Over the past year, we’ve worked with the mobile industry on an initiative to upgrade SMS for people everywhere, providing a more enhanced messaging experience through RCS (Rich Communications Services). Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re partnering with Telenor to enable the launch of RCS messaging to their 214 million subscribers across Europe and Asia, including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and India. Subscribers will have access to advanced messaging features as a standard part of their Android device.

Features like group chat, high-res photo sharing, read receipts, and more, will come standard on Android. Subscribers will have their SMS experience upgraded through the Messenger app for Android devices, developed by Google. The service will be powered by the Jibe RCS cloud from Google.


In markets where RCS is launched, Telenor subscribers who already have the Messenger app on their phone will automatically get access to RCS services through an app update. Subscribers who don't have the app can install the Messenger app from the Google Play store. In addition, as part of the partnership with Telenor, many new Android devices will come with Messenger for Android preloaded as the default SMS and RCS messaging app.

This RCS messaging implementation supports the GSMA universal profile—a standard supported by more than 58 carriers and manufacturers collectively covering a subscriber base of 4.7 billion people globally. We’ve launched RCS messaging using the universal profile with carriers in the U.S. and Canada, and plan on launching RCS in more countries in the coming months.

The Official Google Blog

When the Internet launched operationally in 1983, its creators never dreamed that there might be billions of devices and users trying to get online. Yet now, almost three decades later, that same Internet serves nearly 2.5 billion people and 11 billion devices across the globe. And we're running out of space.

In order to connect to the Internet, each device has to have an IP address—a numerical label which identifies every computer, phone, tablet, ebook reader, etc. IP addresses allow machines to find and communicate with each other online–without them you couldn't check your email, visit websites or watch videos. But like a telephone network that is running out of phone numbers, the current Internet is running out of IP addresses.

The Internet we've relied on so far has space for 2^32 addresses—about 4.3 billion. The new, larger IPv6 expands the limit to 2^128 addresses—more than 340 trillion, trillion, trillion! Enough for essentially unlimited growth for the foreseeable future. Without the rollout of Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6), which formally begins today for participating websites and other organizations on the web, we won’t have the room we need to grow.

In February 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) ran out of addresses to allocate to the Regional Internet Registries. While some of your devices may already share a single address (your home router acts like a switchboard for your home's devices), if IPv6 isn't implemented you'd soon have to share a single address with multiple people or even a whole neighborhood. This tangled, constrained Internet would be unsafe and unsustainable.

Today's World IPv6 Launch, coordinated by the Internet Society, marks the day that participating websites, Internet Service Providers (ISP), and network hardware manufacturers switch on IPv6 permanently in parallel with IPv4. We’re proud to be one of the founding participants; virtually all Google’s services have been available over IPv6 for a while, but IPv6 access was only available to networks participating in the “Google over IPv6” program. From now on, they will be made available to any IPv6 network on the Internet (well, almost any).

Complete transition will take time. Some users may need to upgrade their home routers or possibly download updated operating system software to enable IPv6 in parallel with IPv4. If you're interested in when you'll get IPv6 connectivity (if you don’t have it already), we encourage you to reach out to your ISP and ask.

Today we launch the 21st century Internet: you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The Official Google Blog

This year marks the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, celebrating Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne. To commemorate this special occasion, we’re teaming up with Historypin to launch an interactive online gallery filled with memories of her time as Queen.

The Pinning The Queen’s History project will be made up of photographic images, videos and audio clips pinned directly onto a Google Map on the dedicated Historypin site. This will let you see historical images in modern context within Google Maps.

Throughout her six decades on the throne, The Queen has undertaken hundreds of visits around the United Kingdom and 261 official overseas visits to 116 different countries. Historypin is inviting people from around the world to submit photos, videos and other memories of The Queen during these visits.

Using Google Maps and Street View, the Historypin platform enables you to pinpoint the exact location of where the imagery was captured. They’ll be overlaid onto Street View, so you can compare glimpses of the Queen’s 60-year reign with how they look today.

The collection has been boosted by the provision of images from The Queen’s overseas visits taken by press photographers, and by photographs of items from the Buckingham Palace’s Royal Archives. Items from the Royal Archives include the sitar presented to The Queen during her visit to India in 1997, an earthenware vase presented to the Queen by the Prime Minister of Japan and a map showing the air routes around South Australia during the 1954 Commonwealth Tour.

The interactive gallery is an opportunity for anyone to contribute to and celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on one global platform. We’re honoured that Google Maps can form the foundation of this official gallery.

Submit your memories of The Queen at www.historypin.com/DiamondJubilee/.

(Cross-posted from the Lat Long Blog)

The Official Google Blog

IPv6: countdown to launch

Today, we’re joining the Internet Society and several major Internet companies to announce World IPv6 Launch, a coordinated launch of the next-generation Internet protocol on June 6, 2012. This builds on the success and momentum of last year’s World IPv6 Day by adding major contributions from ISPs and home networking vendors. With World IPv6 Launch, we’ll collectively close the gaps and begin to deliver the end-to-end, next-generation Internet.

IPv6 is the replacement for the current version of the Internet Protocol, IPv4, which is quickly running out of addresses. The original IPv6 specification was published more than 15 years ago, but for the entire career of most Internet engineers its deployment has always been in the future. Now it’s finally here. The widespread deployment of IPv6 paves the way for connecting together the billions of devices that permeate our livesーboth fixed and mobile, from the largest cloud computing services to the smallest sensors.

Just a year ago, we announced our participation in World IPv6 Day. Since then, the IPv4 address global free pool was officially depleted, each of the five regions around the world receiving one last address block. Soon after, the Asia-Pacific region exhausted its free IPv4 address pool. Hundreds of websites around the world turned on IPv6 for a 24-hour test flight last June. This time, IPv6 will stay on.

For Google, World IPv6 Launch means that virtually all our services, including Search, Gmail, YouTube and many more, will be available to the world over IPv6 permanently. Previously, only participants in the Google over IPv6 program (several hundred thousand users, including almost all Google employees [PDF]) have been using it every day. Now we’re including everyone.

The vast majority of users shouldn’t notice, but check out our test page and help article if you think you might run into difficulty. If you’re curious, you can test your connection now at ipv6test.google.com. If your ISP isn’t on board yet, ask them to join us. It will take years for the Internet to transition fully to IPv6, but as William Gibson is said to have said, “The future is already here—it's just not very evenly distributed.”

We hope that even more websites, application and Internet access providers and network device manufacturers will join us for World IPv6 Launch. Permanently enabling global IPv6 access to Google services has been our goal since we first began our IPv6 project more than four years ago. We eagerly await the opportunity to realize that goal with our colleagues around the world this June. At long last, IPv6 will be the new normal.

The Official Google Blog


Apple will open two new stores in Asia by the end of the week, signalling the company’s push into the Chinese market and determination to ensure the launch of the next-generation iPhone gets off to an encouraging start.

The Cupertino-based company has been working hard to open two new stores before the rumoured mid-October launch of the iPhone 5, confirming yesterday that it would open its new store in the IFC Mall in Hong Kong on September 24. The flagship store will be based in the heart of the country’s financial district, adhering to the Apple’s policy of opening retail stores in affluent areas.

With notifications of the launch affixed to the building itself, Apple also launched a new Hong Kong retail page, also adding a specific page for the IFC Mall-based store.

This morning Apple also made changes to its Chinese website, announcing that it will open its new five-story Nanjing East store in Shanghai on Friday, a day before the Hong Kong store. Last Monday, Apple “pulled back” the curtain on the hoardings protecting its new retail presence in Shanghai teasing the message “We’re about to light up Nanjing Road”.

The new five-story flagship store was originally due to open in late August but was delayed due to heat issues and ventilation systems. Having resolved those issues, Apple expects to welcome over 40,000 visitors a day and will employ more than 300 staff.

Apple will reportedly use the lower two floors purely for retail and sales, with the ground floor will likely be used to showcase new product launches (new iPhone 5 perhaps)? The second floor will feature the Genius Bar, as well as customer training from the Apple Creative Team. The top three levels will include a briefing room and administrative offices which will be utilised by Apple corporate employees based in China.

Once opened, the store on Nanjing Road will be Apple’s fifth store in China, a country that the company has earmarked for huge expansion. Apple is expected to open its first Hong Kong store by the end of the third quarter as it aims to build on the $ 2.8 billion dollars it made in Asia in its last quarter.

China Telecom is expected to partner with Apple, bringing the iPhone 5 to customers in the country. China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile operator, is said to be in negotiations to launch a 4G-enabled iPhone 5 in 2012, although a deal has reportedly not yet been signed.

TNW Aggregated Feed

Samsung has announced it will delay the Australian launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet until late September, waiting until a court verdict is reached on claims that the Korean vendor had copied the design and packaging of Apple’s iPhone and iPad products.

With an injunction placed upon sales of three Samsung smartphones in some European countries and a similar ruling made in Germany, banning the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung has said it will delay the launch of its tablet device pending a decision in late September, lodging a cross claim through the Australian court in the next few days.

Samsung’s statement detailed its actions:

“Today, Samsung informed the Federal Court of Australia it intends to file a cross claim against Apple Australia and Apple Inc regarding the invalidity of the patents previously asserted by Apple and also a cross claim against Apple regarding violation of patents held by Samsung by selling its iPhones and iPads.”

The Australian launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was delayed earlier in the month following an agreement between Apple and Samsung, with sales expected to begin in the following weeks.

Samsung has been involved in legal battles in the USA, Europe and South Korea, as well as Australia, with Apple claiming that the Korean manufacturer has infringed its wireless patents.

TNW Aggregated Feed

UK mobile operator Vodafone has become the first carrier in Europe to roll out operator billing for Android devices, allowing its customers in the UK (and soon Germany) to charge app purchases to their existing mobile bill.

Customers on both pay monthly and pay-as-you-go tariffs will now be able to select an option on the Android Market which will process the payment via Google’s partnership with the UK operator, bypassing the Google Checkout process. The new initiative will suit customers that are unable to add their card details to Google’s Android Market.

In 2010, Google launched Direct Carrier Billing in the US, making it available to both T-Mobile US and AT&T users, rolling out the service to Japanese carriers SoftBank, KDDI, and NTT DOCOMO in April 2011. Vodafone becomes the first carrier in Europe to make the service available to its customers.

Vodafone hopes that it will increase purchase volumes from its customers but also drive revenues for developers and its partners. Prices on the Android Market are transparent and payment options are detailed before the app is downloaded, allowing customers to be aware of what they are buying.

The carrier has also enforced safeguards, limiting app purchases to £30 on a single item (once per month) with a £250 monthly limit.

TNW Aggregated Feed

Iran set to launch its own Internet


As if it weren’t enough that Iran has already figured out how to foil America’s ‘Internet in a Suitcase’ before it has even come into existence, Iranian Communications Minister Resza Taqipour has announced plans for Iran to get its own Internet by the end of August.

Monsters and Critics quoted the official Iranian News Agency, where the details were revealed, saying that Iranian Internet would be available at a speed of 8 megabits, eventually boosting it up to 20.

Of course all the speed in the world won’t help Iranians get onto some of the world’s most popular sites. Facebook and Twitter are, and will continue to be, blocked in the country, along with any opposition parties’ websites, and anything that is deemed morally or politically inappropriate.

Not only is Iran getting its own Internet, it won’t have any need for Google anymore when it gets its own search engine by 2012. The search engine will be called ‘Ya Haq,’ meaning, ‘Calling God.’

According to previous announcements by Taqipour, Iran’s Internet will be in beta testing in less than a week, in which some users will get the chance to try out the so-called Clean Web.

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