Wednesday, 25 February 2015 00:00
Google is testing out a service that incorporates live chat with businesses right into search results, via a new link that shows whether a business is currently available, and immediately launches a chat via Google Hangouts (on either desktop or mobile) if they are. The service resembles Path Talk’s direct messaging platform with local businesses, but incorporates its service right into the business listing search result card it shows on Google.com, which also shows you details including price level, address, map location, phone number, opening hours, ratings and reviews.
We’ve confirmed via a Google spokesperson that this is indeed an experimental feature the company is testing, which was originally spotted by Matt Gibstein who shared screens on Twitter earlier today. The new experimental chat feature offers a direct text-based line of communication, in this case with a restaurant, so that you could theoretically ask if it’s currently busy, if there’s a reservation available, or menu-specific queries, for example, and receive an answer in real-time. This is the premise behind the aforementioned Path Talk, which was a service Path added to its dedicated messenger to help separate its offering from the sea of mobile messaging apps currently available.
Path Talk’s launch last September stemmed from its acquisition of business text message service TalkTo, and offers an overview of local businesses using the service displayed on a map screen, allowing users to see a list, including online status information, so they know which businesses they can talk to currently. The free service eliminates the need for a phone call for activities like checking for in-stock inventory, making an appointment or making reservations.
Google’s test service appears to offer the same conveniences, including an estimated time for response, but using listings on Google’s own extensive existing index of places. Of course, Google launching its own version of Path Talk would be bad news for the smaller company, especially if Google made this available via things like Google Maps in addition to directly in search results. It’s still very early at this stage, however, and there’s no guarantee it’ll ever become a full-fledged offering with general availability. Still, with messaging of increasing importance to businesses everywhere, it’s a smart area for the search giant to explore.
Friday, 20 February 2015 00:00
Android 5.0 Lollipop has not reached all intended devices but Google's appears busy working on a new update to release soon. According to tips and leaks, the Android 5.1 will be coming soon with the Nexus 5 as possibly the first device in line.
The first hint about Google's upcoming Android 5.1 update came from an Android Police tipster. According to the tipster, people can expect obvious tweaks to the Android interface. These include changes in the Bluetooh and WiFi settings toggles/widgets. The Lollipop offers a Quick Settings menu allowing people to connect to devices or networks without accessing the entire list of settings.
For those who got confused with Google's Lollipop approach, the Android 5.1 will lower the notification shade to the device's Quick Settings menu. This means users can choose to turn off or on the Bluetooth or WiFi by tapping on the specified icons. They can also do so by tapping the labels "Bluetooth" or "WiFi" over accessing the menu.
The tipster also said that under Android 5.1, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth text features an arrow down for additional functionality. Tapping on the arrow will show a series of Bluetooth devices or WiFi networks nearby. The new expandable functionality features allow people to switch or access connections without closing their apps or other tasks. To fee the full settings menu, they have to top on the "more settings" option.
The latest Geekbench test, on other hand, offers more support to the release of the Android 5.1. The firmware was spotted running on the LG Nexus 5 strengthening claims. Google always releases its Android updates first to flagship devices: the Nexus line. According to the results, the device scored 2997. This is a little higher but similar to the results of the Nexus 5 when tested against the Lollipop.
Google has not released the official details of the Android 5.1 update.
Friday, 20 February 2015 00:00
In a move set to delight kids and nostalgic adults alike, Google and Mattel have updated the iconic "View-Master" into a virtual reality headset.
The next-generation View-Master uses the VR technology from Google's low-tech Cardboard device, which the internet giant introduced last year.
Users will be able to download the special View-Master app from Google Play and slot any smartphone (Android or iPhone) into the headset to start exploring.
Different tours will come on physical "experience reels" (resembling the original circular slides), which don't slot into the headset but can sit on a table, for example, in front of multiple viewers wanting to take the same tour.
Technically, the device doesn't need the reels to function (tours can just be downloaded on the app), but Mattel says it decided to make them appeal to nostalgic collectors of the old-timey toys that date back the 1939 New York World's Fair.
The partnership is an attempt to answer a nagging question in the toy industry: How do you make existing products relevant as kids turn away from traditional toys and toward video games for the iPhone and iPad? Mattel thinks it has cracked that nut.
The advantage to Mattel is clear — it hopes to capture kids by offering them the next big thing.
Google's Cardboard product director Mike Jazayeri says that Google "wants to make virtual reality accessible to everyone," and by hooking up with an established toy brand with recognisable characters, it can reach a broader, younger audience than through its Cardboard headset.
One of the drawbacks VR headset makers have to overcome is the sickness-inducing factor. Some people complain of nausea and dizziness after trying devices such as Oculus Rift.
For that reason, the View-Master, available later this year for $US30, won't encourage long-time viewing with a head strap like Cardboard.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:00
Google announced in these days its new domain service. The service, which is not active yet, will allows you to buy and manage domain names. Google Domains, this is the name of the service, also helps you build your site, set up email addresses, and manage hosting. In other words will be possible to run and entire website without ever leaving the Google ecosystem.
The service will partner with several website building partners including Shopify, Weebly, Squarespace and Wix. With the Domain service, we will get 100 branded email addresses and up to 100 custom subdomains. Visitors will be also routed through Google’s own DNS system, so they can expect a fast, dependable connection.
The price is not yet quoted, although a window on the Google Domains site suggests that registering a domain will cost $12 a year.
The decision represent a competition move against the ex partner GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar.
For using this latest Google service we will have to wait, although a beta version is available at this link.
Thursday, 05 June 2014 00:00
Google has released a test version of a software called “End to End” aimed to provide a secure method for transmitting data between users.
The move comes after the tech giant announced its support for Reset the Net, a coordinated day of action set for Thursday to oppose mass surveillance online. To the action day other well-known companies will participate including Reddit, Mozilla, DuckDuckGo, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future and Greenpeace.
“End-to-end” encryption plugin allows data leaving your browser to be encrypted until the recipient decrypts it, and vice versa.
In reality the encryption services have been available for years, but were often too difficult for most people on the Internet to use
In a blogpost, Google said its data showed that approximately 40-50% of emails sent between Gmail and other email providers are not encrypted.
However, the End-to-End extension is not available at the Chrome Web Store quite yet; the alpha development status is been released yesterday so that the community can test and evaluate it, helping Google to make it as secure as it needs to be before people start relying on it.
"We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection. But we hope that the "End-to-end" extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it".