New Google Play design spotted on Google+

Looks like the redesigned Google Play app is very near, in fact we can see the officially release in the next few days. A YouTube employee Eileen Rivera today shared the following screenshot on Google +, suggesting the redesigned app is currently being tested internally.

If you can notice in the Google Play icon on the top of the screenshot, it shows the dogfood icon, further cementing that Google is “dogfooding” this new version of the Google Play among its employees. If everything goes well, we will see the roll-out very soon.

The new version screenshot looks similar to what we saw in a leak last month. Google certainly seems to be opting Google Now like cards design, although not much is visible here. But, the bigger app shortcuts look a lot like Google Now cards.

Google is also expected to redesign its official web page but we are yet to see any leaks about that. We hope that the search giant has improved the app discovery in the new version, as it still remains a big problem for consumers as well as developers.

As per the last leak, the new Play Store version will be known as 4.0.

First Blink-enabled Chrome stable build arriving in ten weeks: Google

Google has revealed that we might see the first Blink rendering engine powered Chrome stable build in around ten weeks. This comes just a day after Google announced its plans to switch from WebKit to Blink in its Chrome web browser. Blink is the new rendering engine by Google and is a forked version of WebKit designed to suit the need of Google.

 

Apparently, Chromium (the project behind Chrome) uses a different multi-process architecture unlike other WebKit based browsers and over the year of Chrome development, this has led to increased complexity. Google wants to remove this complexity and speed up development of Chrome and Chromium projects, thus the switch to Blink.

Chrome developers told the dev community in a Q&A panel that Blink is already integrated in the Canary builds of Chrome, and Google hopes to see the stable versions of its Chrome 28 with Blink for Android and the desktop within 10 weeks.

We can always see it Blink-powered Chrome earlier in the beta releases.  You can watch the entire Q&A panel for more information on Blink below.

Google to stop using WebKit rendering engine, introduces Blink

Google has announced that it is going to stop using the WebKit rendering engine in its Chrome web browser and will switch of Blink, which is a forked version of WebKit.  According to Google, this move will speed up development of Chrome as it will reduce complexity.

Google is not alone in this open-source Blink rendering engine move, Opera has also revealed that it will also be contributing to Blink in the future and it will be the new rendering engine to power Opera browsers. To remind you, Opera had very recently switched to WebKit for its Android browser.

Why the change to Blink?

Although, Google sings all praises for WebKit in its Blink announcement blog post, company notes that Chromium (the project behind Chrome) uses a different multi-process architecture unlike other WebKit based browsers and over the year of Chrome development, this has led to increased complexity. Google wants to remove this complexity and speed up development of Chrome and Chromium projects.

“This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem,” Adam Barth, Software Engineer, Google noted in a blog post.

What will be the implications for consumers or web developers?

In short term, very little for both, however in long term, consumers might notice some change on the front-end, developers will have to make the websites compliant with the Blink rendering engine and given the Chrome market-share and also Opera’s involvement, you can’t ignore it. Web developers can read more about Blink here.

Google to begin selling second-gen Nexus 7 from July: Report

Reuters is reporting that Google will begin selling the next-gen Nexus 7  tablet from July in the markets globally. The tablet, as previously rumoured, will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, added the report.

Google is also aiming to sell 8 million units of this tablet in the second half of the year.  There is still no word on how the search giant aims to price the tablet as that would a key factor in achieving this target.

The new Nexus 7 tablet will come with a thinner bezel, higher-resolution display (probably full HD) and Snapdragon processor, as previously said.

Google seems to be choosing Qualcomm Snapdragon processor over NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 because of ‘power’ related reasons.  Google, Qualcomm or NVIDIA did not comment on this report to the Reuters.

Google had originally jumped in the tablet arena with the release of original Nexus 7 tablet last June, when it partnered with Asus to manufacture the tablet, Asus is also making the second-generation tablet, showing the confidence that Google is showing this Taiwanese manufacturer.

One of the Reuters sources speculated that Nexus 7 might be priced beginning $199 like the first-generation model, but had no clear information about the pricing.

Google and April fool’s day pranks

As every year, Google is playing several April fool’s day pranks on its users today. From YouTube’s shutdown, to Google Nose launch, there are bunch of surprises for you, but make sure you don’t fall for them.

Here is quick guide of which of the Google’s pranks you can expect today while surfing the web.

Google Nose:  An April Fool’s day prank from Google search team

Yes, Google’s new made-up feature Google Nose lets you search by using smell or scent. You can even experience over 15 million scents via Google Nose.

Google describes Nose as its “flagship olfactory knowledge feature enabling users to search for smells.” To learn more, watch the video, below

Youtube Shutdown: An April Fool’s day prank from Youtube team

No, don’t worry; Google is not shutting down Youtube like it is going to do with Google Reader. But, it surely wants to believe this today.

The search giant teamed up with The Onion to create the following video explaining how the site was set up as part of a contest to find the best home video on the Internet and it is now ready to find that video and so, closing the video-sharing today. More in this video below:

Treasure Maps: An April fool’s day prank from Google Maps team

Doesn’t every one  of us wants to find some hidden treasure  and this made-up feature from Google Maps team, now lets you locate hidden treasures across the globe.

Apparently, Google found this map belonging to an infamous pirate William “Captain” Kidd in the Indian Ocean while the Maps team was expanding their underwater Street View collection.  More in this video below:

Google+ Photo Emotions: An April fool’s day prank from Google+ team

Google+’s new made-up feature allows you to add stylised emotions to your photographs.

“Many months of research on how people communicate on the Internet have convinced us that when it comes to expressing yourself, nothing beats the richness and elegance of a few properly placed colons, parentheses, letters and hyphens,” noted Google+ team in its prank post.

Gmail Blue: An April fool’s day prank from Gmail team

Well, every one of the Google product team is putting together something to mess with us today, how can Gmail be left behind. So, they have made everything blue in Gmail. More in this video:

Google Fiber poles: An April fool’s day prank from Google Fiber team

Want gigabit speeds, well it is coming to an electricity pole near you (or not). Google Fiber engineers have decided to roll out Fiber to utility poles, so you can get Gigabit speeds wherever you can get electricity. More in this video:

We are still waiting for the Android team to do something, they seem awfully quite today, may be Sundar Pichai has something really big on his mind.

Now, use Google Translate for Android offline with over 50 language packs

Despite 3G and 4G networks reaching everywhere, data connections still remain unreliable in major parts of the globe, so it is always great to have apps that can work offline.  To help you with that, Google has now introduced downloadable offline language packs for Google Translate, so next time you want to translate something but don’t have data connection; Google Translate for Android won’t leave you out to dry.

With support for Android devices running on Gingerbread or above, Google’s offline language packs include 50 languages.

These offline packs aren’t the best that Google can offer you, but they should still be able to help you out in need. “You can select [Offline Languages] in the app menu to see all the offline language packages available for download. To enable offline translation between any two languages, you just need to select them in the offline languages menu,” noted Minqi Jiang, Associate Product Manager, Google in a blog post.

The new Google Translate for Android, which brings the offline language packs, also adds the ability to translate vertical text in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean with your camera.

Download Google Translate for Android

Google updates Google Play Movies & TV app with info-cards

With the Google Play Movies launch in India and Mexico, Google has also updated the Google Play Movies and TV app, which is used to consume this content on Android devices.

The biggest change in Google Play Movies app is info-cards, which show information about actors, related films, and other details like which song in playing in the movie. The feature is currently US only and works on tablet version on Android 4.0. The feature automatically presents information about the movie as soon as the user pauses movie playback on his/ her tablet. Users can also tap on actor faces to look for information about them.

The supported movies list is also not very long right now (only 192 movies), but Google is reportedly expanding the catalogue of Info-card supported movies.

Other changes in the update include search support to looks in user libraries and Google Play store for Movies and TV shows.

Here is the full change-log:

  • On tablets, press pause to discover actors, related films, and even what song is playing. Look for movies with the info cards badge. US only.
  • Search across your library and the Play Store for movies & TV shows.
  • Receive notifications for new TV show episodes if you’ve purchased the season.
  • Select the “refresh” option in the overflow menu to checks for any updates to the library.
  • Now available in India

Google+ app updated, gets photo filters, new profile design

Google has rolled out a massive update for its Google+ apps that brings new photo filters, profile designs and even the ability to use GIFs as your profile picture.

The most important addition to this release are the photo filters for the iOS app. Google has finally put its acquisition of photo editing app Snapseed to use by adding features from it to the Google+ apps. You can now make all of your photo edits within the app itself; you can crop, change the image’s contrast, saturation and brightness, and more. Like most social networking sites that have an image-editing function built-in, Google+ now lets you add filters to your images, quite like Instagram. This feature, however, seems to be a part of only the iOS app refresh.

The Google+ app also has a new flow to it. Your stream will show a lot more text and comments without having to view a story. In fact, when you tap on a story now, it takes you directly to the image, watch page or the website lightbox.

On the Android app, the +1, Reshare and Comment buttons are now displayed more prominently next to each post. It is now possible to filter search results by choosing between “best” and “most recent”, too—quite like Facebook’s News Feed. You can also swipe through albums in-line on the Android version of the app.

Ever since Google+ got Communities, users’ news feeds have been clogged by certain active communities. However, the update lets you control the “volume” of the posts that you see in your stream from individual circles and communities. You can even choose to not have posts from communities show up on your stream. If you happen to be a Community manager, you can even moderate posts via the app.

The updated app for Android lets you share your current location. For iOS users, a new notifications tray has also been worked out. Showering its love yet again on the GIF format, Google+ will now allow animated photos as display pictures on the site.

It has been a long time coming, but “Ghost Town” Google+ is finally making a mark for itself as a social networking platform. Its deep integration with products like Gmail, YouTube, Search and Drive aside, Google+ is standing on its own two feet as an independent platform for users to connect with family and friends.

You can download Google+ for your Android and iOS devices here.

Google’s unified messaging app Babble coming to Android and Chrome OS

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Android users have looked on with envy at Apple’s iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger for a long time now . The world’s most popular mobile platform, unfortunately, had no native unified IM and file-sharing client that can compete with the aforementioned offerings on iOS and BB10. 

However, things may be about to change. According to multiple sources, who revealed the company’s plans to Geek, Google is preparing a unified messaging app that will bring the company’s many IM and communication platforms into a single service. The service is expected to be called Babble. 

In Android, there are a bunch of Google communications platforms that don’t interact with each other very well, but theoretically they could as Google handles the development of all these services. Google Talk, Hangouts, Voice, Google + Messenger, Chat for Drive collaboration, and the Google + chat client all are available for use, but do not work in synch. A cross-platform solution would help Google compete with the likes of iMessage and BBM, while also delivering what Android fans have been clamouring for, for a long time.

Babble is being built from scratch by Google to bring its various clients under one roof. Babble would function as one overarching client that will combine the unique feature sets of each of Google’s existing offerings into one package. Right now, if users want to share photos over a Google messaging service, they have to choose the G+ Messenger while video chat is handled by the Hangouts component. With Babble – all these functions are possible through one app and conversations will be threaded across all the existing services. 

The individual services are expected to be pushed onto the single Babble platform, and users can access the same chat window across all of Google’s products with the features and functionality not different anywhere. Reportedly, the Babble service will be available for both Android and Chrome OS users, which could mean that many of the company’s core services will be brought under one development programme for both platforms. 

There’s no official release date for Babble, but we venture that the Mountain View company will announce it at Google I/O in May this year.

Google Keep, a OneNote competitor, appears and then disappears

It seems someone at Google jumped the gun today by making Google Keep live ahead of schedule. Google Keep, about which many of you must not have heard until now, is brand new note-taking service like Evernote/Microsoft Onenote from the company.

Google Keep was first spotted in Google Drive source code late yesterdayand it suddenly went live for about 30 mins at this URL:https://drive.google.com/keep/. Folks at Android Police were able to use the service for some time but they found the service to be not fully ready. They stated that the service works a lot like Google’s now closed service Google Notebook.

“Google Keep works a lot like Google Notebook used to. You get a list of notes; you can color-code them, save pictures, and make checklists. You can archive notes, which will send them to a section at the bottom of your list. There’s also a thumbnail view, and this screenshot shows you what the “type note” field looks like when it’s active. For right now, that seems to be about it.” AP noted.

Mentions of a Google Keep Android app were also discovered in the source code, which when released will be available athttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.keep.

This seems to be the icon, which will be used for this new service.

As per the references found in screenshots posted by official Google+ page, looks like Google has been working on Google Keep before it shut down Google Notebook. We expect Google Keep to go live very soon again. We are actively tracking the story and will let your know if anything new appears.