Google Places Is No More, Google+ Adds Zagat Rankings And Is Now Called “Google+ Local” (Video)

If you were wondering what Google was going to do with the newly acquired Zagat, just check out your Google+ page.  The search giant has added a little kick to Maps and to your general search functions on the site.  You’ll now find Zagat’s point system in place and will automatically pop up in search results when looking for your favorite resaurant or hot spot.  And if you’ve always been weary about who’s leaving feedback on these places, fear not. The site will now allow you to view Google+ friends’ favorite places and what they’ve had to say about them, certainly a review you can trust, right?  Google has even added a Local tab on Google+ to show you recommendations.  So, if you need to find the hottest spot around, your favorite sandwich or a sushi place, you’re in for a treat with Google’s new service.  The feature is now live so head on over to your Plus page and get started. Check out the videos below as well touting the new service.  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.  
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Updated Google+ App Gets a Visual Make Over and Makes Hangouts Easier to Launch

While I may not post much on Google+ I do use the app on a daily basis. It keeps me checked in to the various Android happenings (like TalkAndroid) out there as well as my close friends who only use that network. However the kicker is, while the app is useful it just feels there and not really too polished. But all that has changed as the new Google+ experience has hit Android. Here’s what you’ll see in the new update:


  • - Visual refresh of the stream and improved navigation
  • - Initiate a Hangout from the main menu
  • - Support for ringing hangout notification
  • - Support for post editing
  • - Messenger suggestions for people you may know
  • - Download photos from posts or Messenger conversations

If you’re interested in picking this up we have the QR Code and Google Play Store link after the break. I like the idea of easily being able to access hangout and having Google+ look more natural to the ICS environment. If you haven’t already done so, hit the links below. Enjoy!

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Google + for Android receives update bringing new features

For those of you that are currently enjoying mobile hangouts and group messaging, Google has just updated their Google + for Android app in the Play Store. Version will now bring users support for hashtags, improved sharing support for 3rd party apps, along with the typical bug fixes. Google + is still quite small compared to other giants like Facebook, but to no surprise, Google is starting to provide users more options and different methods for staying connected with friends and family. I strongly encourage anyone interested to hit the Play Store link below and check it out.


Play Store Download Link

Google Maps-Based Game Set To Be Launched For Google+ [Video]

What would you say if I told you that you could play a game using Google Maps and Google+? You’d probably call me crazy and think that would be unusual, if not impossible. Well kids, the ability to play a game using both Google Maps and Google+ is now a reality. Let me explain: Google has nonchalantly released a promo video which highlights the ability to “Play your world, like never before” and then leads you to a link to “Start Here“, directing you to other cool videos on how to use Google Maps.

The game is based off a unique technology used by the Google Maps development team. The technology— called WebGL– features a unique 3D engine powering the graphics. What’s special about the technology is it can create 3D web graphics you can see without having to install additional drivers or software.

There’s one other subtle feature as well for this concept as well.  You remember how Google acquired Zagat, but has been mysteriously mum about its intentions since? Well it looks like we now have a hint of Zagat’s integration with Google services. If you look at the demo carefully, you’ll see the ability to earn more points for rolling over Zagat-rated venues and locations. Neat, isn’t it? You can always count on Google to be clever and witty when it comes to their products and services.

Look for the game to come out sometime next month. In the meantime, check out the video below to get an idea of how this cool game works.


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[via Mashable]





Android Promises a Surprise This Monday on Google+

Well it appears that Android knows that we like surprises as they have something in store for us tomorrow. While we don’t know what it is, others are hopeful that it deals with a wide release of Ice Cream Sandwich. We aren’t sure about that, but we are just as much in the dark as you folks are. So with that, it appears that we will have to wait until tomorrow sometime to see what Google and Android have in store for us. Stay tuned!

[via Android on Google+]

Google’s Chris DiBona Calls Out Mobile Antivirus Companies

Google’s Open Source Programs Manager, Chris DiBona, recently posted a to his Google+ page a rant of sorts calling out mobile antivirus companies.

“Sometimes I read an article about open source that drives me nuts. A recent one stated, without irony, that ‘critics have been pounding the table for years about open source being inherently insecure’ and that android is festooned with viruses because of that and because we do not exert apple like controls over the app market.”

In the post that follows he effectively explains how there is nothing inherently insecure about open source. Further more, no major cell phone has a ‘virus’ problem in the traditional sense that windows and some mac machines have seen. If there were, they haven’t gotten very far due to the user sandboxing models and the nature of the underlying kernels. Then his post gets especially juicy,

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Google+ Update Now Available In Android Market

Google has given Android users a special treat tonight. The latest Google+ update is now available in the Android Market. The update includes a new look to the UI that closely resembles that of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), some bug fixes, and new translations. This looks and sounds like it will fix various issues users may have had previously using the app. Hit the break to see specific changes in the update as well as the QR code and link to download the app.

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Google+ gets open enrollment and cool multiple video chat in “Hangouts”

Google+ announced today that it has entered its Beta phase and along with it bringing open enrollment and a much appreciated update to its mobile application.

It has been hard for me to be an avid Google+ user because not everybody has been able to create an account due to an invite only status. Now that it is fair game to all, no invite required, the new social networking site should see an increased influx of users. With hopes that more of my friends and contacts sign up for the service, I plan to use the network more frequently. And now that the mobile app has also received some really cool updates, the experience is sure to bring more people together in ways unavailable to them before.

Hangouts were once limited to desktop use and allows video chat between multiple users. With the recent update to the mobile platform, you are free to video chat with your friends while on the go. When you notice a hangout within your stream,  just join in and you should be all set for an audio/video experience that expands the way in which we communicate within a social networking group. In order to do so, you must download the latest update and have an Android phone running 2.3 and up. iDevices are not supported so feel free to rub that in to the respective owners although an update for them has been said to follow at a later date.

Join us after the break for more features and a link to download or upgrade the Google+ app.

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Google Propeller – Social reader app

Hot on the heels of Google+, Google’s social networking push is still going strong. Taking a slightly different turn from a simple social network, along comes Google Propeller. Although not yet officially announced, Propeller is expected to be a content delivery system with a social aspect. While not much has been disclosed, sources close to the project describe it as “mind-blowingly good.” On top of a pretty interface, the way in which Google allows publishers to distribute content will also be a draw. Propeller is said to give publishers different packaging and distribution options such as a web app for publishing and distributing as well as layout options allowing end users to view content on a multitude of devices. Publishers utilizing the service will also be able to incorporate other Google services which will undoubtedly play a supporting role to Propeller; services like AdSense, Checkout, and Analytics.

[via nexus404]