‘Gayglers’ celebrate LGBT Pride Month, World Pride [Photos]

Google is once-again touting support for the LGBT community by participating in worldwide Pride events and expanding company-wide benefits.

According to “Gaygler” Randy Reyes on the official Google blog

We encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. And this month Googlers, Gayglers (gay Googlers), and their families and friends took this spirit to the streets in Pride parades and celebrations around the globe. In Sao Paulo, a group of 50 marched as a Google contingent for the first time ever. In San Francisco, more than 1,000 Googlers and allies marched (nearly doubling the number of people we had in 2011!). In New York, more than 700 of our friends and colleagues took over 5th Avenue marching alongside our double-decker Pride bus. And this weekend in Singapore, we’re sponsoring the Pink Dot celebration for the second consecutive year.

Reyes further revealed action-based plans to celebrate World Pride in London this year. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company will host a “Legalise Love” Conference at Google London, with hopes to “eliminate homophobia” and “decriminalize homosexuality.”

Google also significantly increased coverage of transgender health care for its U.S. employees. Transgender-inclusive benefits, such as “transitioning procedures and treatment in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care,” now receive a lifetime maximum coverage of $75,000.

“Next month we’ll carry the energy of Pride into our fourth annual company Diversity & Inclusion celebration, the Sum of Google. The Sum is an opportunity to celebrate and engage in a discussion about diversity and inclusion across our offices around the world,” Reyes concluded.

A picture gallery is below.

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Google Crisis Response team launches new crisis map for raging US wildfires

The Google Crisis Response team just issued a new crisis map for the 2012 U.S. wildfire season.

Major media outlets are reporting on the massive wildfires wreaking havoc in Colorado and Utah, and Google is working to provide related information to those affected by way of maps that feature fire perimeters cropped from the U.S. Geological Survey, Red Cross, and satellite imagery by DigitalGlobe.

“Use the checkboxes along the right-hand panel to turn on and off the layers of information, and the ‘Share’ button at the top of the map to grab the URL or embed code. Note that both the URL and the embed code will automatically restore your current view of the map, including the set of layers that you have turned on,” wrote Googler Pete Giencke on the Google Lat Long Blog, while explaining how to navigate the crisis map.

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Google unveils Compute Engine

Google executives are now on-stage for the second day of Google I/O to announce Compute Engine—its full-featured contender against Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud-computing services.

Google Senior Vice President Urz Holzle revealed the Infrastructure platform allows any sized businesses with large computing requirements to run applications on Google data center servers. Computer Engine also features multiple storage options with expansive connectivity to end-users.

It already beta tested with customers, as the Institute for Systems Biology, for instance, applied it to a Genome Explorer app. Holzle even demonstrated the ISB genome explorer running on 600,00 cores, but he noted there are 771,886 cores available to the app.

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Google launches offline Google Docs, presentations and spreadsheets coming soon

Another notable announcement coming out of Google’s second keynote presentation at Google I/O today is the launch of offline mode for Google Docs. Google execs gave a demo of the app working in Chrome without an Internet connection, allowing the user access to all features and formatting to make edits offline while saving changes to a local cache. Google noted that the offline feature would launch for Docs today and eventually roll out to presentations and spreadsheets.

Google I/O: Chrome has 310M active users, up from 160M last year

It is Day 2 of Google I/O, and execs kicked things off today with some Chrome numbers:

-310 million active users (up from 160 million at I/O in 2011)

-60 billion typed words per day

-1 TB of files downloaded per day

-13 years of human life saved thanks to page pre-rendering per day

Google I/O 2012 Day 2 Liveblog

Yesterday was a big day for day 1 of Google I/O, kicking off with the company keynote and the unveiling of the Nexus 7 tablet, an enhanced Google+, the Nexus Q, and of course, Google Glass. Today we are on hand again for second half of Google’s keynote address and will be bringing you all the live updates as they happen. The live stream above is set to kick off at 1 PM EST. Links to all the highlights from yesterday’s presentation are below:
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Nexus 7 hands-on. Super-light and super-bright

I did not spend a lot of time with the software, but a quick look at the hardware is impressive. At 340 grams, this feels more like a heavy phone (see anything HTC made last year) than a small tablet. We are not sure how the mA hours/16-core processor/9-hour battery life will reconcile, but it seems impressive at first blush. The plastic back will have its fans and detractors.

One important note: Like the Kindle Fire, but unlike Samsung’s 7-inch tabs, it charges via Micro USB. That will please many…unless they are looking for a quick charge. It will be interesting to see if you can do video out of the Nexus 7 using the micro-USB port—or if Google steers you to its new Q orb.

The screen is very nice. Colors are crisp, even in the bright demo area, and it feels a bit sharper than the now-boxy Kindle Fire.

As a product, the Nexus 7 feels like a media-heavy direct attack on the Kindle Fire. I think there is no question that this is better, though. The issue is that the Kindle Fire is now almost a year old, and rumors of the next version landing at around the same time as this device hits the Google Play store have already started.

I will have my device to go deep into tonight.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

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Sergey Brin’s Google Glass skydiver demo from I/O keynote [Video]

If you do not know by now, Sergey Brin just interrupted Google’s I/O keynote to give a demo of Google Glass. The demo consisted of skydivers jumping from above to land on the venue’s rooftop, and it included a few other Google Glass-wearing helpers. We have all the information on what unveiled at the event—even details for the $1,500 Explorer Edition of Google Glass offered as a preorder to attendees (shipping early next year). The video above is of the entire skydiver demo.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.
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Sergey Brin interrupts keynote to demo Google Glasses, says I/O attendees can pre-order headset

Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin just ran on-stage at Google I/O to introduce skydivers above Moscone—who are wearing Google Glasses and streaming live video from the headsets via Google+ Hangouts to the keynote screen.

The divers lept from the plane, filmed the journey down to Moscone, and quickly landed on the building. Rooftop bikers donning the headsets then scaled down the building, while also filming the adventure, and the two extreme sports groups eventually met inside Moscone to greet Brin.

The demonstration showed the video quality of Google Glasses, as well as the product’s durability. Gimmicky, yes.

From there, executives detailed how the Google Glass project began roughly two years ago. The current prototype weighs less than sunglasses, but Google is still experimenting with different form factors. There are also microphones and speakers to receive information, including sensors and gyroscopes to make it aware of location, and there are multiple radios for communication.

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Google+ has 250M users, dedicated tablet version rolls out today

Google’s Vic Gundotra is on-stage at Google I/O to give some updates on Google+ and beyond. The first numbers announced are 250 million Google+ users with 150+ million active users monthly. He also said 50 percent of users sign-in every day and spend more than 12 minutes on average in the Google+ stream.

He also announced a new, full-featured tablet version of Google+ that will roll out to users today. It is equipped with video hangouts redesigned specifically for the tablet experience and other usual UI enhancements that we see in Google’s other apps. Also new to Google+ is a new feature called “Events.” Events are essentially invitations, which we are used to from other social networks, but are fully integrated with calendar and a “party mode” that allows partygoers to easily share pictures and other content during the event.

Google made a blog post on the official Google blog highlighting the new Events feature alongside four introduction videos below:

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Google unveils orb-like, USA-made Nexus Q streaming device

Google executives are now on-stage at Google I/O to unveil the Nexus Q—an orb-like, social streaming-media device with a $299 price tag.

It is notably made in the United States and acts as a bridge for Android devices by streaming Google Play Music, Google Play Movies and TV, and YouTube to “the biggest speakers and screen in the house.” Anyone nearby can use an Android device to control what is playing through the Nexus Q.

It touts a 4.6-inch diameter and weighs only 2 pounds. It also features a rotating top dome volume control with a capacitive touch sensor. The Nexus Q comes equipped with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, SGX540 graphics core, 1GB LPDDR RAM, and 16GB NAND flash memory. It even runs a version of Android 4.0, while boasting slots for Micro HDMI, TOSLink Optical audio, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, Micro AB USB, and Banana jack speaker outputs. The Nexus Q supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and NFC capabilities.

Google’s streaming device is available for pre-order at Google Play today, but it will not ship for another two to three weeks.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

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