Google Play Celebrates Its First Birthday

Ever wanted something specific from the Google Play store but didn't want to fork over the cash for it? Well, maybe this is the week to do it. Google announced yesterday that in honor of Google Play's first birthday, it was offering a week of deals and discounts in its media and app store. The Web giant is giving special deals on music, movies, books, magazines, TV shows, and games.

Google's Chromebook Pixel Elevates Chrome OS

In an attempt to satisfy cloud-computing power users, Google launched its Chromebook Pixel, a $1,299 laptop with a high-resolution touch screen that's now the flagship of the Chrome OS fleet. It is a 3.3-pound computer that brings a lot more polish to a product family that's been much more about low cost. Chrome OS runs Web apps in the browser rather than native apps written for traditional operating systems such as iOS or Windows, and the focus so far has been on consumer machines with a low sticker price and business machines that are cheap to manage.

9th Edition Of Google's Summer Of Code Program

As expected, Google will once again run its Summer of Code program for college students around the world this year. Students who make it into the competitive program get to work on open-source projects for mentoring organizations from around the globe. Over the past eight editions, 6,000 students from more than 100 countries participated in the program. Students will able to submit their applications starting April 22.

Google Glass Turns Up in FCC Filing

Google Glass took another step toward reality yesterday when its maker filed paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission laying out key technical specifications and certifying its compatibility with various standards. The documents are a routine part of bringing a new wireless device to the market. They describe a device augmented by a Broadcom 2.4GHz 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi radio and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy.

Google Updates Image Search to be Faster

Google announced that it is revamping its image search to make it speedier and more reliable. Soon, people will be able to simultaneously see images and image information while searching for photos, illustrations, and graphics. Google Images Associate Product Manager Hongyi Li wrote in a blog post that based on feedback from both users and webmasters, they redesigned Google Images to provide a better search experience.

Google Looks to Ditch Passwords

Google engineers are testing new tools that could replace passwords as the primary way of authenticating identity on the web. Google is currently running a pilot that uses a YubiKey cryptographic card developed by Yubico — a startup operated out of Sweden and the US, which has produced a two-factor authentication fob that can emit encrypted one-time passwords to NFC-enabled smartphones.

Google Glass Development Charges Ahead

It's been six months since Google unveiled its Google Glass project, and it appears the tech giant is still hard at work ironing out the kinks to get the product ready for consumption. In an interview with IEEE Spectrum published yesterday, the head of the Google Glass project, Babak Parviz, said his team is continuing to try out new ideas and that both the software and hardware development is coming along.

Scan and Match Arrives in U.S.

Google Music has always been a very nice music locker, but while European users were able to use its iTunes Match-like scan-and-match feature since last month, U.S.-based users only got access to this tool on Tuesday. Until now, U.S. users had to upload all of their music to the service, which could obviously take a while. since Tuesday, Google can just scan your music collection and rebuilt it on Google Music without the need to transfer gigabytes of data.

Google to Phase Out Sync, Other Services

Google will begin to phase out its Sync service for consumers and discontinue several other services in early January. The shuttering of the services, described as winter cleaning by the company, was announced in a post on its official blog. Google Sync allows access to mail, calendar and contacts via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Google said it will continue to offer the same functionality through the IMAP and CardDAV protocols.

Google Maps for iPhone is Here

Google has released a native maps app for the iPhone and it's fast, full-featured, and quite frankly the best-looking mobile maps experience on the market today. After months of problems and a formal apology in the wake of Apple's own Maps app on iOS 6, many have been waiting for Google to offer a solution that could serve as a viable replacement. If the brief demo Dieter Bohn saw earlier this week is any indication, Google has delivered.

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