Tag: Google

Blerging About I/O

Chris Lacy kindly asked me to join him on The Blerg, re-treading some ground from his first I/O Keynote breakdown with Koush Dutta.

Chris had more thoughts on the keynote in the days since, and wanted to get me on the horn to sound out a few ideas and hear my impressions of the presentation. Have a listen here:

The Blerg #26: Google I/O Keynote followup with Karl Smith

…and be sure to subscribe to The Blerg on your favourite podcasting app.


Google I/O Prediction: Hangouts

The I/O keynote is in a few hours, and while there’s been a ton of announcements and app updates leading up to the event there’s been no mention of Google’s maligned Hangouts app. So here’s my fearless prediction: expect a huge Hangouts announcement/release to a standing ovation during the keynote.

There’s just no way the app has been lacking in features and overall stability for this long (not to mention the apparent favouring of the iOS version of the app over Android) without the Google team having something up their sleeves.

Hangouts :(

UPDATE: Prediction wrong! Hangouts was just as neglected at I/O as it seems to be in it’s day-to-day life. Google did announce a new messaging app that seems to be targeted much more at the mass-market, including stickers and a built in Google assistant (don’t call it a bot?). Also announced was Duo, a one-to-one video chat app which looks very promising indeed – low friction, simple to use, good quality video!

Further reading:

Google Play Music: Fix Incorrect Match

Google Play Music: Fix Incorrect Match

If you’ve been wondering what to do when Google picks a bad match for one of your uploaded songs, wonder no more: you can force Play Music to revert to your original upload using the web interface.

Go to: My Library > List by Songs > Filter: Purchased and Uploaded — then right click and Fix Incorrect Match.

Via: @GooglePlayMusic & @AndrewKam

Google Save

Google Saves

So Google Save is pretty interesting. I tend to keep stuff in a weird combination of Pocket (for articles), Pinterest (for mood board stuff), a Twitter “read later” list and a few other places. I wonder if this could become a real catch-all for me.

A few observations:

  • You can edit the link title AND description, which is pretty interesting
  • No inline player for YouTube, seem like an oversight
  • No reading mode, so Pocket will still be my go-to place for a raw reading list
  • This seems best used for making Collections of links – think: researching a topic, or collecting links on areas of specific interest
  • You can’t currently share a Tag/collection, but surely that’s coming…


Why Chromecast is a big deal

Last week Google surprised the tech punditry by announcing Chromecast, a $35 HDMI dongle that plugs into your TV and plays video that you queue to it from your phone or Chrome browser.

Currently the device has out-of-the-box support for YouTube, Netflix and Google Play – and though that’s it for native support (for now), it can also send any Chrome tab to your TV (which in itself is a pretty great feature) including the ability to fullscreen any video playing in the tab on your TV.

Streaming local files to your TV is in beta, but it looks like the SDK enables a pretty seamless experience streaming from devices to your TV, all making it potentially a legitimate competitor to the 3 year old – and three times more expensive – Apple TV.

Jeff Jarvis dropped some great first thoughts right after the announcement which are worth a read. His first point nails it:

“Simply put, I’ll end up watching more internet content because it’s so easy now.”

With one click to send any web content to the TV, and at only $35, this is a killer solution. But this also means something more.

TV Democratised

VHS. Tivo. Netflix. TV has been ripe for disruption for decades, and while slow but important inroads have been made in both distribution and time shifting, you’ve always needed the same appliances to get the actual content onto that big screen in your living room: bunny ears, a cable from the wall, set top boxes.

Cheap, powerful computing eventually democratised music recording and cheap, high-quality cameras eventually democratised video and film. Will the affordable, easy-to-use Chromecast democratise what screens on your TV every day?

YouTube has had an historic impact on the video landscape. Now, you can bypass not only the gatekeepers of content distribution, you can bypass the gate to the TV itself. Any creator, filmmaker, photographer, designer or artist can make that last leap from your laptop into your living room, and you better believe they think this is a huge opportunity.

In his excellent review, Nilay Patel mused on the limited native app support at launch:

“History suggests that counting on Google to convince content companies to add Chromecast support to their apps is a foolish bet.”

Forget the “content companies”. A much more interesting question is: how quickly will Chromecast support come from everyone else?

More on Chromecast:

The Verge review (and video)
Android Police review
MKBHD hands on (video)