Google Babble screenshots leaked or more likely a mockup?

Update, March 26: After receiving the screenshots below that allegedly show Google’s rumored Babble messaging service, another anonymous tipster has emailed today sharing different screenshots. The tipster disputes the authenticity of the initial screenshots we posted below, adding that the rumored Google messaging service will not be dubbed “Babble”. The new screenshots (above) do seem to fit in with Google’s recent redesign of its mobile apps more so than the first set of images.

An anonymous tipster sent in these screenshots that appear to be the rumored Google Babble or a nice mockup:

Google-babble-leaked-screenshot

We have no way to know if these are real, but the font looks a bit block-y and not Roboto enough and the quote “JC has started a Voting” is suspicious.

The service is rumored to combine all of Google’s messaging platforms into one and compete better with Apple’s iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger. Chatting on Google services now includes Google Voice, Google Talk, Google Hangouts, and others.

The rumors also point to a May release at Google I/O.

Me personally? I’d have given this a less than 5-10% chance of being legit. Read more

Sergey Brin’s Ted Talk on Google Glass (Video)

Google’s Sergey Brin gave a Ted Talk late last month and it was summarized thusly:

“This act of looking down at my phone is one of the reasons behind Glass. We questioned whether you should be walking around looking down. That was the vision behind Glass and that’s why we created this form factor. (…) When we made this we thought, ‘Can we make something that frees your hands and frees your eyes.’ That’s why we put the display up high and out of your line of sight so you can make eye contact with people. The sound conducts through the bones in your cranium to free up your ears. If you want to hear it better you cover up your ears, which is surprising.  Our original vision at Google was eventually to get rid of the search query and you’d just get the information you need when you need it. Fifteen years later this is first form factor that delivers on that vision. The project has lasted just over 2 years. We’ve learned  lot.”

Via BI/Hacker News Read more

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt admits he still hasn’t kicked the Crack/Blackberry habit

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Even though he is the Chairman of Google (the company behind Android in case you are from Neptune), Eric Schmidt told The Guardian that he still uses a BlackBerry phone. Schmidt pointed to the physical keyboard of many BlackBerry phones as the reason for his continued usage of the platform. In comparison, most Android smartphones include touch-screen keyboards. The Android phones with keyboards are also stuck on dated generations of the Android operating system.

Below is a slideshow of Schmidt and his BlackBerry throughout the last few years:

Google Art Project adds 2,000 works from 30 new partners, including São Paulo street art and rare pieces from China and Japan

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Google added 30 new partners and 2,000 diverse works to the Google Art Project on Thursday.

The collection includes “contemporary art from Latin America, ancient art from China, rare Japanese paintings and Paleolithic flint heads from Spain,” according to the official Google blog, and it highlights a multitude of photographs and pieces such as the growing trend of urban art and graffiti in Brazil.

“More than 100 works from walls, doors and galleries in São Paulo have been photographed and will be included in the Art Project,” said Google. “The pieces were chosen by a group of journalists, artists and graffiti experts and include artists such as Speto, Kobra and Space Invader, as well as images of São Paulo’s most famous building-size murals.”

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As for photography, the Art Project introduced 300 images from renowned photographers at the Fundacion MAPFRE in Spain, so folks can now view work by, for example, Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. Google’s initiative also became home to Hungarian paintings contributed by the Petőfi Literary Museum. The Nemzeti Dal or “National Song,” for instance, has rarely been seen in public but is now online for the first time.

Read more

No immediate plans to merge Chrome and Android, says Google Chairman Eric Schmidt

Speaking at Google’s Big Tent summit in India, Reuters reported executive chairman Eric Schmidt as saying that Chrome and Android will remain separate platforms. This news is in contrast to the widespread view that the two would merge.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt attends a function on catalysing tech Start-ups in India by NASSCOM, in New Delhi March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Speculation had been driven by the announcement last week that Android founder Andy Rubin was moving to a new role within the company (as yet unspecified), while Chrome head Sundar Pichai would take on responsibility for Android. Speaking to the Guardian‘s Alan Rusbridger, Schmidt said:

Chrome and Android operating systems will remain separate products, although there could be more commonality between them.

Google may perhaps follow Apple’s approach of keeping OS X and iOS platforms separate but sharing certain user-interface elements, such as OS X’s Launchpad adopting a very iOS-like icon grid.

Android adopted the Chrome browser universally last year, while the ChromeOS got touch in its most recent incarnation on the Chromebook Pixel. Read more