Google today announced Buzz, which is kind of an uber-mashup of Twitter, Facebook, Four Square and just about any other social network you can think of. Share photos, locations -- whatever -- all in real time. It's built in to gmail (some people are already seeing it live), and also plays a big part in the mobile space (natch).
For starters, go to buzz.google.com, and you'll be taken to a Web app that lets you see and create Buzz messages. You can see messages from people you "follow" or interact with often, or you can see messages from people nearby.
It's also tied into Google Maps. There will be (I don't see it yet -- anybody else?) a Buzz layer that will let you see Buzz messages anywhere on the map. And then there's a voice shortcut for Android phones that support the feature. Just say "Post buzz" and then say your peace.
It looks like Buzz may take a little getting used to. Or it might remain as vague as Wave. We'll see. In the meantime, check out a couple of videos detailing Buzz after the break. [Google]
Update: As Skritt points out in the comments, check for an update to Google Maps (We're now at Version 4.0, people) and you'll now see the Buzz layer.
It seems like it's a bit early to start hearing rumblings of the "H" nickname for Android. After all, it was just a few short weeks ago that we learned "F" was for Froyo -- frozen yougurt -- which follows Eclair, Donut and Cupcake.
But that didn't stop Google's Brian Swetland, who works on the Linux kernel for the Big G, from just dropping the following on the LWN.net boards:
We maintain a set of patches on top of Linux, which we periodically rebase to the latest released Linux kernel. We've been doing this roughly every other kernel release since about 2.6.14. This week we're finalizing our move to 2.6.32 for the Android "Froyo" release, and we'll likely be on .33 or .34 for "Gingerbread".
That said, Froyo's not even available on phones yet, so "Gingerbread" may just be an internal nickname at this point. A nickname for a nickname, if you will. [LWN.net via AndroidAndMe]
By now everyone should have seen the Google Nexus One update (called 2.1-update1) pushed out to their phones. (If not, you can always update manually.) Aside from pinch-to-zoom being turned on in a handful of apps, the update contained a fix for the apparent problems the phone was having keeping a 3G connection on T-Mobile.
However, our pals at JKOnTheRun still saw issue after the update, and there are other reports, as well. And so we put it to you, gentle folk. How's your T-Mobile 3G reception after last week's update?
Looks like Google's Phone Support for the Nexus One just went live. You can ask for help regarding your Nexus One's problems by calling 1 (888) 48-NEXUS which is 1-888-486-3987 in simple numeric form. The line is open from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM PST so hopefully you can get some answers to your questions, solutions to your problems, or just a nice person to talk to on the other end.
Google, creator of so many things cool, may have another awesome app in the works. Google is reportedly working on a new voice-to-voice translation that will be available to mobile phones. Meaning if you're stuck in Japan, you'll be able to speak an English phrase into your phone and have it pump out the corresponding Japanese phrase for everyone (or just yourself) to hear. To quote:
“We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time,” said Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services. “Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on."
We like the idea of voice-to-voice translation but we're sure there'll be a lot of kinks and missteps to work out before we get an easy-to-use solution. Google has been working on their speech-to-text engine with the Nexus One so at least Google is taking a step in the right direction. We trust that they can figure it out. But what'd be insanely cool is if Google voice-to-voice translation could translate an entire conversation in real time. One end speaking English, the other in French. That'd make finding Parisian love a lot easier, that's for sure. [timesonline via bgr]
If you're in the market for a myTouch 3G, our advice would be to wait until the myTouch 3G 1.2 becomes official and then decide which one to buy. Even though T-Mobile is going to drop the price of the original myTouch 3G to $99.99 on February 10th, the myTouch 3G 1.2 might be a better option in the long run.
The rumored updates for the myTouch 3G 1.2 are the 3.5mm headphone jack, Swype keyboard, and increased memory. The first two upgrades might not affect you but having increased memory may give a performance boost to the myTouch and maybe even allow it to cleanly run something like HTC Sense. And plus, $99 for a myTouch 3G is hardly the best deal in town.
With so many phones getting delayed these days, it's refreshing to see a phone manufacturer actually try and beat their release date. The Motorola Devour is rumored to do just that. Originally expected to hit stores sometime in March, the Devour might actually launch a couple of days earlier and be available on February 25th through Verizon's Indirect Channel. The Devour is also expected to be widely available by March 15th, at the latest.
We learned this morning what we'll likely see once the Motorola Droid gets the update to Android 2.1. Now we have have a time frame. Motorola, on its official Facebook page, dropped the following (emphasis ours):
Hi all-- we know you are frustrated with the lack of details regarding Android software upgrades and we sincerely apologize for not being able to share info sooner. We're happy to relay the 2.1 upgrade to DROID will start to roll out this week, and we will have more information to share on other device upgrades later ...this week as well. Thanks for your patience and continued support.
So let's all keep our eyes peeled this week. Next question is what other updates does Moto have up its sleeve? Stay tuned, folks. [Facebook via Engadget] Thanks, Tyler!
Here's a little bit of "good" news for anybody who bought a Nexus One on contract with T-Mobile and is thinking of getting out early. Remember how Google was charging a $350 "Equipment recovery fee" in addition to T-Mobile's $200 early termination fee? The Big G's just lowered that to $150 if you cancel in the first 120 days.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
A Google representative said the company had been working with T-Mobile to lower the equipment fee.
"Google's overall financial philosophy with regard to operator service plans remains unchanged: We make no profit from commissions from operators or from equipment recovery fees, and our recovery fees are based on operator charges to Google for early termination of service," the company said in a statement.
Whether that has anything to do with the FCC's inquiry into early termination fees, or out of the kindness of its not-evil heart, it's a welcome move from Google. [WSJ via Phonescoop]
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The proximity sensor on the Motorola Droid seems to giving its owners a difficult time as of late. Some forum members are reporting pretty odd behavior with their screens turning off or on at odd times. How is that proximity sensor working for you?
The fifth part in Google's YouTube series chronicling the birth (and now life) of the Nexus One is now available. In it we get a look at the Nexus One being used throughout the day (and a guy whose apartment is badly in need of a non-Google decorator). But we also get another brief look at the car dock.
At about 1:08 in we see our hero place his Nexus One in the car dock, which has kind of a dual ball-and-socket joint system for multiple angles. Why dude's using a car dock in a taxi is an interesting question, but we won't look a gift horse in the mouth here. Check out the latest video after the break. [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4]
Looks like somebody has their hands in HTC's honey pot. Just yesterday we got a look at the HTC Invincible, and now here's the HTC Legend. Looks like it's running the same ol' Sense we've come to know and love, and it looks like the venerable trackball has given way to an optical trackpad, which would be a welcome change. One more shot after the break. [Engadget]
Google Googles is baked into the ROM by default (also standard in Android 2.1-U1).
The Droid's home screen remains as is -- no new rotating app thingy instead of the drawer, and no live wallpapers.
The news and weather widget from the Nexus One will be included.
Yeah, it's a bummer there won't be live wallpapers, and that the app drawer remains. Some of that's likely due to the hardware difference -- the Nexus One does have Snapdragon, after all -- and some of that's likely just the usual customization differences.
Unfortunately, nobody knows when -- or if, really -- this build for the Droid will be released. And so, we wait. [Engadget]
We know a lot of you folks have been excited over Swype, the new keyboard input method that allows you to simply drag your fingers to keys you want to type. It's definitely convenient for one handed 'typing' and for some people Swype really works. We've seen promising videos of Swype in action and even told you how to get Swype yourself, but unlike the keen readers we have here, we're sure the average Android user has little clue about this potentially game changing new input method.
So what if an Android phone launches with Swype? Would that catapult Swype to mainstream usage and success? It looks we'll get a chance to see because rumors are saying that the myTouch 3G 1.2 will include the Swype keyboard out of the box. We definitely support the decision because the more options for us, the better.
Could Swype eventually become standard on all Android phones? How has your experience been with it?
The keyboard keys are inset and probably have no tactile feedback, however, they should be quite easy to use. It looks like the cutouts are pretty finger-friendly, as they contour to the shape of a standard finger. Under those cutouts is a low-resolution monochrome touch screen, one for each side of the keyboard. This is where the finger presses. The contact area is small, but the plastic grid that surrounds it contours to the fingers. The label and function of each key can be changed to suit certain layouts and applications.
The keyboard has multiple orientations. The keyboard can be pulled from side to side for typing on a surface. A small kickstand angles the phone when typing in this manner. The keyboard can also be pulled to the left for a standard landscape layout. There is also a dial-pad layout.
We're glad that Motorola is exploring different form factors but we really can't imagine how this would really work out. If it does have the ability to display different keys on the keyboard in different orientations, that's kind of cool. But is it cool enough to compromise usability? We'll toss Moto some faith here because the Backflip actually turned out to be a lot better than what we originally thought. Here's to Motorola pulling it off again. The Motosplit is still expected to launch on AT&T in Q3 2010.
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