There was an explosion of Google related news today and absolutely NONE of it had anything to do with the Nexus 5, Nexus 10 or Android 4.4 KitKat. I give up Google, I tap out. I’m not even going to bother wondering when or how it will happen anymore. It will only be real when the UPS truck arrives on delivery day and I open up the packaging.
However, Google had a Google+ event at an art gallery that is a transformed warehouse in San Francisco to announce some big improvements to Google+. There was also physical artwork on display for those in attendance to view afterwards. Interestingly enough they were actually photographs that were originally posted to G+ by a select group of photographers. Before I continue, I must say that Vic Gundotra is turning out to be one of the most well-spoken and calm yet charismatic executives in tech on stage today. I’m really starting to like his presentation style and he seems to have that ability to get and hold the audience’s attention. I’m not saying it was a Stevenote, far from it, but he was much better than his Apple counterparts from last week.
Google+ now seems to be one of the most appealing places to digitally upload and store your photographs given the improvements they’ve made to Auto Awesome and Snapseed for the rest of us, as well as improving the NIK Collection for more advanced photographers. However the coolest thing was Auto Awesome for videos which has now effectively sherlocked HTC’s Video Highlights and Zoes features on their HTC Sense 5+ devices. The features will be rolling out to users in the coming days and weeks on both the web and mobile. Android Police has already gotten its hands on the new APK of the updated app for Android, which you can check out for all the new goodies that have been bundled in.
However what was most exciting for me was the improvements to Hangouts. Hangouts On Air now includes a bunch of new features that make it an even better option for those who want to freely broadcast video from just about anywhere. In addition, the Hangouts app on Android finally has SMS integration built in, although it was expected to roll out with KitKat; notice that I’m not complaining one bit. You can now also send animated GIFs over Hangouts and share your current location too.
Apart from the event, the Wall Street Journal reported today that Google is close to finishing the development of its own smartwatch, often dubbed the ‘Nexus Watch’ by the interwebs, and may be ready for mass production in the coming months. Many folks across the web predicted that it would be released alongside the Nexus 5, but given the Journal’s track record with technology sources, I highly doubt that will happen. They could announce something and release it next year, but that hasn’t been what Google has done in the past with new hardware.
Google Glass is going to be refreshed in November with a slightly tweaked and improved design for Google Glass Explorers. It’s a free swap for existing users, who can now also invite three buddies to join the program and receive their own pair as well. The design changes include a mono earpiece in lieu of the bone conducting speaker as well as compatibility with prescription and sunglass lenses. I think it’s still US only but if anyone who reads this can hook a brother up, I’d be eternally grateful. Yes, I said, “hook a brother up”; I’m that desperate for one.
Finally, something quite interesting is potentially coming out of Motorola’s equivalent of Google X: LEGO smartphones. Not exactly but the idea is similar. The theoretical device will be made up of removable replacement modules that you can build a smartphone with. For example, if your cellular radio breaks, you can simply remove that part and stick on a new one, perhaps even an “aftermarket” piece. They “want to do for hardware what the Android platform has done for software: create a vibrant third-party developer ecosystem, lower the barriers to entry, increase the pace of innovation, and substantially compress development timelines.” Essentially it’s like building your own custom PC with parts from Canada Computers. I don’t know how commercially viable this is but it’s cool just to think about it. Marques Brownlee, a prominent Google-focused YouTuber has an informative video explaining it all.
So there you have it, a lot of Googley stuff, but no sign of the now infamous and severely leaked Nexus 5. It’s OK Google, I’ll be fine as long as I get this thing in my hands before Christmas. Yes, I’m giving you that long to give it to me. So yeah…I’m waiting, but with no expectations…about when I’ll have it…but it better be frickin’ awesome…and blow my mind…yeah…OK…