Google has made the decision not to release additional apps on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The company released a Google search app on the Windows Store, but that’s as much as users are going to get. The search giant’s other apps and services, such as Gmail and Google Drive, are not currently planned for Microsoft’s latest operating systems.
“We have no plans to build out Windows apps. We are very careful about where we invest and will go where the users are but they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8,” said Clay Bavor, the product management director of Google Apps.
Google, of course, has an incentive to not help users on Microsoft’s products. The ad-disguised-as-search company currently holds a large share of the smartphone and tablet markets, and directing PC users away from the web browser and toward apps probably isn’t ideal, both from a user experience and a revenue perspective.
Of course, while this means you won’t be able to fire up a Google-made app, does anyone really care? Bing is heavily integrated into Windows and Windows Phone, and it’s easy to set up your Gmail account with the existing Mail, Calendar, and People apps. So unless you’re really hoping for something like Google Maps or Google Drive, you’re not really missing out on much.
[V3 via Engadget]
Google has rolled out a new experimental way to search – or rather, initiate a search – on mobile devices called Handwrite. Using Handwrite, it’s possible to scribble your search queries right on the Google.com home page. Handwrite is designed to work on smartphones and tablets, and it’s fully compatible with autocomplete. But don’t worry, Handwrite is intended to complement typing, not replace it.
Before you can use Handwrite, you’ll need to go into Google’s search settings and enable it. Once you’ve done that, a special icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the screen. Simply tap it and begin writing to start your search.
While there’s no reason why Handwrite couldn’t work on any touchscreen, Google has only enabled the feature on Android and iOS. Specifically, smartphones running Android 2.3 or later, tablets running Android 4.0 or later, and iOS devices running iOS5 or later. Obviously, Google recommends using Chrome on an Android device for the best experience.
[The Official Google Blog]
Android tablets haven’t gained as much traction in the marketplace as have Android smartphones. Last we heard, the Kindle Fire accounted for approximately half of all Android tablets sold. This, of course, no doubt frustrates Google, since the Fire runs a customized version of Android that has absolutely no ties to Google’s products and services. Now, if Gizmodo Australia is correct, the search giant is going to fight back. According to a leaked training document, Google will unveil a 7-inch Nexus-branded tablet at Google I/O this week to go head-to-head with the Kindle Fire.
Manufactured by ASUS, the 7-inch Nexus tablet will reportedly include a 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce 12-core GPU, 1GB of RAM, nine hours of battery life, and either 8GB or 16GB of internal memory. A single 1.2MP front-facing camera sits atop the 1280 x 800 IPS display with a 178-degree viewing angle. Oddly enough, the traditional back-facing camera is nowhere to be found. Then again, do you really need one on a tablet? The Nexus will, of course, run Google’s upcoming Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS and include NFC, Google Wallet, and Android Beam. It’s expected to be released in July – at least in Australia – for $199 for the 8GB version or $249 for the 16GB model.
This pricing is definitely in the Kindle Fire-range, but the specs are arguably much better. Will the new Nexus tablet be able to regain the ground that Google lost to Amazon’s tablet?