Google rolls out Hangout apps to bring poker, quizzes, drawing, and productivity to Google+

Just when the tech-world is seemingly about to explode with apps—apps for Android, apps for iPhone, apps for set-top boxes, apps for computers, apps for Facebook—Google adds to the bubbling pot with Google+ Hangout apps.

Google Product Manager Amit Fulay announced on Google+ today the first implementation of apps in the social network’s standout multi-person video chat feature:

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It’s in the Vault! Google announces $5/user/year Apps tool for document preservation

Today, Google Enterprise announced a new offering designed to aid Apps customers in managing information and preserving important data. “Vault” is aimed at easing document and email management as it relates to corporate litigation, regulatory investigation and compliance actions.

Businesses of all sizes need to be prepared for the unexpected. In today’s environment, using Vault to manage, archive and preserve your data can help protect your business. Litigation costs can really take a toll on a business when minor lawsuits can run up to many thousands of dollars, and larger lawsuits can cost even more. Significant litigation costs come from having to search and find relevant data, which is also known as electronic discovery (eDiscovery).

The tool costs $5/user/year and will knock down some walls of companies who would not have been able to get Google Apps if it were not for this tool. Read more

Beating Google to the punch, Epson ships its Android-powered glasses

Epson America announced it is now shipping the world’s first Android-powered wearable display—the Epson Moverio.

With Google’s impending entry into the glasses space, Epson’s $699.99 offering is essential due to its 80-inch perceived projection display, Dolby Mobile surround sound, Wi-Fi connectivity, 6-hour battery life, 1GB of built-in storage, and 4GB microSDHC with accompanying slot.

Google’s mobile platform powers the track-pad controller and allows a user to watch YouTube or Vimeo videos, play apps and games, browse the Internet, and more. According to Epson America’s Director of New Business Development Anna Jen, there is even support for side-by-side 3D technology:

“The Moverio BT-100 see-through display is poised to significantly impact not only the way people interact with content for personal enjoyment, but the development of content for future applications – from virtual training platforms to a new way to interact with 3D CAD environments to visualizing 3D design renderings.”

The Epson Moverio BT-100 is now available through Epson’s retail website, select resellers, or by pre-order through Amazon. The Tokyo, Japan-based electronics manufacturer also recommended a few apps that take full advantage of its latest achievement, such as Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Kindle, and the Angry Birds suite.

The full presser and additional promo shots are below.

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Samsung has incredible March, tallies 3 million Galaxy Notes sold in 4 weeks

In a land where SUVs rule the landscape in the face of growing fuel costs, it is little surprise that a well-made, huge Android Phablet would sell well in the U.S. Indeed, Samsung’s Galaxy Note got a supers-shot of sales adrenaline when it reached the United States shores.

The Note passed 2 million in sales earlier this month, but add its recent U.S. launch, and the smartphone maker now claims it has sold 5 million devices. Detractors will of course claim that 5 million sold “into inventory and not necessarily sales.”  Samsung clarifies that these are sales. It is pretty clear that there are not a million devices in inventory—these are selling well either way.

Samsung passed 1 million Notes at the end of last year. My Galaxy Note review.

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Peter the elephant plays with a Galaxy Note

We are not entirely sure if Samsung was behind this footage of an elephant playing with the Galaxy Note, but it could very well fit into an upcoming advertisement. The elephant does not make much use of the Note’s S Pen stylus, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Go past the break for outtakes of Peter the Elephant playing drums and piano on the device.

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Report: ‘Impressive’ Google Drive coming in a week or two

The Cloud storage Google Drive has been an on-again, off-again rumor for years.

Today, GigaOm’s Om Malik says Google Drive will release to the public in the first week in April.

I am told the big day is sometime during the first week of April 2012…Google is going to offer 1 Gb of storage space for free, but will charge for more storage. The market leader Dropbox currently offers 2 Gb for free. Google’s product will come with a local client and the web interface will look much like the Google Docs interface. Interestingly, it will launch for Google Apps customers and will be domain specific as well. Google has also built an API for third party apps with this service so folks can store content from other apps in the Google drive. My sources are impressed, so far with what they have seen.

This could be the last piece of the Cloud puzzle. Read more

Google Cultural Institute helps launch Nelson Mandela Digital Archive project

Google’s consorted undertaking to virtually preserve the extraordinary life of African leader Nelson Mandela finally went live today.

Google’s Cultural Institute Product Manager Mark Yoshitake took to the Official Google Blog this morning to announce the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive project. The Internet giant gave a $1.25 million grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory of Johannesburg, South Africa last year to help preserve and launch documents and multimedia about Mandela online.

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Google working on new commenting platform to rival Facebook

A new report from The Next Web claimed a “source close to the product’s development” confirmed Google has a new commenting system in the works. With continued integration of Google+ into the rest of the company’s web services, the report claimed Google will likely aim to take on Facebook and its third-party commenting platform. The report explained:
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Google I/O sells out in under a half hour

Update: General admission tickets appear to have hit eBay starting at $2,000, over double the original $900 ticket price.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you… Less than half an hour after going on sale, Google I/O tickets officially sold out for the event that Google promised will be “totally insane.” Tickets went on sale at 7 a.m. PST this morning. Approximately 27 minutes later, the registration page confirmed both academic and general admission tickets sold out. Google’s Vic Gundotra later confirmed tickets sold out in “a bit over 20 minutes!” with the registration page “experiencing 6,250 qps load on our servers at 7:01am!” He did note that for everyone else the keynote and key sessions will be live streamed.

Those of you that were lucky enough to get your hands on the $900 ticket will be attending the three-day event from June 27 to June 29 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. We will—of course—report on anything interesting out of the event this summer.

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Report: Amazon to launch three new Kindle Fire tablets this year

Since the introduction of Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet, the company quickly proved there is indeed a market for the $199 Android hybrid. As pointed out in a report from Taiwan Economic News today, Amazon already shipped approximately 5 million units of the tablet that launched last September. Backing earlier rumors that Amazon planned to launch a larger 8-inch Kindle Fire sometime during 2012, the report claimed Amazon would roll out three new models of the tablet this year:

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