#google

Nice scoop by Josh Constine of TechCrunch:

Facebook just invited press to an event at its headquarters on April 4th to “Come See Our New Home On Android”. Sources tell us it will be a modified version of the Android operating system with deep native Facebook functionality on the homescreen that may live on an HTC handset. The evidence aligns to say this is the Facebook Phone announcement people have been speculating about for years.

Others have since backed this up as well.

I was a few months off, but this is basically what I had heard back in January as well.

There seems to be some disagreement over whether or not this would constitute a “fork” of Android. It would seem there is a way for Facebook to do this with Google’s blessing (just as they bless TouchWiz and other “skins”). But make no mistake, this is not stock Android. Facebook will deeply inject their own apps into the core of the OS. As long as they don’t replace Search, Maps, and a few others, Google should be okay with it — for now.

One wildcard is the Play Store. Facebook has their own App Center (which right now links to Play Store and the App Store), which they presumably could make work as a stand-alone Android app store as well. But it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t piss off Google. See: Amazon.

Another question: what will the carriers think of this? Presumably, they’ll have at least one on board with the HTC phone. Facebook has been making a lot of noise about “free calls” within their Messenger apps — this could all but destroy the notion of cellular “minutes”. 

Of course, that writing has been on the wall for some time. Data phones are the way going forward. Still, the carriers must be a little scared of the post-minutes, post-SMS world that this Facebook Phone highlights. It’s a huge change. The carriers are finally becoming the dumb pipes they were meant to be.

John Herrman of BuzzFeed:

According to data from the BuzzFeed Network, a set of tracked partner sites that collectively have over 300 million users, Google Reader is still a significant source of traffic for news — and a much larger one than Google+. The above chart, created by BuzzFeed’s data team, represents data collected from August 2012 to today. 

Yikes. Did Google just shut down the wrong product?

John Herrman of BuzzFeed:

According to data from the BuzzFeed Network, a set of tracked partner sites that collectively have over 300 million users, Google Reader is still a significant source of traffic for news — and a much larger one than Google+. The above chart, created by BuzzFeed’s data team, represents data collected from August 2012 to today. 

Yikes. Did Google just shut down the wrong product?

Andy Rubin is out, Sundar Pichai is in.

This is a fascinating and surprising move given all the success Android has seen in recent months. I won’t attempt to speculate as to why this change is happening now — I’m sure we’ll get plenty of that over the next few days. What I do know is that Sundar Pichai, the Google executive who has been leading Chrome (and will continue to lead Chrome as well as Android — read into that what you will), is a great choice to take over.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet Pichai a number of times over the years — thanks mainly, I can only assume, to my obsession with tracking Chrome in my writing days — and found him to be one of the most thoughtful and open-minded execs I have ever met.

This genuinely makes me excited about the future of Android — even if you’ll still have to pry my iPhone from my cold, dead hands.

iheartapple2

iheartapple2:

Google Now for iOS Coming Soon?

Yep.

(Though I thought it was going to be a part of the Chrome iOS app. Or at least the Google Search app. But I’m all in favor of giving Now its own app — one of my favorite things out of Google in recent years.)

Update: It actually does look like it’s a part of the Google Search app in the video. And my understanding is that this is how it will work (coming up from the bottom). I still wouldn’t rule it out in Chrome down the road either.