Google Sync Beta

Google Sync keeps your calendars and contacts synced from Google’s servers to your iPhone (or other phone) by pushing the data between the two places.

The video above explains it all but I can tell you right now that if you aren’t into the whole Google ecosystem it isn’t exactly for you. Since my Contacts and Calendars sync to my iPhone through iTunes I don’t really see any benefit to using this. I would rather live in the Apple ecosystem then the Google ecosystem just because I like the fact that everything is stored on my computer and no one elses.

Google Mobile – Sync.

Google Chrome Running On OS X

Chrome Running on Mac

The developers who have been working on Chrome over at Google have shifted gears from layout tests and WebKit compatibility to getting the user interface up and running on the Mac. Over the past few weeks the team working on the project have improved the code to the point where they have a fairly well running Cocoa UI and on top of that the app in its current stage will actually let you open and close tabs, which also opens and closes processes which the developers can watch happen using Activity Monitor.

Google has come along way with Chrome and although it might not ever get me to switch from Firefox I will sure be glad to have another competitor in the browser space, even if it only makes other broswers faster at rendering (but I would rather have web pages render faster than have a feature race).

Sucking less, on a budget: It’s Alive.

References to GDrive Appear in Google Pack File

GDrive Reference

Some references to the long rumored Google service “GDrive” have appeared in a file used by Google Pack. The file categorizes GDrive as a Online file backup and Storage service and has the following description:

“GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents. GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device – be it from your desktop, web browser or cellular phone.”

This is some pretty hard evidence that GDrive is indeed a reality but truthfully other than the fact that it will be done in Google’s own style the service will really only be an online storage service.

Currently the online storage service is chock full of competitors and even though Google will come in a bully them around a bit there is no indication to me that Google will do it right. To have a great online storage service you need to have some sort of desktop app. I can’t think of a single desktop application from Google that I would actually install on my computer. The only app that is even worth looking at is Picasa, but that is only because in the Windows world there aren’t any good free photo management applications and Picasa is the best option.

I know that everyone wants to look at Google as this big friendly company that can do no wrong but from what I can see, the only services that they built themselves that are worth using is their search engine and Gmail, everything else that I use (and probably most of you use) are apps that Google acquired.

I hope that Google can get it right, I really do, but from my perspective there really are no indications that they can do it.

First Official Description of GDrive.

Google Readying a GrandCentral 2.0

“a new version on new infrastructure will be coming soon. Apologies to anyone who has run into issues on the legacy version.” -Jeff Huber, Google

Recently David Pogue has also mentioned a new version of GrandCentral saying that everyone who works on GrandCentral still works on it and a new version is imminent.

I have used GrandCentral for quite a while and love its functionality. I can’t wait to see what new features are going to be added with the next version.

GrandCentral 2.0, Almost Ready to Be Released.

Gmail Finally Supports Google Gears

The obvious best usage of Google Gears has always been with Gmail, but up until now you couldn’t use Gears with Gmail, but now you can start syncing to your hearts content.

The feature is still within the Google Labs feature set but because this functionality seems to be such a perfect fit for email I’m sure it will become a standard feature sooner or later (although with how long it takes Google to take things out of beta nothing would surprise me).

To enable it:

  • Sign in to Gmail and click ‘Settings’.
  • Click the ‘Labs’ tab and select ‘Enable’ next to ‘Offline Gmail’.
  • Click ‘Save Changes’.
  • In the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username there will be a new ‘Offline’ link. Click this link to start the offline synchronization process.

Announcing offline access in Gmail Labs

Google Closes Many Services

Google will discontinue support for uploads to Google Video, they aren’t going to delete any content just no longer allow users to upload content.

Google is also going to stop active development on Google Notebook. They are no longer going to be adding new features and will not be offering it to new users anymore.

Jaiku is no longer going to be actively developed.

Google Catalogs, Dodgeball, and Mapshup Editor will be closed.

Google Closes Many Services.

Google Selling $399 Fully Unlocked G1s to Developers

On December 5 Google began selling fully unlocked G1s to developers. This will make it much easier for developer to get their hands on an android based device and doesn’t restrict it to T-Mobile customers.

It’s pretty easy to get one of these phones, even if you aren’t a developer. All you have to do is register as an Android developer on the Android Market site, pay a one time $25 registration fee and then pay the $399 price for your very own hardware unlocked G1.

Initially you will only be able to purchase it in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Hungary. Google does plan on expanding that list with time though.

Google does advise that these dev phones are only for developers but other then the fact that you can flash unsigned firmware on it there doesn’t seem to be any reason why anyone can’t use it for their full time phone.

Devices for Developers – Android

T-Mobile G1 Having Some Serious E-Mail Problems

The darling of the anti-iPhone crowd, T-Mobile G1, is beginning to show some signs that it truly is a new mobile platform and therefore must have some bugs.

Word comes from the T-Mobile forums that both POP3 and IMAP email is having connection errors about 95% of the time when they check their email. These users are also experiencing emails not sending or sending as null.

The problem doesn’t seem to be tied to a single email provider and the only way to fix the problem (for a short while anyway) is to reset the phone. Curiously Gmail doesn’t seem to be on the list of problematic email providers.

A T-Mobile representative has responded saying “This is being reported” and “will be researched with a high priority.” Also saying that they have seen a problem like this before, “We used to see similar errors and symptoms with the old MyEmail service and the new consumer Email Client. Those are found on regular phones, but do encounter issues when there are more than 100 e-mails on the POP server or when there are emails with relatively large attachments.”

It looks like if you were waiting for the G1 and email is your killer app, your going to be waiting a little bit longer before you jump on in. This will be a huge fiasco if T-Mobile doesn’t resolve it quick, a major component of a mobile device like email can’t be left unfixed for too long.

T-Mobile Forums

Google Introduces “Chrome,” a Web Browser Based on WebKit

Google Blogoscoped was sent a cartoon from Google showing off Google Chrome, an open source browser based on WebKit with Google Gears built in. The Google browser has been long rumored but never confirmed, but this is the first proof that it is coming. In fact, the first beta of the browser is supposed to be posted sometime today, at launch it will only be for Windows but will have Mac and Linux versions soon.

You can view the entire comic here but it’s a little long so unless you want to look through 38 pages you might as well get the bulk of the details listed below.

Chrome will run each of its tabs in its own process therefore when one tab crashes it won’t take down the whole browser. It also should give the browser an overall performance boost. This design will need more memory up front but in the long run will actually save memory since most users tend to multitask and open/close lots of tabs.

Google Chrome will display tabs at the top of the browser window rather then under the address bar. The search box and address bar is being called the “omnibox.” The search bar though will be able to detect site-specific searches and remember them so users to easily use them again from the browsers search box.

Chrome will have a Opera style Speed Dial-like page which will give users quick access to their most frequently visited sites and search engines.

The browser will also have a “Incognito” mode in which the window that you choose to enable this feature on will not record anything you do there (“porn mode” if you will).

Google will continually download a list of known phishing sites and list of malware sites to your computer, which will be used to warn users if they are about to visit one of them.

Google decided to use WebKit because of how quickly it renders web pages, but oddly enough Google decided to build its own JavaScript virtual machine called V8. V8 was built from the ground up and leverages the concepts of hidden class transitions, precise garbage collection, and machine code generation to make JavaScript-heavy applications faster.

It isn’t a surprise that Google would want to release their own web browser but it will surely cause an odd relationship between Google and Firefox, since Google basically funds Firefox entirely, that search bar in the upper left hand corner isn’t just there because it’s handy.

I don’t know if I’m going to choose Chrome over Firefox when it is made available for the Mac, but since I don’t use very many Firefox extensions it all comes down to how comfortable Chrome feels while using it. I’m not sure if I’m going to be too fond of the tabs above the “omnibox” but who knows. I’m happy to see a lot more competition in the browser space and I hope that this will do nothing more than force most of them to become more and more standards compliant.

Google Announces App Store-Like Marketplace For Android Powered Handsets

Google has announced that they will be doing an App Store-like marketplace for Android phones. This will allow users of Android phones to download applications directly to their devices, it will also allow developers to program applications for Android devices and sell them directly to users.

Developers will be able to make their content available in the marketplace hosted by Google. The marketplace will feature a feedback system similar to YouTube (let’s hope it doesn’t attract the same type of commenters). Developers will be able to get their content in the marketplace by registering as a merchant, uploading and describing their content, and publishing it. This means developers won’t have to go through the approval process like they do in the iPhone App Store. I do hope that this decision will not bring about a lot of sub-par applications and the worry of malicious applications is overwhelming (to me at least).

Android Developers Blog

Images of the marketplace after the jump.

Mac OS X 10.5.3 Allows iPhone Users to Sync Contacts With Google

With the release of Mac OS X 10.5.3 iPhone users (and anyone else) can now sync their Address Book contacts with Google Contacts. Within the Address Book Preferences, under General, you now have the option to Synchronize with Google.

Just check the box, it will ask you for your Google account and password and from now on every time you sync your iPhone your address book will also be synced with Google.

It really looks like Apple is trying to make it as easy as possible for users to get their data wherever they want it. Although many people think that Apple never wants to play with anyone else this clearly shows that Apple is interested in doing what consumers want.