Mercedes-Benz says Android support coming when Google brings in-car system to market

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Back in January Google announced a new Open Automotive Alliance that would see the company work with automakers to bring Android-based entertainment systems to vehicles. We’ve seen hints of those partnerships start to trickle out and the latest comes from Mercedes. Following a job listing from Mercedes last week looking for a software engineer to work on a “Google Projected Mode” that would integrate content from Android devices into an in-car system, the company has once again mentioned using Android in a press release today.

While announcing that Apple’s just announced CarPlay feature for iOS would be demoed on a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the Geneva Motor Show, the company also said it would offer Android support as “as soon as Google brings its own in-car infotainment system to market.” Read more

How-to: Setup and Use Chromecast to stream your content from a Mac and Android device

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The Chromecast, Google’s streaming HDMI dongle came out last summer. It is compatible with any Android device running 2.3 or later, iOS devices with iOS 6 or 7, and any Mac or PC. Initially, users were able to stream Netflix or Youtube from an iOS device and Android device, Google Play on Android, or stream websites to a TV using the Chrome browser on a computer. The Chromecast works differently from Apple’s AirPlay system in that you can multitask and do other tasks on the device or you can let it go to sleep while streaming.

Very quickly after its release, Chromecast has received support for Hulu +, Pandora, and HBO GO. Last month a major update added ten new apps including Plex, Vevo, Songza, Red Bull TV, Post TV from the Washington Post, Viki, RealPlayer Cloud, Avia, Revision3 Internet Television, and BeyondPod. The most recent update the Chromecast received allowed users to stream Google Play movies and music directly from the Chrome browser on a computer.

In this How-to, we’ll discuss how to setup the Chromecast, use it with a Mac and Android device, and explore its gaming potentials.

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Google announces $35 Chromecast, a small HDMI stick that shifts video from mobile to TV

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Google just seemingly ‘cast’ its Google TV project to the curb.  As a much simpler version of GoogleTV, the leaked Chromecast allows you to do what you can now do on Google TV: pushing content from both Netflix and Youtube to your TV.  Unlike Airplay, the Chromecast stick allows the original device to turn off or go to sleep. It functions as a standalone streaming device, awaiting orders from an iOS device, Android device, or Chrome browser on a PC, Mac or Chromebook Pixel (strangely, other Chromebooks need not apply). 

Google has also baked in iOS support, which will allow users of both platforms to control Netflix or Youtube. You can also broadcast a tab in the Chrome Browser.

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Google Play music and movies can also ‘cast’ to the best speakers in your house as long as those are connected to your TV. Pandora is coming soon.

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It will be available from Google Play, Amazon and Best Buy as well as other retailers. We’ll have a review up as soon as possible.  Read more

Google finally getting its own Open Airplay alternative

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As the television race heats up, Google said it is working on an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay—a technology first introduced in iOS 4.2 that allowed users to share photo, audio, and video to the Apple TV.

Google had a similar streaming product to the Apple TV this summer—the Nexus Q— that allowed for sharing of content via an Android device to the TV. However, the product flopped and didn’t see the light of day for many customers. Additionally, in Google’s move to try to compliment streaming to the TV, the folks at YouTube launched an AirPlay-like feature last week that allows users to beam YouTube videos from their Android device straight to the television.

Speaking to GigaOm, Google Product Manager Timbo Drayson made it clear that Google has big plans in the space and wants to move forward. “We really want to move the whole industry forward,” Drayson told the publication.

How will Google move the industry forward? It may just partner with as many partners as possible. It worked with Android, so why wouldn’t it work here? Drayson said Google is “actively working with other companies” to implement a new AirPlay-like standard. Remember, Google also has its Google TV platform that this could play nicely off.

Furthermore, GigaOm examined how Google plans to move past just beaming video:

And it’s not just about remote control functionality and beaming a video from your mobile phone to the TV we are talking about. The new protocol makes it possible for data to flow in both directions, Drayson explained, which would enable developers to build second-screen experiences that correspond to what’s happening on live TV as well. Also on the roadmap: beaming content from your laptop to your TV screen.

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Google Docs amps offering with 450 new fonts, 60 templates

Google launched a new “Go Google” campaign today to flaunt its array of cloud-based services, and now the Google Docs team is doing the same by rounding up a host of improvements it made to Google Docs in April with the announcement of 450 new fonts and 60 new templates.

“Today, we added over 450 new fonts to Google documents to make it easier for you to add a little something extra to whatever you create,” explained Software Engineer Isabella Ip on the Official Google Docs Blog.

To select the new fonts, click on the font menu, and then select “Add fonts” at the bottom. This will open a menu to all the Google Web Fonts available. Users can narrow their search for the perfect font by alphabetical order, date added, and “trending.” Once a font is selected, users are free to implement them in Google Docs, especially in one of the service’s 60 new templates that were unveiled today.

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Bing: Check out our new look, you can’t tell you aren’t using Google!

Microsoft’s search engine Bing unveiled a new look today, and, well, it looks strikingly like Google’s homepage user-interface.

“Starting today you will notice a fresh, de-cluttered experience designed to help you find the results you want faster,” announced Principal Group Program Manager Sally Salas on the Bing.com blog.

Bing stripped the gray-blue gradient, orange links, left sidebar, and the convolute of text and imagery from its website to reveal a simple, white background adorned with crisp, blue text.

“Over the past few months, we’ve run dozens of experiments to determine how you read our pages to deliver the link you’re looking for. Based on that feedback, we’ve tuned the site to make the entire page easier to scan, removing unnecessary distractions, and making the overall experience more predictable and useful,” Salas explained.

The obvious rip-off appears hypocritical, though, especially because the company often takes shots at Google for stealing its ideas. Microsoft Europe’s communication team used Twitter in 2010 to poke fun of Google’s ability to implement background images, which is popular feature that characterized Bing since it launched in 2009.

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