Vic Gundotra hints new Hangouts for Android coming soon, urges Android users to get along with iOS users

Google-Hangouts

When Google rolled out a big new update for iOS on Friday, it introduced incoming and outgoing voice calls through Google Voice and number of other new features for the app. Android users made it clear that they weren’t exactly happy that they didn’t receive an update, but since Google’s Vic Gundotra responded with a hint that a new Android version of Hangouts is on the way.

In a comment responding to complaints from Android users on Google+, Gundotra hints at upcoming announcements for Android saying, “I promise you will be happy soon.”

He also asked Android users to not get upset when the company releases iOS products and urged Android and iOS users to get along with each other. “There are a lot of them. And they are good people.”

Gundotra’s full comment is below: Read more

Google closing up Android to stem fragmentation, defend against competitors and *gasp* make money

An interesting story from Ars Techinca examines the state of Android as an open source project and how Google is attempting to better control fragmentation of the platform. According to the report, Google is moving to help maintain its control over the platform from competing companies like Amazon and others that are using Android but forgoing Google’s services. The result, according to the report, is Google will bring more aspects of Android out of the Android Open Source Project and designate them Google services:

Google has always given itself some protection against alternative versions of Android. What many people think of as “Android” actually falls into two categories: the open parts from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which are the foundation of Android, and the closed source parts, which are all the Google-branded apps. While Google will never go the entire way and completely close Android, the company seems to be doing everything it can to give itself leverage over the existing open source project.

Google search has long been a victim of moving away from AOSP, and the recent introduction of Google Play Music means Google is no longer updating its AOSP music app either. Ars notes that Calendar is the most recent app to move to closed source, while the Google Keyboard and Camera appear are moving in the same direction. The screenshots above show AOSP versions of the app mentioned above vs Google’s latest closed source versions. You’ll notice that Google tends to abandon the AOSP versions of the apps once relaunching them under the closed sourced Google services banner.

What does this mean for Android going forward? Google is making life much harder for Amazon and other third-party manufacturers that want to build a competing version of Android without Google’s services… Read more

Shipping today: Kindle HDX 7-inch tablet ups the ante for those deep into the Amazon ecosystem

Kindle-HDX

Everything about the new Kindle HDX is better than the previous HD version. The screen is brighter and has more pixels. It is lighter, thinner, has a better case, and has an improved OS. The buttons are now around the back vs. on either side (which takes a few reps to get used to). You can now jump down to the apps in much similar way to what you can in a normal Android tablet.

But that’s the problem. The OS just isn’t as good as the one you’ll find on the Nexus 7 with similar specs. And with the Nexus 7 you’ll get Google’s extremely productive Google Apps including Google Now, Google Maps, Gmail, Translate, and on and on. With the Kindle line you get a lot of nice apps, including many of the more popular ones like Facebook, Hulu, Netflix.  But you don’t get any of the long tail apps you get from the Google Play Store, and that’s kind of a bummer.

Also, I’m personally not feeling the Mayday feature. It was probably awesome when there were only 20 reviewers getting service, but I had to wait on hold for around 10 minutes before I could talk to someone – for me, that’s not worth it. Your mileage will vary, obviously.

Amazon has a ton of good content including a very passable App selection, full music and movie libraries, and of course tons of ebooks.  If you are okay with just Amazon, then you are looking at the best tablet you can find.  If you want more, then head over to Google Play. Pricing options below. 

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16 GB Nexus 5 appears on Google Play for $349 (high-res photo)

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A listing appeared in the Google Play Store this evening for the Nexus 5, but was pulled just moments later. The listing puts the device’s price at $349 for the 16 GB model. Apparently the page went live prematurely but the can probably be expected to launch some time in the near future. A high-resolution press shot is available below.

The device has also been spotted in white today in leaked shots allegedly showing packaging for the Nexus 5.

via Engadget

Read more

Press images of Telus-branded Nexus 5 leak, show redesigned Kit Kat launcher

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We’ve heard a lot about the upcoming Nexus 5 over the past couple of weeks, and now we have some  supposed press renders of the device, courtesy of Mobile Syrup. The press images show what appears to be the Nexus 5 for Canadian carrier Telus.  In terms of design, the images don’t show too much that we didn’t already know. You can see that the volume rocker is located on the left hand side of the device, while the power button is on the right. Above the display is a circular speaker, in addition to the front-facing camera.

The renders do, however, give us a very clear look at the Android 4.4 Kit Kat home screen design and layout. The notification bar is now transparent and all of the icons are white, while the dock is much simpler and houses  camera, Chrome, Hangouts, and Phone shortcuts.

While missing in this image, Android 4.4 is also expected to introduce a transparent app drawer, meaning that you will see your wallpaper instead of a black background. Also new are dots to indicate the amount of home screens you have set up, similar to what we’ve seen on iOS for years.

The Nexus 5 is expected to be unveiled later this month, and according to several reports, will cost $299 and $399 for 16GB and 32GB of storage, respectively.  Read more

Google announces Q3 2013 earnings: $14.9 billion revenue, $3.64 billion in net income

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Google just released its earnings report for Q3 2013, announcing $10.74 per share on consolidated revenue of $14.9 billion. That’s compared to the 19% year-over-year growth with $14.11 billion in revenue it reported last quarter, and up around 12% from the $14.10 billion in revenue it reported in the year ago quarter. It’s also slightly higher than the average of around $14.80 billion in revenue and $10.35 per share Wall Street predicted.

Google also reported $3.64 billion in net income (up from $2.96 billion last year), $56.52 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and operating income of $4.34 billion (29% of revenues), up from $3.76 billion in the same quarter last year.

Google had another strong quarter with $14.9 billion in revenue and great product progress,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google.  “We are closing in on our goal of a beautiful, simple, and intuitive experience regardless of your device.”

Of the $14.9 billion in revenue it reported for Q3, Google’s sites and other services accounted for 92% of consolidated revenues, or $13.77 billion, while Motorola accounted for the remaining 8%, or $1.18 billion. Goog also reported a $248 million operating loss for Motorola, which is around 21% of the unit’s revenues and up from a loss of $192 million last year.

Larry Page also announced during the earnings call today that YouTube revenue is now at 40% on mobile up from just 25% last year.

Google’s headcount is also down again this quarter to 46,421 full-time employees (42,162 in Google and 4,259 in Motorola Mobile) from the 44,777 full-time employees it had in June.

GOOG closed the day hovering around 888, down approximately 1%, but shot up over 50 points in after hours trading to over 940 and rising.

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The full report is below: Read more

Google posts earnings call live stream, analysts expect $14.82 billion in revenue

Google is set announce its earnings for the third quarter of 2013 in less than an hour, and ahead of its call with investors, the company has posted a live stream of the call on YouTube. Last quarter, Google reported $14.11 billion in revenue, which was up 19 percent year over year. The number was, however, lower than the $14.45 billion that Wall Street was expecting.

This quarter, analysts are expecting revenue of $14.82 billion, up from $11.33 billion in the third quarter of last year. Analysts expect a net income of $3.5 billion, or $10.35 per share, up from the $3 billion, or $9.03 per share, year over year.

We’ll have all of Google’s announcements when they are made, which is slated to happen at 4:30 ET. Read more

Opinion: With results like these, does Google+ have a future?

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Following a report back in July showing that Google+ gets only 2 percent of social sharing, new figures from Shareaholic (via Marketing Land) reveal that the service drives an average of 0.06 percent of all referral traffic. This contrasts with Facebook at 8.11 percent, Pinterest at 3.24 and Twitter at a surprisingly low 1.17.

Google+ traffic is also growing at a far slower rate than other social media.

Shareaholic also says that Google+ is growing the slowest as a referral source at just 6.97 percent over the past year. Referrals from Facebook (58.81 percent), Pinterest (66.52 percent), Twitter (54.12 percent) and YouTube (52.86 percent) all grew more than 50 percent since September 2012.

Viewed against a backdrop of Google’s aggressive promotion of the service, making it virtually impossible not to have a G+ account by linking it to every product the company has, it does make me question whether Google+ has a long-term future …  Read more

Leaked screenshots show updated Play Store app with slide-out navigation

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Over the past few weeks, everyone has been heavily focused on the forthcoming KitKat update and Nexus 5, but Android Police has obtained screenshots of something that should be rolling out to everyone soon. According to the site, Google is currently in the process of redesigning the Play Store, yet again. The changes will keep up with what Google has been doing to its other apps.

The biggest user-interface change comes with the new slide-out navigation panel, which is commonly referred to as “hamburger-style” navigation. In the current version of the Play Store, all of the options are put into a single menu in the upper right corner. With this Play Store update, the menu options will be reduced to just settings and help, while everything will move to the navigation panel.

  • Store home
  • My apps, My movies & TV, etc., (varies depending on what section of the Play Store you are in)
  • Shop (only appears at certain times)
  • My wishlist
  • Redeem

As far as release timeframe goes, Android Police expects the update to go live with Android 4.4 at the very minimum, but notes that it may go out earlier. It will compatible with all versions of Android back to Froyo. The blog also notes that the design is a work in progress and may very well change several times before release.  Read more

KitKat tweets hint of October 28th launch for Android 4.4

(via KITKAT on Twitter)

Following leaked images allegedly showing off Android 4.4 and an eight-minute video hands-on with the Nexus 5 and the next version of Android, KitKat has done its part in hyping the chocolate-branded version of Android with a few notable tweets.

The candy bar maker dropped a couple of cryptic tweets yesterday and today, which Pocket-lint believes it has decrypted, hinting at Android 4.4 possibly launching on October 28th.

KitKat tweeted an image early Tuesday morning of an Android made out of the chocolate candy bar with a caption containing a magnifying glass (for Google Search or a sign that it’s meant to be a clue?), and the tweet itself read ‘Everybody dance now!’ This references the song “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C+C Music Factory, but their original name was The 28th Street Crew.

The original tweet alone would be quite a stretch for assuming Android 4.4 would debut on October 28th, but roughly 24 hours later KitKat tweeted, “Sometimes you have to look for the signs…”, which clearly explains the nature of the tweets. This time it included KitKat bars arranged to say “THIS IS IT”, the Michael Jackson concert-film released on October 28th as Pocket-lint notes.

Could we see more clues ahead of the anticipated launch of Android 4.4? We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out the tweets for yourself below the fold, and let us know what you think:

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Google ad tells emotional story of lost Indian boy who found his family 25 years later

We first brought you the story of a 30-year-old man finding his lost mother and family using Google Earth earlier this year, and Google has posted an emotional video on YouTube of Saroo Brierley telling his story of technology leading to his reunion.

Brierly was disconnected from his family at the age of five in a turn of tragedy, and decades later saw Google Earth as an avenue to search the streets he recollected in fragments for answers of his origin. Check out the compelling video below: Read more