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Features

Say Hello with Google’s Allo – Messaging Platform

In an era of technology, we do have multiple ways to communicate. With the rising users of smartphones ,we have rising numbers of messaging apps across the platforms. WhatsApp; Hangout; Facebook Messenger; Snapchat are some key apps to mention.

Recently, the search giant Google has introduced Allo, a messaging app specially for mobile users, which also acts like a personal assistant.  Google Allo helps you say more and do more right within your chats including making plans, finding information, and expressing yourself more easily. Packed with innovative features including smart reply, options for sharing photos, emojis and stickers.

Officially, Google announced the app in May in a mega event of Google I/O. With this announcement Google venture into the domain of Artificial Intelligence. Google also plans to introduce Allo to desktop in near future. Google introduced Allo, soon after the launch of Duo a video calling app which is available for both the platforms Android & iOS.

For Indian users, Google has enabled smart replies in Hinglish. Further, rolling out at launch are over 200 stickers created by popular independent artists that are relevant to and will appeal to Indian users.

Allo India Hinglish Inputs

Allo user interface is very similar to other Google apps and maintains the clean UI philosphy.  Allo syncs with your phonebook & you can chat with anyone from your phonebook. Phonebook sync is the key where Google has kept a difference between Hangout & Allo.

Allo a smart messaging app, works on the suggestive response.
The presence of inbuilt chatbot in Allo makes it easy as virtual assistant provides responsive answers to the users. Here, chatbot is trying to be artificially intelligent.

The virtual assistant helps in giving specific information, setting reminders, timers and serving up the news as well. Not only this, the virtual assistant has a conversation with you – shares a joke, chat about any & everything. Google Allo gives fun features to the users, stickers, group chatting; the message expire option as well.

Allo provides you with the feature called Whisper or shout. This will let you slide up or down on the send button to change the size of your reply, meaning you do no need to write in caps all the time when you’re angry. Simple subtle UX features to make people use the platform to have conversations.

The best feature of Allo is using of Google inside where one needs to, mention Google by typing “@Google” and words to search for — like things to do or places to eat. Google Assistant also has access to Google’s Knowledge Graph, so it can help you with all sorts of situations. Imagine this scene, you are talking to your friend on Allo and making plans for lunch. You loop in @google and ask for suggestions for places around you. Everything in one single window.

google-allo

Messages in Allo are encrypted by Google servers, only sender & recipient can see the messages. All chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies like Transport Layer Security (TLS). Anyone who tries to interrupt will see the jumbled characters. Google Allo also supports incognito chat; the app hides the name of the sender when the notification pops up. Also, there’s also a way to erase chat history by setting the expiration anywhere from five seconds to one week. Here each user can reset the expiration time for any of the messages, as well thus keeping your messages private.

Unfortunately, some of the questions ends up being a Google Search result or basically asks you to search on Web. Makes one wonder, why should you ask Allo in the first place. I believe, integration is going to be the key. Like we saw yesterday, Allo is built as an Personal Assistant right inside the OS for Pixel, so that the users can use it on the go. It would take time to get better.

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News

Google Pixel Phone will be available for Pre-order starting Oct 13 in India

Google today announced the launch of Pixel, the first-ever phone made by Google. The Pixel is the first phone with the Google Assistant built right in, bringing together the best of Google’s software and world-class hardware and making the Google experience come to life.

Pixel will be available for pre-order in India starting October 13th 2016 on Flipkart and at over 1000 plus organized and multi-brand retail stores with leading retail partners including Reliance Digital, Croma and Vijay sales among others. India is among the first six countries where Pixel is being launched.

Pixel will be available in India in two sizes – 5” or 5.5” and two colours – Quite Black and Very Silver with memory configurations of 32GB and 128GB sizes. Pixel is priced at 57,000 INR for 32 GB and 66,000 INR for 128GB; whereas, Pixel XL is priced at 67,000 INR for 32 GB and 76,000 INR for 128 GB version.

Hardware Specs - Google Pixel Phone

With the built in Google Assistant in the Pixel, users can have a natural conversation with Google to find answers or get things done on the go. Say “Ok Google” or touch and hold the Home button and the Assistant is ready to help.

Pixel ships with the newest Android operating system, Android 7.1 Nougat. Pixel Phones will get software and security updates as soon as they’re available, directly from Google. The update process too has been made easier. When a new update is available, it can download and install in the background, so users no longer have to wait for the phone to update.

Auto Updates on Google Pixel

Pixel’s camera lets you take stunning photos in low light, bright light or any light. In fact, the Pixel camera was recently rated the best smartphone camera anyone has ever made and the DxOMark Mobile score of 89 is a great example of what’s possible when great hardware meets great software.

Pixel users will have access to a toll free phone support number along with 54 walk in service centres across 30+ cities in India.

Categories
Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Google and Lenovo Partner on a new Project Tango Mobile Device: CES 2016

Today at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Lenovo announced the development of the first consumer mobile device with Project Tango in collaboration with Google. Google’s Project Tango is a technology platform that uses advanced computer vision, depth sensing, and motion tracking to create on-screen 3D experiences, allowing users to explore their physical environments via their device. Specialized hardware and software combine to let the device react to every movement of the user, when they step forward, backward, or lean side to side. App developers can transform your home into a game level, or create a magic window into virtual and augmented environments.

Project Tango-enabled devices can recognize places they’ve been before, like your living room, the office, or public spaces. Unlike GPS, Project Tango motion tracking works indoors, allowing users to navigate precisely through a shopping mall, or even find a specific item at the store where that information is available. Using the sensor in the device, Project Tango devices can also capture the 3D dimensions of the room, giving measurements that can be used to help you when shopping for furniture or decorations.

The Project Tango Tablet Development Kit can be purchased in the Google Store here. Google and Lenovo have also started a incubator platform where developers can submit their Project Tango app proposals for a chance to win funding and the chance to have their app featured on Lenovo’s upcoming smartphone. The submission period closes on Feb.15, 2016.

Lenovo, Google, and Qualcomm Technologies are working closely together to optimize the software and hardware to ensure consumers get the most out of the Project Tango platform.

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IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Google India launches Nexus 5X & 6P; Pre-orders start today!

Google India today announced the much awaited launch of its latest range of Nexus phones in partnership with leading smartphone makers LG and Huawei. These two devices were first unveiled at an Event held at SF a couple of weeks ago. Both Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P offer a pure stock experience of Android running Marshmallow 6.0.

Nexus 5X will be priced at Rs 31,900 (for 16GB variant) and Rs 35,900 (32GB), while Nexus 6P will be available at Rs 39,999 (32GB) and Rs 42,999 (64 GB) in India. Available for pre-orders starting today – Product Page on Amazon and Flipkart.

Colour options available: The Nexus 5X will be available in Charcoal Black, Quartz White and Ice Blue colours whereas the Nexus 6P is available only in silver & black colour.

Google has also partnered with E-zone, Croma, Reliance Digital, The Mobile Store, Bajaj Electronics, Vijay Sales, Jumbo and other offline retail chains to sell the new Nexus Devices across India.

Both these devices also offer an enhanced version of “Now on Tap” allowing users to get additional information, take actions or navigate between apps. Essentially “taking Google out of the search box,” users can quickly invoke Google from any screen by a simple tap-and-hold on the home button. Google then provides relevant information and answers based on the context of what you are looking, in the moment.

The Nexus 6P camera is optimized for low-light photography. It has 1.55 micron pixels; the sensors are much larger than the iPhone 6S Plus. The Google test results are pretty impressive. Well, Both these devices shoot 4K videos and also does Slow-Mo videos; The Nexus 5X does it at 120 frames per second. The Nexus 6P can do 240 fps.

pixel-size

The Nexus cameras also offer Smart Burst Pictures, which takes photos at 30fps to make GIFs with. – Similar to Nokia Live Images and Apple Live Pictures.

The Nexus 5X is manufactured by LG and comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD screen and 2700 mAh battery. At the back is a 12.3MP camera with laser-assisted autofocus while at the front is a 5MP camera. The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC with 2GB of RAM.

nexus-5X

The Nexus 6P is manufactured by Huawei and is a first full metal-body phone that comes with a larger 5.7-inch WQHD display and 3450 mAh battery. It is powered by a Snapdragon 810 v2.1 SoC and 3GB of RAM. The 6P also has the same 12.3MP rear camera as the 5X but comes with an 8MP front facing camera with HDR+ shooting mode.

nexus-p

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Google How-to IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

How to opt-out: Google to use Email Addresses for Ad Targeting

We all know, When we search for any product, google lists out ads from all potential brands who are related to the product. However, you will likely see more ads soon from companies that already count you as a customer, and not only when you search.

Well, This isn’t too new. Facebook and Twitter have been doing this for a while now.

Reports say, Google is beginning to let advertisers upload lists of their customers’ email addresses in order to target those people with ads when searching on Google, watching videos on YouTube or checking email on Gmail. Thereby, brands may be able to target people that Google identifies as having similar characteristics to the people in their email lists.

To accomplish this customer matching, Google will be cross-referencing email lists from brands with the email addresses tied to people’s Google accounts (considering the number of Gmail users).  Google will use a process called “hashing” to disguise the email addresses on both sides of the match and prevent any personally identifiable information from being exposed.

There is a way to opt-out of their new third-party email address ad targeting system.

How to Opt-Out:

You can do this by switching off Ads based on your interests on the Google ad settings page (for logged-in Google users) at: https://www.google.com/settings/ads. This page gives you direct control over how your interests are used when displaying ads via Google-associated sites. Though the descriptions on this page do not currently explain that the new third-party email lists case is included,  turning off the interest-based ad preferences will also turn off the use of the third-party email address lists for your logged in account.

controlads

Thanks for the opt-out tip, .

 

Categories
Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Top 10 Highlights from the Google Nexus Event Today

Google had its event this morning at San Francisco where it unveiled few latest product lines and also showcased the next generation Android Operating System that would be pre-loaded on the version of Nexus devices. Here are few highlights of the event.

1. Numbers – Well, as every event, it all started with numbers. Google now has 1.4 B active Android devices; 20 million chrome-cast sales globally. Google Play is now over 1 billion active users. Sundar also highlighted the need of making new devices and how they guide the ecosystem. Well, played smart.

2. New Nexus Devices – 5X and 6P.

Like the rumours and leaks suggested, we have the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P announced. For more details on the device, check this page. The Nexus 6P is a full-metal bodied Nexus, Anodized aluminum. 7.3mm thick and is made by Huawei. Both these phones are equipped with USB Type C adapters (similar to OnePlus 2), laser-detect autofocus, Nexus Imprint (Rear Finger Print sensor), Stereo forward-facing speakers and it runs Android 6.0, Marshmallow.

type-c

Nexus 5X and 6P available for preorder today in US, UK, Ireland, and Japan. 5X starts at 379 USD and 6P starts at 499 USD. Will be available later in October. Both of these Nexus phones would also work with Project Fi, Google’s wireless MVNO network.

3. Camera – The Nexus 6P camera is optimized for low-light photography. It has 1.55 micron pixels; the sensors are much larger than the iPhone 6S Plus. The Google test results are pretty impressive. Well, Both these devices shoot 4K videos and also does Slow-Mo videos; The Nexus 5X does it at 120 frames per second. The Nexus 6P can do 240 fps.

pixel-size

4. Smart Burst Pictures: There’s a new “smart burst” feature in the camera, which takes photos at 30fps to make GIFs with. – Similar to Nokia Live Images and Apple Live Pictures. 

5. MarshMallow Features – You can voice search from the lock screen, the notification bar gets simple. A simple app drawer which sorts applications based on your usage or the time of the day. ‘Now on Tap’ seems to be really cool, not sure how many people love sharing so much of their app data. Lets see that later. More features here. Marshmallow rolls out next week to existing Nexus devices.

6. Nexus Protect Program – This is the new warranty program from Google in the US. As of today, Google gives you a 1 year protection against hardware. They are now expanding it to two years, along with accidental damages. 24/7 support and device replacement in a working day. This program would cost 69 USD for the Nexus 5X and 89 USD for the Nexus 6P. No light of this program’s availability outside the U.S.

7. Google Play Music family plan is coming later this year. It would cost you $14.99 for up to 6 people; No limit on the number of devices.

8. Google Photos brings in three new features. You can now easily pool photos and videos into a single shared album. You can “label” people in Google Photos and thats private; and the third feature being Chromecast support. You can now showcase your photos on TV and its basically not mirroring your phone, but you get to choose which picture gets slide-show on TV, while you browse through your phone.

photos-chromecast

9. A new Google Chromecast. This thing looks funny; it would basically hang behind your TV. it comes in 3 colours. With a new adaptive antenna system and Wifi which supports 5GHz. The chrome cast app has been completely redesigned as well. You can now play games through your Chromecast. Its not mirroring your phone but extending the game to the TV and giving you controls on your phone. You could do a voice search through your phone as well. Available starting today at 35 USD. A new Chromecast Audio device which would plug into a speaker to stream audio over Wi-Fi from your existing apps. This device is 35 USD as well.

new-chromecast

10. Preview of the Pixel C

A convertible computer from Google. The Pixel C runs android and the keyboard is a separate piece connected via Bluetooth; you slide the tablet and attach using the magnetic connection. It’s adjustable from 100 to 135 degrees of viewing angles. It has a 10.2-inch screen with a 308 ppi screen. 2560 x 1800 resolution. A Nvidia X1 processor. Maxwell GPU powered with a 3GB RAM. This would be priced 499 USD for the 32GB version and 599 for the 64GB one. Will be available end of this year. The Magnetic Keyboard would be priced at 149 USD. Its interesting that, you need not charge the detachable bluetooth keyboard. The tablet inductively charges the keyboard so you never have to charge it.

Categories
Google News

1000 Scholarships for Students in India to learn Android

Google and Tata Trusts have partnered with Udacity to educate students in Android development to meet the growing demand for Android developers. Together they are offering 1,000 scholarships to students in India to take the Android Developer Nanodegree program for free.  This is an education credential that is designed to help developers learn new skills and advance their careers in a few months from anywhere on any device at their own pace.

Students participating in the Nanodegree program will benefit from expert coaching and build a portfolio of their own projects to showcase their skills with potential employers. Students who graduate from the program will receive verified certification and job placement opportunities. There will be a Career Summit hosted by Google, Tata Trusts, and other top employers for top graduates of the program in the Spring.

To apply for scholarships to take the program for free, students are asked to take an online assessment to see if they have the prerequisites for the program. All students who complete the assessment successfully will receive scholarship application information directly.

The Udacity Android Nanodegree program is open for enrollment right now.  The program takes an average of 6-9 months and costs Rs. 9,800 per month with Udacity refunding 50 percent of the tuition upon completion.  Scholarships for the Android Nanodegree are available immediately.  For more information visit  www.udacity.com/India.
Nanodegree

With India being the second largest developer population in the world with 3 million software developers, India has the potential to become the #1 developer population by 2018, with 4 million developers. By providing easy and affordable access to a world-class skill and educational program to Indian developers, Google aims to help India become a global leader in mobile app development.

The Udacity Android Nanodegree program comprises of courses developed and taught by expert Google instructors from the Google Developer Relations team and will include project reviews, mentorship and career services from Udacity. The curriculum will be updated regularly with new releases and will provide developers with a certificate that will help them to become a more marketable Android developer.

Source: Press Notes

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Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Google Glass is now Project Aura; Will explore Broader Scope of Wearables

According to Business Insider, Google has been hiring engineers and software developers out of Amazon’s Lab126 for the initiative now called Project Aura. Project Aura will work on other wearables, as well, and will remain under Google’s supervision instead of being established as a separate entity under the Alphabet umbrella. Aura is run by Ivy Ross, who previously ran the Glass project. She reports to Tony Fadell, head of Google’s connected-home business Nest, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The initial version of Glass, which sold for $1,500, prompted a privacy backlash because users could record video in public places without others noticing. Google stopped selling it in January and also closed the Explorer Program few months ago.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt had said earlier this year that the company wasn’t giving up on Glass because wearable technology is a potentially big new market. Reports also say, Google is quietly distributing a new version of Glass to companies in industries such as health care, manufacturing and energy.

Google have been taking some swift steps in their Self Driving Car Project as well, they recently hired John Krafcik as the new CEO for the project.

The new Aura group provides a much-needed re-branding to the Glass image and also opens the door for a more broader scope of wearable technology initiatives to help Google compete against compeition such as Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

Source: Business Insider

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Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis

Google appoints John Krafcik as CEO for the Self-Driving Car Project

Google Inc has appointed John Krafcik, the veteran Ford and Hyundai exec as the CEO for the self-driving car project. From the looks of it, he’s the first CEO for the high-profile venture that’s part of Google X, the secretive development program for new technologies of Google. Earlier there were reports that, Google X would be a part of the parent company, Alphabet Inc. However, there is no clarity at this moment.

In the past months, we have seen companies like Apple and Google hiring engineers and experts from the car industry as they develop autonomous cars. This is a significant get by Google. Google, which launched the self-driving car project in 2009, has signaled that it intends to introduce the cars by 2020.

Image Courtesy: Screen Grab, Google Self-Driving Car Project Website
Image Courtesy: Screen Grab, Google Self-Driving Car Project Website

Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne told Automotive News that  Krafcik’s background shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign that Google intends to become a manufacturer of self-driving cars. “We’re not going to make cars ourselves. We know what we’re good at, and we’ll partner with many different companies to bring this technology into the world safely.” – “The self-driving car project (part of Google X), would be a good candidate at some point in the future to become an alphabet company, but not yet.”

Read more on the Google Self Driving Car Project here – http://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

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News

Sundar Pichai to be the new CEO of Google Inc

In a post on the official google blog, Google co-founder Larry Page announced a major restructuring of the company, announcing Sundar Pichai as the CEO of the Google.

Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin will move to the newly formed company Alphabet Inc, which will further own Google Inc. Alphabet will oversee Google as well as other affiliated companies. Google Inc owns and retains control of Search, ads, Maps, the Google Play Store, YouTube, and Android.

” Sundar has been saying the things I would have said (and sometimes better!) for quite some time now, and I’ve been tremendously enjoying our work together. He has really stepped up since October of last year, when he took on product and engineering responsibility for our Internet businesses. Sergey and I have been super excited about his progress and dedication to the company. And it is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google. I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations. I have been spending quite a bit of time with Sundar, helping him and the company in any way I can, and I will of course continue to do that. Google itself is also making all sorts of new products, and I know Sundar will always be focused on innovation — continuing to stretch boundaries. I know he deeply cares that we can continue to make big strides on our core mission to organize the world’s information.” – Larry Page