More recap of news from Google

Besides the Great Google Data Merge, the past couple of months have seen some other interesting news about Google. It was business as usual as Google announced the discontinuation of several products and the introduction of some others. Google Sky Map was open-sourced into a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (similar to the App Inventor model with MIT), and Picknik and the Social Graph API were retired. On the other hand, Google released updates for the Google Bar and Google Docs for Android and introduced Chrome for Android. There was also the small issue of receiving approvals from the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice for its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility.

 

 

 

MIT launches App Inventor Beta

Google‘s App Inventor has been reborn. The MIT Center for Mobile Learning has announced the opening of the Beta version of App Inventor to the public.

App Inventor provides a graphical interface for programming, thereby allowing users to create Android apps without the need for fancy programming skills. While Google discontinued its support for App Inventor on December 31, 2011, it tied up MIT to opensource the project.

Català: Interfície App Inventor

Image via Wikipedia

MIT’s involvement in the project has made it more class-room and educator friendly. MIT also plans to add several learning resources to its APP Inventor website.

App Inventor will now be suitable for any use, including running classes.

A list of education resources for App Inventor can be found here.

We will also be developing more resources and support for using App Inventor as a learning tool. We look forward to working with you over the coming months to build the community of App Inventor educators.

Read more at Announcing: MIT App Inventor Open Beta Preview | App Inventor Edu.

The Great Google Data Merge

Just over a month ago, Google announced a major change in the way it manages its customers’ data and thus does business. Google announced that it was updating its privacy policies and Terms of Service.

 

we’re rolling out a new main privacy policy that covers the majority of our products and explains what information we collect, and how we use it, in a much more readable way

English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

 

This change involved an explicit merging of user data across all Google services. Thus the content of a message on Gmail can now be used by Google to provide more relevant search results to the user.

 

Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

 

 

While this change has many user experience benefits, it also raises several privacy concerns. Data protection agencies in the European Union are already suggesting that these changes may fall foul of EU law. In the mean time, Google has launched an aggressive campaign to ‘educate’ its users about its new policies. These changes came into effect on March 1, 2012.

 

 

 

While we’ve undertaken the most extensive user education campaign in our history to explain the coming changes, we know there has been a fair amount of chatter and confusion.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more from Google here and here.

 

 

 

 

Google’s continuing SME agenda in India

As part of its continuing push to grab market share by growing the Indian online market, Google has released a new video. The video, termed ‘Tanjore – The web is what you make of it’, depicts the opportunities and potential of having a web presence.

Inspired by the real story of G. Rajendran, an artist from Tamil Nadu (Southern India) who used the web to bring the dying art of “Tanjore” paintings back to life and became a successful businessman in the process.

Improvements to Google+

In a bid to maintain its high growth rate, Google recently announced a set a new features and updates to Google+.

Image via Google

 

Highlights include the ability to change the volume of updates from a circle, an improved notification bar, increased number of administrators in for Google+ Pages, and improvements to Google+ Photos.

 

YouTube for Schools

YouTube has announced the launch of YouTube for Schools, a customizable user experience that enables educators to restrict student access to the 400,000+ educational videos available on YouTube.

… a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.

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The last Wave

Earlier this week, Google pulled the plug on several products. Below is the official word from Google regarding the culling of Google Wave.

Google Wave

Image via Wikipedia

 

Dear Wavers,

More than a year ago, we announced that Google Wave would no longer be developed as a separate product. At the time, we committed to maintaining the site at least through to the end of 2010. Today, we are sharing the specific dates for ending this maintenance period and shutting down Wave. As of January 31, 2012, all waves will be read-only, and the Wave service will be turned off on April 30, 2012. You will be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. We encourage you to export any important data before April 30, 2012.

If you would like to continue using Wave, there are a number of open source projects, including Apache Wave. There is also an open source project called Walkaround that includes an experimental feature that lets you import all your Waves from Google. This feature will also work until the Wave service is turned off on April 30, 2012.

For more details, please see our help center.

Yours sincerely,

The Wave Team

© 2011 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Wave account.

RIP Google Wave, Google Gears, Knol and RE<C

Keeping in step with its new direction of focus on the core, Google has announced its third round of spring cleaning. Prior rounds lead to the demise of Google Labs and Google Buzz. The latest cull has claimed several Google products, including Wave, Gears, Knoland RE

Google Wave

Image via Wikipedia

To recap, we’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts, and ending several which have shown us a different path forward. Overall, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience.

A major news is Google’s decision to walk away from its Green Energy initiative

Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)—This initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, with an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power technology. At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level.

Read more at Official Google Blog: More spring cleaning out of season.

Google Music for Artists

The public launch of Google Music for consumers has been accompanied by a truly disruptive move by Google – Google Music for Artists. This offers artists a means to bypass traditional music publishers and go directly to the consumer. Google will take a one time setup fee of $25 and 30% of sales proceeds. Other key features include the ability to set album and track prices, create an artist page on the Android Market, sell music via Youtube, and close integration with Google+. This move hammers the last nails into the coffins of the purveyors of non-digital music distribution models and shrinking platforms like MySpace.

Image via Google

With Google Music you set your own retail prices for albums and tracks. You can quickly make your own promotions, like limited time price reductions, or make some tracks available as album-only purchases. The choices are yours.

You keep 70% of what you take in, paid to you monthly.

Every artist or band has a page within Android Market to help Google Music users find out more about you. The artist page includes your bio, photo, links and the original music you have available for sale.

Our integration with YouTube helps you sell your songs with a buy link in your music videos.

The Case of Orabrush: Building a multi-million dollar company using Youtube

Google’s blog tells the story of how an entrepreneur used Youtube based video ads to market millions of Orabrush – a tongue cleaner. After the failure of a $40,000 traditional ad campaign, the firm spent $500 on making a Youtube video (see the video here or below). After 2 years of increasing success (reflected in sales of over a million Orabrush), they approached Walmart. Again, when a $20,000 TV pitch failed to catch the attention of Walmart execs, the firm spent $28 on targeted FaceBook ads. Today Walmart and CVS carry the product at over 10,500 locations, making Orabrush the “first product to go from no sales online or offline, to nationwide retail distribution just using YouTube. ”

Image via Google

Their first ad is below:

Read more at Official Google Blog: The Orabrush story: How a Utah man used YouTube to build a multi-million dollar business.