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Google Will Soon Take 'Mobile-Friendly' Search Rankings Boost Away From Sites That Prompt Users To Download An App Before Accessing Content

Remember Mobilegeddon? This was Google's search ranking change for searches done on smartphones that placed pages that are "mobile-friendly" higher. For people who don't run non-mobile-friendly websites, this was a relatively non-controversial change.

Of course, it is up to Google to decide what does and does not make a good website for the small screen. Today, they announced that a big prompt—also known as an interstitial—telling you to install an app makes a website not worthy of the "mobile-friendly" label and the benefits that come with it.

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Google Forms Alliance For Open Media Along With Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, And Others

Amidst news that Google has adopted a new logo (and everything that comes along with that), Sundar Pichai let slip that Google is joining the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and others to form the Alliance for Open Media (AOM). The organization's goal is to collaborate on open and royalty-free digital formats for "next-generation ultra high definition media." In other words, it will develop new image, audio, and video codecs and container formats that are totally free for non-commercial and commercial use.

The Alliance’s initial focus is to deliver a next-generation video format that is:

  • Interoperable and open;
  • Optimized for the web;
  • Scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth;
  • Designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware;
  • Capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and
  • Flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.
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Google Releases Its 'On' App For OnHub

Earlier this month, Google surprised us with OnHub, a $200 WiFi router made in partnership with TP-Link that looks great and packs in some smart technology (even if it only has one ethernet port). We knew Google planned to release an app to pair with and control the OnHub, and today Google On hit the Play Store.

The app appears to be super straight-forward, guiding users through initial setup with a variety of simple, pleasing illustrations, and - after that - allowing for easy troubleshooting, speed testing, and network sharing. Users can also rename their network or change the password, and the app even has a feature to "remotely provide or receive help from friends and family." On's interface relies on shades of blue and teal that should be familiar to OnHub customers, matching the device's body and glowing light (assuming you went for the blue version).

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Some Google Play Music Users Are Reporting Chromecast Streaming Errors, Google's Working On It

If you use Google Play Music on your Chromecast on a regular basis, you may have noticed a few issues lately. According to this Google support forum thread, casting Play Music to a nearby Chromecast has been broken for about three weeks for at least some users. Once the music playback begins on the television it reports an error shortly thereafter. Multiple users began reporting the same problem and similar issues.

It doesn't seem to be universal - trying out the casting feature in Google Play Music on my Nexus 6 and SHIELD TV doesn't appear to be broken - but enough people are experiencing it that it's beginning to gain notice.

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Google Rolling Out A Gorgeous New 'Apps' Results Layout For Mobile

In an apparent effort to boost app discoverability and engagement, it looks like Google is rolling out a beautiful new layout for "apps" search results on mobile. Doing a quick search for pretty much anything followed by the word "apps" will get you a grid of app results above the normal search results, each block colored according to the app's icon. Clicking the "expand" button opens up the grid, with more results smoothly flowing in. Check it out in motion below.

Worth noting is that these results seem to only appear on Android for now - the download numbers and ratings of course reflect Play Store stats, and each block will take you to the relevant Play Store listing.

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[Deal Alert] Refurbished Chromecast Just $20 On Groupon Plus $4 Shipping

Alright, the Chromecast may not rank high on the list of devices you're waiting to catch a deal on. $35 isn't the kind of price that has you setting aside paychecks. A kid could get one relatively quickly just by saving up their allowance.

But what if you could get one for $20? That's nearly half off, and the price is low enough to be well into the impulse buy category. Really, what other tech product can you spend so little on and get so much use out of in return? Okay, maybe a 4-port USB Quick Charger 2.0 car charger.

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Google Sending Out Applications For Small Batch Of Project Soli Alpha Dev Kits

It's been a while since we last heard anything about Project Soli - Google's radical post-touch experiment unveiled at I/O - but it looks like the project is still rolling right along. According to a tipster, Google has begun notifying interested parties of an impending "Soli Alpha DevKit," asking that those notified fill out an application for the chance to receive one.

Google says it's looking for pretty much everything when it comes to possible applications - health, art, interactive installations, robotics, HCI, VR, and more are all specifically called out as fair game in Google's email.

The email says that those selected to receive a DevKit will get a development board and SDK, along with the opportunity to participate in a Soli Alpha developer workshop at some point in the future.

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Google Patents A Pothole Detection System Reliant On Crowd-Sourced Data From Multiple Cars, With Potential Applications For Self-Driving Cars

If you grew up in Lebanon like I did, you'd consider potholes an unavoidable fact of hitting the road. Any road. You start planning your driving and lanes based on the placement of potholes, until you get surprised by a new one that just sprung up out of nowhere in the last 24 hours. Sometimes you have to take the wrong side of the street to escape one, other times the pothole is so huge you can't find any way to drive around it. And your car suffers the consequences day in and day out.

Google knows this and is apparently working on a pothole patrol and detection system that crowd-sources data from our collective cars as we drive down the streets.

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