No, we did not photoshop that arrow in. In an effort to push Google Plus, which just went into public beta today, Google is now literally pointing to the Plus link with an arrow. Also, below the search box you will find a link to signup. With Google’s 1,100,000,000 pageviews a day (according to Website Outlook, so we’re not sure how accurate that really is) they’re bound to bring in some traffic. What are you waiting for; sign up!
Google rolled out nine new features pertained to its social thing dubbed Google+. Per the official blog post by Google’s head of engineering Vic Gundotra, the service is no longer in limited beta. Beginning today, everyone can join the party at google.com/+ – no invitation required. Yes, Facebook’s worst nightmare comes true just three months following the service’s introduction.
Next up, Google’s search expertise comes to Google+. The big search box now returns relevant people, posts and web content. The popular Hangout feature has gotten lots of enhancements. For example, developers can now take advantage of the new Google+ Hangouts APIs to write more integrated, immersive apps. Google-created Hangout extras (still rough around the edges) include screensharing, sketchpad, Google Docs integration and named hangouts. Give it a try by clicking the “Try Hangouts with extras” link in the green room.
Even more interesting, it is now possible to broadcast a hangout for the world wide web to see. They call it Hangouts on Air and even though you can broadcast and record your session, there’s still that nagging nine-per-hangout limit. Of course, an unlimited number of people can be spectators of your live broadcast.
Another cool addition: You can join a hangout from your mobile phone, by finding an active hangout in the Stream of the Google+ app and tapping “Join”. This works on Android 2.3+ phones with front-facing cameras, but Google said iOS support is “coming soon”. The aforementioned features will be rolling out globally over the next day (not days, per usual), Google said.
Google released the Hangout API for developers as well.
Last, but not the least, Dave Girouard, a Google Apps guy, announced on Twitter that Google+ is coming to business and education customers soon, indicating that Google+ will be rolled out to Google Apps users. “New stuff on G+ today that biz/edu will love! Working hard to bring G+ to Google Apps in the very near future!”, his tweet reads. In our opinion, this could be a game-changer in the social media landscape, probably putting Facebook on the defensive – especially when Google begins selling and promoting Google+ apps on the Apps Marketplace.
The first mention of a social news app from Google came in a Google+ post yesterday by tech watcher Robert Scoble. He wrote:
I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad. My source says that the versions he’s seen so far are mind-blowing good.
The news prompted AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher to dig for more clues. The service is code-named Propeller, Swisher learned:
Google is indeed working on rolling out the new product, which is currently called Propeller. Sources said Propeller is apparently one of a number of new socially focused announcements Google is prepping, including new apps.
The app should launch in the near future because Facebook is also unveiling a social publishing platform of its own next week. It was not immediately clear at the time of this writing how Propeller ties with Google+, if at all. Given the company’s strong social focus and the fact that Propeller is being described as a social news app, it would seem logical to incorporate at least Google+ sharing features.
9to5Google learned from people familiar with the project that Propeller will boast a prettified interface, as is a norm with its high-end rivals Flipboard and Pulse. Publishers will be able to package their content for distribution right within their web browser, using a dedicated web app. Layout options are said to include multiple layouts to target various tablet and phone brands, including iPhone and iPad. Navigation capabilities will include individual articles, table of contents, as well as browsing custom-made sections that curate multiple articles. Images, video and other rich media types are also at disposal.
Publishers will also be able to…
Just like Twitter, Google has unveiled the suggested user list for Google+. The list is broken up into several categories, some examples being: Entertainment, News, and Sports. If you find someone on the list you’d like to stay up to date with, you can add them into one of your circles — just like throughout the rest of the service. People are added to the list based on their +1s, reshares, and Hangouts. More categories are even on the way!
When Google+ was launched, users were pretty receptive, to say the least. After Experian Hitwise reported a 3% decrease in traffic, the site went on to become the fastest growing in history. Today, a new report from Hitwise (via Bloomberg) shows the social network may struggle to catch up to 750 million+ strong Facebook.
While users spent an average of 5 minutes and 47 seconds on the service the week ending on August 27 (a 4% increase from the week before), U.S. visits to the site fell 5.5 percent to 1.6 million. The real story here is the fact that use of Google+ seems to have peaked backed in July.
July 16th seen the average time spent on the service peak at 5 minutes and 50 seconds, while U.S. visits to the site were up 283 percent that week. It’s necessary to note that these numbers can’t be taken as a truly accurate reflection of the service’s growth.
Samsung on Monday promised to challenge Apple’s copyright infringement claims in Australia. Specifically, news agencies report, the Korean consumer electronics maker said today it “will continue to actively defend its right to launch the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia”. Reuters reports that the company confirmed plans to delay the Galaxy Tab 10.1 launch in Australia until after a court ruling in late September on its ongoing legal spat with Apple. Furthermore, Samsung will file a counterclaim with the Australian court in the coming days, seeking to invalidate Apple’s patents plus another one asserting a patent infringement on Apple’s part:
Today, Samsung informed the Federal Court of Australia it intends to file a cross claim against Apple Australia and Apple Inc regarding the invalidity of the patents previously asserted by Apple and also a cross claim against Apple regarding violation of patents held by Samsung by selling its iPhones and iPads
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a hearing before the Australian court is due September 26 and 29 and Samsung agreed “not to sell or advertise” the tablet before September 30. The article also mentions the possibility of a high-profile testimony by both parties:
Apple and Samsung returned to court this afternoon, with Samsung agreeing not to sell or advertise the Galaxy Tab 10.1 before September 30. Apple will detail the specific patents involved in the case by this Friday and will provide a more comprehensive statement of facts by September 5. Samsung will provide points in answer by September 16, with the case going to a formal hearing on September 26 and 29. It was indicated today that top executives and inventors from both Apple and Samsung may appear in person or over video link to explain their patents.
It’s an interesting strategy on Samsung’s part…