Lately Google has been cranking out important updates and improvements to many of its products across all of its platforms (Android, IOS, Gmail, etc). Today we see yet another improvement coming out of the Mountain View company, this time in connection with its quickly growing Google+ social network. The company announced on its blog today that it will be rolling out a new feature within Google+ called “Google+ Communities”. Google+ Communities act as a hub around which people with common interests can gather, discuss, debate, trade ideas and more. In essence it functions in many ways like a Facebook “group”, but catered toward specific interests. The communities are arranged by topics (photography, surfing, Android, music) so people of a like-mind can flock together, make new friends, network and more.
Vic Gundotra announced today that Google+, in just one year, has hit the 400 million total user milestone. He also mentioned that Google’s social network has 100 million active users per month, including both Web and mobile users. It still has some catching up to do to reach Facebook’s 955 million active users per month, but it took Facebook much longer than a year to reach those numbers.
With Android activating over a million devices daily, Google+ only stands to keep growing, and that’s a good thing. Personally, I prefer Google’s UI over Facebook’s, and the overall user experience feels cleaner. But with so many people I know still on Facebook and not “upgraded” to G+, both social networks are still required. This is most likely true for most of us.
Do you use Google+? Exclusively, or in combination with Facebook? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
source: vic gundotra on google+
Ten heads are better than one, or so our friends at Google think as they have today unveiled that Google+ Hangouts will be replacing Google Talk as the embedded video chat service within Gmail. From today the service will be available for all users with a personal Google account, you’ll need to sign up for Google+ to enable the video conferencing feature.
Google Talk has long been Google’s messaging service since it launched on desktops back in summer 2005. It was also a mainstay of Android right from the very beginning, included as a core application in version 1.0 back in 2008. Google later added video calling to the application via the Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 update for the Samsung Nexus S.
Cue the launch of Google+ back in summer 2011. Google+ has had mixed success to date, although still very much a work in progress. All pros and cons considered, it’s fair to say that Hangouts has been one of the stand-out features of the service. As soon as Google+ was launched many Android users questioned the need for both Hangouts and Google Talk. Could this latest move be a nail in the coffin for Google Talk? Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Source: Gmail Blog
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. Read more
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!
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 126.96.36.1999322 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
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.
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 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,