GigaOm Stories August 30, 2013

Google has reportedly acquired WIMM Labs, the company that first introduced us to its 1-inch, Android-powered wearable platform back in 2011.WIMM stopped offering its open Developer Kit for its “WIMM One” platform back in the summer of 2012, noting on its website that it had “entered into an exclusive, confidential relationship” for the technology. According to a report from GigaOm, that’s because Google quietly picked up the company last year to help work on its own wearable products:

At the time, some publications speculated that Apple may have snatched up WIMM Labs to bolster its iWatch efforts, but GigaOM has now learned that the buyer actually was Google. The acquisition was facilitated by Woodside Capital Partners, and it looks like a significant part of WIMM’s staff stayed on to join Google. Most of WIMM’s senior staff still list their original company on their Linkedin profile, but a few have updated it with a mention of their new employer.

The news comes just as Samsung is about to introduce its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch product and as rumors of Apple releasing a smartwatch or similar wearable product continue to heat up. According to the report, which Google is yet to confirm, the talent picked up from WIMM is currently working with Google’s Android team. There is no mention of Google working on a smart watch product specifically, and, while the 1-inch WIMM One platform might be best suited to the wrist watch form factor, there is a possibility Google could put the tech towards other wearable products. expand full story

GigaOm Stories August 28, 2013

Google rolling out 720p HD Google+ Hangouts in the coming weeks

According to a new report from GigaOm, Google is in the process of rolling out an update to higher quality 720p HD video for Google+ Hangouts and Google’s Vic Gundotra later confirmed the roll out will continue over the coming weeks. The report explains that the move is part of Google’s transition to new plug-in free standards including the switch from the H.264 video codec to VP8:

One of the key advantages of VP8 is that it will enable Hangouts in HD, something that Chew said simply wasn’t possible with H.264, because handling HD streams from 10 participants would have required too much processing power. The new video format also makes it possible for Google to serve up better-looking streams at low bit rates, which is especially important when it comes to mobile video chats.

Google’s Vice President of Engineering Chee Chew told GigaOm that the company plans to move Hangouts to the open standard WebRTC standard, which it just implemented support for in Chrome, to provide a plug-in free experience for users and other improvements:

“We will eventually move over to WebRTC,” said Chew, but this process may take several more months. However, eventually, WebRTC could actually provide an even more immersive video chat experience, explained Chew. That’s because when the video becomes a native HTML element, it will be even easier to add overlays and other, more subtle improvements.

More details available in the full report here.

GigaOm Stories October 8, 2012

Google TV is all grown up: Adult video-subscription service FyreTV announced the launch of its first porn app for Google TV today.

As first reported by GigaOm, the app is not available through Google Play. Google does not permit adult content on its store, but it is allowed as a native third-party app. FyreTV’s website has a direct download for Google TV devices.

A Fryer representative told GigaOm:

“We saw how Android went from last to first in terms of mobile market share and we are expecting a similar result here. Plus with their international rollout it allows our users from a wider range of countries to experience FyreTV the way it was meant to be experienced, on the TV.”

FyreTV’s app offers subscription packages of adult content. It is not the first porn company to launch on Google’s TV platform, though, as adult studio Vivid released an HTML 5-optimized website just last year. FyreTV is working on an HTML 5 version, too.

“We do see HTML5 as an important factor in providing FyreTV access to a wider user base, particularly on TV devices that would never allow us to go native,” the representative confirmed to GigaOm.

expand full story

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