Google Cloud Platform Meets the Internet of Things

After last year's Google I/O conference, the Google Cloud Platform Developer Relations team started to think about how attendees experienced the event. They wanted to help attendees gain more insight about the conference space and the environment itself. Which developer Sandboxes were the busiest? Which were the loudest locations, and which were the best places to take a quick nap? They think about data problems all the time, and this looked like an interesting big data challenge that we could try to solve. So this year, they decided to try to answer their questions with a project that's a bit different, kind of futuristic, and maybe a little crazy.

Google Launches Content Recommendation Engine

Google continues to increase the reach of its Google+ platform, and today the company is launching a new mobile content recommendation service powered by Google+. These recommendations will appear as small widgets at that bottom of the screen as users browse a news site that has enabled this service. Google’s launch partner for this service is Forbes, but others can implement these recommendations by just adding a single line of code to their mobile sites. Recommendations, Google says, can appear regardless of whether a users are signed in to Google+.

Quickoffice In The Browser

Over the course of the last week, Microsoft started a very negative anti-Google Docs campaign that fits the mold of its more general Scroogled anti-Google ads. But why the sudden focus on Google’s productivity tools? Quickoffice, which Google acquired last June, allows users to read and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the iPad, iPhone and Android.

Google Unveils Redesigned Play Store

Remember that hefty leak from a few weeks back that pointed to a dramatic redesign for Google’s Play Store Android app? Well, in case you were still unconvinced, Google has confirmed that just such a facelift has been in the works, and that the new 4.0 version of the Play Store app will start rolling out to devices running Android 2.2 and newer some time today.

Google Axes UDID Support

Google released an AdMob SDK for iOS developers today that completes its transition away from allowing apps access to Unique Device Identifiers, weeks before Apple's official deadline for retiring the system. UDIDs are the unique string of numbers that individually identifies each cellular device. Typically, they have been used by developers to track app installations across Apple's user base. Tracking users lets companies tailor advertising to each individual, but it also raises a host of privacy concerns.

Google Launches Maps Engine Lite

For years now, Google has offered its Google Maps Engine to enterprises that want to visualize their custom geospacial data. Starting today, anybody will be able to use a subset of this functionality, thanks to the launch of Google Maps Engine Lite (beta). This new tool, Google says, will allow any mapping enthusiast to “create and share robust custom maps using this powerful, easy-to-use tool.”

Google Launches its Keep Service

Google unveiled its rumored Keep service, giving users a new way to create and save notes and integrate them with Google Drive. The service is live both on the Web and in a new app for Android devices running on 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.

Google to Kill Off Google Reader

Google has announced that it will kill off its RSS reader application Google Reader as of July 1, 2013, citing a slowdown in usage since the service launched in 2005. Google Reader allows users to subscribe to content from their favorite news and blog sites from a unified web interface similar to an email inbox. The internet giant's senior vice president of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle announced today that after eight years, the service will be brought to an end.

Android 4.0 and Above Eat Away at Gingerbread

Android's Gingerbread operating system has sticking power, but it's finally starting to loosen its hold. New numbers from Google show that nearly half of all Android devices are running versions of 4.0 and above - surpassing Gingerbread's individual installed base. Ice Cream Sandwich, 4.0, and Jelly Bean, 4.1 and 4.2, combined run on 45.1 percent of Android devices, according to numbers from the two week period ending on March 4. This is a 2.5 percent increase over last month.

Google Maps For iOS Gets First Big Update

Google yesterday pushed out its first update to its mapping software on Apple's iOS, adding a few new features. Chief among them is integration with a user's Google contact list, a feature that will pull up any addresses you have stored with Google, and not just on your phone. The update also adds a new option in the search menu that will quickly look for nearby points of interest, including restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, and coffee shops. You could search for these things before, but the new menu means you don't actually have to type out the search.

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