Just three short months ago, China approved Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, effectively finalizing the deal. Apparently, neither company is looking to waste any time, as Motorola's new Google-driven leadership has already revealed the basics of the big turnaround plan. The first step: lay off 20% of its employees (including about 1,330 in the US) and close 94 offices around the globe. Given that Moto's phone unit has only made a profit in 6 months of the last 4 years, that's not so surprising.
This may not be strictly Android-related news, but it's safe to say that what Google does to search results is relevant to our readers' interests, no? Today, Google announced via its Inside Search blog that the company will start including the volume of valid copyright removal notices as a factor in determining how high or low a site ranks in its search results. Translation: pirate sites won't be removed entirely, but they'll start ranking lower than legitimate sites.
In a post to its "Inside Search" blog, Google announced today that several improvements are currently being rolled out to mobile search (for phones and tablets), making some of the engine's quick answers "richer, more beautiful, and more interactive."
In the recent past, users have enjoyed improvements to weather and calculator searches, with handy interactive cards (reminiscent of Google Now's visual style).
Google is now updating a heaping handful of other quick answer features including finance, currency conversion, unit conversion, dictionary definitions, local time lookup, and holiday and sunrise times.
Update: We've received confirmation from Google that shipping is underway for pre-order customers.
We've just received information suggesting that some Nexus Q's have begun shipping to customers who pre-ordered the device before Google announced yesterday that its launch had been suspended while the device was reworked to not be quite so useless. All pre-order customers were promised their Q's "soon" and free of charge, and apparently when they said soon, they meant it.
Google has indefinitely suspended the launch of the Nexus Q to consumers so they can make it "do even more than it does today." Which translates to, roughly, "sorry, everyone is telling us this thing is basically useless as is, so please give us time to fix it." Those who pre-ordered will be getting free Q's, though, so that's pretty awesome. Here's the email Google sent out to pre-order customers:
The time has come friends. Factory images are now available for several Nexus devices. The current factory image (JRO03[C-E] depending on the device) is available for most Nexus S variants, though the Korean and Sprint versions are conspicuously absent. Similarly, the Verizon-branded Galaxy Nexus is still off the list, but all other Galaxy Nexus versions are accounted for. And, of course, the carrier-less Nexus 7's factory image is available.
For those who prefer bullet points, here are the devices with factory images available as well as the build number for each:
- Nexus S (soju): Android 4.1.1 (JRO03E)
- Nexus S (sojua): Android 4.1.1 (JRO03E)
- Galaxy Nexus (yakju): Android 4.1.1 (JRO03C)
- Galaxy Nexus (takju): Android 4.1.1 (JRO03C)
- Nexus 7 (nakasi): Android 4.1.1 (JRO03D)
If you need to get back to the way things were when you first got your device, you can download the images from Google's download site right here.
In its endless attempts to make searching easier for everyone, Google has introduced yet another way to search via its mobile site at google.com: handwriting recognition. If you go to Google's search page from your phone or tablet's mobile browser and enable the feature via settings, you can now scribble your searches on the screen, even after receiving results. It's pretty fancy!
Of course, this does raise the question of whether this input method is any faster.
We've known about Google's plan to roll out its very first fiber optical Internet and cable service in the twin Midwestern cities for months, but today the full scope of Google's plans has been revealed on the fiber.google.com page. The options are staggering, the technology is drool-inducing, and the extras are enough to make even Google I/O attendees jealous.
Update: Surprise, surprise - the Nexus Q has had its ship date pushed another 2-3 weeks. We're guessing it doesn't have to do much with unexpected demand.
Oh Nexus Q, I really do want to love you. Unfortunately, you're just not 300 dollars of loveable. The media sphere (which sounds like something out of Futurama) is now officially shipping in 3-5 days.
So, if you want one of these things, go 'n get it.
Last month, Google announced that it would be ending all legal disputes with French authors and publishers in an effort to bring books to a wider audience. The announcement came following the French Publishers and Author's Associations withdrawal of their suits against Google, and marked a "win-win solution" which opened "the possibility for out-of-print books to reach a wide audience," while maintaining commercial rights for authors.
Following up on that announcement, Google added a post to its European Public Policy Blog today indicating that Google Play Books has officially arrived in France.