Software week in review for June 27

Wear it, watch it, drive it, sweat it: That's what you'll be doing soon with Android and Chrome, according to news from the Google I/O conference. For the football fans, revisit our guide to watching the World Cup, and you can follow @ReplayLastGoal on Twitter to get video replay and an animated GIF of the latest goal. Read on for our I/O recap, and to get the latest reviews and features from our editors in your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Google input/output

A billion fandroids can't be wrong. This week at I/… Read more

Google I/O recap: Major Android news; Chrome OS update

Today Google kicked off its annual I/O conference with announcements about Android, Chrome OS, its answer to Apple's HealthKit, and the next generation of developer tools.

Introducing Android L: Android OS's KitKat successor doesn't have a name yet, but it'll begin with L. The platform update will attempt to unite Web and app user experiences through the Material Design interface. Developers will be able to use Google's new Polymer toolkit to design Web apps that look like their Android counterparts, including 3D rendering. Android L also promises notifications on the lock screen (like iOS … Read more

The two things that need to happen before wearable tech goes mainstream: Google and Apple

There's a flood of wearable tech arriving early 2014, and it feels unavoidable. Look around and spit, and there's a product in the works. Samsung, Sony, LG, Huawei, Pebble, Garmin. They're all coming sooner or later, be it by wrist or glass. January, February, March, April: most of the wearable gear we've seen at CES and Mobile World Congress will be here before you know it.

So fast, so soon, so sudden: does it mean wearable tech's great time has come? Or, does it really mean what I think it means, that everyone's trying … Read more

Google I/O moves to June

Google I/O 2014 will be held in San Francisco from June 25 to June 26, Google's Sundar Pichai said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Only 126 days until Google I/O 2014, which will be June 25-26 in San Francisco. More details to follow next month including registration inf

— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) February 19, 2014

The chief of Android, Chrome, and apps wrote on Google+ that although the event will be held as it has been at the Moscone West conference center, the company will be making changes to how developers can register, "so you won't need … Read more

Intel's Thunderbolt remains high-end rarity as Acer drops out

In 2012, Acer became the first Windows PC maker to embrace Thunderbolt, Intel's super-fast communication technology. But that enthusiasm didn't carry past mid-2013.

The utility and ubiquity of performance improvements of USB, combined with Thunderbolt's high cost, led Acer to drop the port from its machines last week.

"We're really focusing on USB 3.0 -- it's an excellent alternative to Thunderbolt," Acer spokeswoman Ruth Rosene said. "It's less expensive, offers comparable bandwidth, charging for devices such as mobile phones, and has a large installed base of accessories and peripherals," … Read more

Google Translate now serves 200 million people daily

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Translate provides a billion translations a day for 200 million users, the company revealed here Friday at its Google I/O show for developers.

Google doesn't often share details about the scale on which it operates, but Josh Estelle, leader for Google Translate's front-end and mobile engineering, had a few statistics to share about the service during a talk about it.

Estelle, who's worked on Google Translate for seven years, also said 92 percent of the usage is from people outside the United States. The Internet is famously English-centric, but it's expanding … Read more

Pixel's camera failure only one of many

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google's expensive Chromebook giveaway here at its I/O 2013 conference can't handle connecting to digital cameras, but that's just one of many problems the laptop causes for its owners.

Chromebooks, which run Chrome OS (read review), are a perpetual work in progress. Updated every six weeks or thereabouts, just like the browser they're based on, Chromebooks rely on the promise of the modern Web.

But getting browsers to talk to commonplace hardware like USB ports, Webcams, and microphones is no easy task. Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), a plugin-free way to stream video, … Read more

Google's top product of I/O 2013: You

As I sat through the last half hour of a nearly 4-hour keynote, sweat pouring through my shirt, my attention waned. Most people's did. Where were the gadgets? Last year, Google seemed like the hottest (or, most conversation-starting) hardware company around. This year, the only hardware mentioned was the 3-month-old Chromebook Pixel. I wanted new, weird products: watches, new evolutions of Glass, crazy convertible tablets. I wanted to see what Google's next products are.

Yet, you can see the message. In the people wearing Glass -- of which I was one, sheepish, awkward. In the customized, personalized Maps. … Read more

Making sense of Google's high Galaxy S4 price tag

On Tuesday, when Google's Vice President of Android Product Management Hugo Barra told a crowd of nearly 6,000 attendees that the online giant would be releasing its own variant of the critically-acclaimed Samsung Galaxy S4, many broke out in applause.

Not only would the top-tier device sport all the same desirable specs the GS4 was already known for (like the quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and Android 4.2 OS), it would also give Android purists/TouchWiz haters, an unsullied Nexus software experience.

Yes, there was clapping all around (and even a "woot!" or two) until Barra … Read more

Google cuts network usage by terabytes by switching to WebP

SAN FRANCISCO -- A month and a half ago, Google began using its WebP image format in its Google+ app for Android, and now it's saving tremendous amounts of network usage as a result.

"We're saving many terabytes of bandwidth a day, and because of the cost factor, we're saving our users money," said Stephen Konig, a Google product manager, in a well-attended WebP Google I/O talk Friday.

Users' cost savings come because they're less likely to run into data usage caps or incur onerous roaming fees outside their home countries.

But of … Read more