Welcome Google Photos; Google is Shutting Down Google+ Photos

Google plus photos

Google Inc. has decided to shut down Google Plus Photos on August 1 in an effort to ensure everyone gets the best photo experience the company can deliver. Google hopes all Google Plus Photos users will switch to the new and better Google Photos application.

Google+ Photos is a relic of the times when Google hoped that the social network can become a hit and compete with Facebook as the best social network. However, Google Plus did not live up to the expectations. Google+ Photos served as the repository for all the photos Google Plus users uploaded to the social network.

Now, after the company has realized the social network hasn’t lived up to the expectations, it will shut down the Plus Photos application. All Android users have already seen a prompt to download and switch to the Google Photos application. Google will shut down Google Plus Photos on Android first, and then on iOS and the Web.

In May 2015, after more than six months of rumors, Google launched the Google Photos application as the new home for photos and videos.

Google Photos is an unlimited free storage service for photos and videos. The application has extraordinary sorting and search features.

For those who still use Google+ Photos, now is the time for change. All the photos and videos stored in the Google+ Photos application will be saved and available once you make the switch to the Google Photos app.

If you haven’t made the switch by August 1, Google Plus Photos will stop working, but your photos will be available via Google Takeout.

Google Photos is the new application for photos and videos by Google. The app lets you store data in the cloud for free. There is a limit for photos, and it is set to 16-MP quality photos, while the limit for videos is 1080p quality. The photos and videos in Google Photos can be organized in groups by location, by timeline, or by different tags. The search bar is one of the strengths of the Google Photos application. You can search by categories such as “gadgets”, “cars” and “dogs”, or by keyword. You can also use the new interface and its tools to share photos and edit them in collages.

Audi, Daimler and BMW Scheduled to Purchase Nokia’s HERE Maps

After Nokia put its HERE Maps application on sale in April 2015, it seems like a deal will be struck very soon. Three luxury carmakers from Germany are interested in purchasing the application. Audi, which is a unit of Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Daimler, Mercedez-Benz parent company have agreed to purchase the mapping application.

After several weeks of negotiations, Nokia is ready to sell the application for a sum of around $2.7 billion. The exact purchase price is yet to be revealed, but reports have already surfaced about a price that is reasonable for both sides. At one point, Uber was also interested in buying the application, for a price of $3 billion, but pulled out of negotiations few weeks ago.

According to the reports, the trio of German carmakers do not intend to keep the mapping application to themselves. On the contrary, Audi, Daimler and BMW intend to let other carmakers invest in the application.

HERE Maps is seen as an alternative to Google Maps and TomTom, two of the traditional navigation solutions. With the purchase, the vehicle manufacturers will be able to make their system.

Experts have praised the sale, as buying an existing product is a lot easier for carmakers than building a mapping application from scratch. Automakers were afraid that Google Inc might purchase HERE Maps after Nokia put the application to sale.

Mapping technology is vital for car companies as they intend to produce self-driving cars in the future.

Some other car companies that are expected to invest in the application include Renault, Peugeot Citroen, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp.

HERE Maps accounted around $1.1 billion in sales from the auto industry in 2014. The profit that the application generates from other location-based service is nothing compared to what the auto industry pays. Nokia bought Navteq, a mapping service in 2008 for $8.1 billion and made the HERE Maps application out of it.

Google Maps dominates the market of smartphone users, but HERE Maps dominates automobile mapping which is the reason why car makers are eager to purchase the application. HERE Maps is present in 80% of built-in car navigation systems. HERE is based in Berlin, and employs more than 6,000 people. The HERE Maps unit reported a yearly revenue of $1.1 billion, which accounts for more than 90% of total sales by Nokia in 2014.

Pebble Time Smartwatch Boasts of More Features than Apple Watch

After successfully impressing a whole lot of people as a kick starter project, the Pebble Time smartwatch has finally landed in stores and is available for purchase.

Even before Apple brought its own smartwatch to customers, Pebble started experimenting with the idea. They started off with some basic models that simply allowed users to send messages and calculate calories burned. The innovative idea struck the right chords as a kick starter project which helped the company make more money, leading to this contemporary product.

It is not easy to evolve from an indie project to a full-fledged product that can compete with tech giants like Apple, Samsung and Motorola. However, Pebble Time smartwatch has managed to break every hurdle and is now available for customers in North America. The product is available at both Best Buy and Target stores. If you are planning to buy one, you may have to shell out $199 which is not too much considering the features that it offers.

The previous models sported black and white displays which was a huge turn off for customers. Pebble Time is an upgraded version which has a color screen and is available in a wide range of vibrant colors. The most popular variants include white, black and red.

Some unique features of this smartwatch include its high water resistance capability that can withstand pressure up to 30 feet, a microphone that is always ON and ready to grasp your voice commands any time and a feature named ‘Timeline’ that will continuously track a user’s activities throughout the day.

“With great water resistance capabilities, an impressive color screen and amazing battery life, you can rely on the Pebble Time smartwatch wherever you go. It is built to be durable and comes with hundreds of apps to assist you,” reads the official blog.

With all these improvements, Pebble Time is expected to be a worthy competitor to Android Wear smartwatches. It has a decent collection of games, and apps designed to let you make phone calls, send messages as well as track your calorie count during workouts.

People who like to purchase it can order one online, from the official website. Those who prefer to shop for it in person can go to Best Buy or Target. Given the affordable pricing, critics suggest that most people might go for this watch as an impulse buy rather than an actual gadget that they wish to own.

YouTube has More Viewership than Cable Television, Google Claims

YouTube was acquired by Google in the year 2006 when cable television used to be the primary form of entertainment. Time has changed and a lot of people prefer watching content over the web than sitting in front of their television.

Google in their latest statement claimed that YouTube has attained phenomenal popularity in terms of viewership and patronage. The statement was made by Omid Kordestani, during the earnings conference call.

In order to support the claim made, the company’s Chief Business Officer pointed to the statistics that confirmed people aged between 18 years and 49 years in the United States prefer to watch the majority of their content on YouTube than the local cable network. In a span of one year, the viewership count on the streaming media website has increased threefold. The “watch time” which is the actual time spent watching videos on the site has seen a 60 percent boost in the last two years.

The drastic change in viewership is also because of the fact that a vast majority of users are inclined to watch videos on their smartphones and tablets than on televisions. The average number of users who spend watching videos on YouTube mobile app has doubled in one year. According to statistics, an average user spends at least 40 minutes every day watching videos on their mobile devices.

The company should be credited for their continued commitment to new features. Google confirmed that features like auto play and automatic video suggestions has helped play an integral role in getting more young users on board. When they like to find a new music video or a trailer, they automatically login to the YouTube website or the app as it is much easier to find the content they are looking for in here than on any other video streaming website.

YouTube is facing the biggest competition from two websites, namely Netflix and Hulu. But the vast range of exclusive content available on YouTube that includes gaming videos and technology reviews has attracted more visitors whereas their competitors cater to a specific type of audience.

The detailed infographics was based on the study conducted by a company named Miner & Co Studio. They also revealed an interesting piece of information about the modern day family. These days, if parents wish to punish their children, they prefer cutting access to smartphones and ask them to watch televisions. It’s surprising but a true fact that young children opine televisions hardly have anything entertaining to engage them.

Samsung JS7000 4KTV Supports Great Upscaling, More Codecs at Just $1300

One of the main reasons why customers refrain from buying a 4K television is that they aren’t the ideal choices for viewing HD or SD content apart from the fact that the pricing is too high to invest in.

Samsung’s JS7000 aims to break both these myths and could probably be the first 4KTV that could change the game. For many years now, the company has strongly focused on launching luxury curved models that will easily cost you an arm and a leg. It comes as a surprise to see that the company now wants to make budget buyers happy with a television that is worth investing.

Surprising Upscaling Capabilities

Even though it has a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, the Samsung JS7000 is more than capable of upscaling lower resolution images including 720p HD content and even 480p SD content which is the first of its kind in a 4KTV.

This is possible because it is powered by their proprietary Tizen operating system that makes it a smart television with internet browsing functionalities, apps to watch your favorite content and much more. It even comes with a function that lets you stream, connect from your smartphones and tablets but supports only a selective list of devices. We assume that it could probably only be Samsung products, at least for the time being.

Solving Lack of 4K Content

This newly announced Samsung 4KTV could finally solve the widespread issue where customers hardly have enough 4K content to browse through. There is a dearth of 4K media content because the market doesn’t have enough affordable televisions for customers to purchase. When several people who own a 4KTV, there will obviously be television channels, websites and movies that will be catered to this community of people.

By announcing a product that begins with a price tag of $1300 for the 50-inch model, Samsung has finally broken the barrier. Now people can finally purchase a high resolution television during special occasions which will eventually lead to more viewable 4K content hitting the market. Besides, they will also inspire big brands including LG and Sony to come up with their own affordable versions.

Samsung has made this possible by removing the curved design which leads to excessive costs and also some luxury lighting technologies which an everyday consumer would hardly mind. An official release date for the JS7000 4KTV is yet to be announced but rumors indicate that it might hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2015.


Apple’s New iPod Touch, New Product or Income Stream?

While many an Apple evangelist may have thought that the iPod touch was on its way out,  Apple introduced the sixth generation iPod complete with new colors, new features  and perhaps most important and new IOS 8.4 as the standard operating system. This version of the operating system is required for Apple Music, the new streaming music service. The Touch is all about getting the monthly subscription payments to get to the music. In other words another income stream for Apple.

The Apple iPhone has gradually eroded the demand for the Apple iPod touch, but the sixth generation iPod touch offers an attractive entry-level price point for those consumers who might not yet be ready for an iPhone. The updated iPod will offer a variety of options.

iPod Touch 

The iPod touch starts at $199. For the vast majority of iPod shoppers, the iPod touch is the easily the best option. It’s the only iPod that runs iOS, which gives it access to Siri and all the apps available for the iPhone.

iPod nano

The iPod nano is back and perhaps the most attractive feature is, well  honestly we don’t know what that is.  At $149 it’s hard to believe Apple will be selling a lot of iPod nano’s

iPod shuffle

The iPod shuffle costing $49 despite having just 2 gigabytes of storage, no screen, and a design even older than the iPod nano.

Bottom line

Apple didn’t need a new update on the iPod.  It is no longer a popular product line for the tech giant,  but the opportunity to get the new Apple music streaming service into the hands of more consumers might have been too good an opportunity to pass on.