Widespread Google service disruptions reported including Gmail, Hangouts, & Play Store (Updated)

Europe Antitrust Google

Update: Everything seems to be returning to normal as of 12:30 ET.

According to a number of reports on Twitter, several Google services are having issues this morning. User tweets show that Hangouts, the Play Store, Gmail, Play Music, OAuth, and other services are having unusual performance issues. Some users are receiving authentication errors on their Android devices and unable to do anything that requires a Google log-in…

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Google’s Android and Chrome lead comments on Apple relationship, China, Google Play ads

Sundar Pichai

Google’s Sundar Pichai recently sat down with Forbes to talk about the Mountain View company’s ambitions in China, its relationship with Apple, and what its overall vision looks like. Some interesting quotes from Google’s Android and Chrome head have surfaced as a result, and among other comments, Pichai took a moment to respond to constant criticism from Apple that Google is in the business of monetizing its users. Pichai also touched on Google’s aspirations in China as well as the sponsored ad program it is testing in Google Play…

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Google ups free song storage limit to 50,000 songs on Google Play

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If you’re a user of Google Play Music, you probably know that you can store your own music on Google’s servers for streaming from your various devices, but now Google has announced that the amount of songs that you can store for free has been increased, up to 50,000 songs from 20,000. While many of Google’s competitors charge for this kind of service, Google has long offered the ability to store several thousand songs for free—and now they’re upping the limit.

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Google testing new direct-to-business chat platform powered by Hangouts

Matt Gibstein on Twitter: %22Super interesting: @Google search now offering the ability to chat with local businesses (a la @Path Talk). http:::t.co:eksoBhZ6wk%22 2015-02-24 16-08-49

Google is testing an interesting new feature in search, as spotted by one Matt Gibstein on Twitter. As you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a small “Chat” icon next to the phone number of a business called “Dizengoff” in Philadelphia—and it looks like clicking it will launch you into a chat session directly with that business via Hangouts.  Read more

Google ‘Helpouts’ is shutting down on April 20

Helpouts by Google 2015-02-13 11-21-16

Google has announced today that its ‘Helpouts’ service for sharing and seeking advice on everyday challenges is shutting down on April 20th, 2015. We told you earlier today that the Helpouts mobile apps for iOS and Android were pulled from their respective stores, and it looks like Helpouts as a whole is now getting the boot as well. Read more

OS X 10.10.3 makes it easier to login to Google accounts with two-factor authentication

OS X 10.10.3 Google 2-step

Upcoming changes to OS X will soon make setting up Google accounts that use 2-step verification with the Mac much simpler. Added in the developer beta of OS X 10.10.3 released yesterday, setting up a Google account in the Internet Accounts section of the System Preferences app now supports 2-step verification just like the web. Read more

Play Store reportedly topped App Store in total apps and developers for the first time in 2014

Total Apps 2014

The latest numbers from app metrics tracking firm AppFigures reveal that Google’s Play Store topped Apple’s App Store based on total number of apps and developers for the first time in 2014. Google moved ahead of Apple with 1.43 million Android apps in the Play Store, compared to 1.21 million on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Read more