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Google made a lot of announcements in its marathon keynote to kick off Google I/O on Wednesday, but its most buzzed-about product was almost a no-show at the eventGoogle Glass barely got a mention, even though this is the first I/O where the tiny wearable computer is actually in developers' hands.
The glaring omission didn't stop Glass from stealing the show for the rest of the conference, though. Day 2 of I/O was packed with sessions on Glass, including one where official Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr apps made their debut. The sessions themselves garnered the kind of lineups usually reserved Lady Gaga tickets. Many developers were walking around wearing Glass, but it was the looks of jealousy from the Glass-less that underscored just how much interest there is in Google's head-mounted gadget. Read more...More about Google, Google Io, Tech, and Google Glass
Google's deal-of-the-day service Google Offers is coming to its social network Google+, so users can see and share limited-time promotions directly with their news stream.
Companies participating in the Google Offers program, such as Zagat, Hello Kitty, Nook and Art.com are among the brands who can now share deals with their network on Google+.
"If you follow any of these brands, you'll soon see offers from them in your stream," Dennis Troper at Google said in a post on his Google+ page. "You can save these offers directly from the post." Read more...More about Google, Google Offers, Marketing, Small Business, and Startups
As Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, nears the end, it's time to take a look back at some of the biggest announcements the company made. The event kicked off with a 3.5-hour keynote which Mashable Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff noted solidified Google as "the world's most powerful and important company."
While there was no major sky-diving presentation that marked the Google Glass demo at Google I/O 2012, there were plenty of announcements that made consumers and developers alike eager to get their hands on new updates and products.
To wade through all the announcements and news coming out of Google I/O, Mashable is hosting a Google+ Hangout today at 2pm ET on its Google+ page. Join Ulanoff, Tech Editor Pete Pachal and Tech Reporter Emily Price as they discuss a range of topics from the new Google Maps to the redesigned Google+ platform. Read more...More about Google, Mobile, Google Maps, Apps, and Gadgets
Other than Google Glass, the standout launch at Google’s I/O conference has been a major update of Maps, with much of the new functionality drawing on Google’s increasing social intelligence.
The overhauled user experience eliminates the white space on the Maps page, putting more information onto the maps themselves. It brings in ratings and reviews and makes Google Earth available in the browser. It also displays thumbnails of user photos of common landmarks beneath the map, when available.
Google draws the local ratings and social context for Maps from Google+.
When Bernhard Seefeld demonstrated the new maps during the conference keynote presentation, he didn’t mention Google+, but the so-called “social spine” of Google’s services powers many of its new features.
“They were definitely adding social context in quite a few places, but they weren’t making a big deal about it, which means it’s becoming a lot more pervasive inside of Google, that Google’s taking advantage of social despite the fact that their Google+ audience is small,” said Brian Blau, director of research at Gartner.
Yatin Chawathe, the engineering director for Google Maps, agreed.
“It’s definitely one of the key fruitions of that vision” of Google+ as a social spine, he said. “When you think of maps and how you experience the world, so much of that is social, so having that be kind of a core part of the new experience was really critical to us.”
The new interface, which isn’t yet live on the Web, allows users to set home and work locations. Searches of other locations automatically display travel times from the user’s set locations. And clicking on a particular location subtly highlights the names of streets commonly used to get there.
Whenever the user is logged in, businesses s/he has rated in Google+ Local automatically display on the map interface. And any search – say, “sushi” — can be limited, using an option in the search bar, to locations rated by people in user’s Google+ circles.
A snippet from those social contacts’ reviews appears on the map near the venues. Clicking on the information brings it up on the side of the screen, beneath the search bar, rather than in a window that blocks part of the map as in the previous interface.
Maps also pulls user photos of major landmarks in from publicly shared photos on Google+, Picassa and Panoramio.com, Chawathe said.
“There’s some location information that you have to upload, but it can be very coarse. You could say, ‘Here are my photos of Rome’ and our algorithms can go in and say this photo looks very much like the interior of St Peter’s,” he said.
The same impressive photographic algorithms senior vice president Vic Gundotra described as working within Google+ sort through the photos to find the best ones to display with Maps, Chawathe said.
The overhauled interface provides ideal real estate for advertising, though Google staff wouldn’t discuss the company’s future advertising plans. They did confirm that Google pays for satellite data to provide one of the “wow” touches of the new Maps — real-time cloud imagery in the zoomed-out Earth view — making it likely the company will seek advertising revenue to offset the cost.
Google may also be leveraging the social geography of Maps to drive traffic to Google+, by prompting users of the Web and Android App interfaces to review businesses. Google Maps appear on over a million websites and are visited by a billion users every month, the company says — far more than use Google+.
“Social’s really getting pushed down and out. Now Google doesn’t have to build infrastructure, they can do these massive integrations, connecting all their services,” said Gartner’s Blau.
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Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world.
Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting storiesGoogle is rolling out some fresh apps for Glass. The company announced Thursday at I/O, Glass will soon get a handful of new featuresAndroid 4.3 is reportedly set to show up in the wild next month. And Yahoo is reportedly ready to “do a deal” with Tumblr.
Check out the video above for more on these stories.
Image courtesy of Google Read more...More about Yahoo, Google, Android, Features, and First To Know Series
Google took home the Advertiser of the Year trophy this week during the 54th annual Clio Awards — the Oscars for advertising professionals — on the strength of ad campaigns for such projects as Build with Chrome, 100,000 Stars, Re:Brief, Google Display and Google Fiber.
You've seen the ads (if you haven't, check them out below), but how does Google ensure they stand out in the ever so crowded world of advertising?
"Always start with rabid empathy and always strive for radical simplicity," Robert Wong, chief creative officer of Google Creative Lab, told Mashable after accepting the award at Wednesday's ceremony in New York City's American Museum of Natural History Read more...More about Google, Advertising, Google Chrome, Google Fiber, and Business
Google Glass makes it easy for wearers to surreptitiously take pictures or video of unknowing subjects. That's caused more than a few people to ask: What does Glass mean for our privacy? Now Congress, too, wants answers.
Eight members of Congress' bi-partisan privacy caucus sent a letter to Google CEO Larry Page Thursday seeking answers about Glass' privacy implications:
More about Google, Privacy, Congress, Mobile, and Us World
Will Glass collect users' data without their consent?
What steps are being taken to protect non-users' privacy?
Will Glass offer facial recognition to identify non-users and display information about them?
What restrictions is Google placing on Glass and Glass apps?
Will Glass store data on the device, and will it offer user authentication? Read more...
Google engineers sometimes like to say the Star Trek computer is the ideal search engine. You can talk to it like it were a person, ask it anything, and it'll tell you the answer — verbally. During the keynote at Google I/O developer conference, the company demonstrated how it's bringing exactly that technology to the Chrome browser.
Although the upgrade isn't available yet, Mashable got some hands-on time with it at the I/O. To be clear, Chrome already has voice search (that's what the little microphone is in the Google.com search box), but Google will soon be augmenting it with a new user experience that includes the ability to speak back to you. Read more...More about Google, Search, Google Io, Chrome, and Voice Search