Entries in Google (127)


Google Glasses: Project Glass Prototypes for Sale 

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Google's futuristic, Internet-connected glasses, known as Project Glass, are now real enough that prototypes will be sold to developers for $1,500, company co-founder Sergey Brin said on Wednesday.

"This is new technology and we really want you to shape it," Brin said at the Google I/O conference for computer programmers in San Francisco.  "We want to get it out into the hands of passionate people as soon as possible."  They are not ready for sale to the public.

The glasses, which are comprised of a tiny camera, display screen and processor that fit over the upper corner of a pair of glasses, are meant to display information literally before a user's eyes.  The camera would allow people to transmit video or still images of what they're seeing to others wirelessly, allowing them to see your world as you live it.

Google said it had been quietly working on Project Glass for two years.  But until now, the outside world had only seen fanciful versions of what the glasses might be able to do.  On Wednesday, Google said, they're far enough along that programmers are invited to try them out -- and come up with all sorts of ideas for how they might be used.

"Obviously capturing images and video is only one of the things a wearable computer can do," said Brin.

To make the point, Google had parachutists jump out of a blimp over San Francisco, wearing the glasses.  The 6,000 programmers and reporters at the meeting saw a live video feed from the skydivers' glasses as they descended, landing on top of the Moscone Center where the I/O conference was taking place.  The applause when the skydivers walked into the convention center was thunderous.

Google this spring had shown a video of Project Glass, suggesting what might be possible.  Look up at the sky, and a weather forecast will appear on the little screen over your eyebrow.  Head down the stairs into the subway, and the glasses will show you whether trains are on time.  Walk down the street and get turn-by-turn directions.  See something you'd like to share with friends, and the images your glasses shoot will go to their Google+ social-media accounts.

Brin said that's just the beginning.  Programmers can place orders at this week's meeting, he said, and get a pair early next year.  The company is counting on them to come up with new uses for a wearable computer before the glasses are sold generally.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Unveils Nexus 7 Tablet, Android Jelly Bean and Nexus Q 

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Google executives took the stage today at the company's annual Google I/O developers conference to announce their newest Android products, including the Nexus 7 Tablet, a new $199 Android tablet built in partnership with Asus to run the latest version of Google's operating system, Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean.

The tablet has a 7-inch, IPS (In-Plane Switching) 1280x800 HD resolution display, Tegra 3 clip set with a quad-core processor and a 12 core GPU, which makes everything, including games, run quickly and seamlessly.

"Everything works smoother," said Hugo Barra, director of product management for Android.

The other specs include a micro USB port, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, 1 GB of memory, WiFi, and Bluetooth. It also uses NFC, or Android Beam, a system to allow users to transmit data from one device to another simply by tapping them against each other.

The super-thin handheld tablet is about the size of a large greeting card, 10.45 mm thick, and weighs just under 0.8 pounds, about as much as a small paperback book.

Nexus 7 is now available on the Google Play store for pre-order, starting at $199 for a version with 8GB of storage and $249 for 16GB, and the devices will ship in mid-July.

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But hardware isn't the big story with the Nexus tablet. Google is putting the focus on the tablet's software and price.

Like the Nexus phones Google has released in the past, Google isn't making the hardware, but instead worked very closely with Asus, a large Taiwanese computer manufacturer, to craft the hardware to work with the new software.

In keeping with the theme of alphabetically naming its Android operating systems after sweets -- Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich -- Google's latest version, Jelly Bean, features a new technology dubbed Project Butter, which it says allows for a smoother experience overall.

The Nexus 7 tablet will be the first device to run Jelly Bean. It will have Google's Chrome as its default web browser. Google also said the device would have up to nine hours of battery life.

Google engineers showed Jelly Bean could recognize the touch of a finger more easily than previous devices. They said it displays app pages in a neat, clean "card" layout with seamless swipe-through capabilities.

But perhaps its most exciting feature is the new search experience with Google Now, the company's answer to Apple's Siri. Google Now uses your search history, location history and calendar to help you get around.

Smartphones are only as smart as you tell them to be," Barra said. "But with Google Now that starts to change."

Google Now will tell you when to leave for appointments based on traffic times and transit routes. For example, when you commute to home and back, Google Now will track your route and offer a faster one, or if you take public transit, it will tell you when the next bus or train will come. It will work with flights too, keeping you up-to-date on status, updating you if there's a delay. Sports fans will go gaga for Google Now's automatic score updates for their favorite teams, the company said.

"You don't need to set up your favorite teams. You've already done that by searching for them [on Google]," Barra said.

Jelly Bean also includes improved voice-recognition software called Google Speech, which Barra said was "shrunk" to fit on the mobile device. If users have a poor wireless connection or are offline, they can still dictate by voice to their device, which will recognize and transcribe their words.

Smartphones had been able to take dictation for years, but usually the voice-recognition software was too complex to be included in a phone's operating system. Jelly Bean also introduced the "gesture mode" so that visually impaired users can use gestures on the phone, as well as voice recognition.

A surprise to many developers was the announcement of Google's Nexus Q, which engineering developer Joe Britt called the "first ever social streaming device."

Designed to live in your home, the small, spherical Android-powered computer can communicate with your phone using NFC or Android Beam to stream music to your speakers, or video to your television, from your Google Play library, simply by tapping on the screen of your phone or tablet.

Nexus Q will be sold for $299, with pre-orders taken today, and units shipping in July.

"It plugs into the speakers in your house and is always connected to the cloud to stream music," said Matt Hershenson, Google's Senior Vice President of Hardware. "You use your phone or tablet to control the cloud."

Nexus Q makes listening to music or watching a video interactive. Friends with the Nexus 7 device can add videos or music to your queue, and can move songs around in real time.

"It's a cloud-connected jukebox," Britt said. "Everybody that has the device can see the music that is about to be played ... [and] your friends can add their own music to the Nexus Q's music queue."

"It's pretty cool that my friends can play their music in my living room," Britt said. "No more passing around a keyboard or laptop, everyone is in control."

Google tablets have been hampered by a lack of applications. While there are a number of Android tablets currently on the market, there are fewer than 10,000 tablet-specific apps for Android tablets. That's compared to the more than 225,000 apps written only for the iPad.

Just last week, popular social news magazine Flipboard co-founder Evan Doll told ABC News that he was still not convinced there was a market for Android tablets.

"We are still in a wait-and-see mode with Android tablets," Doll said. "The iPad is the flagship tablet and we are going to stay focused on it."

The Nexus 7 faces steep competition not only from the iPad, which remains the most successful tablet on the market, but also from its own Android kin. Amazon's Kindle Fire, which is priced at $199, is built on Android, but isn't an official Google Android device since it doesn't have access to Google's own Play Store or other Google apps.

But the Nexus 7 could be a contender because of new features from the Google Play online Store. Users can now browse through interactive magazine covers and jump to different articles and back without leaving the main page. Through the cloud, the store will also offer recommendations for apps, books and more. Google said the recommendations will "get smarter and more accurate the more you use them."

Microsoft announced its own Windows 8 Surface tablets last week, which are expected to hit the market later this year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Conference: Android Jelly Bean, Tablet Announcement Expected

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Apple and Microsoft both had their turns to show off their latest software and hardware this month, and on Wednesday, it's Google's turn.

Google executives will take the stage at the annual Google I/O Developer's Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, where they will show off the latest versions of Google software, including Android and other services.  

Google's next version of its Android operating system is expected to be one of the major points of conversation.  Like earlier Android versions, this one is named after a dessert -- Jelly Bean.  Ice Cream Sandwich, the current version of Android, was announced last November.  Before Ice Cream Sandwich, there was Gingerbread and Honeycomb.  Google put out a statue of a bowl of jelly beans at its Silicon Valley campus on Tuesday.

While there haven't been many details to spill out yet about Jelly Bean, Google is likely to announce a tablet to go along with the new operating system.  Rumored to be called the Nexus 7, the tablet is said to have a 7-inch screen, a fast quad-core processor and a very affordable $199 price.  The tablet is expected to go head-to-head with Amazon's Kindle Fire.

While there have been lots of Android tablets released, none have been as successful as the iPad. It is expected that the Nexus 7 will ship in July and that Taiwanese manufacturer Asus is making the tablet itself. Microsoft's Windows 8 Surface tablets, which were announced last week, aren't expected until later this year.

But Google isn't only expected to talk about Android and its tablet strategy.  The search giant will discuss its maps platform and other services like its Cloud storage solutions, including the new Google Drive.

Apple recently ditched the Google Maps app in iOS 6; it has created its own 3-D mapping system for the iPad and iPhone.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Android Jelly Bean Teased on Google’s Front Lawn

Google(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The next version of Android is coming, and like the others, it’s going to be very sweet. Google has rolled out a jelly bean statue on its front lawn at its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., marking the arrival of the newest version of its Android operating system.

The jelly bean statue joins other dessert-themed statues on Google’s lawn, including an ice cream sandwich, donut, cupcake, and an eclair; all represent the different versions of Android.

Google will share details on Jelly Bean Wednesday at its Google I/O conference in San Francisco. There Google will preview and demonstrate the software for developers and press; no real details have been shared on what the operating system will include.

The current version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0, was released last November and brought sweeping changes to the mobile phone and tablet operating system. Google released that software with a phone called the Samsung Galaxy Nexus; it worked closely with Samsung to create a phone for the new software.

And this time Google is expected to release a new Nexus device, except this time it is a tablet. Rumored to be called the Nexus 7, Google-watchers say they think the tablet will have a 7-inch screen, a quad-core processor, and a $199 price. It is also said that it would be made by Asus. A leaked image of the tablet appeared on Gizmodo Australia earlier this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Announces New and Improved Mapping Products

ABC News(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Google’s doing a full sweep of its Maps products, looking to improve the experience for its 1 billion monthly active users.

At a press event at its downtown San Francisco offices, the company showed a number of new mapping features, including offline maps for Android phones, a new Street View camera contraption, and enhanced 3-D maps for Google Earth.

“As of today, Google Maps is going offline,” said Rita Chen, a Google product manager, at the event. Soon, Chen said, you will be able to download a map to your Android phone so you won’t have to be on a Wi-Fi or 3G network to see the streets or get directions.

If you are traveling abroad or when you are in pockets of the country that lack cellular service, you will be able to select an area or map and download it before your trip.

The offline maps feature has only been announced for Android phones and tablets. “We would like to get all services on all platforms,” said Brian McClendon, V.P. of engineering for Google Maps.

Google is also taking steps with its Street View feature. Literally. On stage it announced the Street View Trekker, a backpack-like contraption that will allow people to strap Street View panoramic cameras to their backs and capture off-road views.

Until now, Google has used cars, trikes, snowmobiles and trolleys to capture Street View imagery. The Trekker has an advanced camera and hooks into an Android phone to capture the data.

If you don’t want an actual view, Google is improving its 3-D rendering. “Today we are excited to announce that we will begin adding 3-D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices,” McClendon said. While there have already been 3-D models, Google will now be looking to make entire cities, including buildings and terrain, three-dimensional.

All of the Google map announcements come prior to Apple’s WWDC event next week, where it is expected to announce its own mapping software — and its plans to drop Google Maps as the default map service on the iPhone and iPad.

When asked about Apple’s rumored plans, McClendon would only say, “I’m very proud of Google Maps services and I think we will continue to make Google map services available as widely as possible.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Buys Startups Quickoffice and Meebo

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- In the span of 24 hours, Google has acquired two decently-sized Silicon Valley startups.

On Monday the search giant announced that it had purchased the instant messaging firm, Meebo. And now, another purchase: it has acquired Quickoffice, a company that makes mobile productivity apps for Android and Apple's iOS.

Google hasn't released the financial terms of either purchase, but in May, the technology website All Things D reported that Google was considering spending $100 million on Meebo.

So what does the company plan to do with the new purchases?

"With the Meebo team's expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google+ team. We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online," a Google spokesperson said.

Google+ is Google's social network or service, which it sees as central to the future of its search business. Meebo offers an instant messaging service and a bar across websites for easily sharing information.

Quickoffice, on the other hand, is all about work. It will help with Google's other core offering -- its productivity offerings, including Google Docs and Google Drive.

"Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of enabling seamless interoperability with popular file formats, and we'll be working on bringing their powerful technology to our Apps product suite," Alan Warren, Google Engineering Director, wrote on Google's blog.

Quickoffice's apps, which are available for the iPad, Android tablets, and other devices, provide word processing and spreadsheet tools.

"The Quickoffice purchase proves that Google's cloud-only productivity strategy was a failure and they needed to incorporate traditional PC productivity to be really successful in the enterprise," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "The fact that Google realizes they need to buy instead of build is, in a sense, a refreshing sign of business maturity."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Apple Removing Google Maps from iPhone, iPad

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple is reportedly looking to eliminate Google Maps from its devices.

Citing current and former Apple employees, the Wall Street Journal says the company plans to remove the maps app, which is currently preloaded on iPhones and iPads, and replace it with a new service that runs Apple's own technology.  The move is said to be happening later this year.

One person familiar with the matter tells the newspaper the new software could be introduced as early as next week when Apple holds its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


More Google Chromebooks Coming, Advertising Could Help Lower Prices

Sundar Pichai of Google. Joanna Stern/ABC News(RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif.) -- Google has dominated the smartphone market with its Android operating system, but it also has its Chrome OS operating system, which is built on its Chrome browser. The Chrome system, which was released last year to run on devices when they’re connected to the Internet, is based entirely around the browser and the Chrome apps that run in the browser.

Google has just released an update to its Chrome OS, and along with it a new $450 Samsung Series 5 Chromebook has been announced.  There will be more laptops like it on the way, said Google Senior Vice President of Chrome & Apps, Sundar Pichai.

“Just like with Android, we’re in early stages of enabling an ecosystem. This year, we’re working very closely with Intel, and there are many OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] working with Chromebooks,” Pichai told ABC News at the All Things D conference in California.

In response to the complaint that the laptops have been unreasonably expensive for what you get, Pichai said that will also change. “You’ll start seeing Chromebooks spanning many price points. There are a variety of user scenarios; we picked the middle point to start at.”

When ABC News asked about the idea of using advertising to subsidize the cost of the laptops, much as Amazon does on its Kindle tablets and e-readers, Pichai said, “It’s not lost on us that we can use advertising to provide better value propositions as well.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Self-Driving Car License Approved in Nevada

Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- Nevada is putting the pedal to the metal on those autonomous automobiles.

It was just two months ago that the state approved and set regulations that would allow self-driving vehicles on the state’s roadways.  And on Tuesday, it announced that it has approved Google for the first testing license under the new rules.

Google, which was instrumental in pushing through the original legislation in Nevada, has been testing its very own self-driving automobile for a number of years on its campuses and other secret locations.

“It is the first license issued in the United States under new laws and regulations that put Nevada at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development,” the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles said in a statement.

This now means that Google will be able to test its self-driving Toyota Priuses on the roads.

Other drivers will be able to tell self-driving cars apart by a red license plate, which features an infinity symbol on the left.  Of course, they also will be able to tell the difference by the large scanning laser device on the top of the car.

While Google is the first to file for an application for a license in Nevada, other car manufacturers such as BMW and Audi are working on similar vehicles.  The cars themselves use a mix of hardware and software to drive themselves.

Google maintains that the technology is not supposed to replace drivers, but rather help them.  Instead of attempting to text while driving or change the GPS location, drivers can let the car do the work while they are distracted. 

Nevada requires that two drivers be in the test cars now -- a human back-up driver and a passenger.  In the limited test program, however, Google is asking to exempt those back-up drivers from text messaging while driving laws.

Humans can always gain control of the car by taking hold of the wheel or stepping on the break.

While this is a big step in the future of the self-driving vehicle, we probably won’t be seeing these cars hitting prime time just yet.  Google’s version is still in the prototype phase.  General Motors has predicted the technology will be standard by 2020.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Corporations Pour Big Money into 2012 Election

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As Americans begin to divide down party lines over their presidential preferences in the 2012 election, so too are many of the country's largest corporations.

From Google to Marriott and Dreamworks Animation to the United Parcel Service, some of the largest companies in the country are forking over big bucks to support candidates, occasionally leaning heavily to one side of the political aisle.

But while the predictably partisan labor groups are going blue and the often-conservative oil companies are going red, some less overtly political businesses are taking sides as well.

The United Parcel Service, or UPS, has so far doled out $1.2 million in the 2012 election, about 70 percent of which went to Republicans or conservative groups, according to disclosure data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.  Goldman Sachs, Marriott International and The Home Depot have also disproportionately supported Republicans.

But while the majority of the political contributions UPS and its employees gave supported the GOP, more than $10,000 went to President Obama and a similar amount went to Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the center's data shows.

Internet giant Google has, as a whole, come down on the side of Democrats, with about 70 percent of the $1.1 million the company has spent on this election cycle going to Democratic candidates or liberal groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But Google's political action committee's spending is split relatively evenly between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, spending $150,000 on Democrats and $143,000 on Republicans.  However, Google employees have overwhelmingly backed Obama, donating close to $140,000 to the president's re-election campaign through the end of 2011.

Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, said that while a few corporations tend to favor one party over the other, "a large majority of corporations are going to end up somewhere in the middle."

"Especially big corporations will split their giving across parties because they are worried about getting access," Biersack added.  "In those cases they might be less concerned about what party the member [of Congress] is in and more concerned what committee they're on."

But the millions that each of these companies has reported spending on the 2012 election so far may be a mere fraction of the full amount these businesses are pumping into politics this year.

"We don't know what the corporate money is because we haven't seen [full] disclosures," said Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, which is pushing for more reporting requirements on corporate political spending.

While companies have to report their donations to political campaigns, parties and political action committees, they can remain anonymous when donating to trade organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, and some non-profit advocacy groups, like the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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