Архив метки: Google Search

Google makes travel planning easier

Google today announced a major revamp of its travel planning tools on the web. After launching a similar set of tools on mobile last year, the company today announced that google.com/travel on the web will now let you see information about all of your previously reserved trips and easily switch between flight, hotel and package searches.
In many ways, this finally brings all of Google’s travel services under one hood — a process that has taken far longer than I would’ve anticipated after Google bought ITA nine years ago.
Google Trips is essentially the landing page for the new site and brings together your existing bookings and information about your destination. The service will then feed your travel information back into Google Search and Maps. To do this, Google.com/travel (which I think we can safely call Google Travel, even if Google itself doesn’t do so), will use the confirmation emails and receipts from your Gmail inbox to build the timeline of your trip.

Because both the web and mobile versions are now on feature parity, this also makes it easier to pick up your trip planning on any device. Like always, though, you won’t be able to make any reservations through Google’s systems. Instead, Google will send you to an airline’s or hotel’s reservation system to complete a booking.
The actual flight and hotel search engines are still the same, though if Google previously offered the ability to buy flight and hotel packages, it did a good job of hiding that. Now, this option gets first billing, together with the hotel and flight searches.
“Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device. We’ll continue to make planning and taking trips easier with Google Maps, Google Search and google.com/travel—so you can get out and enjoy the world.”
Sadly, Google hasn’t ported Inbox’s useful Trip Bundles over to Gmail yet, though, despite promises to do so before shutting down Inbox. For the time being, the new Google Travel site is a pretty good alternative.

Google makes travel planning easier

Google tweaks Android licensing terms in Europe to allow Google app unbundling — for a fee

Google has announced changes to the licensing model for its Android mobile operating system in Europe,  including introducing a fee for licensing some of its own brand apps, saying it’s doing so to comply with a major European antitrust ruling this summer.
In July the region’s antitrust regulators hit Google with a recordbreaking $5BN fine for violations pertaining to Android, finding the company had abused the dominance of the platform by requiring manufacturers pre-install other Google apps in order to license its popular Play app store. 
Regulators also found Google had made payments to manufacturers and mobile network operators in exchange for exclusively pre-installing Google Search on their devices, and used Play store licensing to prevent manufacturers from selling devices based on Android forks.
Google disputes the Commission’s findings, and last week filed its appeal — a legal process that could take years. But in the meanwhile it’s making changes to how it licenses Android in Europe to avoid the risk of additional penalties heaped on top of the antitrust fine.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior vice president of platforms & ecosystems, revealed the new licensing options in a blog post published today.
Under updated “compatibility agreements”, he writes that mobile device makers will be able to build and sell Android devices intended for the European Economic Area (EEA) both with and without Google mobile apps preloaded — something Google’s same ‘compatibility’ contracts restricted them from doing before, when it was strictly either/or (either you made Android forks, or you made Android devices with Google apps — not both).
“Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA),” confirms Lockheimer.
However the company is also changing how it licenses the full Android bundle — which previously required OEMs to load devices with the Google mobile application suite, Google Search and the Chrome browser in order to be able to offer the popular Play Store — by introducing fees for OEMs wanting to pre-load a subset of those same apps under “a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA”.
Though Google stresses there will be no charge for using the Android platform itself. (So a pure fork without any Google services preloaded still wouldn’t require a fee.)
Google also appears to be splitting out Google Search and Chrome from the rest of the Google apps in its mobile suite (which traditionally means stuff like YouTube, the Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps, although Lockheimer’s blog post does not make it clear which exact apps he’s talking about) — letting OEMs selectively unbundle some Google apps, albeit potentially for a fee, depending on the apps in question.
“[D]evice manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser,” is what Lockheimer unilluminatingly writes.
Perhaps Google wants future unbundled Android forks to still be able to have Google Search or Chrome, even if they don’t have the Play store, but it’s really not at all clear which configurations of Google apps will be permitted under the new licensing terms, and which won’t.
“Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source,” Lockheimer adds, without specifying what the fees will be either. 
“We’ll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours,” he continues to complete his trio of poorly explained licensing changes.
We’ve asked Google to clarify the various permitted and not permitted app configurations, as well as which apps will require a fee (and which won’t), and how much the fees will be, and will update this post with any response.
The devil in all those details should become clear soon though, as Google says the new licensing options will come into effect on October 29 for all new (Android based) smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA.

Google tweaks Android licensing terms in Europe to allow Google app unbundling — for a fee

April Fools 2012: We Ruin Every (Tech-Related) Joke On The Internets


Happy April 1st, Everybody! It’s that very special time of year — the day when tech companies break out their clown shoes to make their annual attempt at being funny. As a public service, we’ve rounded up every tech-related April Fools joke that we could find, and we’ve even separated the wheat from the chaff — highlighting the stuff that’s actually funny. The LOLs, the FAILs, the ROFLs, the WTFs. Just for you. We’ll update this throughout the day, and if we missed any, feel free to link to them in the comments.

(By the way, if you’re one of those folks who finds April Fools super-stressful because you’re constantly being punked, rest assured that TechCrunch would never do that to you.)

The Best

Google Maps — “We’ve long neglected one of the most popular computer systems ever sold, and I’m proud to announce Google Maps 8-bit version as our first product for NES.” The best part? Google didn’t satisfy itself with a blog post and video. The team actually built the damn thing, and it’s kind of gorgeous.

Warby Parker — ”It doesn’t make sense to spend several hundred dollars on something your dog’s just going to eat.” So says Warby Parker co-founder Dave Gilboa, but that didn’t stop designer eyeglass startup from launching its own dog-focused spinoff, Warby Barker. In conclusion, OH MY GOD THAT PUG IS WEARING A MONOCLE.

Smashwords — The ebook distributor announced a new service for its writers, called Smashwords WEED. And even though WEED supposedly stands for “Writers Earn Extra Dispensation”, you can probably guess what it really means. Founder Mark Coker says, “Our mission at Smashwords is to make writers euphoric.”

Google Racing — You thought autonomous cars were cool? Well, you know what’s a lot cooler? Autonomous NASCARs. Google and NASCAR have teamed up for a partnership that takes Google’s self-driving car project to the next level. Check it out. Sergey is the new Jeff Gordon.

Hulu — Apparently, the “Voice of Hulu” had a rough recording day recently and somehow his outtakes snuck into some of the ad reels. (Link below.) Totally coincidental this happened on April Fools. Though these randomly pop into occasional ads today, Hulu assures us that you will indeed be able to continue viewing your regularly scheduled programming. Apparently he had too much Mountain Dew, or whatever it is that causes the green monster-ism that seems to beset this Will Arnett character.


Twilio — Your doorbell’s ringing. That’s right, it’s a singing telegram API from Twilio. Oh yes, thanks to Twilio, now you can actually send telegraphs — hand-delivered by Taskrabbit volunteers. No, but seriously. Twilio really does have a functional, fully-documented API with specs for your telegramming needs. That actually works. And is actually sent through their REST API and plays nicely with any language that speaks basic HTTP. Or, does it?

The Perfectly Adequate [The Rest]

Airbnb — Airbnb likes to brag about all the different kinds of spaces that its users can rent. Now, for a rate of $4,112 a night, you can book a stay on the International Space Station.

Animoto — The video-creation service announced Animoto for Dogs, where your pet can “tell you how he really feels.” Features include bark-activated uploading and songs only dogs can hear. Bonus points for some incredibly cute dog photos.

The Daily Dot — Not content with covering the news, The Daily Dot decided to get into the social sharing business with a site called CorkMarket. “Think of Pinterest but better!”

Flickr — The Yahoo-owned photo-sharing site now gives your photos the weirdly grainy, black-and-white look of an Atkinson Dither camera. “We’re rolling this test out over the next 24 hours and then out as the default look in the coming weeks! Photography started in black and white, and we feel it’s time to take photo sharing back to its roots. Welcome to 2012, via the 1980s.”

Gmail Tap — It’s “a new input method designed for the future,” where every letter of the alphabet is represented by a series of dots and dashes. Yes, those Morse code skills you picked up as a kid are finally going to come in handy.

Google Mobile Ads — If you’re a business owner, it’s time to GoRo with Google. After all, “Every day, dozens of Americans use rotary phones, but 100% of these potential customers have experienced trouble loading a business’ website on their device.”

Virgin Holidays — The vacation site has come up with a new currency tied to the British Pound that will be accepted by Virgin resorts and partners. Naturally, it’s called the Branson.

Zimride — The car ride-sharing startup is bringing a similar approach to bikes. “In the past, when you thought of numerous people on one bike, you thought tandem. But we were not going to let the structure of a bike stop us!” So why not drop an extra rider on the front and back of existing bikes? It’s all about efficiency.

YouTube Collection — You’ve heard of YouTube. You know, the one with the cat videos? Well, here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for … say “hello” to The YouTube Collection. (Sorry, we should’ve told you to sit down first.) Yes, now you can experience web video like never before — on your DVD player! Watch a video on a mobile device, or on the Internet? What is this, 1997? That’s ridiculous.

Redfin — When it comes to buying a house, one thing you don’t want to do is take your time with the purchase. Or talk to anyone. Or make sure that the house exists. That’s why Redfin is offering 2-click home purchasing. So get clicking.

Hipmunk — Sure, flying on an airplane is cool, but as face-melting technology goes, we’re like totally over it. We also want some more destinations … no more of this “LAX –> JFK nonsense. Thanks to flight-booking service Hipmunk, now you can book yourself a spot on the Millennium Falcon. (Unfortunately, Chewy has already eaten all the peanuts.) They’re also offering options like hot air balloon, dog sled, rickshaw, African swallow, stagecoach, and other enjoyable ways to get to where you need to go.

Reddit Timeline — What would the front page of the Internet be without the ability to share and view news from past, present, AND future? Reddit has placed a time-agnostic bar on its home page to let you peruse “timereddits” from the late Cretaceous Period, and check out the latest cat videos 42,000 A.D. Reddit has always pushed the envelope, and now they’re taking you into a worm hole. Reddit blog post here.

Atlassian — Guys, forking code is so yesteryear. Thanks to Atlassian, the makers of software development and collaboration tools, and their bitbucket team, we now know the best — and safest — way to practice pair programming. By spooning. As the peeps at Atlassian put it, “Spooning is a new way to boost developer happiness, and a better way to encourage pull requests. Spoon first, fork later.”

Think Geek — The site for the smart masses has a few great products that you should definitely check out, among them programmable tattoos. Good luck figuring out which are April Fools jokes and which aren’t. ThinkGeek.

Google SearchGoogle Search just got really advanced. Like really, really advanced.

Here’s last year’s round up, too, just in case you can’t get enough April Fools jokes.

April Fools 2012: We Ruin Every (Tech-Related) Joke On The Internets

Google Accidentally Posts Details About Its Next Android Search App Update


In a post on their Mobile Blog (since removed), Google today announced an update to its Google Search app for Android, bringing a few new features that should improve your overall search experience. None of them will change your life, but since we know what to look forward to, we might as well look forward to it, am I right?

The update will group suggestions by type, with the web suggestions appearing up top. Travelers, nomads, and peeps outside of the States will also get to see country-specific suggestions and search results as long as they’re in a country with a Google domain. Another fun feature is the ability to remove history items by performing a long press, and we all know there’s nothing more embarrassing than having an awkward search history. Have you ever been the only one in your group of friends with a decent smartphone? If you have, you already know how handy this feature will be.

Google included a couple helpful tips for using the app, one of which we found to be pretty exciting. Some of you may have already discovered this, but there just so happens to be a way to search through other apps on the phone using the Google Search app. All you have to do is go into the settings section of the app and check out “searchable items.”

The app has also undergone a little makeover, now sporting a new, smoother user interface. Within the UI, users can tap the arrow to the right of a search suggestion or history item to make a quick change before searching.

Google has removed the post (which you can peep here in screen grab form), and there’s no telling when these features will roll out, but at least we know what to expect.

Launch Date:

25/8/2004, NASDAQ:GOOG

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of…

Learn more

Google Accidentally Posts Details About Its Next Android Search App Update