The new Google Hangouts has arrived, bringing together Google's Talk, Hangouts, Voice, and Google+ Messenger under one app and umbrella. Google Hangouts offers unified, synchronized chat that retains history across all devices, allowing you to dig into your history wherever you are, delete messages, and check out files, photos, etc. Hangouts naturally includes the previous Google Hangouts video chat features, which allows multiple people to video chat with each other, again, from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Hangouts it now available on iOS, Android, Chrome, and within the Gmail web client. Get a look at the video promo after the break.
Google Play Music All Access is now live and official. Just head on over to Google Music and you can sign up for the absolutely free 30-day trial. Remember, if you sign up before June 30th, you lock in $7.99 per month pricing. After that, it jumps to $9.99 per month.
Google has announced a new version of the Samsung Galaxy S 4 during the opening day Google I/O keynote, which runs the latest stock version of Android Jelly Bean. This means that the specialized smartphone sports the Nexus experience. It's compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile LTE networks, completely unlocked. The bootloader is unlocked as well, and the device sports 16GB of on-board storage, expandable with a microSD card. One major benefit is the promise of immediate system updates to newer Android versions, thanks to the stock Android being used. Since the phone has no contract, it won't be cheap. The stock Android Jelly Bean version of the Galaxy S 4 will go on sale on Google Play on June 26th for $649.
Google has just announced Google Play Music All Access at its Google I/O 2013 developer conference, the company's new subscription music service. Aside from givng you access to the millions of songs in Google's new streaming catalog, it will also incorporate tracks that you have stored in your Google Play Music account. The service launches today, and will cost $9.99 per month. Google offers a 30-day trial--sign up for the free trial by June 30th, you'll lock in a $7.99 per month rate, making it 20% cheaper than competing services like Rdio and Spotify.
It is expected that Apple will announce it's own streaming music service, possibly at WWDC 2013 in June, but rumors point to it being more akin to a Pandora Internet radio competitor than a full on streaming service where you can pick and choose individual tracks and albums that you want to listen to.
Google has pushed out a new update for Google Glass Explorers, the early testers and purchasers of the ambitious wearable tech. Most notable in the XE5 update is the addition of Google+ functionality in Glass, specifically allowing you to comment on, and +1 entries on Google's social network. You can also receive incoming Google Hangout invitations. Here's a full rundown of the changes:
- Change to sync policy: require power + WiFi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
As you can see, Google is steadily improving the Glass experience, even as it's just in the beta Explorer stage. With a year-or-so before it hits mass market, the company has a lot of time to refine the technology to get it ready for the meanstream. They'll need to, in order to quiet the jokes.
Windows Phone users have been patiently waiting for a full-fledged YouTube app, and today it has finally arrived. Replacing the glorified mobile web version of YouTube "app," the new version brings all the native Windows Phone 8 love in parity with YouTube's standard features. You can share videos to other social networks, log in to your account to access your favorites and playlists, and even do stuff like set videos, channels, and even search queries as Live Tiles on the homescreen--something unique to Windows Phone. You can grab the new Windows Phone YouTube app right now.
Read More | Windows Phone Blog
With this past weekends Saturday Night Live spoof, Google Glass has officially gone mainstream. As part of Weekend Update with Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen plays Tech Correspondent Randall Meeks, and tries to explain just how revolutionary Glass can be, all while trying to work within the constraints of poor speech recognition and awkward gestures. Yes, it's a spoof, and therefore, it is very exaggerated--but that's what makes it funny. We've embedded the Hulu clip below, after the break, for your enjoyment.
Despite Google Glass Explorer Edition units already being in the hands of developers, it appears that Google won't be ready to release Glass to the masses for another year or so. Originally the company had hopes to release it's wearable computing device by the end of 2013 for general consumers, but comments from Eric Schmidt in an interview on BBC Radio 4 says otherwise.
In response to a question asking when Glass will be available, Schmidt said, "there will be thousands of [Google Glass] in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback, we'll make some product changes, and it's probably a year-ish away."
Obviously, we are in mid-April, so it sounds like the earliest we'll see Glass hit the market will be Spring 2014. A disappointment to many, we're sure, but a device like Glass needs to be done just right, and we're glad to see Google taking the time to get it right before releasing it. You can listen to the interview here--fast forward to the 4-minute mark to hear the Glass discussion.
More on Google Glass:
The HTC One is finally and officially on sale, beginning today, at AT&T and Sprint locations. As we previously mentioned, you can get the 32GB model from both carriers for $199.99 with two-year contract, but the 64GB version is an AT&T exclusive at $299.99. As of today, you can get the white model--the black version won't be available for a number of weeks. If you're holding out for the T-Mobile version, you're gonna have to wait a few more days, as the HTC One doesn't drop on Magenta until April 24th.
Google is giving out a few dozen Google Glass Explorer Edition units each day, rolling them out to developers as they are being made, rather than waiting until all are done to get them out at the same time. The result? A bunch of excited devs getting their hands on Glass, and giving their opinions on the future tech. We're already seen images of the Google Glass box contents, and now Brandon Allgood gives a great first impression on his Google+ account. Here's a snippet:
I wore Glass all day today. It was light and didn't bother me to do so. The battery truly lasted all day. I didn't however take long videos or hangout for very long. I am also not very popular on G+ and most of my email goes to my business account so I didn't mind the "ding" when I got an email or G+ comment. Most of my co-workers were excited about seeing Glass. Some were a little uncomfortable about it. Overall the reaction has been positive and people aren't bothered by me wearing it in meetings and such. I do live in Silicon Valley, so your experience may differ. I found that my habits will nee to be modified. For example I just need to tint my head back (which turns on the display) and I can see the time. No more looking for a clock or pulling out my phone. I also don't need to check my email on my phone or computer. I found myself from time to time hearing the chime and then pulling my email up on my computer and not Glass. I am over that now.
Hit the link below to head on over to Brandon's Google+ post for the rest. It's a good read on what it's like when you first get Glass, and the process of getting used to using it, the expected, and the unexpected.
Read More | Brandon Allgood Google+
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