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Google Is Shutting Down Orkut, Its First Social Network, On September 30

orkut-logo Google announced today that it is shutting down its first social network, Orkut, on September 30. Orkut, launched in 2004 and named after Google engineer Orkut Büyükkökten, who created it, was very popular in Brazil, where for years it was the leading social network. Facebook finally surpassed it the country in January 2012. Orkut was also heavily used in India, but never gained traction in the U.S. and with the creation of Google+ three years ago, the end of Orkut was only a matter of time. "It's been a great 10 years, and we apologize to those still actively using the service [...]


Google’s Answer To Facebook’s Oculus Rift Is Cheap “Cardboard”

Google Cardboard VR Goggles I was blown away when I recently strapped on the Oculus Rift headset and experienced the potential of virtual reality (VR). Facebook saw that potential and spent roughly $2 billion on the company earlier this year. At last week's Google I/O, the company introduced its answer to Oculus Rift and may have largely undermined Facebook's move to dominate the virtual-reality future of the internet. The image at right is Google's cardboard headset. It uses a smartphone, some open-source software and a few other bits of inexpensive hardware to create a low-cost VR headset. The company introduced [...]


Millennials Eating Up YouTube Food Channels, Driving 280% Growth In Subscriptions

YouTube Food Content report Going on YouTube's recent numbers around its food content, Millennials are proving to be big-time foodies -- or, at least, love watching food videos. According to Google, YouTube users age 18 to 34 watch 30 percent more food videos than any other demographic, helping drive a 280 percent growth in food channel subscriptions over the last twelve months. In the past year, YouTube has experienced a 59 percent growth in food and recipe content, and food channels have garnered a 118 percent increase in social engagement (likes, comments and shares). With help from Millward Brown Digital and [...]


Google’s Eric Schmidt Visits Cuba With Entourage To Promote Open Internet

google cuba Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, and several others visited Cuba to promote open internet access, according to Reuters. The blog/online newspaper 14ymedio.com is the original source of the story. There were no official statements by Google or the Cuban government. According to Reuters, only 2.6 of more than 11 million in Cuba have internet access. It's apparently concentrated in tourist hotels and related areas. Schmidt and Cohen are co-authors of “The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses and Our Lives.” The book has received [...]


Google+ At 3 Years Old: Not A Ghost Town, But A Social Referral Graveyard

google-plus-graveyard-600 Let's put it aside from the get-go: Google+ is not a ghost town. Without a doubt there are millions of people who use and value the social network, which turns three tomorrow. There's a vibrant community of photographers; there are Hangout on Air true believers; there are marketers who swear it's the best social network for engaging with customers. And despite Walking Dead speculation driven by the unexpected resignation of longtime Google+ boss Vic Gundotra in April, two Google executives insisted this week that it won't go out with a whimper. But the fact is that by one importa [...]


Google Earns Ad Money Off YouTube Videos Hawking Stolen Credit Cards, Says Watchdog Group

YouTube-Large The Digital Citizens Alliance, an internet safety coalition, is calling out Google for allowing videos that promote the sale of stolen and bogus credit cards to appear on YouTube and then profiting from ads shown alongside the videos. [caption id="attachment_89258" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Digital Citizens Alliance[/caption] In its latest report [PDF], "Breach of Trust: How the Online Market for Stolen and Bogus Credit Cards is Eroding Confidence in the Internet", the watchdog group includes several examples like the one above which shows an ad for Target -- the company t [...]


Larry Page On Google+: “We’re Super Excited About It”

google-plus-app-mobile-600 Google+ was the forgotten social network during Wednesday's Google I/O keynote, quite a change from the past two years when it was touted often and enthusiastically. This year it managed to score only a passing reference in a demonstration of how Chromecast will allow you to beam a slideshow of your Google+ photos onto your television. And this Google+ downplaying (no playing?) came on the same day Google announced elsewhere -- er, on a Google+ post -- that it would no longer be displaying Google+ profile photos and circle count on search pages. Those features have been a major selling p [...]


Android Wear Smartwatches Compared: Samsung Gear Live, LG’s G Watch & Moto 360

android wear watches Google's Android Wear smartwatches are here! Well, almost. Those from Samsung and LG are available for pre-order now, with delivery early next month. A third from Motorola arrives later this summer. Should you go for one of the July releases and if so, which one? Or should you wait on Motorola? Here's our guide that may help. Want Google Now For Your Wrist? What's especially unique about Android Wear devices compared to other smartwatches like the Pebble or the Galaxy Gear is Google Now integration. Anyone who uses Google Now on their phone already -- and loves it -- may want to consider [...]


Google I/O Big Takeaway: Android Will Be Everywhere

android-600 The big theme of the Google Keynote at its developer conference was "Android everywhere." That wasn't an official slogan or mantra, but it was the ambition behind the many announcements: Android Wear, Android Auto, Android TV. Google wants to put Android powered screens on your wrist, in your car and on your TV, everywhere you're likely to be throughout the day. In addition, its Drive/Docs/Cloud-related enterprise announcements were about making Google the center of work. It's interesting that Google is not ceding anything or any category to Apple, Microsoft or Amazon. Indeed, it's emula [...]


Google’s Android Wear Watches Now Available From LG & Samsung

google-android-wear-600 Ready for a smart watch from Google? Well, Google's not actually making them. But the first smart watches based on its Android Wear platform are now available from LG and Samsung. Well, available very soon. Google has said both will be offered for purchase via its Google Play today, though they've yet to appear. When they do, we'll update with pricing information. Meanwhile, watch this space. As for Motorola, its Moto 360 smart watch will be coming in "the coming months," Google says. [...]


Android: Now More Than 1 Billion Active Users Per Month

google-io14-600b Google opened its annual developers conference today with some staggering statistics about the growth of its Android mobile operating system. Sundar Pichai told the packed keynote audience that there are now more than one billion active Android users per month, up from about 530 million at last year's I/O conference. He said Google is going to report monthly active users going forward, rather than the general activation count that it used to share. Pichai also shared these stats about Android user activity: Android users send 20 billion texts per day. They take 93 million selfi [...]


Google I/O 2014 Keynote: Android Everywhere: Watches, TV & In Your Car

google-io14-lobby-600 During the keynote of Google's annual developers conference today --  Google I/O 2014 -- the company shared how it will be bringing Android beyond phones and tablets to watches, televisions and cars. Google also shared stats that Android has grown to one billion active users, that any developer will be able to integrate their apps into mobile search results and gave an update on Chromebook, including that Chromebook will soon be able to run some Android apps. Our live blog coverage of the event -- which was interrupted twice briefly by protesters -- is below. But first, here are ou [...]


How Universal Analytics Is Different And What You Should Be Doing Now

logo-ga-upgrade If you've been using Google Analytics (GA) as your analytics solution over the past year or so, you've probably noticed that Google has been promoting its new analytics solution called "Google Universal Analytics" (UA). UA was in beta for well over a year. On April 2, 2014, it was moved from beta to production. While Google is treating this as the "re-imagining of Google Analytics," there are many new features and technologies behind it. How do the new features and technology behind UA impact what you're doing today? For everyone, there is no visible impact beyond the constantly chang [...]


YouTube Trashes The Inbox In Exchange For Google+ Messaging Feature

YouTube-Large Big changes are coming this week to the way that YouTube creators connect with their fans. Gone will be the YouTube Inbox, replaced by a new system that utilized Google+ messaging called, well, Messaging. In order to utilize this system the YouTube creator must be connected to a Google+ account. The new message system will feature: Threaded Conversations - A tool that will help keep the context of any exchange Easier Contacting - To contact the video owner any user can hop over the about tab and click "send message". Spam Detection - The new messages section will have a spam se [...]


Google Glass Gets A Pre-I/O Hardware & Software Upgrade, Lots Of New Apps

(Photo by lawrencegs and used via Creative Commons license.) On the eve of Google's biggest annual event, the I/O developer's conference, Google Glass is getting a number of hardware and software updates, along with nearly a dozen new apps. [caption id="attachment_88782" align="alignnone" width="600"] (Photo by lawrencegs and used via Creative Commons license.)[/caption] New Glass Hardware The company just announced a new version of the Glass hardware that doubles its RAM to 2GB. Glass product manager Steve Lee tells The Verge that the upgrade should make Glass "a bit faster and more reliable," and "will allow for more Glassware to run in parallel [...]


Nearly 90 Percent Of Google Apps Revenue Coming From “Freemium” Games

Google Play Logo black Mobile developers have long complained that Google Play doesn't generate as much revenue for them as the iOS app store. However, a new report from App Annie argues that revenue growth is increasing rapidly. The firm said that Google Play "quarterly app revenue more than doubled from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014." The top market for Google Play revenue is Japan, followed by the US, South Korea, Germany and the UK. By comparison the top markets for download volume are the US, Brazil, Russia, South Korea and India. There are now roughly 1.5 million apps on Google Play according to t [...]


Google Domains: A New $12 Domain Registration Service Google Is Testing

google-domains-600 Google is dipping its toes into the domain registrar business. The company today announced a beta service called Google Domains that looks very much like the beginnings of a full-fledged domain registrar business. The service is invite-only at the moment, and interested parties can request an invite via the link above. Just pretend to search for a domain name and you'll get prompted to ask for an invite. The Google Domains landing page has links like "Manage my domains" and "Transfer a domain name." A separate Features page shows what Google is planning for this service: $12 d [...]


Google Glass Heads Overseas As Explorer Program Launches In The UK

glass-uk-flag-600 On the eve of its Google I/O conference, Google has announced that its Glass Explorer program is expanding to the United Kingdom. The Explorer Program is Google's current beta testing system where interested parties that purchase Glass are given direct support from Google and asked to provide feedback as the device develops. Although the program is wide open in the US to anyone that wants to join, the device still hasn't officially launched to consumers. That may happen later this year, though Sergey Brin recently expressed uncertainty on that timing. Joining the Explorer Program com [...]


What To Expect This Week At Google I/O

Google I/O Google is "gearing up" for its annual developer conference this week, Google I/O. On Wednesday, there will be a two-hour keynote to be delivered or emceed by Android and Chrome SVP Sundar Pichai. We'll be there. Based on an array of rumors, we expect to see and hear a number of hardware and software announcements. Here's a non-exhaustive roundup of what some of those might include. Android Wear Smartwatches Android Wear was previously announced, but we expect to see a number of watches finally on display. Devices from Motorola and LG should be among those being shown off at the event, [...]


Letter Hints At Many New EU Investigations Against Google

google-eu-featured.jpg The New York Times is reporting that a letter from European Competition chief Joaquín Almunia seeks to rally support for the existing Google antitrust settlement, quite strangely, by promising future investigations against the company. Essentially he seems to be saying: don't worry if you don't think this deal is tough enough, because there are more investigations coming. The current search antitrust settlement proposal has been revised at least twice to make rival sites more visible in search results. However, there have been many complaints from public officials, Google critics and ot [...]


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