As usual, this week was both bitter and sweet in the world of Google. The release of Honeycomb (Android 3.0) excited many tablet users while the dispute over who "owns" search results was straight up ugly.
Google vs. Microsoft's Search Spat Gets Personal
There's drama on the playground again. Google and Microsoft starting publicly tearing at each other's hair when the former accused the latter of stealing its search results. Microsoft replied by accusing Google of poisoning caches and other methods to "frame" Bing.
At the end of the day, Microsoft uses thousands of sources to generate Bing's search results (as a proper search engine should) and it does not deny that one of those sources might be Google. But does Google own data that appears in public places or random search strings? The opinions are endless.
Here's one from Matt Cutts of Google, who states his position and the history of the issue while Microsoft's Dr. Harry Shum seems to think this is a storm over semantics, if anything.
Here Comes Honeycomb: Will Android 3.0's Launch Rival the iPad?
In sweeter news, Google finally unveiled Honeycomb, the third version of its Android OS. Designed for tablet devices only, the interface features some neat 3D tricks with panes lined up behind each other for rapid access. The new systems bar offers rapid access to notifications and system updates plus shortcuts to recent apps and other useful links to help multitasking.
An eventual iPad competitor? Maybe, but a lot of the other new features are really just catching up with Apple:
- In-App purchases — Developers will soon be able to sell extra content, game levels, features within an application with the payment coming directly from the user without having to leave the application.
- App Market Web Store — Download apps through your PC browser rather than directly to the device.
- Currency support — App developers can price their product in one currency and have it automatically converted to others when buyers check out the app around the world.
Google Docs Refresh Simplifies File Navigation
With the addition of the upload-any-file feature to Google Docs, it was only a matter of time before users would need an organizational tool. This week the Internet giant answered that need with a refresh to the documents list, making it easier to find, explore and share Web-based files.
New filters allow users to narrow a search by type, visibility state, and other criteria, while priority sorting has been added to all views. Priority sorting is like Gmail’s Priority Inbox, taking in a number of a usage statistics in order to put the most relevant files at the top of the list. Other sort orders like Last Modified Date or by Name are also available.
The visually inclined will be happy to know that the update includes a preview panel which displays thumbnails and sharing settings, or a full screen slide-show viewer if you’re into that kind of thing. If the file is a video, you can start playing it directly from the preview panel as well. Check it out.
Hello, Chrome 9
Google officially rolled out Chrome 9 this week, meaning the stable version of the browser has been updated to that iteration. The release focuses on three new major features:
- WebGL: For hardware-accelerated 3D graphics support
- Chrome Instant: Now supported by Omnibox
- Chrome Web Store: Go team Web apps
You probably already know about these features, as they've been a part of Chrome beta and dev builds for quite some time, the the official inclusion is nevertheless notable.