Google Images redesigned to make browsing images faster

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Google announced today on its Google+ page that it is redesigning Google Images to make browsing and finding images faster and more reliable. The new design, pictured above, will allow users to click an image to slide out a larger version without leaving the page. From there users can flip left and right through whole sets of image previews, or select the familiar “Visit page”, “view original image”, and “Image details” options for the currently selected image. Google said the new design will be rolling out worldwide in the next few days for every tax attorney who’s excited to give it a try.

AT&T announces record Android sales in fourth quarter results

att-sign-28AT&T just announced its fourth quarter results highlighting record smartphones sales and a record 8.6 million iPhone activations. In its results, the company said it had its best quarter ever for Android sales, but didn’t highlight specific numbers like it did for iPhone. It all added up to record sales, the most ever among any U.S. carrier, with 10.2 million units sold during the quarter:

In the quarter, the company activated a record 8.6 million iPhones, with 16 percent new to AT&T. The company also had its best-ever sales quarter for Android smartphones.

AT&T also reported its largest increase in three years for subscribers with 780,000 wireless postpaid net adds and a total increase in total net wireless subscribers of  1.1 million. As for LTE, the company said 55 percent of postpaid smartphone customers were 4G-capable devices while LTE should be rolled out to 250 million or more people by the end of 2013: Read more

Google employees discuss Larry Page’s ‘Kennedy’ initiative to redesign, beautify apps [Video]

It’s hard to ignore the beautification of Google’s core mobile and desktop apps that has taken place over the last two years. Not only has Google brought a slick, cohesive design scheme to its suite of desktop services, it has also been getting praise for the redesign of its mobile apps on both Android and iOS. Today, The Verge posted an in-depth look at exactly how Google and CEO Larry Page have been able to make that happen. After taking over as CEO in 2011, Page issued a mandate to redesign all the company’s core products. The result was a Google-wide design initiative dubbed “Project Kennedy” that included redesigns of many core app just 3 months after Page took over:

At the end of June 2011, just under three months after Page took over as CEO, Google shipped fresh new versions of Google Search, Google Maps, and Gmail, and Calendar. In the next year and a half, Google moved swiftly, launching Google Now, a fresh mobile take on Kennedy ideals, and a host of stunning new iOS apps like Google+, YouTube Capture, Chrome, and Maps that followed much of the original vision, albeit with some variations between the different product teams Read more

Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 8.0 spotted in the wild?

The images above come from an Italian blog—dday.it— claiming to have acquired spy shots of Samsung’s much talked about 8-inch Galaxy Note. We heard a lot about the device in recent weeks, and Samsung executive JK Shin apparently confirmed earlier this month that the new Galaxy Note would launch at Mobile World Congress in February.

We got a look at alleged specs for the device via SamMobile last month, and they included a 1,280-by-800 TFT LCD, a 1.6 quad-core processor, 5-megapixel main camera, and 2GB of RAM. Today, we get our first look at what might be the actual design of the device, which not surprisingly is essentially just a larger version of the Note II. What is surprising is that Samsung has apparently included traditional hardware buttons instead of onscreen controls. There is a possibility we are looking at an early design, or something other than the Note 8.0, but we’ll have to wait until MWC next month to be sure.

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Facebook tops Google Maps for #1 spot in used mobile apps list, but Google retains 5 of top 6 spots

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ComScore has taken a look at the most used mobile apps across the iOS and Android platforms. Though mapping is a crucial feature on smartphone and tablet devices, Facebook’s mobile application actually surpassed the usage of Google Maps on iOS and Android in 2012.

ComScore says that a drop in Google Maps usage occurred this past fall because of its removal from the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 6. However, even though it still is behind Facebook on the list, Google’s Maps software once again picked up steam when it came back to iOS via the App Store

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Court docs reveal email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs over poaching employees

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Earlier this month, a U.S. District Judge in California ordered Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and others to give depositions in an ongoing private lawsuit. Employees brought on the private lawsuit alleging  “no-poach” agreements the companies entered would drive down wages. Today, new details have emerged after a request to keep court documents secrets was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

While emails exchanged between Steve Jobs and former Palm CEO Ed Colligan have been the focus on the documents, The Verge also pointed us to emails exchange between Jobs and Google execs. Below we have an email form Jobs to Schmidt asking to put a stop to Google recruiting employees from its iPod team, as well as one where Schmidt discussed not wanting to create a paper trail: Read more

Latest Google Transparency Report highlights US government’s growing requests for users’ data

Google just pushed out new data for its Transparency Report to show how the U.S. government’s requests for users’ data have steadily increased in recent months and years.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company notably highlighted request growth in the second half of 2012, and how they’ve increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, as usage of its services continued to grow. Google specifically revealed on the official Google Blog that it received 21,389 requests from 33,634 users between July and December 2012:

We’ve shared figures like this since 2010 because it’s important for people to understand how government actions affect them. We’re always looking for ways to make the report even more informative. So for the first time we’re now including a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that government entities in the U.S. use when compelling communications and technology companies to hand over user data.

Among the notable numbers from the second half of 2012, Google said 68 percent of government requests were through subpoenas under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act without the involvement of a judge. The company then said 22 percent of government requests were ECPA search warrants issued by judges, and the remaining 10 percent were ECPA court orders issued by judges, etc.

Check it out: 

Read more

Pebble watch app for Android Google Play Store to be available tomorrow, first units begin shipping

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Pebble has posted a note on its Kickstarter page to confirm that, as promised, shipments of the E-Paper watch have begun to first backers. While the iOS application might see delays (depending on approval from Apple), the Android Google Play app will be available tomorrow, January 24th.

Pebble says that, it unfortunately, was not able to get out as many Pebble units today as planned. The company is shipping out 500 watches today, with more shipping out soon. The company warns that shipment confirmation emails may have gone out to backers whose watches actually did not ship out today. The company has put together a website for backers to check their shipment status. A website for those who ordered directly from the Pebble website (not Kickstarter) is in the works.

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Pebble says that its full mass production capacity per day is 2,400 units. However, the company is currently producing only 800-1000 watches each day. The first production and shipping run of Pebbles is for the most popular unit, the black colored watch, according to the company’s new Kickstarter posting. Producing multiple colors simultaneously was proven “impossible,” according to Pebble’s creators. They are hoping to begin making other colored units soon.

Cross posted on 9to5Mac.com. 

There are actually scientists at Google trying to make their incredible workplace even better [video]

CBS News went behind the scenes to see how Google has people constantly trying to make Googlers’ work lives even better. Remember, this is the company that just reported record earnings, so focusing on the employee work-life balance seems to be paying off.

Ultimately, the goal behind all of this number-crunching is to extend the life of the average Googler by an astonishing 30 years. The company wants people to live longer, Bock said. “It’s funny,” he said. “I think our oldest Googler is 83 years old and we want people at Google for a lifetime.” Read more

Google CEO hints about upcoming Motorola phone features

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Google CEO Larry Page just wrapped up his opening comments during the company’s Q4 2013 earnings call taking place right now. While noting that “managing our supply better” is a priority (see Nexus 4 supply constraints), Page also hinted at some possible upcoming Motorola smartphone features. Page said Motorola is working on the following two areas: better batteries and impact-resistant designs.

I am excited about the business. In today’s multi screen world, the opportunities are endless.  Think about your device.  Battery life is a huge issue.  You shouldn’t have to worry about constantly recharging your phone.  When you drop your phone, it shouldn’t go splat.  Everything should be a ton faster and easier.  There’s real potential to invent new and better experiences.

Page also said Motorola’s new CEO, Dennis Woodside, has a built a “world-class team” that is currently exploring these new opportunities: Read more

Google Q4 2012 earnings call live [GOOG]

Larry Page’s voice was quite raspy still, but the news was good and the CEO is upbeat. Some notable bits he laid down on Motorola: “We’re working on batteries you won’t have to remember to charge and enclosures you don’t have to worry about dropping.”

I am excited about the business. In today’s multi screen world, the opportunities are endless. Think about your device. Battery life is a huge issue. You shouldn’t have to worry about constantly recharging your phone. When you drop your phone, it shouldn’t go splat. Everything should be a ton faster and easier. There’s real potential to invent new and better experiences.

Sounds good.

On the downside, Page noted, “Clearly there is work to be done managing our supply better, and that is a priority.” The fact that you can’t buy most of Google’s Nexus products right now clearly shows that.

GOOG stock price is up almost 5 percent.

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