Vic Gundotra Stories March 1, 2015

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TechCrunch:

…confirmed with Google, that David Besbris [above] has left his role as the head of the company’s social and identity product. He has been replaced by Bradley Horowitz, a longtime VP of product for Google+.

Google Plus seems to be in tumult and it sounds like it is being dismantled for its good parts including Photos and Hangouts. Perhaps the feed will turn into a more Twitter-like product. Who knows at this point—we’ll likely get a roadmap at Google I/O in May.

As for new lead Bradley Horowitz, he never really left Google+ through Vic Gundotra’s departure and will probably oversee the split of the units which are said to have already been reduced by half.

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Vic Gundotra Stories September 17, 2014

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When Motorola was originally acquired by Google back in 2011, Punit Soni left his post at the Mountain View company and joined Motorola as the Vice President of Product Development. Today, however, in a post on Google+, Soni announced that he is departing position at Motorola Mobility.

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Vic Gundotra Stories April 24, 2014

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Earlier today longtime Senior Vice President of Engineering and head of Google+ Vic Gundotra made a surprise announcement that he was leaving the company. While there was no hint that anything at Google would be changing other than a possible promotion within the Google+ team to replace Gundotra, TechCrunch is out with a report claiming the executive shift will come alongside big changes for the Google+ service Gundotra helped create.

The report doesn’t offer much in the way of specific changes you can expect, but it does say that Google will be shifting the Google+ team under the Android team and “building “widgets, which take advantage of Google+ as a platform, rather than a focus on G+ as its own integral product.” It also says that Google will no longer require all products have Google+ integration: expand full story

Vic Gundotra Stories December 20, 2013

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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

Vic Gundotra Stories December 12, 2013

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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Vic Gundotra 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.

Vic Gundotra Stories February 18, 2013

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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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Vic Gundotra Stories December 7, 2012

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[tweet https://twitter.com/vicgundotra/status/35182523650801664]

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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Vic Gundotra Stories October 26, 2012

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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Vic Gundotra Stories October 4, 2012

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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Vic Gundotra Stories August 2, 2012

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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Vic Gundotra Stories August 1, 2012

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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Vic Gundotra Stories June 29, 2012

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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: expand full story

Vic Gundotra Stories June 28, 2012

You already saw a replay of the skydiving stunt if you watched today, but here is the rest. expand full story

Vic Gundotra Stories May 24, 2012

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Google unveiled an updated Google+ app for Android this morning.

The improved app features the option to start a hangout while on the go, as well as the ability to edit posts inline. It even offers an upgraded user-interface with a built-in stream to display content shared across the social network.

With Hangouts we want to help people connect face-to-face-to-face—at any time, from anywhere. Of course, there’s really only one device that’s always by your side—your phone—so we’ve invested in mobile hangouts since early on,” announced Google’s Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra on the official Google blog. 

Tap “Hangout” in the new navigation ribbon, add friends, and then tap “Start” to begin using the mobile feature. If friends miss the Hangout call on their smartphones, Google gives them an opportunity to easily return the call. As for the new stream, Gundotra said Google owes the world an experience “that’s both intimate and immersive.”

“Your time and your relationships are precious, after all, so your posts should make you feel proud. Today’s new Android app takes this to heart, with full-screen media in the stream, conversations that fade into view and instantly-touchable actions like +1,” he added.

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Vic Gundotra Stories December 19, 2011

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas online? Don’t worry, Google’s gone all out this year to make winter festivities memorable for both its employees and users. As we reported this morning, Google staffers, also known as Googlers, were treated with a free Galaxy Nexus smartphone sporting a customized back cover depicting Android and Google Plus icons.

Then, in another display of holiday spirit, the company brought in much ice and snow and sprayed it in front of building B44, also known as the Android building, at their Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

The company’s social biz head Vic Gundotra posted the above image on his Google Plus profile with the caption: “Who says it never snows in Mountain View, California?”

The time-lapse clip below that shows the event was posted by Jason Chen, a technical program manager with Google. The search company did not forget about its users, surprising and delighting them with a few big improvements to Google Plus ahead of New Year. Google also let folks call Santa right from Gmail to leave him a Holiday message (Google Voice number 855-34-SANTA).

Lastly, Google tweaked its search engine with a snowflake animation. Go to Google.com and search for ‘let it snow’. This search term should produce snowflakes that will fill the page and eventually whiten out thesearch results. You can even click the left mouse button and drag the pointer around for fog removal. On an unrelated Holiday note, Google also revamped their Doodle website with the Google Plus design language.

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Vic Gundotra Stories December 14, 2011

Google’s Vic Gundotra just announced on his Google+ page a host of new Hangouts features meant to “go beyond the status update”. In short, you can now hangout on any post (an invitation will be added to the comments), call any phone number in the world and conference in anyone (free outbound calls to US and Canada, international calling rates are “super, super low”) and initiate a hangout session from the official Google+ app for Android or iPhone by tapping the new hangout icon.

The executive also shared an interesting milestone for Hangouts on Air, saying “hundreds of people” whitelisted as part of their trial now have the ability to broadcast their hangouts to the world. “Our goal is to enable this for everyone on the planet”, Gundotra noted. Initiating a Hangout session from your phone requires a new Google+ app, which will be available in Android Market within a few days, Google said (“coming soon” to the App Store).

The official Google blog has more information.

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Vic Gundotra Stories August 25, 2011

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Joining other reactions on the web to Steve Jobs’ sudden resignation as the CEO of Apple yesterday, Google’s vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra recalled on Google+ a particular Sunday in January 2008 when Apple’s boss asked him to call his home. The reason? The Google logo on the iPhone:

So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I’ve already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow. I’ve been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I’m not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn’t have the right yellow gradient. It’s just wrong and I’m going to have Greg fix it tomorrow. Is that okay with you?

The following day, the world’s greatest product developer followed-up with an email message with the subject “Icon Ambulance”, directing Vic to work with Greg Christie to fix the icon. MacRumors dug up the Google logo icon back from those days, shown below. Of course, Steve Jobs’ penchant for calling people in the middle of the night is legendary. Gondotra acknowledges that “it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something”. A 2004 Bloomberg interview quotes Jobs’ approach to product design and calling unexpected ad hoc meetings:

Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.

Vic, who is in charge of engineering at Google and as such had been in direct competition with Apple’s former boss on multiple fronts, has more praise for Jobs’ leadership qualities:

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Vic Gundotra Stories July 25, 2011

Robert Scoble has posted some highlights of his talk with Google VP +Vic Gundotra regarding the Google+ name fiaso. Gundotra told Scoble Google deleted Google+ accounts that spell their names in “weird ways like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like “god” or worse.”

There have been reports that Google has had a couple missteps in their deleting process. Gundotra says Google is working on making this a smoother process:

He says they have made some mistakes while doing the first pass at this and they are learning. He also says the team will change how they communicate with people. IE, let them know what they are doing wrong, etc.

Bradly Horowitz, Google’s VP of Product, had much more to say on the matter including some “myth busting” (below): expand full story

Vic Gundotra Stories July 11, 2011

The ever growing circle of Google+ fans was hit by a glitch which caused the system issue a massive number of notification messages to some users. The servers basically were spamming some users inboxes because the search giant has ran out of disk space, the company’s social chief Vic Gundotra explained in a post on Google+ yesterday.

Please accept our apologies for the spam we caused this afternoon. For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes. We didn’t expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have. Thank you for helping us during this field trial, and once again, we are very sorry for the spam.

It seems a bit strange that the company which operates massive data centers around the world would have any issues with disk space, but it is possible that Google+ engineers underestimated interest in the service which by some estimates already has five million users.

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Vic Gundotra Stories May 11, 2011

A lot of interesting news came up during yesterday’s Android-focused keynote. We’ve processed key announcements for you, but there’s a whole bunch of tidbits and nice-to-knows that came in yesterday’s keynote. As we await Chrome OS-related Day Two Keynote, why not watch the entire video footage from yesterday? It’s embedded below the fold or available over at YouTube.

The hour long presentation includes a bunch of Google engineers giving cool on-stage demos, in addition to key executives like the Android head Andy Rubin and vice president of software engineering Vic Gundotra. Hint: Scrub to mark 2:10 for an amusing anti-Apple moment. You can also rewatch the Google I/O 2011 countdown, in case you missed it. Google will provide real-time video stream of Day Two Keynote, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 11, at 9:30am Pacific time.

(Left) Software engineering head Vic Gundotra sits in the front row as his colleagues demo new Android features (Right) Audience members comparing their slates

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Vic Gundotra Stories May 10, 2011

When Google’s senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra put up a slide during the morning keynote speech at Google I/O 2011 developer conference, the crowd of developers erupted into thunderous applause. You could have almost felt there was something in the air and you needn’t be a rocket scientist in order to figure out that Google will poke fun of its Cupertino frenemy given how Steve Jobs frequently downplays Android’s success at Apple’s events.

The company later posted the above image as part of the official photo stream, their way of ensuring the press and Apple get the message. They also shared some mind-boggling stats reflecting Android’s astounding growth in a little more than two and a half years expand full story

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