Google Launches Helpouts

Helpouts, Google’s fusion of Google+ Hangouts, Google Wallet, and its identity tools is now live. A ‘Helpout’ is a Hangout-like video chat, but instead of speaking with a friend, you are connected to a purported expert in whatever it is that you need help with. The tagline that Google has come up with for Helpouts is “real help from real people in real time.”

Google Debuts Parental Controls For Chrome

Google is officially beginning to roll out parental controls in its Chrome web browser in the form of a new “Supervised Users” feature that is live now in the beta channel for early testing ahead of its expected public release. The option allows a user, most likely a parent, to lock down the Chrome browser running on their device in order to allow and block access to certain websites, enable SafeSearch for filtering Google search results, and maintain a history of the websites visited, among other things.

Google App Engine Adds New Starter Package

Google App Engine has added a new starter package to speed iOS development. The new service,  Mobile Backend Starter for iOS, is designed to speed the development of connected mobile apps without writing server-side code. The new service allows users to store data in the cloud and share it between users.

New Google Maps Regains Support For Multi-Destination Trips

The big, still-in-Beta Google Maps overhaul brought a bunch of new shiny stuff, from its new fullscreen interface to drastically improved public transportation integration. It also lost some features, though – and when you take away things that people have been using for years, those people get sad. One of the features that got washed away in the refresh: multi-destination trips.

Google Begins Barring Browser Plug-ins from Chrome

 In case it wasn't clear before, a Google decision has shown the writing is on the wall for plug-ins such as Java and Silverlight that for years have been used to extend what browsers can do. Starting in January 2014, Google will ban all but the most widely used browser plug-ins in favor of programming methods that use standards built directly into the Web, Chrome security engineer Justin Schuh announced in a blog post Monday.

Google Updates Chrome For iOS

When it comes to voice search, Google still runs circles around its competitors. Today’s update to Chrome for iOS adds a new layer of intelligence to this feature and now lets you use pronouns. The company previously introduced this capability a few months ago and already uses it on the desktop and Android. Thanks to this, you can now ask it “Who is the president of the United States?” and you can then use the pronoun in the next question instead of Barack Obama’s full name.

Google Expands Role In Digital Education

It’s turning into a busy week for Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers, and the tech companies that love them — particularly Google. On Monday, Udacity co-founder and CEO Sebastian Thrun and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the Open Education Alliance, a consortium of online organizations dedicated to closing the skills gap, developing standards for career readiness and providing the content that will help get students ready for the workforce.

Google Announces 1B Total Android Activations

Apple made waves yesterday when it announced its oft-rumored September 10 event, but Google isn’t giving up the day’s limelight without a fight — according to a post on Sundar Pichai’s Google+ page, more than 1 billion Android devices have been activated to date. That’s not exactly a shock considering the sort of momentum we’ve seen in activations over the past few months. CEO Larry Page said there were 1.5 million Android activations a day back in July and Android device activations hit the 900 million mark earlier this year.

Google Drive Gets Updated Link Tool For Docs

Here is a small but useful update to Google Drive: the hyperlink tool, which isn’t exactly the most glamorous part of any online editor, now automatically shows you top search results from Google, bookmarks in a document and related files on Drive that you can link to with just a simple click. You only have to highlight the word you want to link, click on the hyperlink icon (or press Ctrl-K if you prefer keyboard shortcut) and off you go.

Google Nexus Devices are First to Get Android 4.3

Google executive Huga Barra said that Google's Nexus family of devices will be the first to get the new version of Jellybean Android 4.3, but the Google Play Edition phones will have to wait a little while. Android 4.3 isn't a big enough upgrade to the Android software to get its own dessert name, but that doesn't mean Google fans won't be clamoring for it. So which devices will get the new release of software first?

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