Google’s adding yet another feature to Gmail’s formidable (and sometimes frivolous) arsenal. Starting soon, you’ll be able to send SMS messages to your friends’ phones from Gmail’s built-in Chat feature.
When it’s made available, you’ll need to enable the feature in the “Labs” tab of the Gmail settings page. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to send messages to people’s phones by simply entering a phone number into the Chat search box and selecting the SMS option.
When a person receives a text from a Gmail user, it’ll show up as coming from a phone number with a 406 area code. The first time you send a Gmail SMS, you’ll be assigned one of the thousands of numbers Google has reserved, and all messages you send in the future will come from the same number. The receiver can reply to the text and it’ll show up in Gmail chat.
The feature should become available today or in the next few days. When it does, will you use it? Let us know after the jump.
We reported two weeks ago that the Yahoo-Google search advertising partnership was facing some serious challenges in its discussions with the Justice Department and, sure enough, it looks like the two search giants may decide to give up on the deal. The Wall Street Journal has reported that inside sources said that Google and Yahoo may soon announce their decision to drop the deal, after failing to reach an agreement with the Justice Department.
Nothing’s set in stone yet, though, and both companies official positions are still that negotiations are ongoing. Yahoo’s spokesman said “We believe strongly that this agreement will strengthen Yahoo’s competitive position in online advertising.” Google’s spokesman said in statement that “We are confident that the arrangement is beneficial to competition, but we are not going to discuss the details of the process.”
What will it mean for the oft-courted Yahoo if this deal falls through? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Straight out of the “surprise!” file, Microsoft’s Live search engine is down in usage while Yahoo’s has finally gained some ground. Despite Microsoft’s offering serious perks to the members of Club Internet to use their search engine, they just weren’t able to come through in traffic, as claimed by researcher ComScore Inc.
According to ComScore, Yahoo’s portion of the Internet search engine pie has gone up from 19.6 percent to 20.2 percent. Unfortunately for Microsoft though, their percentage has dropped from an already low 8.9 percent down to 8.5 percent. Not surprisingly, Google took care of 62.9 percent of the searches made, and still has a very demanding lead.
At this rate Microsoft is going to have to cook up some pretty exciting perks to lure users back over to Live. (Try this one out: “Search for a date with Scarlett Johansson.” Thank me later.)
Google has already begun rolling out the next update to its recently released Chrome browser. Chrome program manager Mark Larson said in a mailing list post this week that "You will automatically get updated in the next few days," but for the impatient, many users can grab the updated version right away by selecting 'About Google Chrome' from the wrench menu.
The update takes Chrome to version 0.3.154.9 and addresses a variety of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and security vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability includes a scenario where, once a user opens a pop-up window, the site could show a different web address than the one that supplied the information. Larson warns that such a flaw could be used to trick users into giving up sensitive information.
Other changes include the ability to sort columns in the password manager, adding a command line switch to the start the browser in incognito mode, better support for Windows Media Player, crash fixes, and more, as outlined in the release notes. Note to Google: We want extension support!
Considering that Chrome managed to take the “most popular niche browser” crown from Opera on the very first day of its release, you would think there would be some bad blood between the browser’s bosses. Not so, according to Opera founder Jon von Tetzchner. In an interview with CNET’s Rafe Needleman, von Tetzchner explains how Chrome and other unlikely products have actually benefited Opera.
Of Chrome, von Tetzchner says that although the browser is a competitor, its (relatively) high profile launch drew a lot of attention to the fact that there are alternatives to the big three browsers. As a result, Opera’s daily downloads have gone up 20% since the launch of Chrome.
Most of Opera’s revenue comes from its popular Mini variant for mobile phones. Even here, von Tetzchner says that the high-profile iPhone, which does not use Opera, is actually helping the browser by (again) bringing mobile browsing into the public eye, causing more people to try out the internet functionality of their Opera-equipped mobile phones.
So what’s your take? Is Opera in denial? Tell us after the jump.
Sprint may not be impressed with Google's Android in its current form and be content to sit on the sidelines, but that isn't stopping Asus from getting in the game with an Android-powered handset of its own. Citing un-named "company sources," news outlet DigiTimes reports Asus will launch an Android-based Google phone sometime in the first half of 2009. It remains unclear what Asus' marketing strategy will be, but speculation suggests the company may initially release the new phone under its own brand name in Taiwan followed up with customized models in other markets later on.
Asus isn't new to the handset game and has already shipped 30,000 units in Taiwan so far this year. The company expects that number to reach 40,000 by the end of the year. Asus will ride those shipments into 2009 with a 3G model using Qualcomm's dual-core solutions planned for Q1.
Google has been a major boon to researchers, with their efforts to scan and index just about everything, but they haven’t exactly endeared themselves to copyright holders, a state of affairs which had cumulated in a lawsuit against the search giant by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. Today, Google announced that they’ve reached an agreement that will allow them to continue their book digitization project with the cooperation of the authors and publishers.
The agreement states that Google will pay a hefty $125 million, mostly to establish a Book Rights Registry. The registry will allow copyright holders to identify themselves and receive royalties.
Under the agreement, users of Google Book Search will be able to view up to 20% of any indexed book for free, a big increase from the “snippets” available before. Users can also view a book in its entirety by paying a fee, which goes to the copyright holder through the Book Rights Registry.
Also, local libraries will be able to offer free access to the entire texts of all of Google’s 7 million (and growing) scanned books.
Right now the settlement will only affect users in the U.S., though Google says they’re attempting to reach similar agreements abroad.
Do you use Google Book Search? How will these changes affect you? Let us know after the jump.
Even as Google pushes its own SmartPhone platform, it continues to release some pretty rad apps for the competitor. Google Earth for the iPhone has hit the App Store’s virtual shelves as a free download, and it’s definitely worth a look.
The pint-sized Google Earth looks to have all the same functionality as the computer version, including integration with Wikipedia and Google’s Panoramio library of pictures from around the world. Of course, navigation is a little different on the iPhone, with zooming controlled by pinching your fingers on the screen, and scrolling handled by sweeping a digit across the display. In a nice touch, the viewing angle can be controlled by actually changing the angle of your iPhone.
The apps also integrates Google’s “My Location” feature, which uses cellular tower triangulation to identify your approximate location on the map.
They’ve also posted a video showing off the new app. Check it out and let us know what you think.
For shame, Google. The G1 has barely even launched, and it’s already faced with its first major breach. An exploit has been discovered by an independent security expert which could potentially allow hackers to hijack the web browser on the G1, allowing them access to users’ passwords, cookies and text messages.
The exploit was discovered by Charlie Miller of Independent Security Evaluators, who first noticed the hole in the Android SDK. He bought an early G1 off a T-Mobile employee on eBay, confirmed that the exploit worked on the real deal, and reported the problem to Google two days before the G1 launched.
The exploit takes advantage of a buffer overrun flaw in one of Androids 80 open-source components. Android uses an out-of-date version of the component, newer versions have addressed the flaw. To protect G1 early-adopters, Miller hasn’t publicized which of the 80 components is the one with the weakness.
Google’s response? “We are working with T-Mobile to include a fix for the browser exploit, which will soon be delivered over the air to all devices, and have addressed this in the Android open-source platform.”
Earlier this month, Google announced its "Mail Goggles" feature for Gmail users who have a habit of sending out emotionally charged emails without first considering the consequences. That was followed up by this week by giving Gmail users the ability to send canned responses based on a set of custom-created filters. So what will Gmail engineers conjure up next?
If you answered 'emoticons,' go ahead and give yourself a happy face. Users can now select from nearly 160 animated and static emoticons, ranging from two block-headed faces giving each other a smooch (aww) to a stinking pile of crap with flies swirling around (aww schnap!).
"The black-and-white days of text-based emails have had their day," Darren Lewis, Gmail engineer, said in a blog post. "Following the evolutionary path blazed by colored labels, we present, in all their technicolor glory, emoticons in your mail."