Hangouts On Air is now available to all, allows recorded or live broadcasting

Google launched Hangouts On Air last year to select broadcasters, which allows recorded or live conversations with friends to broadcast, but today the search engine made the popular feature available to Google+ users worldwide.

Engineering Director Chee Chew explained the option’s functions on the Official Google Blog:

Today we’re excited to launch Hangouts On Air to Google+ users worldwide. So if you have something to say—as an aspiring artist, a global celebrity, or a concerned citizen—you can now go live in front of a global audience. With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to:

  • Broadcast publicly. By checking “Enable Hangouts On Air,” you can broadcast your live hangout—from the Google+ stream, your YouTube channel or your website—to the entire world.
  • See how many viewers you’ve got. During your broadcast, you can look inside the hangout to see how many people are watching live.
  • Record and re-share. Once you’re off the air, we’ll upload a public recording to your YouTube channel, and to your original Google+ post. This way it’s easy to share and discuss your broadcast after it’s over.

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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says that Google prevents updates to Android devices

During the Q&A of a recent interview, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said some interesting things about the Android ecosystem.

His statements are confusing, because we have been— up to this point—lead to believe that there is a straightforward way this works:

  1. Google open sources the Android OS.
  2. After that, manufacturers get the OS working on their devices with drivers and  (gawdforsaken) overlays.
  3. Finally, the carriers certify the OS on those devices (and add a bunch of crapware).

In a response to the questioner, Stephenson blamed Google, saying, “Google determines what platform gets the newest releases and when. A lot of times, that’s a negotiated arrangement and that’s something we work at hard. We know that’s important to our customers. That’s kind of an ambiguous answer because I can’t give you a direct answer in this setting.”

He then goes on to explain how great Windows is and how he has been using it for a month. He also said Android needs to work on security.

While the questioner is speaking in the broader sense about getting his older Android device updated, it is possible that he is referring to the recent Galaxy Nexus that hit Verizon first in December. The GSM version of the Galaxy Nexus was available on AT&T before the release on Verizon (I was an early user) if you bought the phone without a plan. Read more

Google adds ‘Shared with me’ playlist to Google Play

When Google announced Google Music last year, it added the ability to share a song or album with your Google+ friends after you buy it. To compliment that feature, Google added a pretty cool “Shared with me” playlist to Google Play, which curates all the songs that your Google+ friends purchased. This is great, especially considering you get one free listen per song shared. Hopefully you have many friends who are buying music from Google.

Flipboard for Android to debut on Galaxy S III

One more prominent iOS-only app bites the dust—or rather goes Android. Flipboard, one of the first content-scraping, Ad replacing tablet apps that turns your feeds into magazine-like content will launch on the Galaxy SIII. It will make its way to other Android apps in the coming days/weeks/months/years ahead as it fights Google Currents and Pulse reader for market share on the Android platform. As for rollout, we expect it to roll out across Samsung devices first (hopefully including tablets) and then to other hardware manufacturers.

Galaxy S III TV commercial (Video)

Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy S III in London and has already posted its first television advertisement for the smartphone on YouTube. A few official images for the device were also included on Facebook—check them out:

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Live from Samsung’s Galaxy S III event (Gallery)

Update: Samsung just announced the Galaxy S III, and it will launch the device at the end of this month in Europe. Get all the specs for the new Samsung Galaxy S III here, and head past the break for the full press release.

Samsung execs are about to take the stage in London to unveil the next-generation Galaxy device, which we are expecting will be called the “Galaxy S III” after the company let the name slip earlier this month, but we will have to wait a few more minutes to find out.

Last month, we got a look at what reports claimed were leaked specs of Samsung’s next flagship Galaxy device, but today the company is in London to officially unveil it. Last week, Samsung dropped the “Galaxy S III” name during its earnings call, but there still a possibility it will début with a different name when Samsung execs hit the stage in less than 20 minutes. The company already confirmed its 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core processor, but we will update you with all the specs and a live gallery of images from the event as it happens.

Samsung’s full press release for the device is below:

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Google Docs amps offering with 450 new fonts, 60 templates

Google launched a new “Go Google” campaign today to flaunt its array of cloud-based services, and now the Google Docs team is doing the same by rounding up a host of improvements it made to Google Docs in April with the announcement of 450 new fonts and 60 new templates.

“Today, we added over 450 new fonts to Google documents to make it easier for you to add a little something extra to whatever you create,” explained Software Engineer Isabella Ip on the Official Google Docs Blog.

To select the new fonts, click on the font menu, and then select “Add fonts” at the bottom. This will open a menu to all the Google Web Fonts available. Users can narrow their search for the perfect font by alphabetical order, date added, and “trending.” Once a font is selected, users are free to implement them in Google Docs, especially in one of the service’s 60 new templates that were unveiled today.

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Bing: Check out our new look, you can’t tell you aren’t using Google!

Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new look today, and, well, it looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface.

“Starting today you will notice a fresh, de-cluttered experience designed to help you find the results you want faster,” announced Principal Group Program Manager Sally Salas on the Bing.com blog.

Bing stripped the gray-blue gradient, orange links, left sidebar, and the convolute of text and imagery from its website to reveal a simple, white background adorned with crisp, blue text.

“Over the past few months, we’ve run dozens of experiments to determine how you read our pages to deliver the link you’re looking for. Based on that feedback, we’ve tuned the site to make the entire page easier to scan, removing unnecessary distractions, and making the overall experience more predictable and useful,” Salas explained.

The obvious rip-off appears hypocritical, though, especially because the company often takes shots at Google for stealing its ideas. Microsoft Europe’s communication team used Twitter in 2010 to poke fun of Google’s ability to implement background images, which is popular feature that characterized Bing since it launched in 2009.

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Google’s new campaign wants you to ‘Go Google’ (Video)

It’s no secret that Google is fully cloud-compatible, from emails and documents to online storage and video chats, but now the search engine is boasting about its array of cloud-based tools in a new campaign that encourages folks to go Google.

“At the heart of it, Google is about cloud computing—helping people live online and get things done in the cloud,” explained Vice President of Engineering Venkat Panchapakesan on the Official Google Blog:

According to Panchapakesan, over 16 million students and teachers from 66 of the top 100 U.S. universities and more than 4 million businesses worldwide have gone Google through Google Apps:

“Whether you need to add ‘milk’ to a shared shopping list from the train, collaborate with your teammate back in the office to finish your presentation from a hotel lobby, or chat face-to-face with your mom from halfway around the world, we believe that getting stuff done in the cloud is a better way. We like to call it ‘going Google.'”

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Microsoft ordered to remove Xbox 360, Windows 7 from German market in Motorola patent dispute

According to a report from Reuters, a judge in Mannheim ruled against Microsoft today in an ongoing patent dispute with Motorola Mobility by ordering the company to remove its Xbox 360 and Windows 7 products from German retailers. In response, Microsoft claimed that Motorola is unable to enforce the court’s decision due to a prior ruling granting Microsoft a preliminary injunction in a U.S. court:

“Motorola is prohibited from acting on today’s decision, and our business in Germany will continue as usual while we appeal this decision and pursue the fundamental issue of Motorola’s broken promise.”

Today’s ruling means Judge Holger Kircher has decided Microsoft broke contracts by using video-compression software covered in Motorola patents in its Xbox and Windows products. As noted by Reuters, the ITC last week ruled that Microsoft infringed on different Motorola patents covering both video compression and wireless technologies. European Union regulators have apparently started several investigations on how much Motorola charges competitors to license its patents because of the court’s decision and previous complaints from Apple, Microsoft, and others.

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Motorola Mobility posts Q1 2012 earnings: $86M loss, 5.1M smartphones shipped

Motorola Mobility reported its Q1 2012 financial earnings this afternoon. It had a net revenue of $3.1 billion (up 2 percent YOY), net loss of $86 million (compared to a net loss of $81 million YOY), and an operating cash outflow of $98 million. Motorola Mobility also reported it had $3.5 billion in cash and assets.

Furthermore, the company said it sold 8.9 million mobile devices, 5.9 million of which were smartphones, during Q1 2012. As for the merger with Google, China seems to be the hold-up.

As previously announced on August 15, 2011, Motorola Mobility and Google Inc. (“Google”) (NASDAQ: GOOG) entered into a definitive agreement for Google to acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $12.5 billion.

Motorola Mobility and Google continue to work closely with the authorities in China for approval on the acquisition. The transaction has been investigated and cleared without conditions in all other jurisdictions with pre-closing clearance requirements. We continue to expect the transaction to close during the first half of 2012.

It looks like things should be underway by summer. Check out the full press release below.

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