Palo Alto, California-based start-up SayNow announced on Tuesday that it has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed sum. SayNow’s platform facilitates voice messaging between individuals or groups, and the company provides access to its services through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Android and iPhone applications. The start-up claims to have over 15 million people currently using SayNow apps and services, which include SayNow Phone, SayNow Broadcast, Big Call and Chit Chat. While details surrounding Google’s intentions for the platform are unclear at this time, the company’s services will ultimately be folded into Google Voice according to SayNow founders Ujjwal Singh and Nikhyl Singhal. Hit the break for SayNow’s full press announcement. More →
If the countless emails that have hit our inbox over the course of the past few hours are to be believed, Verizon Wireless is having some issues in Virginia. And by “some issues,” we mean the carrier’s voice and data services are out of commission across the entire state. Verizon Wireless’ tech support team has confirmed the problem to BGR, and it states that the cause of the massive outage is currently unknown. Verizon says it is investigating the matter just as fast as it can, of course, though the company has no idea when service will be restored.
UPDATE: We’re told that service has been restored for most subscribers as of shortly before 5:00 PM.
Search giant Google has just released an update for its Android Voice Search app that offers Android users the option of “personalized recognition.” Enabling the new feature will allow the search application to custom taylor its speech algorithm to a linked Google account. As the press release reads:
If you opt into personalized recognition, we begin to associate the recordings of the words that you ask us to recognize with your Google account. We then automatically use these words to build a speech model specifically for you. This speech model enables us to deliver greater recognition accuracy. Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time.
The new version of Voice Search, which is available today, also includes improvements to name recognition and speed when operating on 3G and EDGE networks. The new feature is English only for the time being and requires a handset running Android 2.2 or higher.
TechCrunch is reporting that popular voice service, Skype, is gearing up for a big cloud-based play. This would presumably include web-based voice-calling, and possibly even video and chat services as well. In addition to the web move, it seems that Skype is starting to focus and set the company’s sights on the enterprise world. With Google Voice now available for Google Apps customers (and some sort of Enterprise-styled Google Voice service possibly coming soon), we’re wondering Skype’s next move here. TechCrunch throws out the concept of having Skype possibly integrated into Microsoft’s cloud offerings, or even possibly extending the Skype relationship with Facebook into something much larger. More →
Regional wireless provider U.S. Cellular has announced three new prepaid calling plans just in time for the holiday buying season. The new plans, which all include unlimited text messaging, will offer 200, 400, or 1000 talk minutes and retail for $29, $39, and $49 respectively; the 400 minute plan will also include 5GB of monthly data usage.
“With balancing the budget on the minds of many, prepaid plans can help customers stay on top of spending and don’t require a contractual agreement,” quips the press release. “U.S. Cellular’s new prepaid plans offer spending flexibility through unlimited messaging choices and graduated levels of included voice minutes.”
This one definitely snuck under the radar for quite some time. On November 23rd, Google Hong Kong posted a video showcasing its Google Voice Search capabilities on the Android and iOS platforms. While Voice Search itself is neither new nor notable, the Android device being showcased in the clip is. The hardware appears to be a standard Nexus One handset, the software running on said device appears to be Google’s next OS revision, Gingerbread (Android 2.3). In looking at some of the UI controls, as well as the status bar, we get a clear look at the direction Google’s stock-Android interface is heading. The new elements look very clean and, in our opinion, slightly more mature than the ones currently in use.
What are you still reading this for? The video is waiting for you after the jump.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, the video has been removed from YouTube. More →
It looks like search giant Google has started to roll out a new feature to its Gmail users that also utilize Google Voice. The new functionality allows Google Voice users, receiving a call from within Gmail, to record the voice conversation. Blog TechCrunch is reporting that some users have begun to see a new “record” button show up in Gmail’s call window. The feature has been available to Google Voice users for quite some time by hitting the number “4″ on your phone’s dial-pad after receiving an inbound call. After activating call recording, both parties are notified that the conversation is being recorded with a verbal queue. Google has yet to publish a press release announcing the feature or detailing when it will be rolled out to all users. Anyone have the new feature in Gmail yet? More →
Motorola is up to bat with their most competitive corporate device in years — they’re aiming squarely at the fine boys and girls at RIM — and coupled with the latest Android OS and the nation’s largest voice and data network, they mean business. Does that mean they have come up with the best business-focused handset on Verizon Wireless? How on earth will you be able to choose between a Motorola DROID Pro, a BlackBerry, or another Android handset? Hit the break to find out our thoughts!
Apple finally approved (or accepted) Google’s official Google Voice app for the iPhone just minutes ago, and while 3rd party versions of the software were allowed back in a couple months ago, sometimes there isn’t anything like the official version. We messed around with the app and here are some of our initial thoughts:
- We love how straight forward the app is to use. You’d think this would be the case for any application, but Google really nails the usability angle here.
- Dialing a number quickly and efficiently is the most important part of a phone calling app, and since you have to manually switch to another app and not the iPhone phone app, you don’t want to waste more time by jumping around tabs, and different screen views. On here, hit the dialer tab, and you’re ready to dial. Also of note: Google Voice for iPhone makes use of outbound dialing, so you never have to wait for an incoming call to ring your phone, you just “dial out”.
- One major issue with Google Voice’s web apps and iPhone-optimized website, was that the experience was kind of lousy. You’d want to dial or shoot a quick text message off but couldn’t due to the fact the entire UI was in Safari, thus it scrolled around, sometimes would be a little delayed, etc. The app provides very quick access to SMS creation and sending, especially for conversations not yet started. This is important here, because the faster these tasks get, the more people will use Google Voice and centralize their calling/texting habits and behaviors.
- The inbox view is great — you have all your voicemails, incoming calls, missed calls, text messages and recorded calls in one neat, and super clean-looking list. You can also manually view just a specific category like voicemails or text message if you’d like, however.
- Push notifications on here are lightning fast, and are so, so necessary.
All in all, this is close enough to an integrated experience like Android offers to make iPhone-using Google Voice users extremely happy. Now if they could only work on their voicemail transcriptions… Check out our hands on photos in the gallery!
Our Inbox is flooded with complaints from frustrated Google Voice users who are unable to login to their accounts. Navigating to Google Voice via the browser simply yields a 502 error and trying to access GV from the ; the reports began to flow in about 30 minutes ago. Sound off Google Voice users. Is it working for you?
UPDATE: Google Voice seems to have just come back up. We’re not sure what caused the outage, but we’ve reached out to Google and will update this post with any response.
It has been four years since the launch of Boy Genius Report and I can easily say that I have enjoyed every single day while working on growing, expanding, and continuing to break the biggest stories in the mobile category. Today, Boy Genius Report is growing up. We are finally switching over to the www.bgr.com domain (though www.bgr.com will still continue to work as a redirect) and the first phase of our expansion is underway. We have hired more full-time writers in the past 4 months than we have had in the past four years and we are definitely not stopping. Today, I’m super excited to introduce the new redesign for BGR that has been in the works for several months. It encompasses everything the brand is — authentic, cleanly designed, relatable, and of course, that indescribable edge that it won’t ever lose.
Every segment of the site has been redone and reworked. From our Featured Articles and Top Stories area at the top of the page which will enable us to feature a wide variety of content, a brand new gallery which enables our photos and albums to be consumed even faster, to a new commenting system (finally!) which will promote an even higher level of communication between our readers. It also includes informational resources like BGR Analysis, places to meet the editors of BGR and to check out our thoughts, predictions, commentaries, and much, much more. The new BGR is everything that I have envisioned it to be for a long time.
Thank you guys for making us the number 1 mobile site (and the number 4 tech site in the world, according to Technorati!). We are plugging away harder and harder every day to continue delivering the highest quality breaking news, original content, and of course, that original BGR voice that you love. There are many more exciting things in the works, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Of course, drop those comments in — we want to know what you think of the new design!
If you’re proficient in Russian, Polish, Czech, or Turkish, and want to search the web in one of the aforementioned tongues, Google has got you covered. Recently, the company announced the addition of the four languages to its Voice Search functionality. “Try speaking queries like ‘концерты Юлии Савичевой’ (tour dates for Yulia Svicheva), ‘przepis na pierogi’ (recipes for pierogi), ‘obrázky Hradčan’ (pictures of the Prague castle), or ‘istanbul hava durumu’ (weather in Istanbul),” quips Google. The service is available on all smartphone platforms that support Google’s Voice search. пользоваться, cieszyć się, nyní, and zevk. More →
About one-week ago, information on T-Mobile’s prepaid phone and data plans leaked… and the information was dead on. Today, T-Mobile officially announced the new prepaid monthly plans that will be available on October 18. The plans looks like this:
Prepaid Monthly Phone Data Plans
- $70/month Unlimited Talk and Text with 2 GB of Data
- $50/month Unlimited Talk and Text with 100 MB of Data
- $30/month 1,500 Talk and Text (mix and match voice and text messages) with 30 MB of Data
- Unlimited Text and $0.10/minute
- $1.49/day Web DayPass
Prepaid Mobile Broadband
- $10 week pass (100 MB)
- $30 month pass (300 MB)
- $50 month pass (1 GB)
The prepaid mobile broadband plans will be available on a new “Jet USB Laptop Stick” that is “pre-packaged with a prepaid SIM card, user guide, and plug & play connection manager software” — the device will be available online on October 18th and in stores on the 20th. “T-Mobile’s prepaid mobile broadband plans have no annual contract, no credit check, no overages and can be used with any of the company’s mobile broadband products,” explains the press release. The prepaid voice plans look pretty attractive… but $50 for 1 GB of data seems pretty steep.