Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Why Chrome is a win-win for Google

For those that have been off-line for the last few days and without access to a television or other forms of old media, Google has announced and released the first version of its own web browser called Chrome (see ReadWriteWeb’s extensive coverage).

But do users and developers alike really need another browser? Google says that Chrome recognizes and builds on the best innovations of its competitors, but more importantly has built a web browser from the ground up to cope with the shift towards cloud computing in which the web has “evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications.”

“What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build”, says Google.

A few examples of how Google has put this into practice with Chrome include a faster JavaScript engine called V8, and “multi-threading” so that if a web app running in one tab crashes it won’t impact on the performance of other open pages/apps.

It’s highly debatable, of course, whether Google can be any more successful than others who have tried to grab market share from Microsoft who bundle its own Internet Explorer with the various flavors of its Windows operating system.

It could be argued, however, that whatever Chrome’s eventual market share, it serves as a win-win for Google. Here’s why:

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Android Developer Challenge winners appear polished, ready for sale

It looks like Google may have made the right move with the Android Developer Challenge after all.

The winners of the first developer challenge, announced this evening, appear polished, well thought out, and ready for the first Android-powered phones to hit the streets in the not-too-distant future.

The Android Developer Challenge provides yet another contrast to Apple and its iPhone. Apple announced a software developers kit (SDK) for the iPhone this spring and a few months later the first iPhone/iPod touch applications went on sale at the App Store July 11.

While many of the iPhone applications performed flawlessly, many felt rushed and suffered from buggy behavior. Subsequent releases worked out the kinks.

Google certainly has had its share of problems with the Android SDK and cranky developers, but these Android apps seem tight, well developed, and ready for sale. Of course, final judgment cannot be levied until we actually have working Android phones in our hands and these applications running.

Of the 50 applicants that emerged from Round 1 of the ADC, 10 were awarded $275,000 each for their efforts, with another 10 receiving $100,000 each. A complete listing of winners and entrants is here.

The $275,000 winners include:

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What's in a name? Google's announces the Android Market, not the Android Store

The choice of name says it all: Android Market, not Android Store.

By design, Google is preparing the equivalent of an open-air marketplace for applications that will run on Android-powered smartphones. Google, which announced the Market late this afternoon through its Android developer blog, believes that developers should have an “open and unobstructed environment to make their content available.”

It’s a stark contrast to Apple’s App Store, where developers must submit applications for approval before release. The process has miffed many developers because their iPhone and iPod touch programs may take days, or weeks, before they show up for sale in the App Store.

Like a market or bazaar, Android developers can show up, set up shop, and sell their wares hassle free. Developers can submit applications to the Market using three steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe the content, and publish it.

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Why Google should have developed its own Gphone

It’s been almost a year since I wrote “The Gphone is coming; how Google could rewrite the rules.” And during this time I’ve wanted to give Google the benefit of the doubt for choosing its Android strategy over developing the phone itself.

But I can’t. It’s the wrong strategy.

Whether the Google phone comes out in September, or later this year, or sometime in early 2009, it really doesn’t matter. All this bickering over supposed hardware delays, software issues, and hurt developer feelings has me wondering how Google would have fared if it had taken a different path and developed the Gphone on its own.

Why should Google do this?

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Report: HTC's Android-powered "Google phone" may be delayed after all

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Developing a phone — even if it is just an operating system — is not something you do overnight with a bunch of cajoled software developers.

Just a week after High Tech Computer (HTC) said it was on schedule to deliver Android-powered cell phones by the 4Q of 2008, another report surfaces Thursday that says HTC is “having structural problems to incorporate Google’s demand feature set” and “demanding a guaranteed minimum revenue surety from Google,” according to Barron’s Tech Trader Daily.

Barron’s picked up a research note from Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research saying his “contacts” contend that HTC’s Android handset — the so-called Google phone — will be delayed until the first quarter of 2009.

Additionally, Chowdhry’s “contacts” tell him that another problem Google is having is attracting software developers to the platform. They’re too busy writing code for Windows Mobile, Nokia (Symbian), Research in Motion (BlackBerry), and Apple’s iPhone.

That’s no surprise. These guys actually have phones, real working phones, to develop for and test.

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Q&A: Nicolas Gramlich of talks Android, Google's developer relations, and more

Talking down Google’s Android mobile operating system has become pretty easy of late: An incomplete and buggy SDK, favoritism towards select developers, a general lack of transparency, and valid concerns that the platform could become fragmented and that Google has ceded too much control to carriers.

Yet, for the most part, the initial excitement and optimism over the long term potential of Android remains. Not least for 21 year-old Nicolas Gramlich, a computer science student at the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim in Germany, and founder of, an online community for Android developers. “Android’s main attraction is its simplicity”, says Gramlich, which enables the rapid development of “feature-rich applications”.

See also: Interview: zintin CEO talks iPhone, Android and mobile future

“One can create an application that uses Google Maps, get the current GPS-position or read out the accelerometer within 10 lines”. The integration with Google Maps is especially tight, he says, something that doesn’t currently exist on other mobile platforms. And Gramlich should know. His first Android effort is a free navigation app called AndNav!.

In a short Q&A with last100, Gramlich discussed the slow progress Google appears to be making in updating the Android SDK, the company’s relationship with the developer community, competition from iPhone, and more. Read the transcript, edited for space and clarity, after the jump.

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Remaining the good neighbor: Google improves for iPhone and iPod Touch users

Take a look at the picture to the right. Is this a preview of what Google apps will look like on the upcoming Android-powered, non-Google Gphones? All the Google apps nestled together in a nice, tidy bundle?

Of course this is the iPhone interface, but change out the icons at the bottom and with, Gmail, Calendar, Reader, Docs, News, Notebook, Photos (Picasa), Google Talk, Maps, and YouTube already set up, this could be what the so-called Gphone might look like, no matter if it’s manufactured by Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC, or Sony Ericsson.

As if not to completely disappear in the onslaught of iPhone 3G, MobileMe, App Store, and software update 2.0 news of the past week, Google snuck in its brand twice — once for the Google Mobile App (available for free at the App Store) and, more importantly for the Google faithful, significant improvements to for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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Google releases new Gtalk Web app; what does it mean?

gtalk on iphoneWhat does this mean? Google Talk for the iPhone.

Google announced Thursday that it has developed a new Web app version of Gtalk for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Just point Safari to and you’ll be launched into a much improved, albeit stripped down, interface. From there you can view contacts, send instant messages, update your status, and “go off the record” if you don’t want to store your chats in Gmail.

That’s fine and dandy. But in all honesty, Gtalk users — and users of any chat service — have wanted native chat clients for the iPhone since it debuted a little more than a year ago. More importantly, they don’t want to lose a chat connection when they switch from chat to answer the phone, to send a Tweet on Twitter, or browse the Web using Safari.

This is due to the fact that the iPhone cannot run more than one application at once, other than playing the iPod. Running more than one app at once also drains the battery.

Even so, many iPhone users have hoped that Apple will have solved this dilemma with the upcoming release of the iPhone 3G. For months they’ve been holding out that native chat applications are coming once the App Store opens in a week or two.

But is the new Gtalk Web app an indication that a dedicated client isn’t coming anytime soon — not just for Google Talk but for other chat services on the iPhone? Why would Google spend the time, money, and energy revamping its Web-based chat app if a native client is coming out in a week or two?

As it stands now, the new Gtalk Web app could be the slickest, greatest, most unbelievable chat solution for the iPhone and it still would be pretty useless. Nothing is more frustrating than engaging in a chat, answering the phone, losing the chat connection, then having to log in to chat all over again.

Do this more than a couple of times and you give up. No matter how good Gtalk for the iPhone is.

Google enters the PC to TV arena

Google today made its own contribution to solving the PC to TV problem with the release of Google Media Server. The Windows-only software works in conjunction with Google’s desktop search application – Google Desktop – to locate various media (photos, music and video) stored on your PC and make it available for streaming over a home network to any UPnP compatible or DLNA ‘certified’ device, such as a PlayStation 3.

See our recently published guide: DLNA certified: how your computer, cellphone, games console, media streamer and other devices can play nicely together

Google enters the PC to TV arenaWhile many UPnP server solutions already exist for Windows (it’s a pity Google hasn’t targeted Mac users), Google Media Server does bring a few specific features to the table. Namely support for Internet-based content from its photo sharing service Picasa, along with videos hosted on YouTube (using H.264 not Flash Video). From this we can conclude that Google Media Server is designed to make Google’s desktop search application that bit more useful, as well as offer another means of accessing YouTube on a TV.

Of course, Google Media Server could also be another sign that the company is testing the waters for a much more ambitious living room strategy — see Google wants to do for TV what it did for the Web.

Nokia buys Symbian, opens fire on Android, Windows Mobile and iPhone

Nokia buys Symbian, opens fire on Android, Windows Mobile and iPhoneThe boldest moves are made from a position of strength, not when the chips are down and you’ve very little to lose. Nokia’s decision, announced today, to acquire the remaining 52 per cent of Symbian it doesn’t already own and make the mobile platform open source, is bold to say the least.

Symbian unified platform: UIQ, S60The ambition, says Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, is to create “the most attractive platform for mobile innovation and drive the development of new and compelling web-enabled applications.”

To achieve this, Nokia will join other industry players, initially AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone, to form the non-profit Symbian Foundation, although any company can join.

Together the foundation will unify the Symbian OS with its various competing User Interface layers – primarily Nokia’s S60 and Motorola and Sony Ericsson’s UIQ – into a single open platform for “converged mobile devices”. The new foundation, in which Nokia has the biggest seat since it will swallow up all of Symbian’s current employees, will oversee the process of releasing the new OS under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) 1.0 open source license – a transition that will take two years – and become its long-term custodian.

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