Google’s personalized homepage iGoogle no longer exists, as of today. The product had a long death sentence, with its shutdown announced in July of 2012. It’s not the same, but Google pointed users to its new app launcher grid tool that lives on the Web, on Android, on Chromebooks and in the Chrome browser. The iGoogle user data will be “permanently and irrevocably deleted,” Google said.
Google posted a video to its YouTube account today revealing some of the changes to its upcoming revamp of the Gmail interface. The redesigned UI unsurprisingly carries over the new theme introduced with the Google+ social network and focuses on making Gmail as clean, simple, and intuitive as possible. Overall, the interface is a lot sleeker and more customizable.
The new interface can automatically adapt to fit nicely into any size window and you can manually resize Labels and Chat windows. You can also choose the density of the interface to suit your preferences, which affects the amount of white space and how densely components are laid out on the page. And there’s several updated high-resolution themes that you can choose from to customize the look of your Gmail account.
Threaded emails now appear in a new conversation view interface that looks similar to what you see with Facebook Messages and includes a profile pic for each person. It’s also easier to go through and read previous messages in the thread.
Additionally, there will be a more advanced search box that drops down from the search field at the top of the page. It makes it quick and easy to access different search features and also allows you to create filters directly from within the search box.
Some users have already been previewing the new theme on their Gmail accounts since June, but it’s not clear when the full revamp will roll out to everyone. But given the video preview, it’ll probably be sooner than later.
As part of our annual Google Ventures CEO Summit, Nest founder and CEO Tony Fadell and I filmed a live Foundation episode in November in front of a few hundred startup founders in the GV portfolio. Tony told stories about his entrepreneurial roots as a kid selling eggs door to door, his experiences at Apple, angel investing and what the future looks like for the connected home.
Tony is a remarkable leader, and the news that Google plans to acquire Nest is a testament that leadership, as well as to his excellent team focus his team.
Tony’s advice on how to stay focused:
I learned the power of ‘no.’ No is really important. Entrepreneurs are told to say ‘yes, yes, more, more.’ To help you focus, to help you really understand what you’re doing, you have to say no a lot. When you say yes to everything, you get distracted. When you say no, you have to get the one thing you’re doing really right.
Kevin Rose is a general partner at Google Ventures. You can watch Kevin’s prior Foundation episode, an interview with Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong, here.
Motorola today announced it is slashing the price of the Moto X’s wood finishes from a $100 premium to just $25 on Moto Maker. Furthermore, in addition to Bamboo, the Google-owned company is adding three new designs at the same lower price on January 21: Walnut, Teak, and Ebony.
Today’s 75 percent reduction follows Motorola’s price cut of the actual Moto X from $579 to $399 without contract at the start of the year. If you like the look of wood finishes, the device is now even more tempting.
Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Amir Efrati, who has covered Google for The Wall Street Journal for the past three years, plans to head to a new technology journalism startup founded by former colleague Jessica Lessin.
Lessin, the Journal’s former Apple reporter, recently left the paper after eight years as a reporter and editor, in order to found a new technology news venture.
While she has not revealed its name or the details of the site as yet, sources said she will be funding the effort herself for now. In addition to Efrati, Lessin has also hired Eric Newcomer, who most recently worked for the Washington Examiner.
Efrati’s last day at the Journal is this Thursday; he will start at the Lessin venture in August. He declined to comment, as did Lessin.
The departures come as the Journal plans to beef up its Silicon Valley technology coverage under new global tech editor Jonathan Krim, who is also in charge of the San Francisco bureau. He is planning an aggressive tech expansion, with a goal of hiring seven to eight new reporters and editors to cover the space, including a new Google reporter to replace Efrati.
The Journal – which is owned by News Corp, as is AllThingsD – declined to comment on its hiring plans. There have been a number of departures in the San Francisco bureau of late, including Ben Worthen, who went to Sequoia Capital, and deputy bureau chief Pui-Wing Tam, who is now at Bloomberg as its U.S. tech team leader.
The Journal is also seeking a new Facebook reporter to replace Evelyn Rusli, who will spearhead a new beat called “Innovations.” Rusli, who came to the Journal from the New York Times, will write primarily about private companies and “big ideas” in Silicon Valley, from early-stage funding and deal-flow stories to new ideas on the horizon.
A tech-savvy hospital in Boston developed a custom information-retrieval system for Google Glass, which lets ER doctors scan a QR code on the wall of each room to call up information about patients. Dr. John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, described the system today in his blog (a cached version is here as the original link seems to be having problems): “In the Emergency Department, we’ve developed a prototype of a new information system using Google Glass, a high tech pair of glasses that includes a video camera, video screen, speaker, microphone, touch pad, and motion sensor. Here’s how it works. When a clinician walks into an emergency department room, he or she looks at [a] bar code (a QR or Quick Response code) placed on the wall. Google Glass immediately recognizes the room and then the ED Dashboard sends information about the patient in that room to the glasses, appearing in the clinician’s field of vision.”
Read the full story at Ars Technica.
It looks like Google is starting to cut back on some of its less successful mobile apps. Earlier today, we reported that the Google+ Local app has disappeared from the App Store a few weeks ahead of its planned shutdown, and now, the company has announced that it is going to shut down the standalone Google Shopper app for iOS and Android on August 30.
Given how much online shopping has moved to mobile, that’s a bit of an odd move, but Google says it wants to focus on Google Shopping and Google Search “to create a better, more consistent shopping experience across all devices.” Over the last few months, Google says it introduced “360-degree product imagery, Shortlists and more relevant reviews” on Google Shopping, and it will put its resources into improving this service going forward.
Shopper, which launched in early 2010, allows users to check online and local prices by scanning cover art and barcodes, as well as through Google’s standard text and voice searches. The last iOS version only has a 3-star rating, though it looks like the Android version was reasonably popular, with over 34,000 ratings for a 4.2 star average.
Google argues that users can still find all of the information from Google Shopper through its search app on mobile and by visiting google.com/shopping.
Despite today’s announcement, the company is also teasing some new shopping products for mobile. “We look forward to sharing some great things we have coming on mobile for the holidays,” Google Shopping VP Sameer Samat writes in today’s blog post. Those new features, though, will likely be part of Google’s existing apps and won’t come in the form of a standalone app.