Google has announced that it is working with 5 major US brands to bring offline marketing to Google Goggles.
The Google Goggles app allows users to search for objects on Google by taking its picture from the mobile’s camera.
In a blog post, Google said that it has partnered with Buick, Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines to make some of their offline advertisements compatible with Google Goggles.
Now, whenever users take pictures of certain print advertisements by these brands, Google Goggles will recognise the company in the advert and redirect the users to its mobile website.
“We developed Google Goggles so that people could more easily explore the world around them with a mobile device. In this experiment, we’re applying the same principles, and the same technology, by ‘Goggles-enabling’ advertisements and other media, and offering to link people to the mobile sites from these brands,” Shailesh Nalawadi, Product Manager, Google Goggles, wrote on the blog.
Google’s Goggle app is available to download for both iOS and Android-based devices from their respective app stores.
The official Google Voice app for the iPhone is now available to download from the App Store having got approval from Apple.
In a blog post, the company said that the native Google Voice app for the iPhone will bring all the traditional Google Voice features to the iPhone, like free text messages in the US, cheap international phone calls, voicemail transcriptions and the ability to display the Google Voice number as caller ID while making calls.
Previously, Google had launched a Google Voice app for the iPhone only for it to be blocked by Apple from the iTunes App Store. Unfettered, Google had released a web-based version of Google Voice that could be accessed from the iPhone’s web browser.
According to Google, the new app supports push notifications that instantly alerts users that they have received a new voicemail or text message. The company also said that a majority of the calls will be placed using Direct Access Numbers, allowing them to connect as quickly as regular phone calls.
Facebook has released a workaround to allow users to export contact information from Google, despite the search giant blocking the service.
On Friday Google updated the terms of service for its Contacts API, which prevented a third party, like Facebook, from taping the user’s data.
Facebook has now found out a clever way to bypass the restriction and download contact information from a Gmail account.
According to TechCrunch Facebook has installed a new button on its “find your friends” page, which will allow users to automatically download contacts in a CVS file and later import them to their Facebook account.
In response to this move, Google said in a statement that it is disappointed with Facebook, which didn’t invest time in making it possible for users to get their contacts out of Facebook.
Facebook engineer Mike Vernal said that Google’s own social networking site Orkut treated contact information the same way as Facebook is doing today which is preventing user data from being imported by a third party, exposing the hypocrisy.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that the Android OS has broken even, raking in enough advertising revenue to cover its development costs.
When Google had first launched the mobile phone platform, a lot of people, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had dismissed it for having no revenue model as Google gave the software to its hardware partners for free.
Google however, had other ideas. By making itself the default e-mail, search and mapping client, the internet search giant looked to form a massive mobile advertising network, which has grown increasingly successful and become a thorn in the sides of Apple and Microsoft.
In an article published by Newsweek, Schmidt said that Android advertising revenue was covering its software development costs.
He also predicted that Android had the potential to power one billion smartphones in the future, which could result in $10 billion year-on-year revenue for Google, even if a person only spends $10 every year on Android services, like its online store which offers music and videos.
Search engine giant Google has agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit initiated by users furious about the way social networking feature Buzz was thrusted upon them.
The service, which has been launched back in November, has been presented as a social networking and messaging tool and initially leveraged the hundreds of millions of users that Gmail has.
Buzz offers similar features as Twitter and can integrate with a number of other online services as well; in addition, comments can be organised into conversations and will be visible in the user’s inbox.
The group of seven Gmail users claimed that Buzz had violated their personal privacy and will each receive $2,500; the some of the money, $2.55 million going to the legal team and the rest to organisations that advocate online privacy.
Google had been criticised because Buzz automatically opted in users and shared details with their contacts with limited granular controls; in one case, the contact of one user had been shared with her former “abusive” husband.
The settlement has yet to be approved by the federal judge in charge of the case and will see Google being more actively involved in educating people about privacy controls in Buzz.
Google commented in a statement that “We have always been committed to offering users transparency and choice in Buzz and all our products, and will continue to work together with users to provide the best user experience possible.”
Google has launched yesterday night its Google Voice service, one which allows users to call via their Gmail interface, landlines and mobiles across the world either for free or for every cheap.
The service, which is seen by many as a competitor to Skype, may well be a building block for Google as it looks to construct (or rebuild) its own social networking website in a bid to challenge Facebook.
We’ve rounded up five things that will help you understand the new feature that Google is offering through Gmail.
(1) It still doesn’t have a name
Google hasn’t yet chosen a name for the service, it just calls it “call phone”. It is actually a feature rather than a service and with no plans to introduce it as a standalone attraction, “call phone” is likely to remain just another within Gmail alongside “task”.
(2) It has been accidentally rolled out to non US customers
Google has apparently allowed some of its customers outside the UK and we were one of the few lucky ones to get it AND make a call (earlier today). We had 10c worth of credit on ours and even if Google did disable the feature, it did leave the backend intact.
(3) Not available as stand alone
You cannot download and install any software that will allow you to perform the service. The nearest thing to it, Google Talk allows free calls between Google Talk users but not to traditional landlines and mobile phones. Will this change at some point in the future? Possibly not.
(4) Not the cheapest around
Google’s VoIP service might be the cheapest for calling the US and Canada but it certainly is not the cheapest when calling other countries including France, UK and others. This is particularly true in territories where internet penetration is not high; dedicated VoIP services will almost certainly offer cheaper prices as they tend to have much lower running costs.
(5) QoS should be better than on most mobile phones
We briefly tested the service today during a 30 second call using a laptop and were quite surprised by the quality of the call, one which we found out to be better than on most mobiles. Mobile technology still uses poor quality audio whilst VoIP services like Skype and Truphone offer much better quality because they do not carry any legacy technology.
Four US lawmakers have appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to scrap the net neutrality plan proposed by Google and Verizon.
The politicians have claimed that the two companies should not be able to decide how a US citizen can access the internet.
In a letter sent to the FCC, Democratic members Jay Inslee of Washington, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Anna Eshoo of California and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, maintained that while the US needed to set-up laws for net neutrality in the country, corporate CEOs should not have a say in this.
The members of the House of Representatives argued that companies would only use the proposed net neutrality laws to “carve up the Internet to suit its own purposes”.
They have also appealed to the FCC to subject wireless broadband internet to the same laws it will impose on wired or fixed line broadband connections.
In a statement to PC World, Jay Inslee, said: “Net neutrality is not about imposing a new set of rules, net neutrality is about preserving the open Internet and empowering consumers and small businesses to bring the next generation of entrepreneurial drive to the World Wide Web.”
Pedestrians can be removed from images on Google Street View thanks to a new program developed by a graduate student at the University of California.
The still unnamed computer program replaces photographs of people captured by the Street View cameras and replaces them with pixel representations of background buildings, foliage and pavement.
The program is said to be still in the experimental stage, and so struggles to replace images that don’t have a flat background.
The newly developed technique is expected to become an important tool to protect user privacy in the future.
Since the start of Google’s Street View project, people have continually raised concerns over their privacy as images have been captured of people unwilling to have their picture broadcast publicly across the globe.
Google, prior to uploading the photos, takes care in blurring peoples’ faces and car license plate numbers, but privacy activists claim that some people are identifiable from their clothes, the way they walk, their height, their figure and the location they are photographed in.
Google has been dubbed the “King of Malware” by security firm Barracuda Networks after it found that the search engine linked to more sites containing malware than Yahoo, Bing and Twitter combined.
The study, which analysed in detail 25,000 Trending Topics, comprising 5.5 million search results, found that Google’s search engine accounted for 69 per cent of links to malware, with Yahoo and Bing at 18 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
Micro-blogging platform Twitter accounted for just one per cent of malware.
According to Barracuda Networks, the malware-laden Trending Topics that appear on Twitter only took 1.2 days to appear on Google, but took 4.3 days to show up on Bing and 4.8 days on Yahoo.
The company believes that the massive popularity of Google’s search engine is the main reason behind the increasing number of malware-infested sites being picked up by the platform.
It also states that Google’s search algorithm is far more responsive than those of its rivals, allowing the site to pick up new Trending Topics more quickly.
John Herlihy, Google’s VP of Global Ad Operations, has claimed that desktop PCs would become “irrelevant” in three years down the line, as reported by Silicon Republic.
Addressing the Digital Landscapes Conference in Dublin, Herlihy predicted a bleak future for desktop PCs, as smartphones, notebooks, along with other gadgets are evidently gaining grounds over them.
In his keynote speech, Herlihy said: “In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs”.
His dour comments about the future of desktop PCs echoed a speech made by Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt, who asserted that Google is working on mobile, not desktop, search domains, and even urged developers to create applications for the same.
In his speech at the recently held Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Schmidt indicated that global sales of smartphones and other high-end handheld devices have been soaring at a rapid pace would soon surpass sales of traditional PCs in the coming years.
However, this prediction seems to be a distant dream, as a recent UN report claimed that around two-third population across the globe use mobile phones, and the handset revolution is still in its nascent stage.
Furthermore, if these bulkier desktops are at all disappearing, the space so created would apparently be more suitable for lighter, smarter, mobile laptops.
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