Synchronize Google Voice with Your GPS Location [Google Voice]
Ed. note: When we saw that Wichita-based coder Chad Smith had automated Google Voice phone ringing with GPS, we had to ask for details. With an Android phone, a $10 app, and some web server space, here's how he pulled it off.
Update: Don't have a web server? Don't want to pay $10 for an app to pull off a quirky hack? Chad was tipped off after this post first published that the free Google Voice Locations Android app uses cell tower triangulation to switch your ringing Google Voice phones on the fly. The developer admits it's a first-release beta with some kinks to it, but it's a free, stand-alone alternative.
About a month ago I purchased one of those awesome Nexus One Google phones and started tinkering to see what cool things I could make it do. I love the phone, and as many of you know, absolutely love Google Voice too.
I figure the only way Google Voice could be improved is if it magically knew where I am and made my phones ring accordingly—so that's exactly what I made it do.
You can, too, with an Android phone, the Locale app, and a web server. The overall goal: have Google Voice know which phones to ring, based on your current location or situation.
Google Voice (if you lack an account, or a friend with an account with invitations, try requesting an invite)
Android phone w/ data plan and GPS
Locale for Android ($9.99—here's a barcode-scan-able QR code)
Google Shopper Prices Products by Image, Bar-Code, or Voice Search [Downloads]
Android: Google's already got Goggles for visual search, and Google Shopper's mobile site can run bar-code scans. Google Shopper, then, is a free app that combines some of those features together in one package for those who love to find a deal.
Unlike Goggles, which aims to provide a greater search by image functionality, Shopper only wants you to take pictures of "cover art"—books, CDs, DVDs, and other items with consistent images and iconography. It can also perform bar-code scans when it doesn't quite get the picture, and if neither of those are working, you can simply type in the name of the product, or just say it for Google's hard-working voice-to-text translator.
In a test on a few objects this morning, Shopper was pretty impressive when it came to books and CDs. It was fast and efficient, too, over a (T-Mobile) 3G connection, bringing back results almost instantly. In the example pictured up top, the result was slightly askew—an audiobook CD instead of a paper book—but the results included the right product. Those results arrive in the form of a simple item-store-price list, though, and could be a bit more helpful. For our money, ShopSavvy offers a greater convenience, when it works, because it provides local prices, gives directions to get to the store with the better price, and has a more robust history and wishlist functionality.
Google Earth Comes to Android Devices [Downloads]
Android: Google's globetrotting 3D mapping application Google Earth has been around for iPhone users for over a year, and today the killer mapping app makes its way to Android devices.
In addition to all the other features you've come to expect from Earth, the release also takes advantage of Android's voice-recognition capabilities, so you can say something like "Empire State building" and watch Earth zoom to your request. Unfortunately Earth is only available on Android 2.1 devices.
When It Doesn't Pay to Be Google's Guinea Pig [Rants]
Besides a killer algorithm and brand-name recognition, Google's greatest strength is its speed at releasing new products. We get to play with new, cool, and ever-improving tools for free. Recently, though, we've seen that being unwitting lab subjects can kind of stink.
Note: This subjective post isn't short, and lacks funny video embeds. It's a rant about a few aspects of an otherwise impressive firm that I would love to see improved. Want to skip to the rant-y part? Here's the gist.
"Labs" we love: Gmail & Google Wave
Google has practically reinvented how web applications and software are developed with their overriding love of "Beta," a term that used to indicate a product that was functional and mostly stable, but not quite something the company would stand fully behind or "publish," whatever that means now.
Gmail, arguably Google's greatest popular success (meaning not flush with advertising cash) outside of web search, started out as an invitation-only service on April 1, 2004, and rolled out to the public in February 2007. Even after those nearly three years of controlled growth, Gmail stayed "in beta" for two more years. Google ultimately admitted the "beta" tag had little, if anything, to do with where the product stood in the perceptions of its developers or users. While Gmail was still "in beta," the service also introduced a Labs section, where the type of people who explore their apps' settings could turn on cool features Google wasn't quite sure everyone would use, or like the looks of, but that the development team felt were pretty neat additions.
That strategy works. The sense of being in on the ground floor of a smart company's ever-improving product made evangelists out of the early adopters, and Google was spared the anguish of having to hear the masses' feedback on every keen idea their developers had—if you didn't like something, just don't turn it on. More than that, though, the constant tweaking didn't hurt the product's core offering. No matter what, your email arrives, a surprising amount of spam is blocked, and the search, filter, and label functionality are rock solid. If you want more, you could cherry-pick it from the Labs section or, as many of us did early on, find browser add-ons and user scripts to fill your needs.
For a lot of Google's other products, this model works just as well. Maps gets you from A to B, but it has its own Labs to play with. New features on Google's search and results pages go out first to a semi-random group of users, and some of the most bold changes that get finalized—SearchWiki, personalized searches—can still be turned off.
Let's not forget the news and hype value of roll-outs, regular iteration, and open secrets. This site is as guilty as any of giving Google a lot of attention for their little changes, because they're constantly occurring and widely covered—a chicken and egg dilemma we're well aware of. Even when Google wants to keep something "secret," it's at best half-hearted. They denied their development of a directly-approved-and-sold cellphone with misdirecting quotes, and asked thousands of employees at one of the world's most connected companies not to talk, tweet, or blog about the brand new phone they all received as a holiday bonus. Even if the Nexus One hasn't broken any sales records, it certainly grabbed attention and over-wrought headlines.
For Google Wave, a product that might actually be a potential revolution, a slow roll-out with eager test subjects makes sense. Developers and power users can report the problems and suggest solutions, see how their own dreams might fit in, and figure out real-world use cases. Aside from some initial "What's it do?" skepticism, the expectations of both Google and its users seem fairly compatible in the great Wave sandbox, and everybody's free to walk away with no harm done.
Application framework enabling reuse and replacement of components
Dalvik virtual machine optimized for mobile devices
Integrated browser based on the open source WebKit engine
Optimized graphics powered by a custom 2D graphics library; 3D graphics based on the OpenGL ES 1.0 specification (hardware acceleration optional)
SQLite for structured data storage
Media support for common audio, video, and still image formats (MPEG4, H.264, MP3, AAC, AMR, JPG, PNG, GIF)
GSM Telephony (hardware dependent)
Bluetooth, EDGE, 3G, and WiFi (hardware dependent)
Camera, GPS, compass, and accelerometer (hardware dependent)
Rich development environment including a device emulator, tools for debugging, memory and performance profiling, and a plugin for the Eclipse IDE
Android Market online software store developed by Google for Android devices. An app called “Android Market” is preinstalled on Google branded Android devices and allows users to browse and download applications published by third-party developers, hosted on Market. Android market is a Google licensed software, and it is not open source software.
Android Market was presented on Google I/O conference on October 2008. Market is available for Android phones, tablets and other Android devices.
Moreover Market helps developers get distribution, it will be a place where users can go and download content. Billing system would allow content providers to get paid for.
This way of software selling lets developers to make money easily, they don’t need worry about promoting and providing, what they made.
Android Market is an open system, anyone is able to publish content, all you need is to register, upload, describe and publish application or games. For developers Google has prepared an analytics and statistics for planning and improving business. For users there is a possibility to comment and describe what developers have published. All infrastructure, support for free and paid apps, and control is provided by Google.
Android Market is similar to Apple’s App Store, but there are some differents. Google don’t approve any software, it means that anyone is able to public games and apps. This process is much more open then App Store. There will be a possibility to download free software – Market is offering free games and applications for Android users. Next advantage is revenue sharing model, developer and carrier can make an arrangement about charges – 70% goes to developer, 25% takes carrier and 5% is for preservation. Revenue earned from the Android Market is paid to developers via Google Checkout merchant accounts.
The most successful paid apps:
March 14, 2010
Paid apps downloaded 50000-250000 times:
DocumentsToGo Full Version – price $19.99
Open Home – Full – price $3.99
Better Keyboard – price $2.99
Facebook Pro – price £1.50
PoliceStream – price $1.80
Beautiful Widgets – price €1.49
Power Manager Full – price $0.99
Paid games downloaded 50000-250000 times:
Robo Defense – price $2.99
Jewellust – price $2.95
Android Market was launched on 23 October 2008, and for first months it works as a beta with free software, because billing features will be implemented on Q1 2009. It had just over 50 apps on start. It’s simple and clean to navigate download system. The main menu consists of a bar with featured apps, and a list of the main categories as Applications, Games, Search and My Downloads.
After one month, on November 28, Medialets has revealed list of the most popular downloads from Android Market. Namco classic game Pac-Man, with more than 250,000 downloads, and average 4.5 out of 5 user rating was first over almost 300 apps. Next apps as MySpace Mobile, The Weather Channel, ShopSavvy, Ringdroid, imeem Mobile, Shazam, Rings Extended, Bonsai Blast and Brain Genius Deluxe scored between 50,000 and 250,000 downloads each.
On 1st-quarter of 2009, this Google powered system has 4 competitors: Apple App Store, BlackBerry Application Centre, Nokia Download! and Palm Software Store.
On December 31, 2008 Google sent an email to Android Market participants about paid apps. Payment systems will be implemented in first quarter of 2009 in the U.S. and U.K., next in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, and later in France, Italy, and Spain. By the end of Q1 2009, will be announced list of another supported countries.
On January 18, 2009 Eric Chu announced that Android Market will become available to users in Germany, Poland, Austria, Netherlands, and Czech Republic. It is related with launching Android phones across Europe.
On a conference dedicated to fourth-quarter of results, Google annouced that on Android Market there were more than 800 applications.
On 25 January 2009 was annouced information about first harmful app for Android. “MemoryUp Personal” is destroying personal data when installed onto a handset.
On February 2009 new RC33 Firmware 1.1 update include such Android Market functions as update check and comment spam marking. Moreover, RC33 update moves the Android Market out of Beta.
On February 13, 2009 was annouced information about accepting priced applications from US and UK developers. Google Checkout is the payment and billing system for Android Market. Developers in Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria, and Spain will be offered priced applications later Q1 2009.
On February 15 applications in Android Market become available to users in Australia.
On February 17 priced applications become available to end users.
After few days there was a few applications around $25, $15 and $10. There was low cost apps – 136 for $1 and 42 for $2.
After one week there was 227 applications, from 99 cents to $34.99, and 148 games, from 99 cents to $9.99. A total number of priced applications in the Android Market was 375.
On March 2009 Cole Brodman, T-Mobile’s CTO, said that Android Market need better filtering and searching.
On March Google announced that they are going to introduce Android Market app store to South Korea, as early as Q3 2009.
On March T-mobile has reported that average user of G1 phone at T-Mobile USA has downloaded more than 40 applications from the Android Market. At this time there was more than 2,300 applications in the Market,
On 31 March Google has banned tethering application from the Android Market for violating the developer distribution agreement. It was a result of violation the T-Mobile terms of service – this wireless carrier doesn’t allow tethering. After few days Google restored tethering app for Android users outside the T-Mobile US network.
After six months there was 1438 apps on Market – 790 applications and 648 games. Only 12 applications was paid. Number of paid games is 266. About 30 apps and games was downloaded more then 2500000 times.
On May 6th, 2009 Android Market Support Team has written about several changes. Market gained abilities for developers to: - target new countries such Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland - support local language for English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Czech, Polish - support paid apps for Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain - required identification of minimum SDK version supported for new/updated apps Moreover, Android Market Support Team, recommend to focus on making sure that 1.1 app works properly on 1.5 devices.
On May 28th, 2009, Android Market Support Team has written that developers can target new countries – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan.
On June 30th, 2009 problem with “App Update Available” notification has been reported. “App Update Available” is a feature responsible for notification that newer version of that application is available in Android Market.
On September 2009 developer of the Cyanogen Android ROM was asked by Google to not modify Google licensed software, like Android Market, becaus is not open source.
On September 2009 Google launched Android 1.6. New release contained a lot of new functionality in Android Market:
Some News from Android Market Posted by Eric Chu, Android Mobile Platform on 03 September 2009 at 3:30 PM I’m pleased to let you know about several updates to Android Market. First, we will soon introduce new features in Android Market for Android 1.6 that will improve the overall experience for users. As part of this change, developers will be able to provide screenshots, promotional icons and descriptions that will better show off applications and games.
We have also added four new sub-categories for applications: sports, health, themes, and comics. Developers can now choose these sub-categories for both new and existing applications via the publisher website. Finally, we have added seller support for developers in Italy. Italian developers can go to the publisher website to upload applications and target any of the countries where paid applications are currently available to users.
To take advantage of the upcoming Android Market refresh, we encourage you to visit the Android Market publisher website and upload additional marketing assets. Check out the video below for some of the highlights.
On November 4th, 2009, T-Mobile add carrier billing for the Android Market, as well as its own channel within the software portal. Moreover, T-Mobile shared some interesting information from its current myTouch 3G users that is worth passing along.
About half myTouch users visit the Android Market at least once per day.
More than 40% of myTouch users access social networking sites multiple times per day.
80% of myTouch users browse the web at least once per day, and 2/3 say several times per day.
Nearly half of myTouch users say they have “completely customized” their myTouch.
On November 11th, 2009, Google introduced new Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement.
On November 11th, there was more then 10000 apps on Market.
On December 16th, 2009 Google has informed that there are 16,000 active applications in Android Market.
On December 2009 a developer Droid09 uploaded a malicious (phishing) application to Android Market. The application was removed from Android Market.
On February 23rd, 2010, ZDNet has reported that Android Market is the 2nd largest application store with 19,297 apps compared to Apple’s 150,998 apps. Nokia’s Ovi Store is 3rd with 6,118 apps.
On March 2010, Microsoft has released first application designed to work with Android devices. This “Tag” application is already available for other platforms, like Windows Mobile, Symbian, the iPhone, BlackBerry and handsets.
On March 16, 2010 Google has announced that Android Market has around 30,000 applications.
Android Market Business and Program Policies
Android Market is owned and operated by Google Inc.
You have 48 hours from the time of purchase (not download) for a full refund of any applicable fees.
Android Market does not provide upgrade functionality (but RC33 Firmware include update check function).
You are allowed an unlimited number of reinstalls of each application obtained via the Market.
Google retains the right to remotely remove some applications from your Device.
Google is not responsible for billing disputes.
Google does not provide customer support for Products distributed by Developers on Android Market.