Twilio integrates with Google Cloud Platform to bulk Google App Engine with voice and messaging services

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Twilio, a voice and messaging API solution, announced a partnership with Google’s Cloud Platform today.

Twilio is the first of its kind to integrate with Google App Engine and give developers voice and messaging services for their apps with just a few lines of code, and its APIs are priced on a pay-per-use scale, as first noted by TechCrunch. Voice services like making calls, for instance, start at 2 cents per minute, and the ability to receive calls costs just $1 per phone number and 1 cent per minute.

“We’re very excited to partner with Google to be the first voice and messaging platform integrated with Google Cloud Platform,” explained Twilio on its blog, while also listing step-by-step instructions on how to register with Google App Engine, build a messaging app, etc.

Twilio’s SDK notably includes one-to-one voice and messaging, SIP support, in-app conference calling, group texting, two-factor authentication, phone numbers, and mobile app distribution. Hipmunk, for instance, uses Twilio’s distribution feature to supply users with a text message and link to download its app.

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Google apps take top two slots on Apple’s App Store — but loses to Facebook at home

The two most popular non-game apps downloaded from Apple’s iOS App Store so far this year were both Google ones: YouTube and Google Maps, according to data from App Annie (via The Next Web).

Google Maps was originally installed as standard on iPhones and iPads until Apple struck out on its own with the rather ill-fated Apple Maps. Though Apple has since fixed many of the embarrassing errors in the launch version, demand for Google’s version has seemingly increased rather than decreased.

In an ironic turnabout, Google lost the top slot on its own Google Play store to Facebook.

Gmail app for Android updated with reply/archive/delete from notifications, faster search & more

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Google announced today on its Official Gmail Blog that it has released an update to the Android app for Gmail that brings new features, faster search, and other enhancements for certain users. Perhaps the most notable new feature is the ability to reply, archive, and delete from notifications with one tap—rather than having to open the app to sort and reply to mail:

You can combine this with existing notification features like the ability to customize which messages you receive notifications for and set up different sounds for individual labels. So if you filter and label all the messages from your mom, you could set a ringtone to let you know you received a new mail from her and then quickly reply (because we know what can happen when you ignore your mother!).

The feature is available to users running Android 4.1 and up, but Google is also rolling out faster search, bug fixes, and performance enhancements for Android 4.0 and up. Users on Android 2.2 and up will now have access to a “New Labels API for 3rd-party app developers” and the usual performance improvements.

The updated Gmail app for Android is available from Google Play nowRead more

Google adds Phrasebook feature to Google Translate

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There were hints late last month that Google was planning on adding new features to Google Translate and today the company announced a new feature for the service called Phrasebook. Rather than having to translate the same words and phrases time and time again, Phrasebook allows users to save a set of translations for quick and easy access. Google explained how the features works:

It’s easy to start using Phrasebook. Simply click the star under the translated text to save the translation in your Phrasebook. To view your Phrasebook, simply click the Phrasebook icon above the upper-right corner of the box containing the translation.

Click any phrase in your Phrasebook to load it back in the translation area. Using the Phrasebook controls, you can filter your phrases by language pair or search for a specific phrase. You can also easily listen to each phrase by hovering over the entry and selecting the text-to-speech icons.

Google could soon be adding more features to Translate as last month hints were discovered that Google is working on an option to select a dialect for certain languages in its text-to-speech feature within Google Translate. There were also additional dictionary features that have yet to be implemented.

Google updates Gmail web app with new UI inspired by iOS apps, improved search & Calendar integration

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Google announced today that it updated the mobile web app for Gmail and the Gmail Offline Chrome app with a refreshed UI and new features similar to recent enhancements to its iOS apps. On top of the redesigned visuals, Google also included improvements to search and Google Calendar integration:

Today we’re rolling out a similar refreshed look to the Gmail mobile web app as well as Gmail Offline (http://goo.gl/0f1ae) that includes many of these same changes. Try it out at gmail.com in the browser of your Android, iOS, Blackberry or Kindle Fire device.

Google noted it decided to implement a design for its web apps similar to its iOS offerings after receiving positive feedback since first launching the new iOS design in December.

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Google and Kia Motors announce deal to bring Google Maps & Places to new vehicles

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Kia Motors is working with Google to bring Google Maps and Google Places integration to new vehicles via an updated version of its UVO eServices telematics system. Kia said in a press release today that it would work with Google to integrate Maps and Services for “driving directions and locate Points of Interest (POIs) in a seamless and organic manner.” The new integration will land in the 2014 Sorento CUV and go on sale in the first half of this year, but it will presumably hit all-new vehicles that utilize Kia’s built-in UVO eServices. Kia will also provide Maps and Places features from its UVO smartphone app:

Available with the 2014 Sorento CUV, the new Google-powered UVO system will serve Kia owners whether they are in their cars or away from them. Enabled by the Send2Car feature, Kia owners can send a POI or destination to their car directly from the Google Maps via their SmartphoneUVO app. From within the car, Kia owners will benefit from Google Places, which will provide POI and destination resources such as a dealership location, and Google Maps, which will provide directions to virtually anywhere and everywhere a car can travel. Read more

Google makes Quickoffice iPad app free to Google Apps for Business customers

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Google made some announcements today regarding its work with the Quickoffice team since acquiring the company in June. On top of noting work to take advantage of Quickoffice conversion technology in Google Docs, Google launched a free version of the QuickOffice iPad app exclusively for Google Apps for Business customers today. There are also free iPhone and Android versions of the app for creating and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files coming to Apps customers in the near future:

Converting old files to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides is the easiest way to share and work together, but perhaps not everyone you work with has gone Google yet. To complement what you can do with Google documents, we’re also making it easier for you to make quick edits to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files without conversion. Starting today, the Quickoffice iPad app is available for free to all Apps for Business customers, and iPhone and Android versions are on the way.

Vice President of Google Enterprise Amit Singh welcomed the announcement on his Twitter account: “Customers can now get Quickoffice for free. No need to license microsoft for your ipad.”

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Google launches ‘Save to Drive’ Chrome extension & enhanced photo viewer for Google Drive

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Google today announced on Google+ that it is introducing a new Chrome extension that will allow users to save content from on the web directly to their Google Drive account. Using the new Chrome extension, users will be able to select which part of a webpage they want to save, such as “an image of a page, the HTML source code, or a Web archive.” Once installed, users will also get an option to save images, links, or files directly to Drive when right clicking.

commentsonimagesGoogle also explained it has made enhancements to the photo viewer in Google Drive that allows users to zoom, fit to page, and comment:

We’ve also added a few new ways to work with images that are already stored in Drive. You can now zoom by scrolling or using the new fit to page and 100% buttons. And if you have something to say about a specific part of an image, you can select a region and add a comment to it.

The Google Drive Chrome extension is available from the Chrome Web Store here.

Google updates Maps with new aerial, satellite and 45-degree imagery for 160 locations

As noted on the Google Maps blog, Google continues to update maps with new aerial, satellite, and 45-degree imagery for many cities in the U.S. and abroad. Google’s most recent addition to maps is a new collection of 45-degree imagery for 60 new cities—40 in the U.S. and 20 internationally— in places like Switzerland and Luxembourg. That brings the total number of cities with updated aerial and satellite imagery in Maps and Google Earth up to 164 cities in 108 countries. Google walked through a few of the recent updates, such as the Space Needle in Seattle and Bridges in the Sky art installation in Austria, but also provided a full list of cities with new high resolution imagery (below): Read more

Gmail users can now search for emails by size, flexible dates, and more

Google just announced on the Official Gmail Blog that Gmail users would have new options when searching within their inbox starting today. Users can now find emails by size by searching for “size:5m” or “larger:5m”, for instance, to find emails larger than 5MB. Google is also rolling out new date search operators, including: “older_than”, newer_than”, and exact match.

We’re always looking for ways to make it faster and easier for you to find your messages using search in Gmail. So starting today, you can now search emails by size, more flexible date options, exact match and more… These changes go hand in hand with other recent enhancements to search such as the improved autocomplete predictionsand a field trial for instant results from Gmail, Google Drive and more as you type.

Some Google services reportedly blocked in China

Many reports are coming in that Chinese users are having trouble accessing a number of Google’s web products. There is no word on the exact cause of the service disruptions, but The Wall Street Journal noted Google’s Transpareny Report website shows “a precipitous drop in traffic in China starting more than eight hours ago,” although the site doesn’t list the services as completely inaccessible in the country. Google provided a statement to WSJ confirming the interruptions do not appear to be on its end:

“We’ve checked and there’s nothing wrong on our end,” a Google spokeswoman said in a prepared statement.

The Washington Post reported “Users with special VPN (virtual private network) services,” which many Chinese users take advantage of to access banned sites like Facebook, are still able to access Google’s services.  Read more

Google Apps Vault now open to Google Apps for Government customers

Google announced on its Enterprise Blog today that it would officially make its Google Apps Vault service available to Google Apps for Government customers. Google head of eDiscovery Jack Halprin made the announcement, noting federal, state and local agencies in the United States can “now purchase Vault to help meet their compliance needs.”

Google Apps Vault helps protect organizations of all sizes from legal and compliance risks through advanced message archiving, retention and eDiscovery capabilities. It provides the ability to quickly search, identify, preserve and export information in response to litigation, investigation, compliance audits, or Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Apps for Government users interested in finding out more can go hereRead more