links connecting to unspecified "partner websites." In the final release notes, Twitter also mentions that the feature is only "rolling out gradually."
Google's social network hits 250 million users
At today's Google I/O conference, the company announced that its social network, Google+, will be getting a dedicated app for the iPad and other tablets. The app is being designed specifically for the tablet experience. People will be able to attend video hangouts and interact with the social network in the same way now possible on desktops. The app will also contain the new Google+ Events feature, which enables live streaming of images captured by attendees at events.
Share box on profile pages visible only to profile owner
Google has made some minor changes to its Google+ social network. The adjustments focus on the profile page, namely the addition of a share box at the top of the update stream, accompanied by a cover photo alongside the main profile image. The details were announced via a Google employee on the service.
Court-mandated bans claimed to be against freedom of speech
Registered sex offenders banned from using social networks are asking courts to lift the restrictions. Blocks on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ help protect its users from potential abuse according to authorities, however the offenders claim such orders infringe their freedom of speech, the Chicago Tribune writes. The demands place courts in a difficult position, to decide between protecting individual freedoms or protecting the public.
Flickr Uploadr goes HTML5 for web images
Flickr revamped the web version of its Uploadr tool on Wednesday. The new version has switched to HTML5 with a more natural drag-and-drop interface to load photos. Making the switch now lets Flickr show thumbnails, like the native desktop and mobile apps, as well as reorder images, tag friends, and otherwise handle most tasks that would have needed to wait until afterwards.
Websites get option to share directly to Google
Google debuted a new Share button on Tuesday, allowing sites to give users the option to post content directly from a site to a user's Google+ account. The move brings Google's social networking site in further alignment with the capabilities of its chief rival, Facebook.
Updates to Google+ through SMS in more nations
Google has increased the reach of Google+ SMS accessibility to include 41 new countries. The extended list of nations that can send and receive updates to the social network are primarily based in Asia and Africa, helping users in some areas where mobile data is not widely available.
Brin claims competitors as threat to web
Google co-founder Sergey Brin used an interview late Sunday to single out companies he saw as potential threats to the Internet. Along with singling out actual censorship and an aggressive media industry, he informed The Guardian that proprietary environments, such as Apple's iOS and Facebook's web code, were considered dangers. They risked isolating information, Brin argued, and an open search tool like Google couldn't have existed if sites like Facebook had been the norm.
Google updates Google+ and Goggles for Android
Google has updated its Google+ and Google Goggles apps for Android with some key updates. The most significant change announced for Google+ (Google Play) from a user perspective is the ability to include larger and richer web snippets of shared material, which was high on the list of requests from regular users. When sharing a link, it will appear as a detailed blurb on posts.
Google+ reworked early
Google's still-young Google+ got a major interface rework on Wednesday. The service now has all its core sections, such as circles and photos, in a large vertical sidebar instead of the small horizontal bar. The method both makes access more obvious and, Google adds, will let users customize the order as well as make it easier for Google to add major new features.
Adds collaborative games and drawing tools
Google has added new features to the Hangout interface of its Google+ social networking. Now, when a user creates a Hangout video chat, they can interact through several new collaborative apps. The apps include shared games, slide show presentations, and drawing utilities.
Organizer provides easier drag and drop ordering
Google has updated the way its Google+ social networking service handles photos in albums. The company has added an
album organizer. With it, photos can be sorted, reordered, moved or deleted.
Updates look and feel of browser-based app
Google has redesigned the mobile web version of its Google+ social networking service. The latest release provides a crisper, less cluttered look to its browser-based offering. The company claims that the new interface is much closer to the native apps running on Android, iOS, and Blackberry 7 devices.
Google Plus may unify games on mobile and web
Google+ group product manager Punit Soni gave a presentation at the Game Developers Conference on Tuesday that promised a completely unified game platform from his company. He expected "by next year" to see Android, Chrome Web Store, Chrome Native Client, and Google+ games to all be unified. He didn't explain how this would happen, VentureBeat said, although it's implied that Google+ would emphasize HTML5 games on mobile, not just the desktop, and wouldn't be locked into Android alone.
Demand answers by February 29
Flickr reworks to improve photo viewing and upload
Flickr senior product lead Markus Spiering in a far-ranging interview previewed some of its first major overhauls to Flickr for years. A February 28 overhaul outlined to BetaBeat will remake the photo preview page, turning it into a mosaic with larger shots and information only when it's needed. The new upload page is now more akin to a mobile app with a more visual drag-and-drop interface.
Google now sued over blocking Safari cookies
Google is facing a new lawsuit for violating privacy rights on Apple's Safari web browser, Bloomberg reported. An Illinois man, Matthew Soble, claimed in the suit that Google sidesteps the computer settings that are designed to block monitoring of a user's whereabouts on the web. The lawyers representing Soble alleged that Google did so willfully and knowingly.
Google defends against Microsoft cookie claims
Google's Senior Communications VP Rachel Whetstone claimed Microsoft was being dishonest in making claims of suspicious browser cookie circumventions in Internet Explorer 9 and elsewhere. The executive argued that Microsoft had effectively ignored the issue since 2002, when it had implemented the P3P approach of requiring a cookie state its intent. Microsoft not only knew about the "loophole" of using an undefined intent for years, letting Amazon and its recent investment target Facebook use the trick, but knew that P3P would break the modern Internet regardless
Microsoft tries to press Google on privacy tricks
Microsoft's Corporate VP for Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, made allegations Monday that Google was bypassing Internet Explorer's privacy settings, not just Safari's measures. After checks, he claimed that Google's cookie text files, meant to allow +1 actions for those who were signed into Google, were skirting the P3P Privacy Protection standard as it was implemented in Internet Explorer 9. The technique supposedly made IE9 take third-party cookies that it would block by default while keeping the action a secret.
Google social app catches up on media sharing
Google+ gained some parity on iOS with an update (App Store) on Tuesday. The new version now supports the same Instant Upload as its Android counterpart, letting users automatically send photos and videos to the private storage on their account both as a backup and for future sharing. It's unlikely the iOS version can start uploads in the background like its Android equivalent given OS policies.
Google+ for Android gets revamp
Google has updated its Google+ app (Free, Android Market) for Android. The latest version incorporates significant speed boosts, including quicker load times. One of the new features added includes a ‘What’s hot’ stream allowing users to quickly see the latest buzz from friends.
Question how users can opt out
Less patchy, more natural images from on high
Google has released its latest version Google Earth. The 6.2 update improves the presentation of satellite imagery so high altitude views appears almost seamless and less of a patchwork. Google has also added a new search interface and an easier way to share imagery using Google+.
Social networking now available to 13-17 year-olds
Google has opened up Google+ to teens 13 and older. Previously, only adults over 18 could participate in the service. Google has also implemented safeguards to help make sure the younger crowd's participation in the social network is safer until they're adults.
Consolidates 70 different policy documents to one
Google has advised customers that it is revising its privacy policies and terms of service. The company claims it is doing so to unify and simplify its terms across most of its product offerings. Starting March 1, Google will be creating a single terms and policy document to replace the 60 it now has to cover its online services and products.
Adds maiden names and pseudonyms as well
Google+ will begin allowing users to be known by their nickname or alternative names. Through a Google+ update, the company's Brad Horowitz has advised the social network's members that it will soon let them add a name such as a nickname, maiden name, or name in another non-Latin script alongside the common name that they require as part of an individual's profile. The change is not immediate, but the company advises it will take place over the next week.
Google trims again with Picnik shutdown
Google in an update gave notice that it was pruning more of its services, this time more directly affecting mobile and creative use. The company now planned to scrap its cloud photo editing service Picnik as of April 19. It had bought out Picnik in 2010 and wanted to keep the team's focus on the image editing it had already added to Google+ and other services.
Gives Gmail address & signs user up for Google+
Google is now steering users into extra services when they register a new Google account on the sign-up page. Now, a new subscriber must provide more information then in the past to create an account, which in turn is automatically used to enroll them in Google+ and create a Gmail account. Although it's not explicitly stated, users can opt out, but the move counts on them accepting the extra features by default.
Rumors point to buyout
Google is rumored to be in the beginning stages of acquisition negotiations with the photo sharing startup Pinterest. Although the companies have yet to publicly comment on the reports, unnamed sources have told TechCrunch the search giant is attempting a buyout worth several hundred million dollars.
Android hits quarter-billion device milestone
Google while discussing its latest results revealed that there had been a total of 250 million Android devices activated in the platform's history. It had activated 50 million new devices since the start of the fall. Android Market had itself added another billion in app downloads in just over a month since reaching 10 billion.
Google+ adds What's hot, +1 IDs to mobile apps
Google has just detailed two new features for its mobile Google+ apps and the web interface. The first is called the What's Hot stream, and allows users to quickly see the most popular content shared on the network by selecting the shortcut. It's located between the Circles and Nearby shortcuts.
Google Maps to be a basis for upcoming game
Google has just released a teaser video, embedded below, that shows off an upcoming Google Maps-based game. Likely made for portable devices with a motion/gyroscope sensor, users would navigate a ball through the streets by making it follow a cursor, as mocked up in the real-life second video. The game will be powered by WebGL and be available through Google+ Games.
FTC worried Google Plus may skew results
The FTC's investigation into Google has spread into search, a purported insider disclosed Friday night. Following thetech giant's plans this week to put Google+ updates into the search stream, the US regulator was said by Reuters to be probin whether the social network was unfairly pushing down Google's competitors through results. Twitter, among others, have accused Google of 'warping' results by making it hard for Twitter to get as much prominence.
EMI accuses ReDigi of music piracy
Music label EMI is now known to have sued fledgling service ReDigi for its strategy of reselling downloadable songs. New details obtained by CNET showed that EMI unusually didn't object to the doctrine of first sale, which only lets a seller collect income with the initial purchase, but rather the origins of the MP3s and other music. ReDigi isn't selling the music from paid sources like iTunes, EMI said, and by extension isn't selling legal copies.
Agency agrees with opt-in policy
A German government agency that oversees privacy issues has reportedly approved Google's implementation of facial recognition technology. Although the same agency has warned that it will take action against Facebook for using similar technology, the regulators are said to be less concerned with Google's opt-in approach.
Google Plus tweaks stream, notifications, photos
Google started off the week with some heavily requested updates to Google+. The main stream now has controls that let users apply an "EQ" to slow down how many posts they see from a given person in their stream. The move, suggested by Robert Scoble and other heavy users, would help prevent constant updates from themselves and others like them obscuring updates from family or others who post less often but might be more personally valuable.
BT says Android and more violate its patents
British Telecom has continued its legal campaigns in technology by suing Google for allegedly infringing on its patents in an action filed on Thursday. The Delaware-based complaint, caught by Florian Mueller, accused Google of violating six patents for telecoms and navigation through its development of Android, Google Maps, and related services like AdMob, Google+, Places, and even basic search. BT considers the supposed violations "willful" and is asking for tripled damages as a result.
Google Plus now starts Hangouts easily
Google+ gained a handful of new features surrounding Hangout video chats on Wednesday. It's now possible to turn any chat or post into a Hangout on the desktop, and the mobile apps now have a dedicated Hangout button during conversations to switch into video chat with whoever's involved. Either platform now has notifications of ongoing Hangouts, including background notifications for invitations on mobile hardware.
Google Plus now has mail link, Android parity
Google+ picked up key updates on the web and mobile on Thursday. On the web, it now ties in closely with Gmail: any message from someone on Google+ gives the option to add them to the social network, and circles can be used both to auto-populate contacts and filter messages. Photos that come in through Gmail can now share out directly through Google+ instead of having to save a local copy first.
Google Plus for iOS catches up in media features
Google has quietly posted an update to Google+ on iOS (App Store) to bring it more up to par with its Android equivalent. Instant Uploads for photos now post the full-resolution version of a given photo. Anyone can also now give +1 votes to photos, not just posts, and search the fledgling network.
Google+ adds free voice calling to Hangouts
Google has added a new functionality to its Hangouts with extras feature on Google+, with the ability to place free voice calls. Initially available inside the Hangouts with extras only, the feature only supports calling in the US and Canada. The process seems simple enough, with users needing to click Invite at the top of the windows, then the Phone tab and entering the phone number before starting the call.
Google nav bar now folded in directly
Google picked late Tuesday to unveil a remade version of the Google Bar. The new version scraps the always-on black bar in favor of a drop-down menu that highlights the core apps and has a "more" option to get the less frequently used apps. Shrinking the bar keeps a consistent look across every page, Google says.
Canon EOS Rebel XS' photos last year in salty sea
Naturalist Markus Thompson orchestrated one of the more unusual camera recoveries yet after he posted about a Canon Rebel XS (1000D) on Google+ between Friday and Saturday. He found the DSLR at the end of a wharf in Deep Bay, near Vancouver, British Columbia after after it had been underwater for what turned out to be since August 2010, or 15 months ago. Although the camera itself was ruined from exposure to saltwater, the SD card inside was still working, giving a clue as to the owner through self-portraits and shots of his family.
Reveals plans for dropping 7 initiatives
Google said Tuesday it was continuing its process of eliminating products that have not had the anticipated impact, have been integrated elsewhere, or weren't in step with its new . In all, Google has announced that it has pruned seven products in this, its third-round, of off-season "spring cleaning." Included on the list are Gears and Knol.
Drobo, Pogoplug offer 10GB of free cloud storage
Data storage device maker Drobo and Pogoplug detailed partnership on Monday that will let users access content on Drobo hardware through Pogoplug Cloud. Dubbed Personal Cloud, the new service gives users up to 10GB of free online storage. It's meant to give small business users and professionals to access files that are too large to e-mail from anywhere they are.