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25 May 12 Google now offers Google Earth, Picasa, and Chrome in Syria


After an ease in export restrictions, Google is making Google Earth, Picasa, and Chrome available for download in Syria — a country that been faced with international pressure and US sanctions over concerns of human rights abuses. Google released the same programs in Iran earlier this year after a similar export ban was lifted, and the company says that “free expression is a fundamental human right and a core value.” Back in February in his Mobile World Congress keynote, Google’s Eric Schmidt referenced “Assad’s brutality” and said that while governments will try to control networks, efforts to block Google services will fail.

Google’s decision to introduce Earth, Picasa, and Chrome in Syria also line up with the US government’s hopes for private influence in the Middle East. Back in March, at the same time Google released the same three services in Iran, the Obama administration announced efforts to subvert Iran’s alleged internet censorship efforts by allowing the export of free software like Google Talk, Skype, Dropbox, Chrome, Firefox, and other programs. While Google is announcing its new offerings for Syria today, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized export of free instant messaging, social networking, media sharing, browsing, and blogging services on August 18th, 2011.

Article source: http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/24/3041459/google-earth-picasa-chrome-syria

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25 May 12 Google+ Android App Can Start Hangouts With Ease, Gets New Look


The Google+ app for Android just received a big update that simplifies the way users can start Hangout video chats from their phones.

Before now, users could only start a new Google+ Hangout by initiating a Messenger chat, then tapping a video icon in the chat window. For a major feature of Google+, the process was obscure and clunky. In the new app, users can start new Hangouts by tapping the home icon at the top-left corner of the screen, selecting “Hangout” and choosing friends or circles to invite.

With this new feature, Google can now start to gain a foothold in mobile video chat. Although Google has offered one-on-one video chat through Google Talk since April 2011, Hangouts are more interesting because they support up to 10 people talking simultaneously. That helps Google stand out from Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s Facetime.

Hangout creation isn’t the only new feature in the updated Google+ app. The app also sports a new look, with images that span the width of the screen for each post. Text is big and bold, and appears directly on top of each image along with +1 and comment counts. The downside to this approach is that posts are tougher to scan through in aggregate, because you often have to click on them to see the full text and associated links, but at least the posts themselves are more inviting.

A Closer Look at the updated Google+ App

Google updated its Google+ iPhone app two weeks ago, with the same visual overhaul as the Android app. Although Google took some lumps at the time for giving Android the cold shoulder, Google Senior Vice President Vic Gondotra said the Android version would have “a few extra surprises” to make the wait worthwhile. Indeed, the ability to start Hangouts without going through Messages is an Android-exclusive feature for now.

I imagine Google will simply Hangout creation in its iPhone app eventually, but the company hasn’t said when that will happen.

Follow Jared on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for even more tech news and commentary.

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Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/256196/google_android_app_can_start_hangouts_with_ease_gets_new_look.html

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20 Jan 12 Chrome browser gets WebRTC baked in for Skype challenge


Google has released a dev-version of Chrome supporting WebRTC, the integrated real-time audio and video communications system that could see VoIP, video conferencing and even streaming gaming baked into the browser. “Instead of relying on custom, OS specific, proprietary plug-ins,” the Chromium blog says of developers, ”they can now easily build and maintain their apps using a few simple JavaScript APIs and have the browser do the heavy lifting.”

Plans to integrate WebRTC into Chrome were revealed last summer, with the tech being an open-source way to call upon standardized voice/video communication without stepping outside of the browser. Eventually, it could mean apps like Google Talk – which is being migrated over to use WebRTC – could challenge rivals like Skype from any standards-compliant browser, rather than demanding a separate app be installed.

That would have a significant impact on mobile devices and web-appliances like Chromebooks, which could get onboard with audio and video communication without waiting on developers releasing native apps. As we suggested last year, a Google-led iMessage rival could end up blowing Apple out of the water in IM and comms.

Meanwhile, WebRTC also has potential for cloud-based streaming services such as OnLive gaming, another element tipped for inclusion in a future Chrome build. What remains to be seen is when WebRTC support gets baked into Gmail and Google+, which each have A/V services that could make significant use of it.

Article source: http://www.slashgear.com/chrome-browser-gets-webrtc-baked-in-for-skype-challenge-19209870/

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19 Jan 12 Chrome browser gets WebRTC baked in for Skype challenge


Google has released a dev-version of Chrome supporting WebRTC, the integrated real-time audio and video communications system that could see VoIP, video conferencing and even streaming gaming baked into the browser. “Instead of relying on custom, OS specific, proprietary plug-ins,” the Chromium blog says of developers, ”they can now easily build and maintain their apps using a few simple JavaScript APIs and have the browser do the heavy lifting.”

Plans to integrate WebRTC into Chrome were revealed last summer, with the tech being an open-source way to call upon standardized voice/video communication without stepping outside of the browser. Eventually, it could mean apps like Google Talk – which is being migrated over to use WebRTC – could challenge rivals like Skype from any standards-compliant browser, rather than demanding a separate app be installed.

That would have a significant impact on mobile devices and web-appliances like Chromebooks, which could get onboard with audio and video communication without waiting on developers releasing native apps. As we suggested last year, a Google-led iMessage rival could end up blowing Apple out of the water in IM and comms.

Meanwhile, WebRTC also has potential for cloud-based streaming services such as OnLive gaming, another element tipped for inclusion in a future Chrome build. What remains to be seen is when WebRTC support gets baked into Gmail and Google+, which each have A/V services that could make significant use of it.

Article source: http://www.slashgear.com/chrome-browser-gets-webrtc-baked-in-for-skype-challenge-19209870/

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09 Oct 11 Remote access through Chrome enabled by new extension


Approximately 17MB in size, the Chrome Remote Desktop beta launched on Friday of this week. It’s a separate extension for Chrome that allows users to connect to another computer remotely through the Chrome Web browser. This type of software is typically used by IT departments in large companies to access a user’s computer without having to locate the user in the building. It can also be used for helping tech-deficient relatives when they inevitably download malicious software that harms their computer. Chrome Remote Desktop works across different platforms and allows users to connect to Macs, Windows-based PCs, Linux-based PCs and Chromebooks as long as the Google Chrome browser is downloaded and installed on the machine in addition to the extension.

Once the extension is installed on multiple machines, the user simply clicks “Share This Computer” on one of the machines. This generates a one-time, 12-digit access code that must be entered on the remote machine in order to connect. However, if the user breaks the connection at any time, a new code must be generated to enable access again. Users on the remote computer will see a pop-up window on their machine that indicates which user is remotely connected to the computer. The extension uses Google Talk technology to send messages between the two computers as well.

Performance of the extension is highly dependent on the quality of the network connection as well as the speed of the computer. The extension doesn’t send audio over the remote connection, so users wouldn’t be able to hear a video playing on Hulu Plus through the remote computer. However, video without audio is able to be watched through the remote connection. If Google decides to build a more advanced version of this extension into the Google Chrome browser, this may encourage companies seeking lower costs on remote access applications to switch to Chrome across the company. This extension is currently free for all users of Google Chrome.  

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/remote-access-chrome-enabled-extension-185359081.html

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