Google IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Seven Key Android M Features discussed at the Google IO 2015 today

The Android M is available today for developers; the public release is scheduled for Q3 2015. Here are some of the features discussed at the Google IO Today.

  1. Permissions: Apps only ask for permissions only when you try to use the feature, instead of when you first install it. This is pretty much similar to how iPhones have been working. For e.g.: When you try to take a photograph inside the WhatsApp application, you get a permission notification. That also means, you don’t need to approve permissions every-time the application gets updated.
  2. Chrome custom tabs: As a developer if you want to give a browser view inside your app, you can currently do it with a web-view or move the user out of the app to the browser. Chrome Custom Tabs exactly addresses this. It looks like an in-app browser, but it’s actually Chrome. As its a chrome browser, it comes with its goodies of Sign-in option, saved passwords, Auto-fill and the multi-level security.
  3. App Links: With Android M, apps can “verify” themselves for certain tasks. For e.g.: Twitter links, can just opens the Twitter app, every time. You don’t have that painful dialog to choose which app you want to use when you click a link.
  4. Android Pay: This was expected. This is Google’s solution to ApplePay. The Android Pay uses NFC and Host Card Emulation. Android Pay is an open platform; so you can either use Google’s stuff or use the bank’s app to activate it. Unlike the Google Wallet announcement they did years ago, they have a solid implementation plan. The Android Pay will work in 700,000 stores in the US. It also works in-app, for in-app purchases. Android Pay works with any KitKat or later device.
  5. Finger Print Reader Support: After Samsung and Motorola taking a lead, Google now wants to have a official fingerprint reader support right into Android.
  6. Battery Life, Power: There’s a new feature called ‘Doze’ in Android M. Doze uses motion detection. That means, If your phone doesn’t move in a while, it cuts off the apps. However, the alarms and chat notifications still come through. You can also use your Android phone to charge some other device. Again, thats not very unique. Most of the OEMs have done that already.
  7. USB Type-C: The USB Type-C is going to be supported on Android M; the chances are likely that, the new Nexus Phone would come with a USB Type-C port on it.

The developer preview is available today for Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player.


YouTube Plans to offer Monthly Subscriptions for Ad-Free Viewing!

YouTube plans to offer users a monthly subscription plan with which, they can have an ad-free viewing experience on YouTube videos. The offering may also include lower-priced subscriptions for specific categories. According to Google, creating a new paid offering, will generate a new source of revenue to YouTube Partners, the content creators. The price is expected to be around $10 a month. It will also let creators put their videos behind a shield so that only subscribers to the premium version can view their content.

Reports also say that, YouTube Partners (Content creators) are required to participate in the subscription offering, or every video on their channels will be set to private. This is definitely going to make some of publishers unhappy. however, there isn’t any concrete information on this update as yet.

In an email which YouTube sent to all the partners, they outline on some of the initiatives which helped them reach good heights. The monthly subscription model is going to be a new one in the league.



Google News

Good Bye Google Glass, until we meet again!

Google will stop selling its 1500 USD worth, Glass (a wearable internet connected eye-glasses), to consumers until the company can develop a more polished and affordable version. The Google Glass is more of an explorer edition as of now. Google hasn’t disclosed how many units of the Glass’ Explorer version were sold. The company says about 100 businesses, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing and Taco Bell, are testing Glass as a tool for work.

Glass will now operate in a division steered by veteran marketing executive Ivy Ross, whose past experience includes stints at fashion-conscious companies such as Gap Inc. and Calvin Klein. Google will still sell a version of Glass to companies that have found uses for the device in their offices, stores and factories. The Mountain View, California, company still plans to come back with a new consumer model of Glass, but hasn’t set a timetable for the next release.

In a blog post, Google wrote –

It’s hard to believe that Glass started as little more than a scuba mask attached to a laptop. We kept on it, and when it started to come together, we began the Glass Explorer Program as a kind of “open beta” to hear what people had to say.

Explorers, we asked you to be pioneers, and you took what we started and went further than we ever could have dreamed: from the large hadron collider at CERN, to the hospital operating table; the grass of your backyard to the courts of Wimbledon; in fire stations, recording studios, kitchens, mountain tops and more.

Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk. Well, we still have some work to do, but now we’re ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run.

Since we first met, interest in wearables has exploded and today it’s one of the most exciting areas in technology. Glass at Work has been growing and we’re seeing incredible developments with Glass in the workplace. As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we’ve outgrown the lab and so we’re officially “graduating” from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We’re thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality.

As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next. January 19 will be the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition. In the meantime, we’re continuing to build for the future, and you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready. (For now, no peeking.)

Thanks to all of you for believing in us and making all of this possible. Hang tight—it’s going to be an exciting ride.

Google News

Google Custom Maps, My Maps is now integrated with Drive

Yesterday, Google announced the integration of My Maps in Drive; My Maps tool is used to build custom drives, trips and routes on Google Maps product is now integrated into Drive, which means users can easily build custom maps right inside the Google Drive.

To create a new map, Drive users simply click on “new,” followed by “more,” before clicking ‘Google My Maps’. You can add directions, points of interest and color-coated location markers in different shapes (a drop pin, star, square or circle). You can also draw lines to indicated borders or routes and add multiple sets of step-by-step directions, too. All of this can be sorted easy-to-manage layers of information.


In addition to accessing your Google My Maps in Drive, you can now add more layers and points of interest to your map, import bigger spreadsheets and include more details in each info box. Whether you’re mapping out the best travel spots, landmarks or destinations; you can add all your favourite areas with more details across even more layers.

Expected to roll out by next week to all Drive users, the new feature makes creating a map as easy as creating documents, spreadsheets or slideshows. Maps can be created on desktop Web browsers, but can be viewed and edited on computers or mobile devices. Once your map is made, you can email it, share it on Facebook, Twitter or Google+, and of course remove it from the Google Drive whenever you need it.

IT News, Tech Information and Analysis News

Google Introduces USB Security Key for 2-Step Verification

Few days back we were discussing on how to keep your Passwords and Online Accounts Safe; one of the tips was to use the Two Factor Authentication. Google today introduced the two step verification with Security Key. One can now choose Security Key as the primary method, instead of having verification codes sent to the phone.

With Security Key, one does not need to look or wait for codes on the phone and then re-type it; rather he/she can simply insert the Security Key into computer’s USB port when asked.

google_keyAs Google explains in a blog post, there are two advantages to using Security Key over a mobile device:

  • Better protection against phishing. Google sends a verification code to your phone when you try to sign in to confirm it’s you. However, sophisticated attackers could set up lookalike sites that ask you to provide your verification codes to them, instead of Google. Security Key offers better protection against this kind of attack, because it uses cryptography instead of verification codes and automatically works only with the website it’s supposed to work with.
  • No mobile connection or batteries needed. Security Key works without a data connection, and you can carry it wherever you go on a keychain or in your wallet.

To use Security Key, one will need a computer running Google Chrome version 38 or newer on ChromeOS, Windows, Mac OS, or Linux. Security Key and Chrome incorporate the open Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol from the FIDO Alliance, so other websites with account login systems can get FIDO U2F working in Chrome today.

Security Key works with Google Accounts at no charge, but you’ll need to buy a compatible USB device. You can buy one at Amazon here.


Google Launched Android One Phones in India

Today Google launched the first family of Android One phones in India as part of a larger initiative to bring high-quality smartphones to as many people as possible. These phones are available for purchase through online channels in India from today and at retail stores across India from early October.
The first three Android One smartphones are the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream UNO. The Karbonn Sparkle V (Magnum Blue, Mild Grey, Wild Red and Pearl White) is available online exclusively at Snapdeal; the Micromax Canvas A1 (Black, White) is available online exclusively at Amazon; and the Spice Dream UNO (Black, White) is available online exclusively at Flipkart. Prices start at Rs 6399.

The Android One phones offer a high-quality experience, running the latest version of Android (4.4 KitKat). They will be some of the first phones to get the new Android L release — an update that will offer Google’s new material design, improved battery life, enhanced security features, and smarter notifications. In terms of hardware, the phones feature front- and rear-facing cameras, 1G of memory, fast quad-core MediaTek processor, long battery life as well as features particularly important to Indians, including dual SIM slots, a FM radio tuner, and a microSD card slot for additional storage.

Through Google Play, Android One phones have access to over one million apps that allow people to message friends, make video calls, socialize, check news and weather, and play games. Google apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search, and Google Translate will come pre-loaded on the phones.

Airtel is offering a promotion to reduce data costs for those who buy Android One phones.  With an Airtel SIM card, Android One users will get free over-the-air (OTA) updates, and 200MB per month worth of app downloads from Google Play for the first six months — all without counting toward their mobile data plan. Additionally, a data compression feature on Android One’s Chrome browser will help compress the amount of data flowing between the phone and the Internet.

Google also announced that in coming weeks much of YouTube will be available offline in India, meaning that people can store videos in the YouTube app when they are on WiFi and watch them later — a great benefit for times with a slow connection or re-watching videos without using up the data plan.

Sundar Pichai, Google Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome & Apps, said, “If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone. While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable. With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone.”

At today’s Google press conference, Pichai also announced an expanded set of hardware partners for the Android One initiative, including Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo, as well as chipmaker Qualcomm.

Google also unveiled that Android One program will be available to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.


Jammu and Kashmir Floods, Tech that can help in Rescue.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is facing its worst floods in 60 years. Given that the flood has uprooted communication modes making the area almost inaccessible, companies have come forward to offer help from their side. This article briefs up a couple of initiatives.
Google Person Finder, a web application that allows individuals to post the details of, and search for the status of, family members or friends affected by the disaster. If you’re worried about someone in the disaster affected area, then click on “I’m Looking for Someone” and type in their name. If you want to let people know you’re safe, or if you have heard from someone in the disaster affected area, then click on “I have information about someone” and put in their names and details. As the number of names and records increases, the tool will make it easier for those who are safe to pass on their status to people worried about them. It is available in both English and Hindi.

Google has also made Person Finder available on mobile phones. You can request status via SMS by sending the message “Search”, followed by the person’s name i.e. “Search” <name>, to the number 9773300000 . For example, if you are searching for Rohan Gupta, send the message “Search Rohan Gupta”.

Aircel, an Indian Mobile network operator  is offering free calls to all its postpaid and prepaid J&K customers for the next two days, the 10th and 11th of September 2014, in its support towards the natural calamity faced in J&K. Aircel is also working together with the local administration and the Army to restore 2G network in the city and to ensure no outages reoccur on their 3G network, which is presently up and running in Srinagar.

Aircel has offered its network to all other mobile service operators to help the people of J&K to connect with their families and friends. In this need of the hour,  Aircel has also set up mobile charging units & calling booths to offer the stranded flood victims the facility to make free calls to their homes/families and friends. The booths are equipped with handsets, sufficient talk-time and mobile charging units to enable free calls.

The Rescue Teams of Aircel employees are working to evacuate people stranded in flooded areas. Aircel is also working closely with the local agencies and Government’s disaster management groups to render help and support with relief work being carried out. The company is also stocking up relief material like medicines, water, non-perishable food items at their offices.

While on-ground disaster response is being carried out by specialised entities, everyone can do their bit to help by sharing information. The helpline information of the Army, Home Ministry, and NDRF Control Room are  listed below:

  • Emergency Army Helpline:(+91) 011-23019831
  • Home Ministry Helpline:(+91) 011-23093054 · (+91) 011-23092763
  • NDRF Control Room:(+91) 011-26107953 · (+91) 0-9711077372

8 things to expect from Google IO 2014 as Announcements

Google IO is an annual conference conducted by Google to unveil different technology innovations and products which they have been working on. Google IO is just few hours away from now. Google was traditionally focussed on Consumer technologies; However, in the recent years, they have definitely made some good steps towards Enterprise Tech with Cloud, Chrome etc. If you are keen to watch the Keynote Live, you can check this link (June 25th, 9:00 AM PDT).

Update: Watch the Keynote here:

Firstly, with Vic writing about his plans beyond Google, it would be interesting to see who would present the Keynote this year. Here are somethings which I expect as Announcements in this year’s Google IO 2014. Let’s see, how many of these are blessed.

Google-IO-20141. Additions to the Android Ecosystem

No prizes for guessing, the top priority of Google has been its Android ecosystem and in the past year we have seen more Android devices hitting the market. The keynote may start with the statistics on devices and the Android footprints on these devices; followed with a couple of tech companies or startups who has used the platform to the best and unleash some new creative techs. I am not expecting a new version of Android; the KitKat on itself has been a very refined operating system. I would expect more and more devices to get upgraded to KitKat and then, lets move forward when Google make their plans for the next version of Android. I am not expecting a new Nexus Phone either. However, with rumours we may see a HTC tablet as a Nexus device. Not very sure on the form-factor, but it would be great, if they stick to 8′ and not something bigger than that.  For developers, we may see a new Android Development Studio to help better drag-drop controls.  We may also see some great applications on Home Automation solutions. We may definitely see some refinements w.r.t App Notifications etc  and that exactly brings to the next key area, wearables or rather, Android Wear.

2. App Readiness for Wearable Computing

There have been considerable number of consumer devices which are already announced/available in Market. The Google Glass was definitely one of them for the luxury segment; however, we had some smart watches announcements from players like Samsung, LG and Motorola. My favourite being the Moto 360.  The wearable technology has pretty much been a buzz word in the past year and I’m sure, Google is going to address it with some very smart APIs and use-cases which can make these devices more meaningful in our daily lives.  Continuing from the previous point on Android advancements, the wearables play a crucial role in designing the right interface for these in-app notifications, be it for Messages, Emails, Navigation, Google Now updates etc. Also we may see some good amount of guidelines on working with the sensors available on these watches for Google Fit and other Health tracking applicationsI won’t be surprised if the attendees of Google IO walk out with a smart watch. 

3. Cloud Adoption and BigQuery

In the recent months, we saw some great efforts from Google in arranging for the Cloud road shows to talk to developers around the country to take head on with Amazon and Microsoft on the Cloud business. They  had showcased every reason on why should one choose the App Engine / Compute Engine against an AWS or a Microsoft Azure solution. A couple of months ago, they even introduced Managed VMs  and unveiled new lower pricing for Google Cloud Platform users through Sustained Use Discounts that the company made available to users who run large projects on virtual machines. Under the new pricing scheme, users will save more as they use more virtual machines in the Google Cloud. To know more on the Sustained Use Discounts, read here. This Google IO, we may hear more reasons to choose Google Cloud Platforms.

 4. ChromeBooks

Well, ChromeBooks have been here and there for a while now. Though the idea and the concept of the devices was revolutionary, it never took off to a great extent; mainly due to the price reasons and its offline functionalities. Hopefully, we should see more devices in this segment and some advancements in the chromium software.

5. Polymer

Google did speak about Polymer at the Google IO last year, however, it was very much an early preview. This time, we should see more applications of these components. Polymer is a new type of library for the web, targeting the modern web platform, and useful for building web applications based on Web Components. Polymer attempts to embrace HTML as much as possible. Polymer has a compatibility on most of the modern browsers and mobile devices too. 

6. Google Ads

Advertisements and Monetisation has always been one of the areas which gets addressed at every Google IO. This year, we may again see some more statistics on the percentage break-ups for App Developers and guidelines on how they can design their apps for effective ad placements.

7. Consumer Techs – Maps, Wallet, Google Domains etc

Of-course, its always not Developers, there would be a good amount of mention on the new dimensions of Maps for Google. I am also guessing more disk space for Google Drive users.  Wallet has been there for sometime now; again this technology hasn’t taken off really well. Recently Google did add Wallet Support on Gmail too. However, we should expect to see some more applications of this technology. Few days back, Google also announced their Domain registration services as an invite only service. Tradionally, one looks out to search for the best domain name for their business, websites etc. Who better knows names than Google, this one is going to take off pretty awesome.  There are already some features listed out for Google Domains. Some of them being, no Additional charges for Private registration, Branded emails, customisable sub domains, and the most awesome scalable Google Infrastructure for stability. Very soon, we may see some writers choosing Google platform for their websites – right from buying the domain, hosting and running WordPress through Google App Engine, and using Google Apps for other applications like Drive, Emails, and Docs.

8. Design Guidelines

No Google IO is complete without a good amount of emphasis on Design principles and best practices. We may see more guidelines on designing better UX for Applications. Be it web, Mobile or Wearables. Most Importantly, the concept of one ecosystem and unified experience across devices. 

Now All Eyes on the Keynote which is just few hours away. Let’s circle back post Google IO. Do let me know, if I may have missed anything in this short article.

Google Microsoft

Deliver Windows Apps on a Google Chromebook through Citrix XenApp

Is your enterprise planning or actively involved in a Windows XP migration project that includes Google Chromebooks as the new computing platform? To successfully make this transition, do you need to deliver business-critical Windows applications to these devices?  Citrix and Google have been working together since 2010 to ensure Chromebook users can easily access Windows apps—without them having to first launch a virtual desktop or IT having to migrate apps and data to the cloud and learn a whole new desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) management model.

Have a look at other cloud management models here


Citrix XenApp is the market-leading Windows virtual application delivery solution for Chromebooks. It’s based on 25 years of pioneering innovations in the delivery of secure apps and data to users over any network on any device.  With XenApp Platinum and Chromebooks, enterprise IT can:

  • Implement a stateless, app-centric computing solution that’s secure by design
  • Deliver five generations of Windows applications from the same infrastructure
  • Provision Windows, SaaS, Web, and Google Apps with an unmatched total cost of ownership
  • Adopt the latest Chromebooks from OEMs such as HP, Dell, Samsung, Acer and Toshiba
  • Enable a high-definition app user experience via Citrix Receiver for HTML5
  • Scale company-controlled Windows apps seamlessly to over 100,000 users

To learn more about the Citrix XenApp Platinum promotion for Chromebooks: Attend a Webinar here

Source: Citrix News


Send Money to Friends and Family on Gmail: Google Wallet

Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail. Transferring funds is as simple as sending an email. With over 425 million users of gmail, this integration would instantly give Google Wallet a wider reach than other digital financial services like PayPal have.

It’s free to send money from your Google Wallet Balance or directly from a linked bank account. When you use your credit or debit card to send money, a 2.9% fee per transaction (minimum $0.30) will apply. Once you receive money into your Wallet Balance, you can access it instantly with the Google Wallet Card. You can purchase in stores by swiping the card at millions of MasterCard locations, or you can withdraw cash from ATMs. You can also transfer the money to your bank account, use it to buy on Google Play or send money to friends.
Attach Money on Gmail - Google Wallet

To send money, you must live in the US and have a US home address in Google Wallet.

Receiving money is also simple and free. All you would need to do is, Open Gmail, Open the message with attached money and click Claim money. You’ll be prompted to sign up for Google Wallet and verify your identity. Once you’ve completed identity verification, navigate back to the message and click Claim money again. After claiming money for the first time, funds will be automatically added to your Google Wallet Balance. To know more on Google Wallet, read here

Google is rolling this out to all US based Gmail users; if you haven’t got it yet, you just gotta wait for sometime :). You can also get earlier access if your friends have the feature and send money to you. If you’ve already claimed money from someone, you will need to wait about 30 minutes and then refresh Gmail to see the $ icon.

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