Google adds some Google+ cheer with your very own AutoAwesome “year in review”

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The Google+ AutoAwesome feature is one of the best features the search engine giant added to its “don’t call it a social” social network this year. Now, to make for a fitting end to 2013 Google is creating your very own “Year In Review.”

Google’s Vic Gundotra highlights that the creation of the video is dependent “on a lot of factors (the quality of your pictures, if our algorithms believe we can auto create a high quality movie for you, etc).” The videos will be rolling out to everyone over the next week but don’t be too upset if Google+ doesn’t believe it can’t create a video for you.

Google’s Lead Product Manager at Google Photos, Anil Sabharwal shared his very own video of 2013 and it’s quite cheerful:

#AutoAwesome storytelling

This time of year we reconnect with loved ones, and we reflect on the moments that really matter. Photos and videos help preserve these moments, and when you save them to Google+,#AutoAwesome can bring your story to life in meaningful, magical ways. #AutoAwesome can, for example:

- Transform a game of dress-up into a delightful animation (http://goo.gl/aJzYUj), or
– Create a highlight reel for a recent family wedding (http://goo.gl/Th3wE0), or
– Display an entire cliff diving sequence in a single image (http://goo.gl/b6weQ6), or
– Add falling snow to your favorite winter photograph (http://goo.gl/9gdPrC)

In all cases these gifted items appear in your account automatically, so as long as you’re backing things up to Google+, you’ll get notified whenever an awesome (and private) version is ready to share.

Of course: many people have been saving and sharing their photos and videos on Google+ all year long. And for those select users we’ve got one more holiday gift: an #AutoAwesome year in review(I’ve attached mine as an example). You’ll get notified in the next week or so if you have one of these movies waiting for you.

Most importantly we want to say thank you. It’s your support and enthusiasm that make Google+ so special. And we’ll keep working to help you tell your story. #googleplusupdate #year2013

Google adds shake feature to Google+ for Android, adds snow to your photos

Google’s Vic Gundotra just announced a bunch of updates for Google+ for Android, including shaking your Android device to add some snow to your photos. Similar to last weeks addition of the snowy autoawesome feature, all you have to do is open your photo, shake your device and snow will start falling. It’s a gimmicky but nifty feature and one we’ve come to expect from Google in years past.

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Google’s Vic Gundotra promises insanely great cameras on upcoming Nexus phones

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As noted by Android Central, Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra yesterday made some comments about the quality of cameras in upcoming Nexus devices. While Google’s Nexus lineup has never been known for having the best cameras, Vic promised in the comments of a photography-related Google+ post that Google is committed to making improvements to the cameras in future Nexus phones.

Gundotra’s original post questioned if he should bring his DSLR in addition to his Android phone and Google Glass on an upcoming vacation. When asked by a commenter whether a future Nexus could replace a DSLR, Gundotra responded:

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Here’s why Larry Page told Google+ lead Vic Gondotra he can’t use Twitter


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Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra, who is also known as the man behind Google+, admitted at the SMX Social Media Marketing conference last night that “his boss” asked him to stop tweeting on Twitter. 

Many reports assumed Google CEO Larry Page is the boss in question and further surmised that the above tweet is probably the reason behind his request. Gundotra’s tweet occurred around the same time Microsoft landed a strategic mobile partnership with Nokia that would replace Symbian with the Windows Phone operating system. The timing led to speculation that the tweet was a dig at both companies.

The Next Web published a transcript of Gundotra’s explanation:

No, actually I was asked not to do that by my boss. I tweeted a tweet about two companies that went viral, went very very viral and made a lot of headline news. And honestly, I didn’t anticipate that my comments would be interpreted in the way they were interpreted.

I thought I was speaking to a relatively small number of people who followed me, a developer-oriented group, and instead it went mainstream. And so, uhm, I’ve curtailed my usage since then.

Gundotra last tweeted in July 2011.

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Google’s Vic Gundotra posts photos taken with Nexus 10

Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra posted some vacation photos to his Google+ (via AndroidCentral) page that appear to have been snapped by a yet-to-be unveiled Samsung Nexus 10. Some information that we learn about the tablet’s camera specs: the image is shot at 2,048-by-1,536 resolution (3.1 megapixels), which is rather low, but that’s likely because Google+ resized the images. It seems unlikely Vic would post images from another device with the camera listed as “Nexus 10,” but we’ll know for sure on Monday when Google is expected to announce the Nexus 10 alongside the new LG Nexus 4 in New York.

Another one of the images is below:

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Snapseed for Android shows up in Google Exec’s Google Plus

What’s this? A cliché shot of an airplane’s wing taken by the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google. Not quite, look again:

Vic Gundotra shared the majestic photo, as first noted by #googleplusupdate, to his Google+ profile via Snapseed. As far as the public knows, Snapseed, despite Google buying its developer last month, is an iOS-only app.

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Google SVP explains lack of Google+ API: ‘I’m not interested in screwing over developers.’

Oh, Web drama.

Third-party developers often cry about the lack of an open write API from Google+. The absence notably means no tools, products, or services can add data to Google’s social network. Well, a few companies, such as Hootsuite, currently have permission to publish, but many more can only read.

With that said, entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell wants to launch ad-less social platform App.net to replace all the bogged-down, ad-supported social networks of the Internet. He even posted an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg yesterday about Facebook’s “bad-faith negotiations” with App.net and “the very real risk of 3rd party development on an ad-supported platform.”

Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra noticed Caldwell’s contentious blog post late last night, so he promptly explained in a status update why a public, read-and-write Google+ API is missing in action. His answer is simple: “I’m not interested in screwing over developers.”

Yeah…and this is his full status update:

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NFL adds Google+ Hangouts to Fantasy Football

Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra just posted an exclusive link on his Google+ profile for users to Hangout with their fantasy league at NFL.com.

The league is integrating Google+’s popular Hangout video-chat feature on NFL.com to give users a chance to visually interact with other Fantasy Football players from anywhere at any time. This is a huge advancement for the imagination-based sport, which typically eyes participation growth without any changes to technology.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the first time Google has implemented Hangouts into a third-party service. The feature is free and available 24/7 by way of a button on fantasy team pages. Google also increased Hangout’s 10-person limit, because leagues usually have about 12 players.

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Google fixing spam from Google+ Events feature following complaints

When Google announced some updates to Google+ during its I/O keynote this week, perhaps apart from the new iPad compatible tablet version, the most talked about new feature was the Facebook-like invitations called “Events.” While Google calendar integration in the Events feature was supposed to be a big selling point, Google unfortunately did not provide users with control over which invites were added to their calendars. The issue led to massive amounts of spam in the form of notifications and calendar entries—most notably for Google+ users with large followings. Robert Scoble outlined the problem in a Google+ post:

Hey, +Vic Gundotra the way you rolled out the new Google+ events feature was — by far — the worst social launch ever… Not only did it spam the crap out of my notifications and my Google+ events page but it added events — hundreds of them — onto my calendar…My calendar is MINE. Not yours. You should NEVER put anything on it that I don’t approve of… I have turned down every event and they are still on my calendar so now I have to delete them one-by-one… By the way, I’ve been asking for noise controls since day one and you guys simply aren’t getting it. Amazingly bad service here folks.

As noted by Scoble, another avid Google+ user, Will Wheaton, highlighted the issue and received a response from Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra: Read more