Thursday, April 23, 2015

Google News – The Good, Bad, & Ugly

The Good - Google is giving all Android developers access to ARC. Google has released an app/browser extension called ARC Welder that packages Android APKs into applications for Chrome OS and other desktop platforms. Now converted apps can work even on Mac, Windows and Linux and any computer with the Chrome browser. Sweet!

Google Chromebook prices drop to $149. New Chromebook's from Haier and Hisense both have 11.6-inch display's, with 2 GB of RAM. These low cost Chromebooks run on the Rockchip 3288 processors. They can be bought at Walmart and Amazon now. Google is also offering an interesting iPad alternative with the Asus Chromebook Flip, a $249 laptop that you can be flip into a tablet. Worthy of note is, the more Chromebooks in the market, newer models should drive down prices of older models, and that should make them even more tempting.

Google is changing their Search algorithm to be more mobile friendly. Websites that feature pages optimized for smaller screens will be boosted in search results compared to those designed strictly for the desktop. This boost will only apply to mobile searches. Google says - "Now searchers can more easily find high quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling."

This change in Search is only for mobile Search, and does not in any way change how desktop Search works. This should prompt website developers to get their sites up to date and make them mobile friendly.

The Bad – The Wait! … and Wait and Wait...

Google is now offering cell phone service. Google’s Project Fi becomes available today, for users of Nexus 6, a Motorola smartphone that costs $649 (32GB of storage) or $699 (64GB) in the Google Play store. The roll-out today is only available for the Nexus 6. The basic service costs $20 a month. Users get unlimited - talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage. After that, it's a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. Google's rollover plan is like no other! Customers will get credit paid back to them for the full value of unused data. No other carrier does that! Yet!

The Bad news here is just like their much anticipated new email system, (Inbox) their cell service is really just a news splash, it isn't available for everyone yet, and even worse you have to sign-up and request an invite. If you're like me, and have signed up for such an invite, then you might be waiting for a long time to come. Some speculate that availability for all may not be ready for another 2-3 years. Ouch! OMG!

The Ugly -

Google plans to release Chromebit — a computer “smaller than a candy bar.” Prices will be less than $100, and this will be available later this summer. It looks like a simple USB memory stick, and it runs their Chrome OS. Chromebit can be plugged into any screen and turned into a computer. Not bad, huh? Unfortunately, this only works with a WiFi connection, and there is no built in storage. So, essentially it's more like an internet stick. Without any built in storage space and no built in offline capabilities, it's pretty much a useless novelty item for gadget geeks. Nothing to get excited about.

And then there's Takeout. This Google feature lets users download archives of multiple products, including, Calendars, Gmail, Google Photos, Hangouts, YouTube, +1s, and more. It does not include Google Wallet. This feature launched in 2011 under its Data Liberation Front initiative, but it did not include Search until recently. In a nutshell, it means you can download an archive of every search query you have ever made. This may be good for some, but for others it may be too intrusive and creepy.

More Ugly...The Google Glass Smart Eye-wear, no longer available for the time being, will be making a triumphant return, according to the search giant's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt.

No matter what anyone says, this device is not a good idea. It scared people. People don't want to be seen and recorded without their knowledge. This product is doomed to fail, no one wants to be seen as a glasshole or by a glasshole. Eeks! Yuk!

More Ugliness is all of the forthcoming antitrust lawsuits from abroad, but that is news generally known and not worth delving into further at this time.

All in all, we like many things Google does, and many of their products, but not everything.

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