Fans of Google in general and Android in particular are still reeling from yesterday's announcement that Motorola is being sold to Lenovo. Google acquired Moto just two years ago, and while its time within Google has been beneficial, it's clearly not going to become the official mobile hardware arm that many had hoped for. But there's no reason to think that the big G is out of the hardware game altogether - in fact, at least one report says that another recent acquisition may be accelerating it.
If you haven't heard, Google makes a ton of Android apps. It can be a real hassle to keep up with them all, as the company is occasionally prone to updating a handful of them at once. So today we're lumping together new versions of My Tracks, Google Fiber, Google TV Search, Google Shopping Express, and Voice Search for Google TV all in one post. Links and changelogs for all five apps are available below.
Update: Google has announced that the deal is official on its investor relations site, and Motorola had its say too. The deal is worth $2.91 billion, with $1.41 billion paid at closing ($660m in cash and $750m in stock). Lenovo gets 2000 patents in the deal, plus a licensing arrangement with Google. Original post follows.
Google is always doing surprising things, but this is probably not something anyone would have predicted yesterday.
The Android Device Manager app could really save your bacon if you misplace a device, but it could also be a serious pain if someone else opens it. An update is rolling out right now that adds a password challenge when you open the app or switch accounts that makes sure no one but the account holder can track, lock, or wipe devices.
After the update, ADM will prompt for a password each time it starts up.
Google has reportedly closed a deal to acquire a London-based artificial intelligence startup called DeepMind. Google buys things all the time, but this time Mountain View has agreed to pay a huge sum of money for DeepMind. Sources are reporting the deal could have been valued as high as $500 million, or 0.5 Instagrams.
Through its official global blog, Samsung today announced a new patent licensing deal reached with Google, whereby both companies will have access to each other's existing patents and those filed over the next ten years, covering "a broad range of technologies and business areas."
The cross-licensing agreement is described by Google's Deputy General Counsel for Patents, Allen Lo, as one that will help the two giants "reduce the potential for litigation, and focus instead on innovation." Indeed that has been a popular refrain as both Google and Samsung have historically faced (and continue to face) patent challenges from various other companies on various grounds.
If you were unable to access Gmail, Google+, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and other online services from The Big G earlier today, you were not alone. A widespread outage was reported in the late morning/early afternoon US time. Google seems to have cleared up the issue, but just to let everyone know what's up, Google's Vice President of Engineering Ben Treynor took to the company blog for both an explanation and an apology.
If you tried reaching one of Google's popular services, such as Gmail, Google+, or Play Music in the last 30 minutes and failed because they're either unavailable, very slow, or have broken in some other way, don't go blaming your ISP - it's one of those rare occasions when Google itself is having some major hiccups.
The company finally updated the Apps Status Dashboard after a surprisingly long delay of over 20 minutes showing all green and is now looking into the issues:
Google makes the open source parts of Android freely available, but those aren't the parts everyone wants. The Google apps and services are what make Android devices desirable, and Google keeps those firmly under its control. A new report from The Guardian alleges that Google's device certification process for OEMs to get Gapps isn't free – the OEM has to pay a small per-device license fee for Google's services.