Google officially adds ‘Animated’ and ‘Transparent’ image search filters for GIFs

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Google now offers image search filters for GIFs.

Starting sometime today, according to Google on Google+, Web surfers can go to “Search tools” below the search box and select “Animated” under the “Any type” drop-down box to view GIF files in the result pane.

Reports surfaced Tuesday morning that indicated Google could soon launch filters to refine results for transparent and animated images, and now Google has confirmed those rumors. It also implemented, as previously speculated,  a “Transparent” option under the “Any color” drop-down box.

Also—Google served up a little GIF trivia on Google+:

Even if you’re a fan of animated gifs—say you were the first to email your friends the slow loris very slowly eating a rice ball (goo.gl/KDDX1)—you may not know that the origins of animation go as far back as 1879 and Eadweard Muybridge’s “zoopraxiscope” (see our doodle homage to Muybridge:goo.gl/PGQW3). Gifs have been around since 1987 and have become the de facto standard for short animations on the web, from pony glitter text (goo.gl/iZoEZ) to grumpy cat memes (goo.gl/bC9um).

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Google launches ‘The Peanut Gallery’ Chrome experiment to showcase Web Speech API (Video)

Google updated Chrome last month with a Web Speech API in over 30 languages that allows developers to integrate speech-recognition features into their Web apps, and now the company has launched a silent movie-era Chrome experiment, called “The Peanut Gallery”, that looks to showcase the month-old API.

The official Google blog has the story:

Last month, the Web Speech API brought voice recognition to Chrome users in more than 30 languages. We thought it would be fun to demonstrate this new technology by using an old one: silent film. The Peanut Gallery lets you add intertitles to old black-and-white movie clips just by talking out loud while you watch them. Create a film and share it with friends, so they can bring out their inner screenwriters too.

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Google Drive launches new API with realtime-editing functions (Video)

Google launched a new Google Drive API on Tuesday that allows developers take advantage of realtime-editing functions.

Google Drive is known for its collaborative features, and now third-party app developers can specifically use the service’s new API to collaborate and edit text, spreadsheets, and presentations alongside other web users who can see the changes implement live.

“This new API handles network communication, storage, presence, conflict resolution, and other collaborative details so you can focus on building great apps,” explained Google on the Google Developers blog.

Drive users can notably edit their own work now, while simultaneously viewing real-time comments and changes from other users, and no longer need to download and re-upload entire documents for others to use. The Drive API will also keep track of who is connected and provide events for when collaborators join, leave, or make changes.

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Google brings Chromebooks to Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland, France, and the Netherlands

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Google made an announcement on the Official Chrome Blog to confirm that it is rolling out Chromebooks to new countries starting today. After successful launches in the United States and United Kingdom, Google has partnered with retailers in a handful of other countries to bring the latest Chromebooks from Samsung, HP, and Acer to new parts of the world including: Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland, France, and the Netherlands.

Google will also expand the number of U.S. outlets offering the devices in the next few weeks to 1,000 Best Buy stores nationwide. The company didn’t mention its own, recently announced Chromebook Pixel model or whether it is available to purchase in the newly added countries.

Many of you around the world have told us you’re eager to get your hands on a Chromebook, so we’ve been working with our partners to make this possible. Today we’re happy to say we’re one step closer to making Chromebooks truly “for everyone” — or rather, pour tout le monde, für alle, and voor iedereen

Canada: In Canada the devices will launch through BestBuy.ca a Futureshop.ca with the Samsung ($269.99) and Acer ($249.99) models, while the $329.99 HP Chromebook will be available through HPshopping.ca.

Australia: Australians get access to the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks elect JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores, while the HP Chromebook will be coming soon.

France: Customers in France get access to the 299 euro Samsung Chromebook starting today through “Fnac.com, Ticketmaster, Amazon and Pixmania, as well as 10 Fnac stores in the Paris region.”

Germany: In Germany the Samsung model will sell through”-buyerAmazonCyberport and Saturn on the Internet and in the Saturn store on Hamburg’s Mönckebergstraß.” The Acer model will sell through “SaturnCyberport-buyer and Amazon.”

Netherlands: In the Netherlands the Samsung and Acer models will be available to purchase through  “mediamarkt.nlsaturn.nl and laptopshop.nl and in the store at all 41 Mediamarkt and Saturn stores.”

Google also announced that the Chromebooks will be available to businesses and schools in the new countries and explained in detail in a post on its Enterprise blog.

“To help improve computing for organizations, we’re rolling out Chromebooks to businesses and schools in these same countries as well. Learn more on our Enterprise blog.”

The Samsung Galaxy S4’s 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 doubles Geekbench score of iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10

…and that’s the slow one.

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Primate Labs, the company behind the Geekbench speed-ranking system, has compared the Galaxy S4 with all the flagship phones from various vendors including LG, HTC, Blackberry, and Apple. The Quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm SnapDragon 600 + 2GB of RAM seems to wipe the floor with the competition.

The scary news is that the non-LTE version of this phone uses an Octocore Samsung Exynos chip with Imagination GPU that is likely to be even faster, putting it further out in the field against the competitor’s devices.

As always, these speed tests are subjective and there are likely to be faster phones released every month or so.

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Gmail app for Android updated with reply/archive/delete from notifications, faster search & more

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Google announced today on its Official Gmail Blog that it has released an update to the Android app for Gmail that brings new features, faster search, and other enhancements for certain users. Perhaps the most notable new feature is the ability to reply, archive, and delete from notifications with one tap—rather than having to open the app to sort and reply to mail:

You can combine this with existing notification features like the ability to customize which messages you receive notifications for and set up different sounds for individual labels. So if you filter and label all the messages from your mom, you could set a ringtone to let you know you received a new mail from her and then quickly reply (because we know what can happen when you ignore your mother!).

The feature is available to users running Android 4.1 and up, but Google is also rolling out faster search, bug fixes, and performance enhancements for Android 4.0 and up. Users on Android 2.2 and up will now have access to a “New Labels API for 3rd-party app developers” and the usual performance improvements.

The updated Gmail app for Android is available from Google Play nowRead more

Google to allegedly rebrand and unify chat services under ‘Babble’

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Google allegedly plans to re-brand and unify its various chat services, like Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive, etc., under the new name “Babble”.

According to a Monday report by Geek.com, which cited “multiple sources reporting separately,” Google is developing a cross platform solution to compete with iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger. The solution is being buit “fresh from the ground up,” and it will come with an Android and Chrome OS app and sport the moniker “Babble”.

Geek.com has the story:

Babble continues Google’s trend towards organization by conversation. You can share photos in chat windows just like you would in G+ Messenger, start a Hangout with anyone in your contact list, and the conversations are threaded across all the existing services. Moving forward, the individual services will all be pushed onto the single platform, and you’ll be able to use the same chat window across all of Google’s products with the same features available everywhere. It’s not so much releasing a new product as it is pulling together all of the existing products under a single branding.

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Google Maps rolls out new imagery for famous mountains including Kilimanjaro & Everest

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Google announced today on its Official Blog some that it began rolling out some new enhancements for Google Maps with the addition of famous mountains such Kilimanjaro in Africa and the Everest Base Camp in Asia. Imagery for other mountain peaks is included in today’s update, including: the tallest mountain in Europe; Mount Elbrus located in Russia; as well as the highest in the Western and Southern Hemispheres, Argentina’s Aconcagua.

group shot on everestThese mountains belong to the group of peaks known as the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. While there’s nothing quite like standing on the mountain, with Google Maps you can instantly transport yourself to the top of these peaks and enjoy the sights without all of the avalanches, rock slides, crevasses, and dangers from altitude and weather that mountaineers face. This imagery was collected with a simple lightweight tripod and digital camera with a fisheye lens—equipment typically used for our Business Photos program.

Google also shared a detailed post on its Lat Long blog that details the process of collecting imagery for today’s update.

Developers give in-depth look at Google Maps iOS SDK vs Apple’s MapKit

FastCompany today posted an in-depth look at the differences between Apple’s MapKit and Google’s recently launched Google Maps for iOS SDK from the perspective of developers. The lengthy piece gets insight from several iOS app developers with apps that rely on the SDKs and sheds some light on a few things that Apple is doing much better than Google despite a perception from users that Google Maps are superior:

“Google doesn’t currently charge for the Places API, but they do require a valid credit card for access–which gives you a quota of 100,000 daily requests. So you have to wonder if they plan to start charging sooner or later,” McKinlay explains. “That 100,000 limit perhaps sounds reasonable, but each user session can generate many requests–particularly when using the ‘autocomplete’ feature of Tube Tamer–and some types of requests count for 10 times the quota each, so it can get used up pretty quickly.”

While noting that Google wins out with location lookup services, 3D buildings, directions, geocoding, and better hybrid satellite imagery, the developers were also quick to point out downsides of the Google Maps SDK such as quotas for the Places API, an increased app size, and limitations with markers, gradient polylines, and overlays.

Developer of transportation app Tube Tamer, Bryce McKinlay, discussed some of the benefits of using Apple’s MapKit: Read more

Google’s Nexus 5 rumored to boast Nikon camera tech and branding

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Google’s much-discussed Nexus 5 might boast Nikon technology, according to a new rumor.

Phonearena reported on a tip Monday that claimed the handset’s camera module would feature a “triple camera sensor thing” and Nikon branding. The anonymous tipster also said the camera would be the Nexus 5’s main selling point.

It is worth mentioning that Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra hinted at the camera quality of upcoming Nexus devices on his Google+ profile last month. When asked by a commenter about whether a future Nexus could replace a DSLR, Gundotra responded: “We are committed to making Nexus phones insanely great cameras. Just you wait and see.”

Also remember that Google and Nikon joined last year to launch the Android-powered, point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix S800c. Google even acquired Nik software in 2012, which Nikon gave a minority equity investment to in 2005, as TechCrunch noted.

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Google preparing to launch ‘Google Keep’ note taking app for Google Drive?

While we have yet to get all the official details from Google, we get hints at a new feature today that could be headed to Google Drive via leaks from the Drive source code discovered by 1E100. Within Drive’s source code are hints at a new service dubbed “Google Keep,” including links to a new icon for the service, an Android app, and at one point the Google Keep web app itself. Google has since removed the evidence, but our friends over at Android Police were able to capture the screenshots above before Keep was taken down.

There is some evidence that the app would include Evernote-like functionality, with one screenshot revealing an “Add to Keep” function for webpages. The app otherwise appears to provide functionality with color-coded notes, the ability to add and save pictures, create lists, share, etc.

The app could also launch as a standalone Android app, because 1E100 discovered http://g.co/keep redirects to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.keep. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything official from Google about Keep.

A few more screenshots below:

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