Wasn't that fun?! :)
I love the opening of Google I/O, seeing people talking about products they're proud of is always entertaining. On to the follow-up, how did I do?
Yey! I were right!
A game center, called Play Game Services. Leaderboards, Cloud save along with Multiplayer and Achievements (Multiplayer demo didn't work out during the keynote though, lack of Internet if I understood correctly). Looking good and very important considering there are at least two gaming consoles coming soon (Ouya and Nvidia Shield).
A new phone, this could be placed in the wrong section as well. I guessed we would get a bigger tablet or a phone, but I also said that it would probably not be a Samsung S4 Google edition. As you know...S4 it is. Interesting move and hard to predict what this could mean for the Android community at large. I'm surprised since I would have guessed that Samsung would want to "cash in" on all the extra features they added to the S4.
New messenger service, called Hangout. Rolling out immediately, replacing talk and Google+ messenger. It looks nice and synchronizes well between devices (been experimenting with N4/N7/Laptop) but why oh why no sms support from the beginning?! It's probably on it's way as Google Employee Dori Storbeck accidently outed "..and yes, SMS integration is coming soon..." on G+ (updated later with "Ooops! ...we actually have nothing to announce at this time. My apologies.").
Google Music gets an option for streaming subscription called All Access. Can't say much more about it, the new Google Music interface is very nice though. Both on my Androids and my laptop (nope, no official Music support in Sweden but come on, I have to have some fun :) the update is a good step forward. Pricing seems reasonable but it's (I told you so) US only and the range of Swedish music is not good as I hear it.
And correct on the no talk about Nexus Q or new Chromebook hardware (some Chrome OS talk though, and more in the sessions).
Ouch, not even remotely correct
New Android version. Instead of presenting a new version we got updated services, which in my opinion is probably wise. Doesn't change the fact that I was sure, and as we now know - wrong.
Samsung S4 Google Edition, I was actually very sceptical about this rumour that felt very far fetched. We know better now :)
Somewhat of target
A lot less Glass than expected, especially in the keynote. Sessions are still there though.
No clock this year, which as no one remember was what I said. But I had a maybe in there so...
US only. Everything wasn't US only (we get Hangouts, Maps update and so on) but still...S4 Google Edition - US only. Music All Access - US Only. Attach money in GMail - US Only. I'll give myself half a point for my rant being more or less correct.
Cool things not mentioned by me
Things I didn't mention before or in this post...
Maps update. I use maps quite a bit but wouldn't consider myself anything other than ordinary user. New update looks nice but I haven't looked much further than that.
E-mail money with GMail! Sound a bit like that old April fools joke about sending snailmail through GMail but this one is true. Seem to be a very neat solution, albeit US only.
Android studio. New developer environment. I'm no developer so I have just about nothing to add here except that the developers I follow on Twitter that are active on Android seem to think it's cool. That's good for them, and what's good for developers will in the end be good for us users :)
Google+ update. Quite a major update actually. Both with the new Hangouts (beautiful, I can't stop mentioning that), the streams and photo editing. I especially like the new photo handler. Sorting and so on got a big update, go have a look in your G+->Photos instead of reading about it.
Overall I think I did ok :-)
As a help to my memory and the parts I didn't watch live I read some of the news over at www.swedroid.se
Today is the day when speculation turns to answers as Google I/O take place in San Francisco.
But, before the keynote I'd like to do some final brainstorming/speculation/guessing.
What we'll get:
New Android version. Probably not Key Lime Pie though but a new Jelly Bean version with some fixes and a Game center that will hold international leader boards and possibly cloud saves (how awesome would it be to move seamless between my N7 and my N4? Very that's how awesome). Also see What we might get.
Some new hardware. Yes I'm quite certain that something will be presented. Exactly what however...an updated Nexus 7? A new big tablet? A phone, possibly made with Motorola that Google bought a year ago? I would place my money on a bigger tablet or possibly a new phone. Not that a high-end 7" tablet wouldn't be a cool product but I think they'll stick with the present config a while longer, an upgrade on an already upgraded device doesn't give me the Key-note tingles. Or it could be...(see What we might get)
A big load of talk about Glass. And then some more talk about glass, and then some sessions on programming for glass. Google thinks this is the future and they pursue it fiercely. I haven't looked closer on a pair in real life so I don't know what to believe, loving the visions though.
What we might get:
They new Android version might hold a new messenger service, possible named Babble. It makes perfect sense and is just the next step combining Google+ Messenger, Talk and the regular text messages. Microsoft is already doing it, Apple did it last year, Blackberry does it and smaller companies like Viber, WhatsApp have been doing it for long. On top of that Facebook does it too, a clean copy+paste+improve on Google+ Messenger but why not? Google only went half-way with G+ messenger then of course Facebook will do it better. Not a matter of If, just a matter of When and I think now is a good time as any.
The update for Android might also hold an update on Google Music, containing a streaming option and not only single song purchases. Not a bad idea but the market is already crowded. What's the unique selling point, besides being big'ol Google? With Rdio, Spotify, Wimp and so on they won't lack competition. Still, I like Google Music and the thought of combining single song/album purchases with the opportunity to enable all-you can eat streaming for an evening (think party-mode) is intriguing.
Google Clock. 2013 is rumoured to be year of the smart watches with Pebble already out in the open (getting mixed reviews) and about every other smartphone manufacturer either openly or rumoured to be developing their own it's hard to say otherwise. But will Google present one already? I don't think so, but it's not impossible at all. Supposedly there have already been showcases of a watch with functionality resembling Glass but requiring an Android. My feeling is that this is not a device segment that Google will take the lead into but rather wait a year and see if the users is at all interested. (You can also read my review on semi-smart watch "Mutewatch" here)
What we probably won't get
Of course there are a lot of things we won't get but out of the rumour mill and into the rumour bin I think we can throw...
Updated Nexus Q. True, Google believed in the idea only last year. They do want to be a bigger part of our homelife (think Youtube's new subscribe service) and the Q would be a logic part of this. But. The Q was way to expensive and lacking to much functionality and after last years fail...nope I can't see them reviving that name. The core functionality could however be turned into something regarding Google TV or the not very used concept Android@Home.
Bold new Chromebooks. The Pixel is still new and the market is maturing quickly enough for Google to let it expand on itself through different manufacturers.
Samsung S4 Google Edition. Once again, not impossible but I think Samsung would prefer to have only their flavour at this time rather than giving the customer the option of a "clean" vanilla Android Experience.
<rant>Oh and the final sad prediction. Absolutely nothing presented will be available in Sweden. Not initially at least. I still can't buy songs with Google Play (connected to Google Music), or Books or Magazines. What do I care if another subscription service is launched for music that is US only? Well, I do. Because it can lead to less revenue for the companies that think outside one continent and less revenue will in the long run lead to less content. Less content will instead in the long run lead to more piracy and tadaa, back to square one. Legislation should be a support for companies and customers alike. Not a hindrance. </rant>
Time will tell!
Weird citing sources on rumours but still, I get most of my Android news from Twitter which tend to get broader than just som 3-4 news sites that I can keep up with. Some of them: Swedroid, The Verge, Gizmodo, TechCrunch. You know the type :)
For the last two weeks I've been using one of the hyped Mutewatches as my primary time and alarm manager, time to share my impressions!
If you haven't heard of it before Mutewatch is a watch created by a Swedish startup (called Mutewatch of course). I've been explaining what it is a whole lot these last two weeks and looking at functions it doesn't do a whole lot more than my first digital clock when I was around 8 albeit a bit differently. It's a clock, nothing less but possibly a bit more.
A bit more
As you see in the picture you get a LED display, this display is capacitive and is the primary mean of managing your watch. The display will automatically sleep after a few seconds and you turn it on by either taping it or simply turning your wrist. This takes some getting used to and the first few days found me staring at a grey piece of plastic a lot of the times. When you get the knack of it however it's quite neat, the time is not in my face all the time (e.g when typing on my keyboard) but magically appears when I need it. It also has a light sensor and adapts the intensity accordingly as to not blind you in a dark room (or be invisible outside).
It does a bit more than display time. By simply swiping left and right you reach functions for both Alarm and Timer. They work just as you can expect from a watch except it vibrates instead of beeps. This gives a quite comfortable wake-up alarm whilst not waking up other persons in your vicinity. When the alarm goes of you turn it off by tapping the three boxes you see in the picture below, if you miss - the boxes move and you have to start all over :-) By instead tapping the "eternity sign" you set a recurring timer on 9 minutes, also known as snooze. This works very well and the simplicity in setting up alarms and timers make me use it a lot more than when I use my mobile for alarm and timer.
Everything is not swell in Mutewatch heaven. The vibration instead of alarm is brilliant, but I slept right through it a morning or two. On the other hand (pun intended) I do that now and then with my mobile alarm as well :)
The set-up of alarms and timer is simple enough, but gives you no time to think. If you pause your input to consider if you should wake up 0700 or 0640 you only get a second or so before it saves your alarm and as far as I found there is no way to edit the saved alarm. You can only delete it entirely, which with such an easy set-up will probably not be a problem for anyone but it bugs me just a little bit every time it happens.
More or less a common watch, but a whole lot cooler and a bit smarter. When all the rumoured (and announced) smart watches start showing up though I fear that Mutewatch might loose some of their core target audience. Time will tell and I hope the Swedish company with Mai-Li Hammargren will keep on innovating and bring great ideas to life, maybe even with a firmware update.
It does feel a bit on the expensive side at $259 and a special edition for $299. But if it wasn't I would already have a red one to complement my grey which of course is a very good rating :-)
Read more at: www.mutewatch.com and make sure to watch at least one of their videos, informative whilst being stylish!
When activities in Sweden gains a global interest I must of course comment on it so here goes.
In Sweden we have something called "Språkrådet" (Language council of Sweden). Each year they put together a list of new words in the Swedish language and 2012 contained the word "ogooglebar". O is used as a prefix similar to non/not/un, google is of course Google and bar is a suffix roughly translating to able or doable. Which gives us, ogooglebar=ungoogleable or as the word is used, describing something as non-searchable. Or at least without any results.
Problem is that the language council defined that a search engine wouldn't find any results for such a term. Key here is "search engine", not specifically Google. It doesn't seem like Google had any problems with the actual word (why would they?) but the definition. Reason is fairly simple if I understand basic trademark legislation right.
If Google becomes synonymous with search engine, other companies may use Google as a term, even in marketing. We've seen this before with Xerox, Aspirin and many other things/brands. That's why...out comes the lawyers.
Funny thing though... The language council figured that they have better things to do and removed the word instead of changing the definition in accordance with a company's wishes. The result is world wide spread of the word and story. Oopsie.
Lesson for Google: People may frown at the use of lawyers and find your actions a bit silly, even if your request isn't that strange to begin with.
Yesterday evening Google released a new app they call Keep. We could almost call it two since it comes with a web interface for desktop as well.
According to the presentation Keep aim to replace the post its on your desk, screen, fridge and so on. Quick note taking, ability to dictate and save pictures complete with a lock screen widget. Not bad! But hardly the first version of it either. I'm guessing that the question is whether or not they manage to attract user from other services like Evernote or Catch.
Keep is simple and beautiful (imho) with a lot of nice colour :-)
It does however lack a lot of the more advanced features of e.g. Evernote. You can't share natively (and obviously not collaborate) a note, instead you use the built in Android sharing. This works, but when something is shared the information is taken out of the app/service. You can also use it as a task manager with check boxes but it will not sync with Google Tasks.
Overall I feel like it should be considered part of Drive but with it's own app, a way for Google to broaden the possible ways to attract new users.
It's a nice app but at this time I'm surprised that it's not more tightly integrated with the rest of Google services. A reminder will often need an alarm, but no connection to neither Google Calendar or Android alarm (and no alarm of its own unless I'm blind). The lack of integration with Tasks also bugs me a bit. I can't see any reason for both to exist so likely we will see an end of Tasks but that means (I hope!) adding Keep to Gmail, and changes to the almighty webmail service is not taken lightly in Mountain View. On the other hand that's what I thought about G+ messenger and Talk as well, instead they've added a third chat in Drive :-) We'll see if the rumours of "Babbel" holds any truth...not one day too early if you ask me!
Note that there is no official Tasks app today despite broad usage, instead people have turned to 3rd party apps like Astrid, GTasks or my personal favourite Any.Do. Interesting that Google now adds tasks to another app instead which allows them to somewhat change their previous deciscion to just go for a webbapp.
Another thing that doesn't matter to me but will surely annoy some people is that it choose language based on phone language, this is a neat default setting but I should be able to change it. Simple setting and everyone is better of with it. Many users have a need of different languages in different apps.
Official app, of course there will be a lot of users. It's good at what it does and looks sleek and Googly but at the moment I don't see much more than potential.
Yup. Google Reader is shutting down (Official Google Reader Blog). not very surprising. Back in October 2011 Google started nudging the user in away from the platform by removing some social features (Same blog back in 2011) and then with Google Currents (that can use your GReader feeds) indication turned to big signs.
I'm not a huge RSS user anymore, I find enough reading through other social networks like G+, Twitter and Facebook. If you still are, everyone is talking about Feedly today. I took the opportunity to install the app and migrate my GReader feed, very simple and they even wrote a blog post aimed at all the newcomers :)
I like it so far! Then it's just that small problem of time to read more...
Oh, and the irony that I crosspost this in Google+ since there is no good way to feed it in there is not lost on me. :-)
Today I had one of thoose lovely "Ah! Never considered that before!". I got a question from a colleague that had a formula that looked like this:
Note that this is no hardcore crazy hackaway thing. Just a common "simple when you think of it". I'm not claiming to be giving away awesome wisdom here. :)
Apart from not beeing very easy understandable it required a lot of handy work to stay up to date since columns where added periodically.
What it was supposed to do was check if all the cells between G3 and AK3 were empty, write "Missing" if they were and "Present" if they weren't. If you have the energy to check you will notice that not all cells between G3 and AK3 was included. Some were lost when new columns were added.
Easy! I thougt, and entered: =IF(G3:AK3="";"Missing";"Present")
Unexpected trouble. As far as I can remember I never tried using a range with the IF function that way before, lucky for me since it doesn't work (neither do named areas).
I figured that I have to calculate a value from these cells so I asked what would be in the cells if present? Unfortunately the answer wasn't digits. If it were numbers a simple: =IF(SUM(G3:AK3)=0;"Missing";"Present") would work.
Still, this should not be too tricky...and it wasn't. As soon as I stoped thinking on how to identify the cell content at least (yes, that took me some beard scratching minutes).
Instead I count them. This is what I came up with:
=COUNTA simply counts the number of cells with values. Since I specify a range Excel will also update the formula to includedcells created within that range.
As with most questions about Excel, the solution was easy, you just have to think about it first :-)
Day4 is a Swedish company specialized in motion graphic and videos for TV, Internet and
so on. A week ago they got an idea (that right now makes any marketing company a bit jealous). They decided to create a rumour and see what happened with it.
That rumour was about Apple making there own weird screws and you can read all about what and how they did it directly from them here. They managed to get the rumour mill spinning either way.
The interesting thing is not that they managed to get a whole community (almost) talking about something made up but the perceived level of truth. The blogg Cult of Mac writes about it after 12 hours and then the ball was in motion. Yahoo, Wired and Mac World are among the news agents picking it up. Still, it's a rumour and writers are sceptic. The longer from the (made up) source however...They note that when readers share and comment on these articles in there own media streams like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ - almost all questioning is gone.
Very interesting, if not so much of a chocker. Who values the news before it reaches you? I know a couple of journalists, both in old-school-paper-media and web publications. They might not always admit it but the faster our information wheel spins, the less source control. My humble guess is that that's one of the main reasons we see so many articles stating another competitor as their source. Maybe we didn't check it, but it's not our fault, they wrote it first - sort of. Not that the source is a guarantee for accuracy, the Swedish wire service TT quickly gets a nation wide spread on their news. Both correct and incorrect ones.
Gets you thinking doesn't it?
Disclaimer: the part about who was sceptic and the perceived level of truth is the opinion of Day4 and has not been thoroughly checked by me Ironic huh? :-)
If you've read my posts a month or so back, you'll notice that I've been on the lookout for a tablet for a while. I decided to wait until Google I/O before deciding and suddenly I have 3 Nexus devices at home. Unfortunately it's not released in Sweden yet but thanks to an awesome friend in the US that was solved with just some additional shipping charges.
Nexus 7 ships with the brand new Android 4.1 also known as Jelly Bean. All in all I'm very satisfied and will try to give you a quick write-up on why. This is my first tablet so this will be both, why do you (well, I) need a tablet and why I think the N7 is a good option.
When the iPad was introduced a lot of market analysts was, should we say sceptical? "Who will ever use that thing", "Tried already by other companies, didn't work" and so on was the verdict. Personally I was a bit more optimistic. I started using "handheld computers" at my first job. A glorious Palm m500 was replaced by a Tungsten that later became a TX. I used the calendar (not with a lot of meetings though, I was a technician after all), started reading books in PDF and played som games. Some e-mails was written but not many. After moving on with smartphones I had no trouble answering the question "Who will ever use a tablet/pad (or one of the many names)". I will! I was however not that sure about the price Apple asked for it, and I wasn't sure if enough "normal" users would like to use it, normal as in less geeky than I.
Fast forward a couple of years. I never got an iPad, I didn't buy into the Apple ecosystem and considered it slightly expensive while at the same time the screen on my phone kept groving. Now that I got a tablet I regret waiting so long so here is why you should get a tablet if you have the possibility:
- Reading e-books is cheaper, easier and by far cooler than regular books :)
- Playing games are fun, and much more so on a bigger screen. Just played through classic RTS "Z Origins" and loved every minute (except when my grunts were mocking me for loosing).
- Reading news and articles on a tablet is awesome. Some papers and magazines has their own apps, others are adjusted and available via one of the many apps for magazine reading like "Zinio Magazine Reader". If your favourite news site haven't made any mobile version several apps does a great adjustment job for you. Right now I'm trying to decide which one to use and run three different ones on and of: "Flipboard", "Pulse" and "Google Currents". Favourite right now is Pulse but they all have their pros and cons.
- Blogging, mail and just about any writing at all is much much easier on the pad than on a smartphone. It's not as smooth as on a laptop, but I seldom pick up my computer on the metro. With a nice sync-app everything is of course available on all your devices (Google Drive, Evernote and so on and so on, trying them out as well).
- Control other devices, in my case I use it as a remote for my Mac Mini connected to my TV. Get one with infrared port and you can control basically every piece of your TV/home theater setup.
There you go. Now we move on to why Nexus7 is a good choice. This is of course much harder for me to answer since I've only owned this tablet but..I'll give it a try anyway and you just remember my limited experience with other tablets :-)
- It's fast, really fast. I've been testing out both a Xoom and a Samsung tab before and this is way smoother (granted, it's released much later).
- You get a whole lot of bang for your buck because the Nexus 7 is cheap, no really, it's cheap. Starting at $199, compared to the new iPad $499 (yes, the iPad have features the N7 lacks, more on that later) Samsung Tab 2 7" starts somewhere around $250-299. Finding USD prices from a Swedish IP is always a hassle :)
- I absolutely love the form factor. 7" is perfect for me. As long as I carry a bag (90-95% of the times I leave home) I got it with me. A larger more expensive tablet might be left at home more often. Holding it with one hand is comfortable, not just for a couple of minutes. That's great if you're using it for reading. I need to be able to stand up on the metro, hold on to the rail with one hand and still read, like I can with a paperback without trouble. Big enough to be a huge leap in usability compared to my Galaxy Nexus but small enough to be carried and used all the time, to sum it up. The material on the back deserves a mention as well, smooth and rubbery without being sticky, very well chosen by the designers!
- Customization, this goes for all Android tabs. I will probably use my tab a bit different than you so why would we like them to look the same? Of course, you could just let it be and it will work just fine but the ability to change keyboard and features is a core feature for me. That includes widgets which are great on Android phones but is really awesome on a tablet.
- As a Nexus device it comes loaded with the latest Android version, the already mentioned Jelly Bean 4.1. It will also be updated directly from Google hopefully quick and easy :)
But... The Nexus7 isn't perfect of course. If these are deal breakers for you, keep on looking.
- If you have an iPhone already, you have to consider the ecosystem factor. Syncing between devices, already bought apps etcetera.
- Films likes big screens. If you plan to watch a lot of video you might want to consider a bigger device.
- In order to keep the low price on the Nexus Asus and Google removed some common features. There is no 3G/4G/LTE version, you get Wifi and that's it. There are no camera on the back, just the front facing one. Like all devices I've tried the front camera is aimed towards video chat and similar, not snapping good pictures. They also left out the ability to add memory through external card. An unfortunate trend that we see among phones as well.
- I would've loved an infra red sensor to get rid of my three remotes (sound, TV and IPTV Set Top box), just like the Sony Tab S and the just announced Samsung tab 10.1 has.
A bit longer than I intended, even though most of the post was written on the Nexus itself. That's how nice typing on it is :-)
I might translate it later but so far this is only for Swedish readers who are still waiting for their Jelly Bean update (the forumpost linked in the bottom are in Swedish). Chances are that your phone has the build "yakjuxw" that will get the update later. Have no fear, transforming it to the international "yakju" is quite simple.
Just follow the instructions from the link and get ready for Jelly Bean: http://www.swedroid.se/forum/showthread.php?t=60862