‘Gayglers’ celebrate LGBT Pride Month, World Pride [Photos]

Google is once-again touting support for the LGBT community by participating in worldwide Pride events and expanding company-wide benefits.

According to “Gaygler” Randy Reyes on the official Google blog

We encourage people to bring their whole selves to work. And this month Googlers, Gayglers (gay Googlers), and their families and friends took this spirit to the streets in Pride parades and celebrations around the globe. In Sao Paulo, a group of 50 marched as a Google contingent for the first time ever. In San Francisco, more than 1,000 Googlers and allies marched (nearly doubling the number of people we had in 2011!). In New York, more than 700 of our friends and colleagues took over 5th Avenue marching alongside our double-decker Pride bus. And this weekend in Singapore, we’re sponsoring the Pink Dot celebration for the second consecutive year.

Reyes further revealed action-based plans to celebrate World Pride in London this year. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company will host a “Legalise Love” Conference at Google London, with hopes to “eliminate homophobia” and “decriminalize homosexuality.”

Google also significantly increased coverage of transgender health care for its U.S. employees. Transgender-inclusive benefits, such as “transitioning procedures and treatment in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of Care,” now receive a lifetime maximum coverage of $75,000.

“Next month we’ll carry the energy of Pride into our fourth annual company Diversity & Inclusion celebration, the Sum of Google. The Sum is an opportunity to celebrate and engage in a discussion about diversity and inclusion across our offices around the world,” Reyes concluded.

A picture gallery is below.

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Google Crisis Response team launches new crisis map for raging US wildfires

The Google Crisis Response team just issued a new crisis map for the 2012 U.S. wildfire season.

Major media outlets are reporting on the massive wildfires wreaking havoc in Colorado and Utah, and Google is working to provide related information to those affected by way of maps that feature fire perimeters cropped from the U.S. Geological Survey, Red Cross, and satellite imagery by DigitalGlobe.

“Use the checkboxes along the right-hand panel to turn on and off the layers of information, and the ‘Share’ button at the top of the map to grab the URL or embed code. Note that both the URL and the embed code will automatically restore your current view of the map, including the set of layers that you have turned on,” wrote Googler Pete Giencke on the Google Lat Long Blog, while explaining how to navigate the crisis map.

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Google fixing spam from Google+ Events feature following complaints

When Google announced some updates to Google+ during its I/O keynote this week, perhaps apart from the new iPad compatible tablet version, the most talked about new feature was the Facebook-like invitations called “Events.” While Google calendar integration in the Events feature was supposed to be a big selling point, Google unfortunately did not provide users with control over which invites were added to their calendars. The issue led to massive amounts of spam in the form of notifications and calendar entries—most notably for Google+ users with large followings. Robert Scoble outlined the problem in a Google+ post:

Hey, +Vic Gundotra the way you rolled out the new Google+ events feature was — by far — the worst social launch ever… Not only did it spam the crap out of my notifications and my Google+ events page but it added events — hundreds of them — onto my calendar…My calendar is MINE. Not yours. You should NEVER put anything on it that I don’t approve of… I have turned down every event and they are still on my calendar so now I have to delete them one-by-one… By the way, I’ve been asking for noise controls since day one and you guys simply aren’t getting it. Amazingly bad service here folks.

As noted by Scoble, another avid Google+ user, Will Wheaton, highlighted the issue and received a response from Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra: Read more

Google TV to stream movies, TV shows, and music from Google Play this summer

Google gave an update regarding improvements to the Google Play store coming to Android devices and elsewhere yesterday during Day 1 of its Google I/O keynote. However, information on what was in the works for Google TV was notably left out from its presentations (despite two identical Google Glass skydiver demos from yesterday and today). Today, Google made a blog post confirming features that were announced for Android devices yesterday. A new UI, subscription billing, and movie, music and TV shows will also come to the Google Play store on Google TV this summer:

You already have access to a variety of apps on Google Play, and soon you’ll be able to find movies, TV shows, and music from Google Play to stream on Google TV. Google Play works across devices, so you can rent and start watching a movie on your Google TV, keep watching on your tablet on the move, and finish watching on Google TV. The TV & Movies app will also show Google Play content, adding to the more than 100,000 TV episodes and movies available in the app. The full power of Google Play will be available later this summer on all Google TV devices.

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Google unveils Compute Engine

Google executives are now on-stage for the second day of Google I/O to announce Compute Engine—its full-featured contender against Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud-computing services.

Google Senior Vice President Urz Holzle revealed the Infrastructure platform allows any sized businesses with large computing requirements to run applications on Google data center servers. Computer Engine also features multiple storage options with expansive connectivity to end-users.

It already beta tested with customers, as the Institute for Systems Biology, for instance, applied it to a Genome Explorer app. Holzle even demonstrated the ISB genome explorer running on 600,00 cores, but he noted there are 771,886 cores available to the app.

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Google launches offline Google Docs, presentations and spreadsheets coming soon

Another notable announcement coming out of Google’s second keynote presentation at Google I/O today is the launch of offline mode for Google Docs. Google execs gave a demo of the app working in Chrome without an Internet connection, allowing the user access to all features and formatting to make edits offline while saving changes to a local cache. Google noted that the offline feature would launch for Docs today and eventually roll out to presentations and spreadsheets.

Google I/O: Chrome has 310M active users, up from 160M last year

It is Day 2 of Google I/O, and execs kicked things off today with some Chrome numbers:

-310 million active users (up from 160 million at I/O in 2011)

-60 billion typed words per day

-1 TB of files downloaded per day

-13 years of human life saved thanks to page pre-rendering per day

Google I/O 2012 Day 2 Liveblog

Yesterday was a big day for day 1 of Google I/O, kicking off with the company keynote and the unveiling of the Nexus 7 tablet, an enhanced Google+, the Nexus Q, and of course, Google Glass. Today we are on hand again for second half of Google’s keynote address and will be bringing you all the live updates as they happen. The live stream above is set to kick off at 1 PM EST. Links to all the highlights from yesterday’s presentation are below:
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HTC One V now available from Virgin Mobile for $199 contract-free

We heard rumors in March that the HTC One V, which unveiled at MWC in Barcelona, would land in the United States on Virgin Mobile in “late spring” for $200. As noted by Engadget, the company has since announced plans to bring the device to a number of carriers this summer. The One V was spotted today on Virgin Mobile for $199, contract-free. We did not get word of an announcement from Virgin, so we are nor sure exactly when the device went up for sale, but it is definitely an enticing option at $200 for Android 4.0 device packing Beats Audio, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 3.7-inch WVGA display.

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Get Android 4.1 Jellybean OTA for Galaxy Nexus here [Download links]

Ready to get Jelly Bean running on your Galaxy Nexus, but you do not feel like downloading and transferring the files? Well, you are in luck. Famed developer Stroughton Smith put up the OTA download links for the new Android 4.1, making it easy to get the install going. There are also links for the Nexus 7. However, if you have it, you do not need 4.1. If you are good at flashing and all that, get going.

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Google working on merging Hangouts, Talk, and Messenger into a unified service

Google makes Hangouts, Talk, and Messenger available to its users to keep up communication with friends and colleagues. With as much as Google has pushed its new group video chat service Google Hangouts, one might wonder why the company has two other communication services lying around. When asked that very question today at an I/O session on Hangouts this afternoon, Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal had answers. GigaOm noted that Singhal said: “We have done an incredibly poor job servicing our users here.” The Google employee also noted that while the company does not have anything to announce yet, it is working to join its communication platform together into one platform, which would allow users to do text chats, one-on-one video chats, and group video chats simultaneously. In my opinion, it is a smart move. It would definitely go along with Google’s recent move to cut-down on a slew of services and just focus on one product.

Interestingly, another Google employee shared that the Google staff does a whopping “10,000 hangouts every day.” As for more Hangout features, the only bit revealed during the session is that the team hopes to bring all features to every supported device. That sounds lovely! (via GigaOm)

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