Hours before Google I/O kicks off, Larry Page addresses health complications via Google+

Larry Page

Google CEO, Larry Page, adressed his years of health complications today via a Google+ post, letting the world know that he was diagnosed with left vocal-cord paralysis.  This issue led to Larry skipping last year’s I/O and subsequent earnings calls. Larry revealed that he is trying to help eradicate this issue by developing a patient survey to gather information from others who suffer from the same problems.

Larry’s message in its entirety is below…

About 14 years ago, I got a bad cold, and my voice became hoarse. At the time I didn’t think much about it. But my voice never fully recovered. So I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with left vocal cord paralysis. This is a nerve problem that causes your left vocal cord to not move properly. Despite extensive examination, the doctors never identified a cause — though there was speculation of virus-based damage from my cold. It is quite common in cases like these that a definitive cause is not found.
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Google combines free storage across Gmail, Drive and +Photos, 15GB for consumers, 30GB for Apps

A nice little pre-I/O surprise today from Google: Everyone who uses Gmail, G+ Photos and Google Drive now gets 15GB of free space across all three platforms instead of the previous 10 GB for Gmail and another 5 GB for Drive and Google+ Photos. That’s a lot of combined space

We’ll also be making updates to the Google Drive storage page, so you can better understand how you’re using storage space. Simply hover over the pie chart to see a breakdown of your storage use across Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. And if you need more storage, this is your place to upgrade, with plans starting at $4.99/month for 100 GB.

Pro tip: This change means you’re no longer limited to a 25 GB upgrade in Gmail—any additional storage you purchase now applies there, too.

These changes to Google Drive storage will roll out over the next couple of weeks. Google Apps users will also be getting shared storage, so visit the enterprise blog to learn more.

Enterprise users get 30GB between the three platforms. Read more

AT&T denies plans to cancel the HTC First phone prematurely, says no decisions have been made

BGR this morning said that AT&T wasn’t happy with the HTC First, the phone with the Facebook Home built in.

BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook’s little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone.

Business Insider hears the same.  The chatter likely increased after AT&T dropped the price of the First to essentially Free last week.  An AT&T spokesperson just told us:

“As mentioned previously, we do pricing promotions all the time and have made no decisions on future plans.”

Clearly there is wiggle room on both sides here but no one can say that Facebook’s venture has been successful so far. Read more

Talking Schmidt: Don’t Be Evil is “the stupidest rule ever”

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

In our continuing series Talking Schmidt we bring you the most insightful lines from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who is promoting his new book The New Digital Age, spoke with NPR over the weekend on the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! program in a rather lighthearted appearance.

NPR host Peter Sagal asked the executive chairman how much Google knew about its users at the top of show, which prompted Schmidt to admit, “Well, as much as you’ll let us know.”

Schmidt also mentioned that the company really doesn’t quite know the definition of evil, from its famous slogan “Don’t Be Evil,” and that he thought it was “the stupidest rule ever” when he joined the company.

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In wide-ranging interview, Google’s Sundar Pinchai downplays Android/Chrome I/O announcements

Sundar Pichai

I’m not going to lie, this is a bit depressing. Among other boilerplate-type of answers to good questions that Wired’s Steven Levey threw at him, Sundar Pinchai said:

What can we expect from I/O this year?

It’s going to be different. It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms.

We’ll be on hand this week to see exactly what that means.

Some other tidbits from the interview: On Firefox OS: “It isn’t surprising. If we don’t do ChromeOS, someone else will”. On Google-branded hardware: “Any hardware projects we do will be to push the ecosystem forward”. Read more

Google Play Games details leak ahead of I/O 2013 with huge Google Plus tie-ins

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Android Police’s Ron Amadeo has the details on the new syncing, matchmaking, notifications, game invites, achievements, leaderboards, and integration with other Google services that are inside the new Gaming APK that is being rolled out to devices.

Fresh out of Google HQ, we’ve managed to score a copy of the newGoogle Play Services v3.1.36, which is very slowly rolling out to devices right now. For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27. 3.1 is a massive update – the strings file, for instance, has more than doubled from 300 to 700 entries. This is how Google is pushing out all the shared files for Google Play Games.

To make a long story short, there is a lot of new stuff here and most of it has ties to Google Plus. Shocking, I know.

Google Drive is down (update: Back for some)

Update (3:24 ET): I’m back online. are you?

If you are having issues with Google Drive, you aren’t alone. We’ve just lost our access to our online documents though our local sync seems to be working fine. Google’s Apps status page just went code orange indicating they are investigating the issue. Now let’s start talking about how safe your documents are in the Cloud.

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HTC First Mother’s Day giveaway from 9to5Google and @ATT

You may not want an HTC First Facebook Android phone but your mom probably does. So AT&T and 9to5Google are giving you a chance to win one with no contract or obligations (You can also get one ON CONTRACT for $1).

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and AT&T is celebrating moms with a fun, shareable video e-card for a special edition of the popular “It’s Not Complicated” campaign. In a new rendition of the commercial that will air Friday through Sunday, mediator Beck Bennett strays from his usual, “what’s better, bigger or smaller?” and instead asks, “who gives the best hugs?” to a unanimous response – mom does! The video e-card can be personalized, offering consumers a simple Mother’s Day themed e-card video, with Beck and the kids, to share with mom via social media (Twitter, Facebook, email). Make your own personalized version of the “It’s Not Complicated, Moms are the Best” video e-card at ATTMothersDay.com.   

You know the rules: To enter, simply follow @9to5Google and retweet this post telling us why your mom would love an HTC First Facebook phone.

We’ll pick the winner on Mother’s Day.

Update: We have a winner!

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Google shreds plans for physical Google Wallet credit card

Walletlogo-268x285

Earlier this week Google confirmed that its head of Google Wallet will leave later this year, and today AllThingsD reports that the company is scrapping its plans for a physical credit card that would accompany its mobile payment service.

Google CEO Larry Page reportedly canned the physical card just last week after being dissatisfied with its reliability due to glitches.

The company was reportedly preparing to demo the physical card, which featured the colorful Google Wallet “W” branding, at Google I/O next week, so it is interesting that this report is surfacing so suddenly.

Larry Page reportedly cited more innovative approaches to mobile commerce from startups like Square, which seems to have solidified his decision to shred the company’s plans for a physical Google Wallet credit card.

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Google I/O 2013 App is live, lots of streams planned

Screen Shot 2013-05-09 at 12.58.25 PM

You can now download at the Play Store with a lot of new features this year:

- NEW! Scan attendee badges via NFC
– NEW! Schedule changes are immediately synchronized between devices
– NEW! Lock screen widget for viewing your agenda on the go
– NEW! Vector-based maps with session info
– NEW! Dedicated HDMI video output for livestreams
– NEW! Automatic WiFi setup for attendees
– NEW! Off-site attendee mode for livestream-only viewers
– Use Google+ for login
– Support for viewing Office Hours sessions
– Improved support for devices with RTL locales
Additionally Google reminds us that if we can’t make it to Moscone, they’re streaming everything so stop complaining about not getting a ticket. Read more