Google shows off Google+ content recommendations for mobile sites on Android & iOS

Google-Plus-recommendations-mobile-Google today is showing off a new way for content creators online to provide content recommendations to readers viewing their site through mobile devices. The new content recommendations feature is not so surprisingly powered by Google+ and will allow users to access related content for the page they are currently visiting through a small notification that appears as they browse. To access the recommendations, users can enable the feature on Android devices running 2.3.3 and above and also on iOS devices running Chrome or Safari on iOS 5 or later. Site owners can implement the feature by dropping in a single line of code.

Google explained how it creates the recommendations based on Google+ activity and also showed the new feature in action in the video above posted to its Developers YouTube channel: Read more

Talking Schmidt: Don’t Be Evil is “the stupidest rule ever”

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

(Businessweek / Peg Korpinski)

In our continuing series Talking Schmidt we bring you the most insightful lines from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who is promoting his new book The New Digital Age, spoke with NPR over the weekend on the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! program in a rather lighthearted appearance.

NPR host Peter Sagal asked the executive chairman how much Google knew about its users at the top of show, which prompted Schmidt to admit, “Well, as much as you’ll let us know.”

Schmidt also mentioned that the company really doesn’t quite know the definition of evil, from its famous slogan “Don’t Be Evil,” and that he thought it was “the stupidest rule ever” when he joined the company.

Read more

In wide-ranging interview, Google’s Sundar Pinchai downplays Android/Chrome I/O announcements

Sundar Pichai

I’m not going to lie, this is a bit depressing. Among other boilerplate-type of answers to good questions that Wired’s Steven Levey threw at him, Sundar Pinchai said:

What can we expect from I/O this year?

It’s going to be different. It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms.

We’ll be on hand this week to see exactly what that means.

Some other tidbits from the interview: On Firefox OS: “It isn’t surprising. If we don’t do ChromeOS, someone else will”. On Google-branded hardware: “Any hardware projects we do will be to push the ecosystem forward”. Read more

Amazon gives $5 worth of Amazon Coins to Kindle Fire owners, enticing buyers to use new virtual currency

Coin-App-Pile-fix-small._V383938134_

Following their announcement of the new “Coins” virtual currency, Amazon has given all Kindle Fire owners 500 coins for free, a $5 value.  Coins can be used by Kindle Fire owners to purchase apps, in-app purchases, and other content from the Amazon Appstore.  This generous offer by Amazon will result in them giving away “tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Amazon Coins” to Kindle Fire owners.  The 500 free Amazon Coins should already be in your account if you are eligible for the giveaway.

This promotion comes just hours after Amazon’s Kindle Fire Mother’s Day sale has ended.

Full letter from Amazon C.E.O Jeff Bezos below:
Read more

Google Play Games details leak ahead of I/O 2013 with huge Google Plus tie-ins

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 8.34.30 AM

Android Police’s Ron Amadeo has the details on the new syncing, matchmaking, notifications, game invites, achievements, leaderboards, and integration with other Google services that are inside the new Gaming APK that is being rolled out to devices.

Fresh out of Google HQ, we’ve managed to score a copy of the newGoogle Play Services v3.1.36, which is very slowly rolling out to devices right now. For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27. 3.1 is a massive update – the strings file, for instance, has more than doubled from 300 to 700 entries. This is how Google is pushing out all the shared files for Google Play Games.

To make a long story short, there is a lot of new stuff here and most of it has ties to Google Plus. Shocking, I know.

Boston drops Microsoft, switches 20,000 city employees to Google Apps

Google Apps Logo Ring hires

Google has been signing up a lot of Google Apps for Government customers over the last year, including Colorado and the US Naval Academy, and today The Boston Globe reports that Boston is soon making the switch from Microsoft to a Google Apps environment for city employees.

As noted in the report, Boston was previously relying on Microsoft’s Exchange for much of its tasks and making the switch to Google will save the city around $280,000 a year:

It’s not just the gee whiz factor: It’s also a matter of money. It will cost Boston around $800,000 to move over to Gmail, Google Docs for word processing, and Google’s cloud service for storing documents. But by dropping some Microsoft products, the city government will save at least $280,000 a year.

Microsoft responded to the decision in a statement to the Boston Globe, claiming, “Google’s investments in these areas are inadequate, and they lack the proper protections most organizations require.” Read more

Google Drive is down (update: Back for some)

Update (3:24 ET): I’m back online. are you?

If you are having issues with Google Drive, you aren’t alone. We’ve just lost our access to our online documents though our local sync seems to be working fine. Google’s Apps status page just went code orange indicating they are investigating the issue. Now let’s start talking about how safe your documents are in the Cloud.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 3.07.00 PM

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 3.07.37 PM

HTC First Mother’s Day giveaway from 9to5Google and @ATT

You may not want an HTC First Facebook Android phone but your mom probably does. So AT&T and 9to5Google are giving you a chance to win one with no contract or obligations (You can also get one ON CONTRACT for $1).

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and AT&T is celebrating moms with a fun, shareable video e-card for a special edition of the popular “It’s Not Complicated” campaign. In a new rendition of the commercial that will air Friday through Sunday, mediator Beck Bennett strays from his usual, “what’s better, bigger or smaller?” and instead asks, “who gives the best hugs?” to a unanimous response – mom does! The video e-card can be personalized, offering consumers a simple Mother’s Day themed e-card video, with Beck and the kids, to share with mom via social media (Twitter, Facebook, email). Make your own personalized version of the “It’s Not Complicated, Moms are the Best” video e-card at ATTMothersDay.com.   

You know the rules: To enter, simply follow @9to5Google and retweet this post telling us why your mom would love an HTC First Facebook phone.

We’ll pick the winner on Mother’s Day.

Update: We have a winner!

Read more

Google shreds plans for physical Google Wallet credit card

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Earlier this week Google confirmed that its head of Google Wallet will leave later this year, and today AllThingsD reports that the company is scrapping its plans for a physical credit card that would accompany its mobile payment service.

Google CEO Larry Page reportedly canned the physical card just last week after being dissatisfied with its reliability due to glitches.

The company was reportedly preparing to demo the physical card, which featured the colorful Google Wallet “W” branding, at Google I/O next week, so it is interesting that this report is surfacing so suddenly.

Larry Page reportedly cited more innovative approaches to mobile commerce from startups like Square, which seems to have solidified his decision to shred the company’s plans for a physical Google Wallet credit card.

Read more

Android notebooks from Samsung to launch in 3-4 months as Google preps Apple TV competitor and smart watch?

Chromebook-PixelKGI Securities analyst Mingchi Kuo, who has been known to have accurate information regarding Apple product launches in the past, is out today with a new note that includes some surprisingly specific specs for upcoming products from Google. One of the products Kuo expects to see at Google I/O later this month is a new Nexus 7, but the note also included info on what he thinks Google has in store for the months after the event, including: an Android powered notebook, a new TV product, and even a Google smart watch.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an Android-powered notebook over the years, and just last month Intel executives confirmed that the majority of its new sub-$200 notebooks running on its mobile Atom CPU will be Android based. However, according to Mingchi, don’t expect to see the notebooks making an appearance at I/O this year. That’s because Android 5.0 won’t be ready to show off at I/O, says Kuo, but vendors such as Samsung will apparently move first with Android 4.x powered notebooks coming within 3-4 months:

Android Book – Android Book won’t be introduced at the upcoming Google I/O as development of Android 5.0, which is targeted at NB, is incomplete. We think Android Book featuring Android.4x will be rolled out in the coming 3-4 months because some brand vendors, like Samsung (Korea), want to move first. But shipments will be limited as the current Android OS isn’t well supported for laptops.

As for Google’s rumored over-the-top TV content business, Mingchi says an Apple TV-like competitor is on the way but delays due to a change to Nvidia Tegra from TI OMAP means we likely won’t see it at I/O. Kuo also said in his note to clients today that he expects Google to launch a smart watch-like wearable device alongside Google Glass, but it apparently won’t go into mass production until next year: Read more

New Nexus 7 to have 1920×1200 pixel display, 5 megapixel camera, 8mm thickness, same $199 price?

Mingchi-Kuo-Nexus-7

Well-connected Analyst Mingchi Kuo from KGI securities is known for his often accurate predictions (timing notwithstanding) of upcoming Apple products.  He’s got a detailed report out today on the new Nexus 7 that he thinks will be announced at Google I/O and could ship as early as June or July in large numbers.

Perhaps the most interesting bit is that the entry level price will  remain at US$199, with Google likely to lose US$5-10 per unit sold according to the analyst. Why is keeping the same price interesting? Because this thing is getting supercharged according to Kuo:

We think the new Nexus 7 will come with the following major spec upgrades: Qualcomm APQ 8064 processor; narrow bezel LTPS 7-inch high-resolution panel (1,920×1,200); 5MP AF rear camera lens; and wireless charging. We also think it will be much lighter and thinner than the previous version.

How light and thin? He’s saying that a smaller bezel around the edges and 7.5-8.5mm thinness should put it near or below the size and weight of Apple’s iPad Mini. He expects the next  Mini 2 later this year.

Kuo expects Google/Asus to move 5M units in the second half of the year and continue with the same distribution strategies (selling at the Google Play Store and at retailers simultaneously).

We are positive on Nexus 7’s reception ahead of the iPad mini 2 launch given that the specs have been upgraded but the price has not been increased. However, tablet PC competition has become much fiercer this year, so we reckon new Nexus 7 year-on-year shipments growth will be limited.

It will be interesting to see how close to the current display size the new screen is. 1920×1200 is a 16:10 screen ratio just like the current 1280×800 but enlarging it a few points would go a long way in making it more competitive with Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini, and with the shrunken bezel size, Asus could keep the same handheld form factor.