Google+ for Android updated with Auto photo editing features, improved location sharing, & related hashtags

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Following showing off a redesigned three column version of Google+ for the web and new “Auto Awesome” photo editing features at I/O, Google is today bringing some of the new features to its Google+ for Android app.

The updated app, which should be hitting Google Play some time today, will include a number of new photo editing features including the new Auto Awesome effects, auto backup for photos, and other photo editing tools from Snapseed:

  • Auto Backup, to safely and privately store your photos as you snap them
  • Auto Highlight, to browse a selection of top shots from every set of photos you add
  • Auto Enhance, to make subtle improvements to the people and places in your images, automatically
  • Auto Awesome, to create fun new versions of your pictures (like animations and panoramas) based on the photos in your library

The updated Google+ for Android app will also offer improved location sharing with a new Locations section that lets you view your friends’ current locations on a map.

Lastly, after updating you’ll have the ability to access Google’s new intelligent related hashtags feature:

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LG claims 5-inch flexible, plastic phone display is unbreakable

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It’s always a dangerous claim to make, especially around tech journalists who like nothing better than to put such claims to the test. Sonim probably still regrets the time they invited BBC journalist Dan Simmons to try breaking their ‘unbreakable phone’: he did, and he did.

But LG is indeed claiming that its latest 5-inch OLED phone display – which looks similar to that in the Optimus G Pro – is not only flexible, but also unbreakable … Read more

Dell’s $100 thumb-sized Android PC to ship in July to developers, August-ish to consumers

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Project Orphelia, a thumb-sized drive that turns any display with an HDMI port into an Android PC, is to start shipping in July at a price of around $100, reports PCWorld. It’s similar in form factor to a USB key, and simply plugs into any modern TV or monitor.

The first units will be offered to developers, with consumers expected to be able to get their hands on one around August.

While the portability of the device is appealing, you’re still going to need a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to do anything useful with it, raising questions as to how well it can really compete with a tablet or ultrabook. But Dell says it is working on a “keyboard-like technology’ to go with it, and the ability to get the big-screen experience on any TV set for around a hundred bucks may sway some.

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Google Play, Verizon launch could boost Samsung Galaxy S4 sales past already high expectations

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Samsung has proven almost effortlessly that the 5-inch smartphone has its place in the hands of the masses as it is on track to selling 10 million handsets in its first month, The Korea Times reports.

The company has plenty of room for sales to exponentially grow upward, possibly past their own already high expectations, as the smartphone that has taken the Android world by storm has yet to actually launch on Verizon in the States.

Verizon seems readily positioned to launch the Galaxy S4 as it announced earlier this week that it plans to sell the Samsung smartphone a week sooner than expected.

Samsung’s co-CEO Shin John-Kyun says the company expects the Galaxy S4 to be the fastest selling smartphone in the company’s history.

“We are confident that we will pass more than 10 million sales of the S4 next week. It is selling much faster than the previous model S3,” Samsung Electronics co-CEO Shin Jong-Kyun told reporters at an industry forum in Seoul, Thursday.

We got our hands on the Galaxy S4 last month for a review and gave it flying colors. Read more

Twitter launches official app for Google Glass with focus on photo sharing, Google announces SDK

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Twitter today officially launched its own official client for Google Glass. The app has a focus on sharing photos, but also allows you to keep up with your mentions and DMs.

With Twitter for Google Glass, you can share photos to Twitter. The Tweet will automatically include the text, “Just shared a photo #throughglass.”

In addition to sharing photos, you can also keep up with the people you follow on Twitter through notifications — for mentions, DMs and Tweets from users for whom you’ve turned on notifications. As always, you can reply to, retweet or favorite these Tweets.

Those with Google Glass can grab the free app here.

In addition, Google today announced an official SDK for Google Glass. The software development kit will allow offline apps to be created for the device. The company also shared that Facebook, Tumblr, CNN, and Elle apps are on the way.

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Microsoft’s internal “Scroogled” video leaks, mocks Google’s own Chrome ads [video]

Another instalment in Microsoft’s “Scroogled” smear campaign attempting to point out the downsides of using Google services. While Microsoft has released many ads attacking Gmail, search and other Google products as part of the 7 figures it plans to drop on the campaign, this one was apparently supposed to be an internal video for employees anyway.

Whether it was a controlled leak or not, the ad, which takes cues from one of Google’s own Chrome ads, has happened to make its way online right in the middle of Google I/O and it doesn’t appear that a take down notice is getting issued.

Google has responded to the ads several times calling Microsoft’s approach ‘misleading and intellectually dishonest.’ Read more

Google+ Hangouts will soon include SMS integration

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Google announced its new cross-platform messaging service called Hangouts at Google I/O yesterday, which prompted many users to wonder if Google had plans to bring SMS and messaging unification to the Hangouts inbox.

Droid Life points us to comments by Dori Storbeck, who manages the Hangouts and Chat Google+ community, which confirm integration with SMS is highly requested and coming soon.

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We expect SMS integration will only be available on Android as iOS doesn’t allow the necessary hooks to pull off the feature, which makes the platform that much more appealing for fans of the Hangouts service.

Hangouts launched on the Play Store for Android and App Store for iOS yesterday, as well as Google+ or Gmail on the desktop. Read more

Samsung hints at Galaxy S4 software update to address storage discrepancies

Samsung has received criticism for the amount of storage its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone allows users to access out of the box, but CNET reports that Samsung may be considering ways it could optimize the operating system and free up more space for users.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone runs a custom variant of Android, which allows the company to include features not on other Android phones including Google’s own Nexus phones, but the feature-heavy OS comes at the cost of using half the capacity on a 16GB device.

We’re quite fond of the software featured on the Galaxy S4 as it allows it to stand out from other comparable smartphones, and the Galaxy S4 allows users to add to its storage with microSD cards which you can buy for less than 10 bucks in many cases, something the Apple iPhone and HTC One compromise on for design.

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Google TV gets updated to latest 4.2.2 Jellybean, will see quicker updates and allow secure content

Lost in the shuffle of today’s events is that Google TV is getting significant updates today.

Today, Google TV is moving to the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean, 4.2.2), and we’ve refactored Google TV so that our TV OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in a matter of weeks rather than months. For developers, this means you can build TV experiences using the latest Android APIs, including the NDK.

Today Google TV is also moving to the latest version of Chrome, and from now on Google TV benefits from Chrome updates on the same six week cycle that you’ve come to expect from Chrome. In Chrome on Google TV, we’ve added support for hardware-based content protection, enabling developers to provide premium TV content in HD within their web apps.

Google TV has always been a(t least a) generation behind Android phones and you have to wonder if Andy Rubin’s move away from Android is allowing the YouTube group that runs GoogleTV more access to core Android features. Word on the Street is that Rubin and YouTube boss “couldn’t be in the same room together”.

Speaking of YouTube, the GoogleTV Youtube App got a facelift today with the following additions:

- New home screen interface.
- Enhanced video playback controls.
- Support for paid subscriptions.

Update: LG is on board. Press release and 4.2.2 demo below Read more