Google won’t approve facial recognition apps for Glass

Glass and Facial Recognition:

We’ve been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass. As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.

Hey look, Google is taking privacy seriously. Good to see.

Airmail for Mac is awesome

iMore:

Airmail for Mac is a new third party mail client that not only supports a plethora of account types, but is also one of the most visually appealing email apps for Mac I’ve ever used. For users who are still clutching onto Sparrow while waiting for a viable alternative, you may just find your solution in Airmail.

Having been a user of Sparrow, I’ve been meaning to switch away ever since I realised that the app was probably going to meet its ends soon enough, having been acquired by Google. The problem was that the only viable solution was to switch over to Mail.app. To me, Apple’s Mail.app feels so bloated and horrible that the two week stint where I switched everything over was basically like living in hell.

Alas, Airmail has come along now and I love it. The review linked is basically what I think of the app as a whole, written by Allyson. The day of salvation has arrived.

HTC One with stock Android to be sold by Google

The Verge: 

It was rumored, and now it’s here: on stage at D, Sundar Pichai just revealed a new version of the HTC One that runs an untouched, stock version of Google’s Android operating system. It will be available from the Google Play store starting June 26th for $599.

For me (and probably most iOS users with a keen interest in technology) this announcement marks the first phone that they’d consider switching to Android for. The HTC One is a stunning device with great features, good battery life and a good design and now it has Google’s uncluttered version of Android. I’m glad Google struck the same deal with HTC that it did with Samsung for the much uglier, more plasticky Galaxy S4.

If only the apps were better… – sigh –

MPs call for Google to curb access to porn

Liat Clark reporting for Wired.co.uk:

In the wake of the horrific murder of five-year-old April Jones, MPs and charities are calling for search engines and ISPs to restrict access to pornography. However, critics warn a blanket ban on legal content is not the answer.

The matter has been raised in the context of some of the worst crimes against children in recent British history. During the trials of Mark Bridger, sentenced this week to life imprisonment for his crime, and Stuart Hazell — who killed 12-year-old Tia Sharp in August 2012 — it was revealed that both had been searching online for disturbing images of child pornography and violent rape in the days leading up to the crimes.

This is an intriguing situation. I was discussing the concept of internet censorship earlier and as a result now don’t know where I stand on the issue. On the one hand the internet should remain as neutral as possible, but on the other, indecent images of children have no place anywhere in society.

One thing I do know is that it is not the job of Google alone to deal with this. There are other means of getting information on the web, so for a burden to be put on Google like this is rather unfair, even if they are the biggest player in the market. Nonetheless, this article is an excellent summary of the state of play here in the UK.

A Look at Gmail’s New Tabbed Interface

Check your inbox today, because Google is rolling out a new version of Gmail that should solve the “e-mail overload” problem that forces people like me to turn off social media notifications and set up ridiculous sets of filters.

The Verge posted a video today that goes over the new tabbed interface. The update adds five tabs, which are somewhat customizable, to the top of your inbox interface. Primary is for friends and family. Social contains your social media updates from Facebook, Twitter etc. Promotions keeps all those Groupon ads in one convenient place. Updates contains bills, and finally, Forums handles all of your message board replies and posts.

As usual, Gmail will learn from what you do, and if you place an e-mail in one of these folders, it will pick up on the action and try to place other emails similarly.

Though the mobile interface for the new Gmail update places all of the tabs in a side bar, which looks a little annoying to use, this system should help alleviate e-mail-related stress once it goes live for all users later today. It’ll take a bit of teaching, and a week or two of checking every tab to make sure credit card bills go to the right place, but once sufficiently educated, Gmail should be easier to use than before.

Google Play Game Services to Add Google Plus Integration

Google announced today that they’re bringing a new suite of services to Google Play that will allow Google+ integration for mobile games, including leaderboards, achievements, cloud-saving, and matchmaking. The free SDK will allow developers to add these services to games released on Android, iOS, and web platforms, save the matchmaking system, which is Android-only for the time being.

Via Polygon:

Greg Hartrell, lead product manager for the Google Play game services, told us that the strategy was both user and developer focused. “It’s user focused in the sense that we’re trying to reach out to the largest number of users,” Hartrell said. “And for developers, they want to maximize the size of the audience and the quality of the audience. Both of those things drove that decision.” They also drove the decision to offer the services outside of the company’s Android ecosystem.

If you read any of my posts, you know that I’m a big fan of making good things widely available. Nobody I know uses Google+, but the fact that these services will be available on Apple devices through downloaded apps is intriguing. It’s the equivalent of Sony finding a way for the next Xbox to somehow include Blu-Ray support without Microsoft okay’ing it. Apple doesn’t have a stake in Facebook, sure, but having your mobile competitor’s social network potentially be featured in your proprietary game offerings is amusing, at least.

Google Glass Will Add iPhone Text and Navigation functionality

Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch:

To use text messaging and navigation on Google Glass, users currently have to pair it with an Android phone and install the Glass companion app on their phones. This will change very soon, however, one of the Google representatives in its New York office told me when I picked up my own unit yesterday afternoon. Glass, the Google employee told me, will soon be able to handle these features independent of the device the user has paired it to (and maybe even independent of the Glass companion app).

This means iPhone users will be able to use Glass with their device and keep functionality for texts and navigation. It’s interesting to see that Google continues this platform-agnostic approach. The additional functionality made clear today will be a key selling point for Google, as they look to make Google Glass’ reach as wide as possible.

Hack Your Maps

Young Hahn at A List Apart:

This article is a long overdue companion to Paul’s piece. Where he goes on a whirlwind survey of the web mapping stack at 10,000 feet, we’re going to walk through a single design process and implement a modern-day web map. By walking this path, I hope to begin making maps part of the collective conversation we have as designers.

This is an awesome geeky tutorial as to how to best use maps to provide an immersive experience on the web. If you’re a web developer, check this out: it could come in handy one day. Fans of Sherlock Holmes (either Downey Jr or BBC productions) may also like the idea behind the demonstration.

Personally, what Hahn creates in this article looks awesome and as a user, it’d be good to see more of this interactive, immersive use of apps around the web.

Hahn works for MapBox.

Drive Moves Toward iCloud

Drew Olanoff for TechCrunch: 

Today, Google has introduced “app data folders” which are protected and can’t be seen by users within their Drive account. Other apps can’t see the files either, so there is now an added layer of security to fight off bad actors who build apps to swipe information or do other damage.

This is an interesting move which adds more iCloud-like functionality for Google Drive users. Rather than choosing between a Dropbox-like service and an iCloud-like service, Google seems to have gone down both routes, fitting them into the same product. I wonder if Google will eventually usurp Apple’s efforts to build a robust developer infrastructure. It should be noted that Google have yet to attempt the complex database syncing that Apple has had trouble with so far.

Original source

Google unveils Blink, a rendering engine forked from WebKit

It sounds like it removes a lot of cruft that Google didn’t want to have to deal with: 

In the short term, Blink will bring little change for web developers. The bulk of the initial work will focus on internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase. For example, we anticipate that we’ll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines—right off the bat. Over the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs.

Funny that Mozilla also made a browser tech announcement today. Not really sure about the implications with that one.