Googler posts photo of purported ‘Google Workshop’ custom Nexus 6 case

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Evidence of a Moto Maker-like “Google Workshop” service for designing custom Nexus 5 cases surfaced last year, but no real product or service ever came of the rumors. The speculation has now been given new life, though, thanks to a recently posted photo from a Googler on Google+, and this time the Nexus 6—Google’s latest flagship—is the subject smartphone getting a custom case… Read more

Roundup: Best April Fools’ pranks yet including Google Panda & Moto Selfie Stick

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April Fools’ Day is often one of the more eventual days of the year for Google and other tech companies. This year appears to be no different as a variety of pranks have already appeared around the web. We’ve been analyzing them all, right as they come in, and have listed some of our favorites below. We’ll keep this list updated as more April Fools’ Day gags continue to roll in. We have feeling there will be no shortage of them either…

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Google Maps for Android updated to version 9.4 w/ support for Local Guides

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Google today has started rolling out an update to its Maps app on Android that bumps it to version 9.4. Most notably, the update adds integration with Google’s new Local Guides service, which it originally introduced back in January. Previously called City Experts, Local Guides is the company’s efforts to get users to review local businesses and share them with others.

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Opinion: Can Google woo businesses while seemingly suffering from ‘Product ADD’?

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Two of the biggest tech companies in the world–Google and Apple–couldn’t be more different in their philosophies. Apple has always believed in doing a very few things very well, famously saying no to a thousand things for every time it says yes. Google, in contrast, has tried to do– well, almost everything, including things well in the realms of science fiction.

Steve Jobs and Larry Page spoke about this difference shortly before Jobs died, with the Apple co-founder urging Page to “figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up.” Jobs expressed the view that, without focus, Google was in danger of turning into the next Microsoft, creating a large number of ok products but none of them with any wow factor …  Read more

Google relaunches ‘City Experts’ program as ‘Local Guides,’ makes it more community friendly

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Google has today relaunched its review program previously called City Experts as Local Guides, and hopes to engage the community and get more people involved through what looks to be some much more friendly branding and fun new features. While Google previously touted the “exclusive benefits” you could receive through the program and required “50 high-quality reviews” for entry, the new program instead suggests that you “help others and support businesses” and encourages you to “be yourself.”

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Google introduces ability to embed Street View images and Photospheres

Google, in a post on the Geo Developers Blog, today announced the ability for website owners to embed Street View panoramas and Photospheres within their site using an HTML snippet. Google launched this feature for Maps last year, but only today did it add support for Street View and public Photospheres.

Today, we added the ability to easily embed the Street View and Photo Sphere images you find in Google Maps and we’re also enabling the same capabilities programmatically in the Google Maps Embed API. These embeds use the new imagery viewer technology that powers Street View in the new Google Maps.

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Google Maps for Android updated with a fresh new Material Design layout, Uber and OpenTable integration

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Google announced a new update for its Google Maps apps for Android and iOS today that adds a fresh new Material Design layout focusing on bright colors and real world surfaces and shadows. The software’s refreshed interface is set to roll out over the next few days, with new features like dinner reservations from OpenTable (US only) and enhanced information cards with photos and reviews of popular attractions near your location.

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Google mapped out an Arabian desert in Street View using camels

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No, that’s not where Apple Maps will take you when you ask for directions to Starbucks, but close! It’s the Liwa Desert in the United Arab Emirates, and Google Maps has captured the site in detail for exploring through Street View thanks in part to camels:

To bring this stunning desert to Street View, we fashioned the Trekker to rest on a camel, which gathered imagery as it walked. Using camels for the collection allowed us to collect authentic imagery and minimize our disruption of this fragile environment.

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European Union tells Google combining user data across services without opt-out is illegal

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Google has come under fire from European Union officials on a number of fronts already. It’s been accused of unfair search results, been criticized for the way it has implemented the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling and asked to stop describing apps which offer in-app purchases as ‘free.’

Reuters now reports that the EU believes Google is breaking the law in combining user data across unrelated services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps without offering users an opt-out, and the way in which it has consolidated 60 separate privacy policies into one …  Read more