Google rolls out OAuth 2.0 support for Gmail and other IMAP/SMTP, XMPP services

We reported earlier on hints from Google employee Tim Bray that the company might be working on an integrated password and login solution. We know Bray is working on OAuth and OpenID-related projects, and Google announced in a blog post today that it is adding OAuth 2.0 support for IMAP/SMTP and XMMP. The majority of Google’s API’s already support the OAuth 2 authentication standard for sharing your account data with third-party apps, but today’s addition of support for IMAP/SMTP and XMMP opens OAuth 2.0 to third parties accessing services such as Gmail and GTalk.

Today we’re going a step further by adding OAuth 2.0 support for IMAP/SMTP and XMPP. Developers using these protocols can now move to OAuth 2.0, and users will experience the benefits of more secure OAuth 2.0 clients.

According to Ryan Troll of Google’s Application Security Team, clients never ask for a user’s password with the OAuth 2.0 authentication mechanism. He also noted “users have tighter control over what data clients have access to, and clients never see a user’s password, making it much harder for a password to be stolen.”

Google outlined a timeline for support for older authentication standards:
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Google+ ‘hit important milestone': 400M people upgraded to Google+, 100M active monthly users

While confirming the Nik Software acquisition on his personal Google+ account, Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra just revealed a few interesting Google+ statistics.

The Google executive announced 400 million people have now “upgraded to Google+,” with 100 million of them being “monthly active users” on desktop and mobile. These rounded numbers directly refer to Google+ and do not seem to encompass users actively exercising other Google products.

Google typically avoids dishing out specifics on Google+, like active user base estimates, but it has previously cited the budding network as the social core to its umbrella of products and claimed it boasted more than 170 million users (of which 60 percent allegedly sign in daily).

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Google acquires iOS Snapseed developer Nik Software

Google just bought the brainchild behind popular iOS app Snapseed, Nik Software.

According to Nik Software:

We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support and hope you’ll join us on the next phase of our journey as part of Google.

All our best!

The Nik Software Team

Snapseed, which is akin to iOS app Instagram in terms of jazzy vintage filters, is just one of many desktop and mobile photography apps that Nik Software develops. Snapseed launched on Apple’s iPad in June 2011, winning “iPad App of the Year” soon after, and then it landed on the iPhone in August 2011 and Mac OS just four months later. The app also boasts a Windows counterpart.

Today’s announced buyout could notably help Google’s budding social network, Google+, better combat direct rival Facebook, which recently acquired Instagram and its 100+ million users.

An update to this story is below.

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Google planning on an integrated 1Password type of service?

Google employee and XML pioneer Tim Bray has been known for delivering awesome tweets from his personal Twitter account regarding issues happening at the company. Today, Bray took to his popular ‘Ongoing’ blog to share what he worked on at Google for the past three months (since he left Android developer relations for OAUTH group). In a blog post, titled “Less Pain, More Money”, Bray appears to hint that Google is working on a solution for storing passwords and simplifying logins:

Google really wants you to type things like “good mountain bike” or “Knoxville pediatrician” into the search box…. More often than you’d think, people don’t; they click in the address bar and type in the URL of a big bookstore or Somebody’sList, as a first step on their search. When we ask why, surprisingly they often say ”Oh, if I found something good on a random site out there I’d have to log in, and either remember my stupid password or fight through the stupid sign-up page.” The numbers are probably secret, but they’re very significant.

While Bray does not go into detail about a specific feature that he or Google is working on, he noted his job currently centers on reducing the frustration associated with logging in to various websites. We have a feeling Google is working on a new feature that will make storing passwords and logging into websites much easier.

It is not hard to imagine doing a Google search to a page, where you would normally need to login to, and then find yourself already logged in with account credentials stored in your Google account.

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Google blocked Acer from using Aliyun as part of stipulations to the Open Handset Alliance

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Google provided a statement to SearchEngineLand on Acer’s recent cancellation of the Aliyun phone. It comes late on a Friday, so you know it is not going to be well received.

Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers.

Non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices.

This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems.

Andy Rubin also added some clarity on the Android Developers blog (but he did not mention Acer or Aliyun by name once). Rubin mentioned the situation specifically on Google Plus, however… Read more

Founders originally told Google Fellow Singhal that company would be worth $500M

Googler Amit Singhal told guests at a Churchill Club event in Silicon Valley on Thursday that he thought the cofounders of Google were “smoking something” when they first approached him.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin allegedly attempted to recruit Singhal in 2000 by telling him the company would be worth “$500 million at least,” adding they had “the entire Internet sitting on our disks.”

BusinessInsider, which first reported the story, elaborated:

Except they didn’t, really. Their plan for a new search engine was simple: They didn’t have to search every word, they only needed “a snippet from the beginning [of each page] to do search,” he recounts.

They were running short on funds, so they had to build their own, more affordable computers to store the data. Today, Google builds more servers than many of the world’s commercial server makers. If it sold servers, it would rank around No. 5 in world market share.

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Sprint announces $100 Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE for Sept. 16

Sprint confirmed today that it would release a new Galaxy this Sunday with the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE landing for $100 on contract. Sprint might be telling the truth when it said the device packs in high-end smartphone specs at less than a high-end price. Specs listed in Sprint’s press release: a 4-inch display, a 5 megapixel main camera with LED flash, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, Google Wallet, and a few Galaxy S III features such as S Beam and AllShare. Sprint’s full press release is below:

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Acer cowers to Google, nixes unveiling event for Aliyun OS-powered smartphone?

Aliyun OS

Google apparently likes to play hardball.

A new report from the Dow Jones Newswire today asserted that Mountain View, Calif.-based Google pressured Acer into abruptly canceling a launch event for the CloudMobile A800 smartphone because it runs the Aliyun mobile operating system.

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba developed the Linux-based OS—dubbed the aspiring “Android of China.” Acer intended to unveil a smartphone powered by the alternative OS today, but the Taiwan-based manufacturer called off its event after submitting to coercion from Google.

Alibaba specifically told the Dow Jones Newswire that Acer was “notified by Google that if the product runs Aliyun OS, Google will terminate its Android- related cooperation and other technology licensing with our partner…”

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Google Apps for Education welcomes 14 new schools

Google published a blog post today on the Official Google Blog that highlights some of the new schools it will welcome for the upcoming school year. Among them: 72 of the 100 top U.S. Universities and seven of the eight Ivy League universities. The full list of 14 is below:

By going Google, students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: They can better collaborate in and out of the classroom; office hours can be held via hangouts; e-portfolios can be created and maintained in a Google Site; professors can give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary); and group projects can take place across continents instead of side-by-side in a library.

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Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week filmed entirely with Google Glass

We brought you photos from runway models sporting Google Glass headsets last week during New York Fashion Week, including an appearance from Diane von Furstenberg and Google’s Sergey Brin. Google teamed with Furstenberg to shoot a video with Glass that documents the behind-the-scenes making of a fashion show, and now the video project has finally made its way to the DVF Google+ page. The description for the video, titled “DVF through Glass,” explained all of the footage was filmed with just Google Glass:

Experience the DVF Spring 2013 show at New York Fashion Week through the eyes of the people who made it happen—the stylists, the models and Diane von Furstenberg herself. All the footage you see here was filmed using only Glass, Google’s latest technology that lets you capture moments from a unique, new perspective. See what happens when fashion and technology come together like you’ve never seen before.

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Google adds Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon tool to Search

As pointed out by the TheNextWeb, Google appears to have recently added another easter egg to Search with a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” tool. This adds to barrel roll, Zerg Rush, and a long list of other Google Search easter eggs we told you about, while Google also recently added some more useful tools such as a 34-button scientific calculator. To use the Kevin Bacon tool, you simply type “Bacon number” followed by the name of a celebrity. Wikipedia provided an explanation of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon if you are unfamiliar:

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Google Maps updated with new Street View imagery to celebrate Space Day

In celebration of “Space Day” in Japan, Google announced today that it is releasing new panoramic Street View imagery for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan).

The JAXA imagery allows you to walk through the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) down on the idyllic beach island of Tanegashima. TNSC is the site from which the Kounotori 3 rocket recently lifted off to send supplies (and the YouTube Space Lab winning experiments) to the International Space Station…In addition, today’s release also includes 360-degree views of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known in Japan as the “Miraikan.” Now, you’re able to virtually walk inside the museum and see the famous “Geo Cosmos” hanging Earth model, as well as the other permanent exhibits like the model of the International Space Station.

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