In what can only be described as yet another set back for Google’s privacy battle, Gmail users are accusing the search giant of accessing their contact lists and sending spam emails to contacts with non-Gmail email addresses. “STOP IT!,” an irate user wrote on Google’s support forums. “At no point did I say it was ok for Google to send email messages to my non-GMail contacts recommending they sign up for GMail.” The user, posting to Google’s forum under the name MrCheck, claims a contact of his responded back to the unauthorized email and informed him that he doesn’t use Gmail or Google Talk. Further investigating supposedly found that Google sent his contacts with non-Gmail email addresses a spam email that highlighted the benefits of Gmail and Google Talk, inviting them to join the services. There was no evidence of the sent email in MrCheck’s sent box according to his post. Numerous others have shared similar stories as well, claiming that Google has spammed their contacts. The accusations come at a time where the Mountain View-based company is in the midst of dealing with a number of privacy hiccups that have damaged its public image. Read on for Google’s response More →
Google just dropped this bomb of a video on its Android YouTube page, and it is the first real look of the Android 3.0 operating system, known as Honeycomb. From the video we can see that Honeycomb is indeed only for tablets and not for smartphones due to the usage of the “Entire for Tablets” phrase. Google Talk video calling is a go, but the biggest change is obviously the redone user interface which has carried over Gingerbread’s darker, more polished and professional looking changes into what looks to be a very sophisticated tablet experience. Oh, and yes, there is built in video calling through Google Talk. Video after the break! More →
CNET is reporting that “Google is testing a Web-based service within Gmail that will allow users to place phone calls from their in-boxes.” The new reported service will allow users to make VoIP calls to landline and cellular phones, not just other Gmail or Google Talk users. CNET explains, “This is the likely culmination of Google’s work to integrate Gizmo5’s similar product, which it acquired late last year, into its arsenal.” Details on exactly how the service will work were not revealed to the site, and it is not clear if a Google Voice account will be required. When asked to comment on the report, the search giant would only say: “Google is always testing new features and products, but we have nothing specific to announce right now.” What do you think? Would you find functionality like this useful? More →
Google, Inc. has purchased internet VoIP company Global IP Solutions for a cool $68.2 million; a 27.5% premium over the company’s current stock price. While Global IP may not be a household name, you might be familiar with what they provide and to whom they provide it: the back-end VoIP engine used by the Yahoo!, AIM, WebEx, Baidu, and Lotus chat systems. Google continues to bolster its portfolio of acquired companies that supplement its Google Voice and Google Talk services — you may recall Google purchasing internet chat/VoIP company Gizmo5 several months ago — but we have yet to see any drastic feature changes/additions in said services. The future looks bright for Google Voice and Talk…although we do wonder about the VoIP fate of Yahoo! et. al now that Google owns their voice over IP engine. More →
The implications of this deal are exciting. Google has purchased, in cash, the internet VoIP company Gizmo5 for a cool $30 million. The deal brings a true SIP/VoIP provider into the Google fold — the potential to merge the acquired technology with Google Voice and/or Google Talk is staring us right in the face. Last month there were rumors that perhaps Skype, due to legal issues with its own VoIP technology, might purchase Gizmo5 as a backup plan of sorts. However, that deal went south after Skype’s creators settled with eBay over future licensing of the core technology behind the popular service. So what do you think? Will Gizmo5 go the way of Orkut and fade into the internet oblivion? We’re hoping it will be more like GrandCentral…built into something we all love and the wireless service providers hate! More →
Up until this morning, we would have confidently put big money on Gmail maintaining its beta status for the next hundred years. Seriously… Has a more widely used and reliable service ever held onto its beta tag for so long (that was rhetorical)? To our shock and amazement however, Google has officially removed Gmail from beta status along with Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk. Both consumer and enterprise Google Apps categories are now out of beta in fact, and the latter is certainly the motivation for the change. With 1.75 million companies currently utilizing Google Apps, the beta tag seemed a bit ridiculous at this point and Google finally concurred. Are there any exciting new features to report along with this news? Nope, but you know how Google loves to churn out new features and we doubt the absence of “beta” will slow the company down a bit.
Google rarely sends new features out into the wild before they are ready for prime time, despite the fact that it stamps just about everything with “beta”, but SMS via chat was something that apparently had one too many hiccups out of the gate. Google first announced SMS integration back in October but ran into a few snags early on and had to pull the service rather quickly. SMS is back however, and Google claims it’s better than ever. The service can be activated from within the Labs tab – it’s the item is near the bottom of the Labs list labeled “Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat”. By enabling the feature and ensuring you have mobile numbers listed with your chat contacts, you’ll be able to send text messages to your chat contacts right from within the integrated chat box in the Gmail UI. The service is completely free for Gmail users but there may be costs involved for your recipients so don’t go bombarding them with SMS unless you know they have unlimited plans.
In a move that can only be described as “long overdue”, AT&T has finally pushed out the service books necessary to run the RIM native AIM and ICQ clients on the carrier’s BlackBerry handsets. The clients have long been available to other carriers, (unless you did the bait and switch Service Book trick) but now that AT&T has finally given them their blessing, the apps can be had through mobile.blackberry.com. Both apps integrate perfectly with the OS of course, and compliment the Google Talk app and Windows Live Messenger app in rounding out the free IM solutions available directly from BlackBerry.