Google I/O 2012 extended to three full days of fun

This year we saw the biggest  Google I/O  yet, complete with free tablets, free Chromebooks, and a few modems to round out the bunch – and next year promises to trump the entire past with today’s announcement of an extension to three days. The event is usually just a tiny little thing with no more than a few large keynotes and some presenters, no big deal, (I’m sure some of you will have a heart attack and disagree), but next year promises to be a big bang to say the least. June 27th until the 30th is the time, and we’ll be there to show off all Google ends up offering up.
We’ll be seeing fabulous developer announcements ranging from Google apps to Android apps and everything in-between. Google I/O is going to be taking place at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, California, and if there’s one thing we know from past representations of the I/O event, we know we’ll be seeing some freebies. The application to get in on this event will be popping up in February, and we’ll be sure to let you know where to go when the time is ripe.
Google’s Monica Tran lets us know that “That’s all we can tell you for now, but we’d advise against making travel arrangements until then.” So know this: keep your week open, but don’t quite stick your cash in yet. You’ll want to know that the Google Developers page over at Google+ to get all the updates you need or just stick with us here on SlashGear to find out what you’ve gotta know. Keep your noses clean until then!


After Buzz, Google to discontinue seven more products

Internet search titan Google plans to discontinue seven more products, including ‘Wave’, in a bid to simplify its services further after bringing down the curtains on its ‘Buzz’ social networking, microblogging and messaging tool.
The off-season “spring cleaning” would mark the end of various Google services such as Wave, Knol, Gears, Bookmarks Lists, Friend Connect and Search Timeline, Google Senior Vice-President (Operations) Urs Holzle said in a blogpost.
In addition, Google said it will also shelve its ’renewable energy-cheaper-than-coal initiative, which was touted as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy.
This is the third time that Google has announced a whittling down of its products slate after they failed to generate interest among users.
Google said some of the services will stop working from next month and by next year, most of the products will be shut down completely.
“To recap, we’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts and ending several which have shown us a different path forward. Overall, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience,” Holzle added.
The US-based firm said Google Wave -- which was an attempt to combine email and instant messaging for real-time collaboration -- will turn off completely from April 30, 2012.
In addition, Google Friends Connect service -- which allowed webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a snippet of code -- would be retired from March 1, 2012.
Google Gears, which maintains web browser functionality when working offline, will stop working from December 1 and Google Bookmarks List, a service which allowed users to share bookmarks with friends, will end on December 19.
Last month, Google announced that it will shut down its social networking product Google Buzz. In September, Google said it will close as many as 10 products, including Aardvark and Fast Flip, as it streamlines operations and focuses on areas that have “higher impact”.


Google Chrome Extensions Manager

Many Google Chrome extensions add a button to the browser’s address toolbar. If you have installed more than a dozen or so extensions, you may notice that space can become a issue, especially if the majority of extensions has added a button to the address bar. While you can hide individual extension icons with a right-click and the selection of Hide Button from the menu, it is usually not something that you may want to do considering that you may use buttons eventually again.
You could also disable and enable extensions to hide and show their buttons, but that is also not overly comfortable.
The Google Chrome Extensions Manager provides a solution for this problem. It basically adds two-click options to the browser to manage extensions, apps and themes comfortable.
A click on the extension’s button displays all installed extensions, applications and themes. Each entry is listed with its name, version and description plus buttons to open the homepage, uninstall or open the options page. The checkbox finally is used to quickly enable or disable the extension, theme or app in the browser. Links at the top lead to specific sections, for instance to display all disabled or outdated add-ons, or to display all extensions, apps and themes regardless of their status in one list.
The core feature that the Extensions Manager provides is the ability to quickly enable or disable extensions, applications or themes in the browser. It takes two clicks, one on the extension icon and the second in the checkbox to enable or disable select extensions.
That’s more comfortable than using Chrome’s built-in extension manager or the right-click context menu to do the same (at least for re-enabling them after disabling).
Themes can also be switched with two clicks once the Chrome Extensions Manager add-on has been installed.
The extension furthermore allows you to keep track of updates which are displayed in the recent tab, and of outdated extensions which are displayed in the outdated tab.
The options of Extensions Manager offer additional customizations. Here it is for instance possible to start the display in a specific view mode, change the types of entries that appear under recent, or disable notifications when extensions are enabled or disabled.
Especially users with lots of installed themes, extensions or apps in the Chrome browser can benefit from Extensions Manager as it makes it easier to deal with installed browser add-ons.
Chrome users can download the extension from the official Chrome Web Store.


Google adds the Plus 1 feature to Google News

Integration of all things Google into Google+ continues as Google’s +1 feature is now going to be attached to Google news articles. When a reader favours an article read on Google news, that article will then post on that readers circle of friends pages on Google+. Confusing? Yes, a bit, but when explained in terms of other sites it is all quite simple.
Read an article from Google news and click on the +1 preference icon. This is now the equivalent of a Facebook like. The article will then be posted on your Google+ pages and those of your Google Plus friends. This would be the equivalent of a Twitter tweet. All of this is part of a massive cross referencing campaign by Google.
Most people are unaware that the Google+ platform was not thrown together in a college dorm room. It is the result of around a hundred top software engineers working for several years. The deeper aspects of Google+ have not been revealed but we suspect they will slowly but surely amaze us. Many Google antagonists are quick to point out the shortcomings of Plus as well as Google’s past failures at Social Networking. Seldom is Google’s massively successful social site Orkut mentioned.

Google is rapidly integrating TV, Music, and now News into the Google+ platform. A sophisticated chat system has also been created, one which filters by means of Google+ circles. All of these features will soon be available for Android driven handhelds as well. If we find that we are unable to understand and consequently operate all of the latest Google ideas in action, we might want to consider that just because we don’t know what makes the engine run, it doesn’t mean the car won’t drive.


Google Plus The New Global Buzz‎

While there is so much buzz about Google Plus, name of Pop star Britney Spears has become a lot famous due to the same. It has been told that the star is being followed by as much as over 743,000 users. There has been a lot talked about the new offering of Google from the time it made way in the market, with expectations that it might even surpass the euphoria of Facebook also.
If reports from Contactmusic. com are to be referred, she has surpassed the number of followers of that of Google's CEO Larry Page till now. Launched in July, Google Plus has become a point of discussion in recent times. Even the pop sensation has been ardently followed by over 11.3 million on Twitter. However, there are likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian ahead there.
While there are people from entertainment industry getting the attention, it has even caught the attention of many renowned politicians.
There are many who have made their presence felt on Google Plus. Among those is US President Barack Obama whose account has been a “verified account” tick mark.
It’s not being personally handled by Obama, but it has been made sure that this would act as an interface between public and the US president while elections would kick off. “We’re still kicking the tires and figuring this out, so let us know what you’d like to see here and your ideas for how we can use this space to help you stay connected to the campaign”, as per the first Presidential post.
The man is known to have already ventured Twitter and Facebook since he was a US Senator running for the highest office in the land, and with him entering Google Plus. It’s not hard to guess that power of social media networking speaks for itself.


Google to integrate social info with search

As documentation on social networking and virtual platforms becomes increasingly popular, global search giant Google is looking to leverage the trend by integrating information available on social networking platforms with search results.

The idea works thus: If a user is logged into the search account with an id used on a social networking platform like Google Plus, as well as Gmail, search results would be altered to suit reviews and feedback available from contacts on a user's list, based on the user's social profile.

"One seamless magic experience, it basically looking across your social graph, and the product recommendations would be based on that. If a person is signed on, the results would become more social," said Vinay Goel, director, Google India 

The strategy is crucial, given the fact that the global technology giant, with offerings in search, video, maps, and email spaces, has faced a multitude of problems in getting a grip on the booming social networking website market.

Orkut, a Google product, once dominated the Indian market. But its share has eroded as Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook, estimated to have 30 million users in India and a valuation of about $100 billion, steadily gained ground.

While Orkut still has its members, other Google social networking offerings like Buzz and Wave have been knocked off the stage, owing to complexity and problems with user adoption. "Social networking platforms which have not worked in the past have had issues of complexity. But each one has been a learning experience," Goel said.

A strategic positioning in the social networking space is important for Google, considering about 95 per cent of its $8-billion global revenue comes from advertising, a big chunk of which is not vested in the social networking space.

Now, Google is looking at leveraging the Google+ platform in establishing a hold on the space. Within six months of its launch, Google+ has 40 million users, and India is its second-biggest market.

"We do not think social networking on Google+ is just about posts and picture sharing. It is important that consumers get the whole social experience across platforms, including mail, and search," Goel said.

According to Google, the integration of the social network with search in products would also be made possible. Also significant is the move that social networking and search would include third-party websites in the integration.

"This would mean searches would be tailored to one's social profile as well. A user can access his graph across the web, and this will be standardised, ensuring an open platform" Goel said


Britney Spears becomes the most followed on Google+, after pushing back Larry Page


Britney Spears on Thursday No.1 most followed in Google + and CEO Larry page where No.2

The pop queen now boasts 740,384 followers

Google CEO boasts 739.950 Followers

Google+ took a big step toward being a more “normal” social network today, as Britney Spears, became the most followed person at Google+
So far, the most popular Google + persons have relates the technology, in particular, at the start of Google+ first position was held by CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg (who has never post a single msg on his Google Account +), then CEO of Google, Larry Page(still on 2nd position after britney spear on the top on Google+.)

In contrast, most people went on Facebook and Twitter – social networking more mature – tend to be the same celebrities are in real life, such as musicians and actors.
Britney Spears goes to number one
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Google iPad Search App Update Adds Instant Search

Google has announced a series of updates to its Google Search app for the iPad to entice users to search via its service rather than the device's native Safari tool.
These include its Google Instant search capability to display results as the user types and improved visual displays for image searches by creating a carousel to let users swipe through images that are displayed on a dark background.
Google has also added a new search history system that is designed to make it easier to find old searches on the iPad, as Google's software engineer for the iPad, Daniel Fish, explained in a blog post.
"Often you may be looking to find something you have seen before or are continuing research on a topic. But on a tablet, typing can be a challenge. That is why we have created a visual way to explore your search history," he said.
"Swipe right to view snapshots of pages you've visited, stacked and organized by search term. You can also manage your search history from this new view."
Google has also integrated elements of its Google+ tool by including a +1 button that allows users to recommend pages while searching. The update is available now across all regions and runs on iOS 4 and above.
However, while the update is good news for iPad owners, several Android tablet owners voiced their frustration with Google for prioritizing the capabilities of the search app for a rival operating system, rather than its own platform.
"When is this going to come to Android? An experience like the new iOS Google Search app provides is severely lacking on Android," said one user, Brian Robinson, in a comment on the blog post.
Another commentator, Sean Brown, said the upgrade seemed to suggest Google thought the iPad was a superior product to Android tablets.
"I'm glad I decided to buy an Android tablet over an iPad because I really enjoy getting slapped in the face every time I read your blog. I either need to 'upgrade' to an iPad or stop reading the blog," he complained.


Google Plus Adds Mutual Circle Chat

Take a look in the lower left-hand corner of your Google+profile and you may notice a brand new feature: Chat with those in your mutual Circles. This little addition is significant because it breaks down a key interaction barrier between you and those you’re only acquainted with via Google+’s Circles social connection metaphor.
As Google explains it in a brief support post, the new feature lets you chat with anyone in your circles, who also has you in their circles. No longer do you need their email addresses. This significantly lowers the bar for social interaction. It’s a little like Twitter’s direct message rules, which only allow successful transmission of direct messages if the sender and receiver are following each other on Twitter. It’s also a bit like Facebook Chat, which allows open discussion between mutual Facebook friends.
Perhaps more significantly, these chats can even occur outside of Google+. Those in mutual circles can, Google’s post explains, talk on Gmail, Google Plus, iGoogle, Orkut, and the Google Talk Client. Google has also done a little work on Google+ Chat list. The contact list now focuses on recent chat participants that are also online.
Obviously, the idea that a simple circle connection is enough to open the door for free-form chat in the still-young social network may be a step-too-far for some. Google seems to acknowledge as much by mentioning the privacy settings within the enable box. On the other hand, Chat within Circles defaults to, essentially, everyone in “Your Circles” and the custom settings do not offer much guidance on how to clamp down the control.
According to a Google spokesperson, “We’re making it easier to chat with the people you care about.” This is not, the spokesman explained, “a form of group chat, nor can you start group chats from Circles.”

What do you think? Are you ready to start receiving chats with all of your mutally circled friends? Tell us all about it in the comments.


Google's Search Algorithm Challenged

The Italian mathematician who contributed to the development of Google's search algorithm is preparing to launch his own challenge to the dominant search engine before the end of the year.

Massimo Marchiori, an associate professor at Padua University, recently began talking up the new search engine with videos posted on a promotional website at
In a video that shows him sitting on a park bench and writing on a whiteboard, he explains: "It's not just Google plus 10 percent. It's a different perspective. It's a new radical view of what a search engine of the future could be."
The website allows visitors to sign up for a chance to become "power users," who will test the beta version of the search engine, which is to be launched in twelve languages.
In an interview published in the online edition of the Corriere della Sera last week, Marchiori declined to go into detail about what would set Volunia apart from its established competitors.
"For the moment I can't say any more, I'm really sorry ... The fact is that an enterprise like Google, to give an example, would have no difficulty in setting 100 engineers to work day and night on our idea and in coming out before us," Marchiori said.
"If I didn't think it was something big, capable of competing with the giants of online search, I would never have got involved," he said.
Marchiori said the basic idea was simple and radically different from the current approach of the major search engines. "If Google uses a club, we will work with a fencer's foil. The difference of our search engine is what will enable us to emerge. And because Volunia will be really useful to people."
Marchiori is a member of the board of Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and has worked on the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). His Hyper Search algorithm was presented at a conference in California in 1996, which was attended by a 23-year-old Larry Page. The algorithm later evolved into Google's Page Rank system.
The new project's headquarters are located in Padua, in northeast Italy. Many of the software developers are Marchiori's former students at the university, and funding is being supplied by Mariano Pireddu, a Sardinian entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications sectors.
"The partners are myself and Massimo, plus all the researchers who have collaborated on the project," Pireddu said in a telephone interview. "None of us is dreaming of creating a better search engine than Google. We think we can create an engine that is different from Google."
Pireddu is the owner of Malloru, a business consultancy located in the western Sardinian town of Oristano, and was formerly the president of Slovenian telecom company Voljatel and an investor in Mindware Studios, a software company in Prague.
Volunia's servers will be based in Sardinia and provided by Tiscali, but Tiscali founder Renato Soru is not an investor, Pireddu said.
"We have sufficient funds to finance the early stages of the venture. It's premature to talk about the possible entry of new investors," he said.
"The market will tell us in a democratic way whether our idea was good. If users like it, it means we have done a good job. If not, we'll correct the product," Pireddu said.
In his interview with Corriere della Sera, Marchiori said Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, had always acknowledged his contribution to the Google formula and he had no regrets that he had not participated in their astonishing commercial adventure.
"The idea of a vendetta never even occurred to me," he said. "The truth is that it's such a beautiful idea it would be a shame not to be able to realize it. And now is the right moment to do it."


Google Plus Installs Face Recognition for Photos

Google Plus is looking for a way to the top and in a bid to boost popularity Google has started rolling out face recognition in the social networking site for Google photos. This new facial recognition technology, allows users to quickly tag photos without manually entering identities for individual pictures, thus enhancing the social networking features of Google plus.

This move should also lend them a helping hand in the tough race against their rival Facebook, who had offered a similar functionality almost a year back. The face recognition software in Google+ photo uploader would make tagging quicker and easier.

When a user creates an album, Google+ will show the user all the faces found in that album in one place. This makes it easier to group the photos of each person’s face together and tag them with their name or email address.
Once the tagging is over a notification will be sent to each person, who has been tagged, and they can then decide whether to approve the tags or not. Google had once provided face recognition through Picasa.
After a while they rebranded the service as Google Photos. The search giant then acquired PittPatt, a company that produced the technology for face recognition and live tracking.

Though Facebook has added Suggested Tags to identify friends in photos using face recognition software, it was only yesterday that Facebook had actually started letting its users tag photos while they upload. Eric Schmid, former Google CEO, had rejected the idea of offering face recognition during his reign, citing privacy concerns.
However Google+ has now highlighted this as an incredible feature. The social networking site is raring to set out for a face to face collision with Facebook.
But how far would they succeed in their attempt is something we have to wait and watch.


Ice Cream Sandwich May Spur Google+ Growth

Android's Ice Cream Sandwich update is tightly integrated with Google+ and Google accounts, which may play a role in helping the young social network grow.

All customers who pick up an Ice Cream Sandwich-enabled phone or upgrade to one in the future will be prompted by the OS to make a Google+ profile and sign up for a Google account, which requires a user's credit card information in order to purchase apps.

Having a Google+ profile allows users to take advantage of new features like the People app in ICS. The app takes users' contacts and links them to their Google+ photos, providing a list of friends and family members and giving quick access to their status updates and posts on the social network.

Because ICS makes signing up for a Google+ profile easy, and being a member of the social network allows Android users to take advantage of new features, it's likely the updated platform will lead to substantial growth for the site. Google+ has grown faster than several of its competitors, even while interest in the site has faded of late.

The primary reason users give for Google+'s lack of appeal has been that their friends are not on the site, so they report having little reason to make frequent visits. However, ICS will likely give millions of users a reason to sign up on the site, leading to more traffic and fueling further growth.

ICS also prompts its users to sign up for a regular Google account in order to register their credit card to make purchases in the Android Market. Past versions of Android did not ask users to make an account until they tried to buy something in the store, making it easy for them to back out of the mobile store and ignore it. Now, new customers will likely be more inclined to sign up for an account during the set up, making all future purchases through the Android devices easier for Google to initiate.

Gaining more user accounts with credit cards will increase Google's revenues and help the company create an ecosystem of products, but ICS still provides the biggest boost to Google+.

Google announced it has activated 200 million Android devices to date. Not all of them will run ICS, but all future devices will likely run the OS and millions more are expected to receive the update, giving the company's social network tremendous reach.


How to get started with Google Music

Finally out of beta, you no longer need an invite to use the free Google Music service. For now, it's available to anyone in the U.S. with a Google account.

Two new features that weren't available in the beta are Google+ sharing and a music store in the Android Market. If you want to try the music service du jour, here's how to get started with Google Music:
Uploading music: To upload your own music to Google Music, you need to install the Music Manager (Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5+, and Linux). Go to Google Music and log in using your Google account. Click the Music Manager download link and install it.
Start Music Manager and log in with your Google account, then select the location of your music collection to begin uploading your music. To stop uploading, sign out of Music Manager.

You can store up to 20,000 songs from your own collection to Google Music. MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and FLAC file formats are supported. Keep in mind, however, that AAC, OGG, and FLAC files will be transcoded to 320kbps MP3 files.
Playing music: You can listen to Google Music from Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE7+. Just log in to Google Music and navigate your library on the left and click on the songs or albums you want on the right. Player controls are located on a strip at the bottom of the page.

The following keyboard shortcuts are available as well:
Spacebar: Start/Stop
Right arrow: Next song
Left arrow: Previous song
Delete: Delete the song

Jason Cipriani has a tip for Mac OS X users who prefer to create a Google Music Dashboard widget, rather than keeping a browser window open.
Buying music: You can purchase individual songs and albums from Google Music by going tothe music section of the Android Market. You can listen to full-length previews of every song for up to two times, then for 90 seconds each time thereafter. When you're ready to buy, just click the price of individual tracks or the full album to start the checkout process. You'll need to add a payment method to Google Wallet during checkout, if you don't already have one set up.

Purchased music will be stored in Google Music, but won't count towards the 20,000-song limit. You can also use Music Manager to download your purchased music, which will be in 320kbps MP3 format.
Sharing music: You can share music you've purchased to your Google+ circles. Just click on the triangular menu button from the song title and select "share song." The people you share with will get one free full play of the song or album.

Using Google Music on your mobile device

Playing music: To listen to Google Music on your Android device (2.2+), download the Google Music app from the Android Market.
To make songs available offline, click on the triangular menu button in the corner of the album or track title and check the "available offline" box.

You can also change your library view in landscape mode by touching the name of the current view. It defaults to "recent," which displays album covers in a carousel view.

iOS 4.0+ devices can access Google Music by pointing the browser to Sharon Vaknin has more on how to use Google Music with iOS devices.
Buying music: Once your Android device gets the update to Android Market, you'll be able to purchase music by clicking on the "buy" or "free" button next to a song or album. Again, you'll need a Google Wallet account with a payment method entered.
Sharing music: The option to share music from your Android device will also be available with the update to Android Market and presumably, the Google Music app. You'll see a new playlist called "free and purchased" that you'll be able to share from.
That's it. What do you think? Are you going to use Google Music over iTunes or Amazon Cloud Player? Or do you prefer subscription-based services like Spotify and Rdio?