Moto X event August 1st in New York

Motorola’s next phone, the Moto X, is scheduled to be presented to the world on August 1st, in New York.

The Moto X has been spotted in Eric Schmidt’s hands, and last week an invitation-only NDA-covered presentation was held for a select few.

The new phone is completely manufactured in the US (although that probably means that it is assembled in the US, with components manufactured elsewhere), and is fully customizable.

Also, the Moto X is said to be the first Motorola phone completely designed and developed under Google’s leadership over Motorola.

We hope that the Moto X will be the new Google Android reference phone, and will receive updates in a timely manner. The rest of the phone is becoming secondary…

Google acquires Waze

Today Google announced the acquisition of Waze, the social driving app.

Waze allows users to not only get a route to their destination, but incorporate traffic reports from other Waze users, including stopped vehicles, debris on the road, and even police sightings. There is a gaming aspect to Waze, where users get points for miles driven and reporting traffic situations.

It will be interesting to see what Google will do with Waze. Will they incorporate aspects of Waze into Google Maps, and leave well enough alone, or will Waze be absorbed? Hopefully the community of Waze users will not be left in the cold, like the users of Google Reader were…

Google I/O 2012 kicks off June 27th

Aygul Zagidullina, http://instagram.com/p/MSNFCtu3St/

In a little less than 24 hours, Google I/O 2012 will start with a keynote, most likely hosted by Vic Gundotra. The rumor mill is in full speed, and here’s what we expect to be announced at I/O 2012:

  • A Google TabletBuilt by Asus, the price (around 200 dollars) and form factor (7″) seem to put it more in competition with the Kindle Fire than with the Apple iPad. Plus point: a reference tablet for Android.
  • Android 4.1Code named Jelly Bean, it is rumored to have a new search bar, and a Siri-like  voice activated assistant (Google Assistant, or should we nick name her Gia?).
  • Maps on iOSThis will be interesting. Google announced a new version of Google Maps very shortly before Apple’s official announcement that it will replace Maps with its own mapping app in iOS 6. Will Apple actively block Google Maps on iOS, claiming it duplicates functionality in the system? And how will that fly with the European Union’s legislation…?
  • Google GlassesTraditionally Google has put together a very nice goody bag for attendees, including phones, Chrome books, etc. It seems everyone is hoping to find the latest implementation of Project Glass under their chairs this year.
  • More hardware in the Play storeVery recently, we were surprised by the appearance of a (very old) cell phone in the Google Play store. Expectations are high that the selection of unlocked phones and other hardware will increase. If the cell phone selection increases, how will carriers react to this…?

There are more than likely a few other surprises coming up, so be sure to check out the Google I/O pages (see the widget on the right hand bar for quick access).

New Chromebook videos

Google has just released a set of Chromebook videos, just in time for the holiday season. The purpose of these videos is to show how easy a Chromebook is in set up, use and maintenance. I experienced the ease of maintenance this morning, while during a meeting I:

  1. received a notification that a new ChromeOS version was available
  2. applied the update, which requires rebooting the machine.
  3. was back in business after about 15 seconds.

Consider a Chromebook for your family members, who do very little besides surfing the web. I heard Chromebooks work great with Facebook…:-)

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

A Twitter post alerted me that something called “20 Things I Learned” went open source. Curious, I went to check out what “20 Things” actually is.

“20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” is an e-book created by the Chrome team back in November of 2010. It shows you what the Internet is, and how it’s being used today. It then moves on to the building blocks of web pages, HTML, JavaScript, and the modern browser and how it helps to keep users secure. Finally, it looks towards the future, speculating on new technologies to improve the web experience.

It is a book, and at the same time a showcase of what modern browsers can do: curling pages, use keyboard and mouse interfaces to turn pages and go to certain sections in the book, zoom in and out, and change background colors on the fly.

And then for the Tweet that led me to “20 Things”: Google open-sourced the book. The source code is available for anyone to download, and tinker with. It shows the techniques that were used in developing the book (Google App Engine at the back-end, HTML5 at the front-end), and allows developers to learn how to apply the same techniques to their own projects.

All in all worthwhile to check it out, both as a developer interested in the techniques, and a user who is interested in the web.

Google Docs introduces Pivot tables for Spreadsheets

Recently Google Docs added Pivot Tables to the Spreadsheets type of documents, adding a powerful and much-needed feature.

It has most of the functionality PivotTables in Excel has: you can select columns and rows to display, how the data in the table is displayed (Sum, Average, Count), and add filters to it. All this is done with drop-downs and dragging fields around.

One feature I missed during my short forage through the pivot tables is the Collapse All/Expand All: when you have multiple fields selected on either rows or columns, creating a hierarchy, the higher level fields get a little + or – sign next to them. It appears impossible to collapse or expand all on a certain level, forcing you to do it one by one.

A step by step tutorial to Pivot Tables is available here. For those who need a visual to make it all understandable, Google provides a training video:

Note: the step by step tutorial explains how to add a filter to a pivot table, but uses fields that were not available in my version of the sample spreadsheet. Just add a filter on Major, and select Physics as the only value.

Lady Gaga uses chrome…?

A promo video from the Google Chrome team, showing how Lady Gaga is using the web to create a larger fan base. It makes you wonder what Madonna would/could have done if the web was in place 20 years ago…