Android 5.1_001

Android 5.1 Debuts

Android 5.1_002

Android 5.1 Debuts

Google has officially announced Android 5.1.  This is the first update to the Android Lollipop version of the mobile OS. This update hopes to conquer the slew of bugs that came with Android 5.0 while bringing a few upgrades.

Device protection appears to be number on on the list in this release.  Now your Android device will stay locked when lost, even if someone else reboots it or resets to factory settings.  You will need to sign in with your Google account to unlock it.  The other major feature is High Definition Audio calling.  No all carrier yet support the feature, but at least users on T-mobile and Verizon can experience the awesome.  An icon “HD” will show in the call screen when the call is in High Definition.

Additional features include WiFi network stability enhancements, and more control of Bluetooth devices.  Also, if your device supports more than one SIM card, Android 5.1 will support them too.

Source: Google Blog

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New Google Campus (w/ Video)

New Google Campus

The New Google Campus

If you haven’t seen the city in the film Logan’s Run, don’t worry you may soon see it in a redone version at the New Google Campus in Mountain View, California.  The 1976 film reflected the idealism of the time where buildings would meld into the local environment preserving it and working with it. If architects Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels have their way, we may yet see it again.

Working with the environment rather than forcing it to work with humanity is the model that appears to be the new standard offered by the two impressive individuals of Architecture, Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels.  You may not know Heatherwick’s work, but you have certainly seen it in the 2012 London Olympics Torch.  Whereas Bjarke Ingels’ company is known by it’s moniker “BIG”, which stands for the Bjarke Ingels Group.  Together these men will be creating a work environment that appears to have only occurred in the fantasy future mind’s eye of film director Michael Anderson and writers William Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.

And what of this future building, why build it at all, why now?  From the video, the two architects explain that reconfiguration and environmental facsimile are key features.  Buildings as they stand now are not easily changeable and usually conform to their own standards not those of the environment. Google is very interested in keeping efficiency high and environmental impact low, as well as to be as renewable as possible.

To take a hint from a recent project that Google’s ATAP group is working on, modularity, adaptability are key not merely to software, but now to hardware.  Why not take the whole thing to the next level with the entire campus.  Maybe this architectural style will spark a whole revolution in corporate structures and what better place to start than in the heart of a place where new ideas have been happening for the last 50 years.

Google Discontinues Helpouts 02

Google Helpouts Video Service Discontinued

Google Helpouts

Google Helpouts Shutdown

It’s yet another sad day that Google has decided to remove yet another service.  Google Helpouts is being shut down.  Starting on April 20th you will be able to access your Google Helpouts history, but by November 1st the service will be gone.

Google Helpouts was a short lived service with the intent offer assistance from knowledgeable people to those who sought help.  The service began in 2013 with individuals whose skill could be transferred via a YouTube interface to give customers live support from anywhere in the world.   Those who had services to offer would sign up and create a professional profile and those who needed these services would then select the user that they felt would offer the best service.

Services available on Google Helpouts ranged widely from Medical doctors to Fashion advice, from Computer help to Home and Garden.  Alas, the tool never seemed to pick up as many customers as enthusiastic service providers.  And although many people it seems, had many good reviews, the service did not appear to meet the needs of the masses as Google may have expected.

However, it is likely that we will see some semblance of Google Helpouts incorporated into another Google product in the future, much the way that Google Wave and Buzz have found their way into other aspects of Google services.

Google Security Check-up 01

Google Security Check-Up Nets you 2 GB of Free Storage

Google Security Check-up

Get 2 GB of Free Storage with a Google Security Check-Up

Google likes good security and they know that people like incentives.  So to encourage Google users to check their status, they’ve implemented the Google Security Check-up.  A completed check-up will net you 2 more gigabytes of storage in your account, raising the default from 15 to 17 GB.

This process is pretty simple and will only take a few minutes of your time.  And when you’re done, you’ll get some more storage.  Below you’ll find a simple list of the things this check-up will deal with.

  • Ensures your account recovery information is current
    If we detect suspicious activity in your account, we use your recovery info to get in touch and make sure no one but you gains access.
  • Lets you review recent sign-in activity
    Reviewing this lets you validate the sign-ins are coming from you and not someone who shouldn’t be using your credentials.
  • Confirms the apps and devices that access some account information
    This step lets you monitor this list and remove apps and devices that don’t need access to your account any more.

Google hopes that you will visit this page every so often to update things on your account.  They aren’t saying whether they will give you another 2 GB every 28 days or not, but it wouldn’t hurt to try. Find out for yourself here

san antonio google fiber 2

San Antonio Google Fiber

san antonio google fiber

San Antonio Google Fiber

Could it be? Could we soon see San Antonio Google Fiber? It doesn’t seem like such a long shot, considering the relative closeness of Austin.  With a tall repeater and some decent long range transmitters, it might be possible to get a relay going on the outskirts of the two cities.

There are always some unavoidable obstacles, but the one most important lies no with Google, but with the City of San Antonio. Google has some high demands in order to make the roll-out of fiber quick in any city.  That city must agree to make consolations in order to entice the search giant as well.

The process of a roll-out to San Antonio, Google Fiber is complex as best.  But it would seem that the advantages both literal and political out-weight the disadvantages.  Alas, Google is only one company, we’ll just have to wait on the political process for the good news.