Google launches Chrome Super Sync Sports experiment, turns mobile devices into game controllers (Video)

Google showed off its latest Chrome experiment on Wednesday, and it notably lets Chrome users race with friends on a shared computer screen while using mobile devices as game controllers.

The experiment, dubbed “Chrome Super Sync Sports,” uses HTML5 features like WebSockets for syncing devices to computers and Canvas and CSS3 so users can run, swim, and cycle with rich graphics. The experiment also offers a solo mode, challenges with up to four friends, and the ability to post results on a world leaderboard.

The Google Chrome blog explained how to get started:

To get started, you’ll need a computer and a smartphone or tablet that run a modern browser, like Chrome. Visit chrome.com/supersyncsports on your computer, pick a game and decide if you’re playing solo or with friends. Next, visit g.co/super in Chrome on your smartphone or tablet and type in the unique code shown on your computer screen. You’ve now “super sync”ed your mobile device with your computer, and you’re ready to race!

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Here’s a 9+ megapixel rendering of Google’s new Bay View Campus from NBBJ

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(Click to enlarge, credit: NBBJ)

The fine folks at NBBJ furnished us with this monster rendering of Google’s new 1.1-million-square foot ‘Bay View’ campus. Google has a long-term lease on the property from NASA. The scope of work includes integrated new construction, interiors, and workplace design. This will be Google’s first build-to-suit construction project. Both Google and NBBJ have high expectations for sustainability and healthy, creative work environments, and they will explore innovative materials and processes for construction. Read more

Android Chief Andy Rubin flatly denies knowledge of retail store effort

AllthingsD is reporting that Android head Andy Rubin is flatly denying knowledge of a retail store in Google’s future.

As for whether Google as a whole might need retail stores, “Google has no plans, and we have nothing to announce,” he said.

I reported last week that Google had plans to open retail stores within the year, and this, according to a quick ping of that same source, is still on. When asked about Rubin’s comments, I was told that Rubin wasn’t being forthcoming or AllThingsD misquoted him. After my report, AllThingsD’s sister company, the Wall Street Journal, also reported that Google would open retail stores.

Google spokesperson Jay Nancarrow declined to comment.

It should be noted that the retail program is being born (we’re told) out of Google’s (X) labs under Sergey Brin and not out of the Android group, and the two groups aren’t always in full cooperation. For instance, while Google’s Glass uses a derivative of Android as the base OS, it doesn’t use Google’s own voice recognition service. It instead opts for a service from Vlingo that was recently acquired by Nuance.

Perhaps this should be looked at under the same lens as Rubin’s “We [Google] aren’t making hardware” statements that were followed by the announcement of the Android hardware division and subsequent purchase of Motorola.

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Google+ launches app sign-in for mobile and web, includes selective sharing, one-click Android app installs, interactive posts (Videos)

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Google just updated its Google+ platform with application sign-in and a bevy of related enhancements.

The new application sign-in feature basically allows users to log into non-Google apps on mobile and web with their existing Google account credentials. The feature also enables users to, as Google coined it, “bring along their Google+ info for an upgraded experience.”

This type of functionality has long existed with Facebook and Twitter, so Google’s update essentially brings its social network up to speed. An added bonus, however, is that Google+ sign-in comes with Google safety measures like 2-step verification.

The platform update bundles additional tweaks like the ability to selectively share app activity with circles—as well as the option to sign into a website with Google and install its mobile Android app with just one-click. According to the official Google PlusPlatform blog, another interesting features involves new interactive posts in Google+ streams:

Get more videos below.

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The Today Show covers Google Glass

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Going mainstream…

Chrome to soon get tabs that show sound volume over favicons

If you’ve ever had 30 Chrome tabs open and can’t figure out which one is playing some audio (guilty),  has some good news. The Google Chrome Team is working on identifying tabs that play audio to exclude them from the list of tabs to discard when memory runs out.

In a first step, they’ve added a small indicator on top of the tab favicon to tell when a tab is actually playing audio.
Youtube video work only if you joined the HTML5 trial at www.youtube.com/html5

You can already see it in the last chromium build (download-chromium.appspot.com).

Source: http://codereview.chromium.org/12328027/

It hasn’t yet hit my Canary nightly, but I’m really looking forward to this one. Read more

LG introduces smaller (hopefully cheaper) wireless Qi charging unit for Nexus 4, other Qi-enabled devices

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LG announced “the world’s smalled wireless charger” today. It’s hiding behind that white phone above. The Qi-enabled charger will charge any Qi-enabled device from LG and others.

At only 6.9cm in diameter, the WCP-300 is designed with portability in mind. Despite its di-minutive size, the charging area is 1.7 times wider than that of LG’s previous generation wireless charger. The new model is compatible with a standard 5-pin micro-USB charger, providing the highest level of charging performance and user convenience.

The WCP-300 employs electromagnetic induction technology and is Qi certified by the Wireless Power Consortium. Electromagnetic induction produces a magnetic field that in turn generates an electric current to charge the batteries in devices placed on the charging pad. Certification ensures that the WCP-300 is compatible with all smart-phones that support the Qi standard.

“Wireless charging is the holy grail of smartphone user convenience,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “With the WCP-300, LG was able to deliver both portability with top-class charging capabilities in a device no larger than a typical beverage coaster.”

The WCP-300, as it is affectionately called, will offer another (hopefully less expensive) option for those who may not line up for the $60 half-orb that Google is offering on the Google Play Store

Press release and another shot are below: Read more

Google Director of Android User Experience Matias Duarte on Poking vs. Stroking and other Android nuances (Video)

It looks like some Android folks made their way to Barcelona. It is good to see Duarte being as colorful and optimistic as his clothing. Read more

Virgin adds first LTE smartphone to prepaid lineup with Jelly Bean-equipped Samsung Galaxy Victory for $299

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Virgin Mobile USA now offers Samsung’s Galaxy Victory 4G LTE smartphone.

The Android handset is the carrier’s first LTE offering, and it is available today in gray for $299.99 at virginmobileusa.com without a contract.

Key features include the Jelly Bean OS, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with HD video capture, 1.3MP front-facing camera, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities, and a MicroSD slot for expandable storage up to 32GB.

Virgin’s No-Contract Beyond Talk unlimited data and messaging plans start at $35 per month, and the carrier said it would roll out the Victory 4G LTE to more retailers in mid-March.

Check out the press release below for more details.

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LG snaps up webOS for smart TVs

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HP TouchPad with webOS

LG announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today that it bought Hewlett-Packard’s webOS to power upcoming televisions.

The terms of the deal are not publicly available but allegedly include all webOS patents, employees, and the operating system’s original source code, according to a report by CNET, and LG notably revealed it plans to use the software to power televisions and not mobile devices.

LG Electronics President and Chief Technology Officer Skott Ahn told CNET that he hopes webOS would create “a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices.”

LG expanded its Google Smart TV lineup last month from two models in 2012 to seven models in 2013. The sets will feature PrimeTime, Voice Search, and YouTube Send to TV capabilities, and they are a part of the new GA6400 and GA7900 series that boast 42-, 47-, 50-, 55-, and 60-inch screen sizes. The GA7900 will only have 47- and 55-inch models.

Spearheaded by ex-Apple executive John Rubinstein, Palm originally developed WebOS in 2009. HP bought Palm a year later for $1.2 billion to use the platform within its TouchPad tablet and other mobile devices.

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HP joins the Android tablet game, introduces Beats-powered Slate 7 starting at $169

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At Mobile World Congress this morning, HP announced its first tablet since the Touchpad: the HP Slate 7. The Slate 7 is a 7-inch inch tablet with a somewhat disappointing 1,024-by-600 pixel display. You’ll be able to see those big pixels from a variety of angles and lighting conditions with HP’s so-called High-aperture-ratio Field Fringe Switching (HFFS) panel. The panel purports to offer “wide viewing angles that provide easy viewing of documents, games, photos and videos—even in outdoor lighting conditions”.

Last’s year’s tablet-type spec sheet also includes 1GB of RAM, a 1.6GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor and 8GB of onboard storage. It also boasts a microSD slot and BeatsAudio which are welcome editions to the closed storage options of both Amazon’s Kindle and the Nexus 7.

With a $169 price tag, it seems fairly obvious that this will be playing in the lower end market. With HP’s huge global footprint and long list of enterprise contracts, the Slate7 will open the door to many more potential Android customers. In a separate blog post, HP teased,

I’ve also heard that there’s a raft of exclusive productivity software and games that will be available for the Slate7. I just don’t know what that exactly entails. Yet.

HP hopes that dual-cameras and expandable storage can sway potential consumer customers.

According to The Verge, the Slate 7 is running an OS nearly identical to stock Android. And, while The Verge claimed the tablet’s build-quality feels sub-par, a low price-point may just be what HP needs to get entry-level tablet buyers.  Read more