Google I/O 2012 Liveblog

We are on-hand today at Google’s I/O event to get a glimpse of the next year of Google products and services…

Watch the Keynote live here.

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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‘Do Androids Dream of Jelly Beans?’ — Google gets ready for today’s I/O keynote

We told you yesterday that Google was carrying on the tradition of placing a large monument on the lawn in front of Building 44 at the Googleplex. This time, the statue represented the upcoming new version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The image yesterday showed a transparent jar tipped over with jellybeans spilt out, but today we get a look at the finished sculpture in the video above. The jar is actually the Android mascot’s torso. TechCrunch went behind the scenes to find out how the Android jelly bean jar was made.

The Google’s I/O event is kicking off today, where we are all expecting to see much more of Jelly Bean. We will bring you live updates as they happen when the keynote address kicks off at 12:30 p.m. EST (9:30 a.m. PST). We are also expecting to see some major Google TV announcements.

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Google puts up Android Jelly Bean statue at Googleplex

As it has done in the past, while nearing the unveiling of new versions of Android, Google placed a giant statue in front of Building 44 at the Googleplex this morning to represent the next version’s codename: Jelly Bean. Google is expected to unveil Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at tomorrow’s Google I/O keynote, which we will bring you live coverage of as it happens, starting at 12:30 p.m. EST (9:30 a.m. PST). Google will make things even easier this year thanks to a new live blogging tool it introduced specifically for the event.
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Report: Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 aims for July 31 launch

The next Kindle Fire is eyeing a July 31 launch date.

CNET just reported that Amazon’s next version of the widely popular Kindle Fire, otherwise dubbed the “Kindle Fire 2″ or the second-generation Kindle Fire, would unveil next month. The publication cited “a credible source” but could not confirm the summer date, and it pointed to DigiTimes for specs, which claimed the rumored 7-inch eReader will release with a $199 price tag and 1,2800-by-800 pixel display at the beginning of the third quarter.

According to CNET:

The DigiTimes article cited the usual sources in the “upstream supply chain” and talked about how Amazon would reduce the price of the current Kindle Fire to $149. It also speculated that Amazon’s long-rumored larger tablet is still on hold but that new e-ink Kindles with integrated lighting were expected to be released alongside the Kindle Fire 2 (or whatever Amazon chooses to call it).

Our source didn’t mention the higher resolution display but did say that the new tablet would have a camera and physical volume-control buttons (many users complained that the Kindle Fire only has on-screen volume controls).

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Google says more than 500 districts in US and Europe use Chromebooks actively

Google just revealed over 500 school districts in the United States and Europe use Chromebooks on a regular basis, while also naming a few new districts to adopt the technology in both North Carolina and Wisconsin.

In a post on the Official Google Blog, which is appropriately titled “In schools, all you need is web,” Google talked about the functionality of Chromebooks coupled with Google Apps and educational apps available on the Chrome Web Store. The company clearly wants the world to know its marketplace and lineup of notebooks are ideal for teaching, learning, and exploring the Web.

“There are tens of thousands of apps in the Chrome Web Store, and today we’re adding some new ones: ST Math, VoiceThread and Acheive3000,” wrote Chromebooks for Education Product Manager Vidya Nagarajan. “To give you an idea of what’s possible on the web: Leyden High School District from Illinois is rolling out Chromebooks to their 3,500 students and are using apps like WeVideo,EasyBib, Vernier Labquest2, SlideRocket, Geogebra and Pearson’s OpenClass as part of their 1-to-1 learning initiative.”

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Google introduces live blogging gadget for Google I/O

We all know Google I/O is just around the corner with yet another Nexus tablet leak today and news of some fresh Google TV products hitting the market soon. We will be on hand this week with live coverage of the event, and Google will make things even easier this year thanks to a new blogging tool it is unleashing specifically for the conference. As noted on Google’s developers website, you can now create your own embeddable Google I/O keynote live blogging gadget that will pull the event’s live video stream, and then it will post from your Google+ account:

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Google Offers to sponsor free Boingo Wi-Fi in NYC until September, with underground access

Google Offers will sponsor free Wi-Fi in New York City this summer starting today.

The sponsorship is possible through an agreement with Boingo Wireless. New Yorkers and tourists can now access free Internet at six subway stations and over 200 Boingo hotzones around the borough of Manhattan. The Wi-Fi coverage extends below street level and will last through Sep. 7.

“New Yorkers using the complimentary Wi-Fi services can check out deals from local businesses from Google Offers when they connect at Boingo hotzones throughout the city and at the following subway stations with wireless networks deployed by Transit Wireless,” explained the press release.

Google Offers is an infant deal-of-the-day website that caters localized savings to major geographic markets in the United States. It is the first sponsor of Boingo Wi-Fi, so today’s news is clearly a brand campaign for Google. However, Boingo will also benefit by expanding its initiative. The wireless tech plans to reach 36 subway stations by the end of 2012, with over 270 stations getting access by 2017, to create “a distributed advertising and sponsorship network reaching the subway system’s more than 1.6 billion annual passengers.”

Boingo Wi-Fi is already available at New York-area airports, retail centers, sports venues, hotels, fast food restaurants, and more.

The press release below.

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Google doesn’t plan to leave iOS Maps users without a fight

Jeff Huber, senior vice president of commerce and local at Google, posted on Google+ last night that the Street View team built a Street View exhibit at the Computer History Museum. Cool.

Of more interest to Apple users: Huber took to the comments to answer some questions for an iOS user. He said Google looks forward to providing “Amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS.” That does not sound like a web app or anything like Google now offers in its Google Earth app or its Latitude app. With geo being such a big part of Google’s recent efforts, and iOS being such a big part of Mobile, it would be surprising to see Google just wave off the large iOS audience.

In a possibly related move, Google just dropped the prices of usage of its API for third-party apps—like Foursquare and Zillow— in the hopes to be used on more screens (there is going to be a lot of freed up bandwidth once iOS 6 is released!)

Prior to Apple unveiling its own Maps solution at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, Google revealed that its new 3D maps were coming to iOS “in coming weeks,” which is another indication that Google plans to add to its iOS Maps experience.

Perhaps we will hear something at Google I/O next week (full coverage at 9to5Google.com).

Remember, competition is usually good for consumers!

via TNW

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Larry Page says ‘nothing seriously wrong’ with his health in a memo to employees

After a worried investor voiced his concerns about the health of Google’s CEO Larry Page this morning, Page confirmed to employees this afternoon that nothing is seriously wrong, according to the The Wall Street Journal. Page also assured his staff in a memo that he would “continue to run the company.” This definitely clears things up, because investors began to worry after Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told attendees at the company’s annual investors meeting that Page would not attend the Q2 financial earnings call and Google I/O conference next week due to the chief losing his voice. We are certainly glad nothing serious is happening with the 39-year-old. Check out Schmidt announcing the news about Page this morning:

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Google posts hour-long ‘Project Re: Brief’ documentary on YouTube [Video]

Google unveiled its “Project Re: Brief” ad campaign in March, which re-imagined four classic commercials, and now the company has published an hour-long documentary of its marketing venture on YouTube.

The four re-imagined classic commercials are Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” from 1971, Alka-Seltzer’s 1972 commercial, Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it” from 1963, and Avis’ “We try harder” campaign from 1962. Google’s in-house advertising team and several other agencies— including the creators of the original campaigns—re-created all the ads. Each video is available on Google’s Project Re: Brief website.

“Re: Brief is not just about the ads themselves. It’s also about the creative process behind them: bringing ‘old school’ advertising legends and technologists into the same room to create digital ads that consumers love as much as they loved the iconic campaigns of yesterday,” explained Project Re: Brief Lead Aman Govil on the Official Google Blog. “To share this experience, today we premiered the documentary film Project Re: Brief, directed by Emmy winner Doug Pray, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—also available on YouTube.”

Govil continued:

The documentary follows the story of the five art directors and copywriters who made the original ads as they come out of retirement to “Re: Brief” their classic campaigns: Harvey Gabor (Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop); Amil Gargano (Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it”); Paula Green (Avis’ “We try harder”); and Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina (Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”). While major shifts in technology have reshaped the advertising business, as we learned from our heroes of the past, the basic tenets of storytelling haven’t changed. We found these icons’ ideas, wisdom and passion for great advertising inspiring and hope you do as well.

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Larry Page will miss Google I/O and Q2 earnings call due to health, analyst questions excuse [Video]

One Wall Street analyst is calling into question Google’s co-founder, Larry Page, and his health, due to the executive’s notable absence from the company shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who bequeathed his CEO title to Page in April 2011, told shareholders that the chief executive “lost his voice.” Schmidt further revealed Page would not attend the Google I/O developer conference next week or Google’s Q2 earnings call next month (as seen in the video above). Page will, however, maintain his post duties and continue an active role at Google while his voice recuperates over the next few weeks.

According to Canada.com, a Google representative explained that Page was “asked to rest.” No more information on the CEO’s mysterious voice condition is available at this time, but JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth debated Google’s excuse for Page in a note to investors today:

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