With last week’s release of an updated version of the Chrome browser for Android, Google debuted a new feature that will allow websites to engage with mobile users by way of push notifications, making websites more competitive with native apps. Now we know which websites will be among the first to support Chrome push notifications on web and mobile, thanks to additional details Google announced this morning which notes that early adopters for the technology include Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News, Roost and Mobify.
Google is launching a new website focused on selling its hardware products, the company's latest effort to attract buyers to its devices. The search giant on Wednesday announced the Google Store, a website where people can buy physical products including the company's Nexus smartphones and tablets, Chromebook laptops, Chromecast streaming devices, and more. The store will also sell devices like Nest, an Internet-connected thermostat the company bought last year.
Google may be soon adding more offline and private sharing features to its Google+ Photos service. It has acquired Odysee, an iOS and Android app that let users automatically back up photos and videos taken on their cameras or tablets to their home computers. It also let users set up private, automatic sharing with other people, and it had an API for integrating the service with other apps. The app will be shut down effective February 23, with the team behind it joining Google+ to “continue to focus on building amazing products that people love.”
A couple of years ago, right around the time Google’s Gmail team decided to start working on a standalone email app — the recently announced Inbox — a major redesign of Gmail was launched. As is the case with all Google products it was first released internally as “dogfood” to let Googlers themselves digest all the new features, or as was the case with this particular redesign, the removal of most of the advanced features.
Google may be tightening the ties between its operating systems for mobile devices and PCs, but they won't be merging anytime soon, a senior member of one of Google's software teams said. In a wide-ranging interview at Google's corporate headquarters here, Brian Rakowski, Google's vice president of product management for Android, said that the two teams in charge of the Android mobile device software and the Chrome OS software for PCs work together much more. But that won't mean sweeping changes, at least for now.
The launch date for the latest version of Google's mobile operating system was apparently revealed in a note to app developers obtained by Android Police. The note tells developers that the Software Development Kit for Android 5.0 is now available. Google further advises developers that they can start developing and testing their apps via the Android 5.0 platform and publish apps that target the latest version to the Google Play store.
If you've been feeling overwhelmed by a mountain of email in Gmail, you may be glad to know that Google wants to help. But there's a twist: the help will come from Inbox, a free email app now available by invitation that promises to better organize messages. Developed by the Gmail team, Inbox is intended to coexist with Google's flagship email product, not replace it.
Google made a small but important update to Google Analytics that finally makes it easy to exclude bots and spiders from your user stats. That kind of traffic from search engines and other web spiders can easily skew your data in Google Analytics. Unfortunately, while generating fake traffic from all kinds of bot networks is big business and accounts for almost a third of all traffic to many sites according to some reports, Google is only filtering out traffic from known bots and spiders. It’s using the IAB’s “International Spiders & Bots List” for this, which is updated monthly.
Google has acquired music streaming service Songza after weeks of speculation around a potential buyout. Songza uses information about the user and context to determine the best playlists for you at any given time, all of which are curated by music experts (DJs, Rolling Stone writers, etc.). Very few services look to human curation to enhance the music experience — Pandora, Spotify, and other big players rely heavily on algorithms — making this one of the key selling points of the service.
Google lets people click a star icon to flag interest in particular Gmail messages, Chrome bookmarks, Android address book contacts, and Google Apps documents. Now it looks like the company is testing a service called Stars that could centralize the idea. Google+ user and Google watcher Florian Kiersch has spotted graphics, code snippets, and other tidbits about Google Stars since April. On Monday, he posted a Google Stars video showing how some of the service could work, based on access to Google's "dogfooding" test framework.