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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Samsung officially unveils Samsung Wallet, a ‘Passbook-inspired’ digital ticket app

Samsung is today officially unveiling its “Samsung Wallet” mobile app solution, and it is quickly gaining attention for similarities to Apple’s iOS 6 ticket, card, and coupon solution known as Passbook. For those familiar with Apple’s app, Samsung Wallet appears to work much the same way. The app will allow users to store event tickets, membership cards, coupons, and boarding passes in one central app. From there, users will be able to present the digital passes and companies supporting the standard can scan a barcode included for each digital ticket.

Samsung has already posted a developers document for the app to outline how devs can implement support for the app using an API (via The Verge). The document also explained how the app works and noted that users will also receive real-time notifications related to their tickets, just as Apple does with Passbook.

Passbook-vs-SamsungWallet

As for the Apple influence, aside from the look and feel of the app and icon (pictured above), the Samsung Wallet app doesn’t seem to offer any additional functionality above and beyond what Passbook already offers. The company confirmed to TheVerge that the app will initially not be integrated with NFC wallet solutions (despite a new partnership with Visa), but it did confirm partners for the app’s launch include: Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, and Lufthansa.  Read more

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

Google_BayView
(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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Former Apple ad man Ken Segall says Apple’s advertising has lost momentum to Samsung

In the video above, Bloomberg West speaks with 72andSunny’s partner and creative director Jason Norcross about the thinking behind some of Samsung’s latest campaigns. 

If there is one person qualified to discuss the state of Apple’s current marketing efforts, it’s Ken Segall. Working alongside Steve Jobs’ creative team for more than a decade, Segall, the man who put the “i” in iMac, served as creative director at ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. He created some of Apple’s most iconic ads such as the legendary Think Different campaign. Segall took some time on his Observatory blog today to share his thoughts on how “momentum has been lost” for Apple’s marketing department at the hands of none other than the company’s biggest rival, Samsung:

While you can still argue that Macs and i-devices have a ton of appeal, you can’t argue that Apple is still untouchable when it comes to advertising…The fact is, it is being touched — often and effectively — by none other than Samsung…Samsung has made remarkable inroads in a very short time, for two big reasons.

According to Segall, the two big reasons Samsung’s advertising has eclipsed Apple’s is due to Sammy’s massive advertising budget and willingness to “bash away at Apple, delivering ads that are well produced, well written and seem to be striking a nerve.” Specifically, Segall pointed to Samsung’s decision to run creative new ads at the Super Bowl and Oscars:  Read more

WSJ: Google execs worried by Samsung’s success with Android

Samsung-Galaxy-S3While Google might be happy with the mobile ad revenue Samsung brings in shipping roughly 40 percent of the devices running Android, The Wall Street Journal said Google execs worry behind closed doors that Samsung could use its dominance to renegotiate its cut of revenue from mobile ads and search:

Google executives worry that Samsung has become so big—the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google’s Android software—that it could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement and eat into Google’s lucrative mobile-ad business, people familiar with the matter said.

Citing its usual “people familiar with the matter,” WSJ claimed executives at Google are betting on companies like HTC and HP to release compelling Android devices that compete with Samsung. According to the report, Android chief Andy Rubin discussed the situation at a recent event for Google executives. He described Motorola as “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.” Read more

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

LG-Wireless-Charger

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

Screen Shot 2013-02-25 at 11.10.35 AM

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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