Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vic Gundotra is leaving Google

Re/Code is reporting that Vic Gundotra, yes the Vic Gundotra is leaving Google. Vic has been in charge of Google+ for the last few years and has transformed Google into a social beast. The 'social backbone' of Google has been ramping up for the past few years and has become a remarkable tool for interaction, whether you use it to communicate with the public, hangout with family and friends or just need a place to backup photos and make them awesome. Vic was always dropping fun tidbits about upcoming releases or at least saying how excited he was to unveil some new feature. He has been the face of Google at many of their recent presentations and events and I know I will find it strange not seeing him on stage at I/O this year. I hope that the rest of the Google+ team who will be reportedly be working under David Bresbis will have the same passion and exuberance Vic displayed. I hope the team can replace their champion and further develop what I consider to be a great product. Wherever Vic goes in the future will have an extremely valuable asset.

UPDATE: Vic has posted a heartwarming sendoff on Google+, I can't wait to hear the next 'and then'

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hangouts 2.1

Hangouts has just received a big dot release update this week and though it is a step in the right direction it shows that there is still work to be done. The updates big new feature is unified conversations between Hangout messages and SMS. This is a big step in the right direction as it was one of the the biggest problems with the app since Google added SMS. Having one source for the conversation is great, and I hope they push it even further. The first most obvious step down this road would be to have Hangouts send the instant message to whoever it can rather than the SMS and switch to SMS when the message is not being sent to the other persons phone. I imagine that we will see something like this once Google is able to implement Voice into the Hangouts service, which of course is no small feat. The other benefit from integrating Voice into Hangouts would be that we could see the next big feature, receiving and sending SMS from the Hangouts interface on the computer, phone and tablet. This would be a great update to an already awesome service the Google has given us and as a side benefit could mean backing up SMS messages so that a new phone or new ROM would be able to start off where you left off in your conversations. I think these are viable updates and seem like they are on the roadmap based on comments that Google employees have made about the future of Google Voice and the ever awesome Android Police teardown of the 2.1 update that shows some Voice pieces starting to make their way into the app.

What this reminds me of and what I would want to see in the future is the inclusion of other messaging protocols into the app as well as with WebOS synergy. Due to the fragmentation of protocols this may not be possible anymore as most IM services are moving away from Jabber and other open protocols. The glimmer of hope may be the Hera project, it could make for more interoperability based on what the leaks and rumours have said. I think we should see quite a bit at I/O this year. Lets see what happens.