Google Plans to Add a Layer of Social on Search

It what could well be one of the most interesting experiments to its Search functionality, Google plans to add a layer of Social on top of it. No, Google is not planning to integrate Google+ to Search but instead building a static layer, which would be non-interactive just on top of Search. To experiment this, Google is rolling out a feature where eminent personalities will be given their personal space to write or publish videos when someone searches for their name. Right now, Google is calling it Posts, though there could be a new name by the time this comes out.

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Several Nexus Device Users Complaining of Issues With Sync on Google Services Post November Security Update

Nexus phones are supposed to serve Android just the way Google cooked it. As a result, they have the least number of complications and are expected to work absolutely smoothly without much of a hiccup. However, in the last few days, it has been reported that several Nexus users are actually suffering from issues with syncing on their devices to Google services. As a result, push services like Gmail and Inbox have been affected and people are reporting that they have been receiving their E-Mails delayed by hours.

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Google Set to Start Designing its own Chipsets

Apple has done it, so Google will do it. That seems to be the most logical reason behind why Google is set to start designing its own chipsets. The report comes from this article which claims that in order to add more features and have innovative stuff happening on their devices without depending upon third party to enable them. So far, all the Google Nexus phones have got a chipset on them that have been manufactured and designed by third party manufacturers like Qualcomm. This does not give Google the freedom always to experiment and add things like Apple can do, where they design the chips themselves while the manufacturing is done by the likes of Samsung.

Nexus 5x

Having the ability to design the chipset in-house has allowed Apple in the past to bring health tracking thanks to a co-processor and play around with the position of that bringing it right inside the main chipset allowing more space to be allocated to more components like bigger battery size.

Google has already flirted with the idea of making their own chipsets when they were mulling over coming up with an enterprise focussed device in the past. There is no solid confirmation on who are the chipset manufacturers will Google approach for the manufacturing, but you would think the likes of Qualcomm, Mediatek and Samsung would have been a part of the discussions. Quite possible that the Nexus phone next year, could well come with a chipset that Google themselves have designed.

Project Loon Gets Nod from the Government to Provide Internet Connectivity in India

Apart from running the Internet, Google, now a part of the Alphabet Group, does a lot of interesting side projects. One of the projects that Google has taken upon itself is ensuring good internet connectivity across the world. One way that Google has figured out doing this is using large balloons. These are obviously not ordinary balloons, but balloons that are capable of floating a good 20 km above the surface of the earth. Google in this case is the technology provider and not an ISP as all it does is partner with the right telecom partner to transmit the 4G signal over a larger area. Long story short, Google is acting like a large provider of telecom towers, which the balloons act like, in order to provide internet connectivity.

project-loon

In India, Google has tied up with BSNL and will be using to power the broadband spectrum in 2.6 GHz band. Using these balloons, Google will be able to provide Internet to a diameter of about 40 kilometers. Google has already tested this program in places like New Zealand, California and Brazil. The news of this project was broken through on PTI, where an official source said:

Google approached government to set up the Loon project and drone-based Internet transmission. Government has approved testing of Loon project only as of now. A committee under chairmanship of Secretary, DeitY, has been formed to work on it.

Do you think that such moves would help improve the internet connectivity in India? Do let us know in the section below.

Google Names Sundar Pichai its new CEO as it forms a New Parent company Alphabet

In a major shake up as you wake up story, Google has decided to form a new parent company called Alphabet. In simple terms, Larry Page and Sergey Brin will serve as the CEO and President, respectively of this company which will have other entities within it, Google being the largest one of them. This helps bring some major organization within Google after a plethora of acquisitions in the recent months. Alphabet as a parent company will oversee different companies like Nest, Project X and Google. Google on the other hand will continue to focus on its current activities which include Android, Ads, Search etc.

Alphabet

With Sergey and Larry leaving the space, the face of Android, Mr Sundar Pichai has been appointed as the CEO of Google. This makes for a proud reading if you are an Indian as the CEO of two of the biggest giants in the world of technology in Microsoft and Google are both Indians. It was indeed wonderful to see Sundar Pichai being congratulated by Satya Nadella on Twitter as the news broke through.

You can read the entire explanation as given by Larry Page on Google’s official Blog right here:

As Sergey and I wrote in the original founders letter 11 years ago, “Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” As part of that, we also said that you could expect us to make “smaller bets in areas that might seem very speculative or even strange when compared to our current businesses.” From the start, we’ve always strived to do more, and to do important and meaningful things with the resources we have.

We did a lot of things that seemed crazy at the time. Many of those crazy things now have over a billion users, like Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, and Android. And we haven’t stopped there. We are still trying to do things other people think are crazy but we are super excited about.

We’ve long believed that over time companies tend to get comfortable doing the same thing, just making incremental changes. But in the technology industry, where revolutionary ideas drive the next big growth areas, you need to be a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant.

Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet (http://abc.xyz). I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.

What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We’ll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google. A key part of this is Sundar Pichai. Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information. Recent launches like Google Photos and Google Now using machine learning are amazing progress. Google also has some services that are run with their own identity, like YouTube. Susan is doing a great job as CEO, running a strong brand and driving incredible growth.

Sergey and I are seriously in the business of starting new things. Alphabet will also include our X lab, which incubates new efforts like Wing, our drone delivery effort. We are also stoked about growing our investment arms, Ventures and Capital, as part of this new structure.

Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with all of the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.

For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google — the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products–the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands.

We are excited about…

Getting more ambitious things done.
Taking the long-term view.
Empowering great entrepreneurs and companies to flourish.
Investing at the scale of the opportunities and resources we see.
Improving the transparency and oversight of what we’re doing.
Making Google even better through greater focus.
And hopefully…as a result of all this, improving the lives of as many people as we can.

What could be better? No wonder we are excited to get to work with everyone in the Alphabet family. Don’t worry, we’re still getting used to the name too!

Posted by Larry Page, CEO

Tag Heuer and Google come together for the first Luxury Android Wear Watch

Call it the Apple Watch effect or anything along those lines, but you really did not know the market trends if you did not foresee that one of the major luxury watch brands was going to come on board Android Wear wagon and push for a crazy expensive Android Wear watch. Well, the watchmaker is Tag Heuer, the famous Swiss brand.

Tag Heuer

Tag Heuer will in conjunction with Intel, who will power the watch and Google, who will bring Android Wear on board, will be producing the ultimate luxury smartwatch that would work closely based on the activities of the user and those of his Android phone. While the announcement, did not involve any demo or even pictures of the proposed design, it was announced that the watch will be out in the market, sometime around the fourth quarter of the year. We are fairly confident that this is only the beginning and there will be several more after Tag Heuer who will come on board of Android Wear.

There was an exclusive tie-up with David Guetta too which was announced, which would indicate an autographed or personally designed line as well. Guy Sémon, General Manager of TAG Heuer, commented on the announcement with

The quality of Swiss watches is renowned worldwide. When this is allied with the creative technology and global power of two companies like Intel and Google, using the Android Wear platform and based on Intel technology, we can see the launch of a technological revolution in our industry, of which I am proud to be a pioneer today with TAG Heuer.

We would definitely have loved to have seen a demo of the watch or at least the basic design, but guess, it shall be a case of wait and watch for now at least.

Now Send Messages on Hangouts using your Voice

We are not sure how often you use Voice commands on your Android phone, but it definitely is a handy feature when you are living alone and feeling super duper lazy on a Sunday afternoon. In fact, we have had days where we have been in bed and simply done everything on the phone, using ‘Ok Google’ voice feature. Therefore, it is only a matter of great joy when a new Voice controlled feature is added by Google to Google Now.

Google Now

The newest in the family is the ability to send across Hangouts messages without any touch requirement, so all you need to do is tell Google in Google Now to say ,’Send Hangouts Message’ and then your message to the recipient that you wish to send the message and watch the awesomeness happen. The feature is being rolled out in the most recent Google Now update, though on our devices, we are yet to receive, indicating it is being done in batches. The feature is no different to the other voice commands that you use with Google Now, a bit like the ability to block calendar or send across an E-Mail.

This is certainly an interesting start to the whole integration with third party APIs on Google Now.

YouTube Adds Support for 360 Degree Videos for VR

Imagine you are in the confined spaces of your house and want to be a part of the Metallica concert happening in the long far part of Europe, while most of us can enjoy by watching a Youtube video simply on the screen, you can actually live the moment thanks to a whole 360 degree view support that Youtube has added.

With this new feature, you will be able to enjoy a full field of view for those who are using things like Virtual Reality cardboards or even more complicated and advanced technologies such as Oculus Rift. The feature will be enabled within the application on Youtube, though it will support only select few videos for now with support for more on the way.

The service for now is not available for the iOS version of Youtube application, so those on the iPhone will have to do it via the browser in case they wish to enjoy a full 360 degree view of the latest sports or musical gathering. The feature is already enabled on for Android devices, and the application will automatically conclude the position of your smartphone and, therefore will provide an experience in conjunction with the orientation of your device. We have embedded a video above which would serve as a decent example for you to check out the experience if you do have a VR headset.

Google I/O Dates for 2015 Announced

Google has announced the dates for Google I/O 2015. The event is set to be held on May 28th and May 29th in San Francisco as the tradition has been. The two days of Google I/O will mark the conference with several keynotes set to take place as well as developer conferences happening. The I/O generally also is the venue for Google to announce the latest and the newest Android version as well as new devices, but there have not been too much news around the same lately, given both the Lollipop update and the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 were released just towards the end of last year.

google

However, other than that, the rules of the game remain the same. You will be required to register yourself for Google I/O starting on March 17th and then you will be picked randomly by a lottery pick and if you are lucky enough you will be picked and given a ticket for the Google I/O. The prices of tickets last year was $900, though no announcement for the same has happened yet.

The details of the event, as published by TechCrunch are as follows:

  • The conference itself will run from May 28-29. As always, it’ll take place at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco.
  • Registration for tickets will open on March 17th at 9:00 a.m. PDT and run for two days. There’s no rush to get in early, though, because…
  • Google will pick the people who will “receive the opportunity to purchase one ticket” at random.

Via: TechCrunch

Google Brings Support for Hindi in the Text to Speech Engine

Nobody really bothers about a Text to Speech engine and the updates to that unless it concerns a language support for your local language. This is exactly why, the latest update would be of great importance, if you are from India and have keen interest in hearing your phone read out hindi content in the best possible robotic voice.

Hindi T2V

You will need to update the Text to Speech engine right from the Google Play Store. The update will also see support for Indonesian being added on. Sadly, even though the support for text to speech has been added, there is no support yet for a voice recognition for Hindi. The language pack will only have a female voice on it, and therefore will not give too many options in case you do not like shrill female voices.

The update shows that India is an extremely important market for Google, while Indonesia already is the fourth largest country when it comes to active Android devices in usage. In case you do not wish to wait for the update to hit your device via Google Play, you can also download the apk file from here and simply over write the existing one. The apk is protected by an encrypted signature so you would not have a problem with malfunctioning apks.