The real Google phone is going on pre-order in India

If you want to be among the first ones to pre-order one of Googles Pixel smartphones in India, make sure you dont fall asleep early tonight.

You will be able to pre-order Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones in India on Flipkart starting midnight tonight, Google told Mashable India. The phones will also go on pre-order through over 1,000 retail stores including Reliance Digital, Croma and Vijay Sales.

If youre planning to purchase either of “made by Google” smartphones, do prepare yourselves to pay a premium. The starting price of the Pixel smartphone is Rs 57,000 ($855), whereas the base Pixel XL model will cost Rs 67,000 ($1,005). The top-of-the-line, 128GB variant of the Pixel will cost Rs 66,000 ($990), whereas 128GB of the Pixel XL is priced at Rs 76,000 ($1,140).

To make it easier for some people to afford the smartphone, Google says its partnered retailers will offer interest free EMI programs and attractive upgrade offers. The phones will ship by end of the month.

Earlier today, Google said it has partnered with HTC India for after-sales support for Pixel smartphones. Customers will be able to avail support from 56 HTC India walk-in service centres in more than 30 cities across India.

The company has also setup a toll free phone support service for Indian customers. The support number, 18004190655, will be functional all days of the week between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Theres also an online support that users can avail directly from the phone itself. Through this, a user will be able to share their screen with a service representative and get their queries answered.

The Pixel sports a 5-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display whereas its larger variant, the Pixel XL, has a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) screen. The Pixel phones are the latest to run Android Nougat (version 7.1), the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. More interestingly, both phones come pre-loaded with Google Assistant, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to understand what users are saying and responds conversationally with the best answers.

Both phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 processor, and also feature 12.3-megapixel rear cameras. At the event, Google noted that the 12.3-megapixel sensor used in the Pixel smartphones has scored the most by any smartphone on DxOMark benchmarking.

The phones will be available in “Quite Black” and “Very Silver” color options. The “Really Blue” color variant won’t be available initially.

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Ahead of Pixel smartphones launch in India, Google partners with HTC India for after sales services

Google is marketing the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones as its own, but the company realizes it won’t be able to provide all the required customer support on its own in every region. Such is the case in India, where Google has tied up with multiple companies to ensure its smartphones are widely available and customers get proper after sales service.

Google will sell the Pixel smartphones in India through Flipkart and over 1,000 retail stores including retail chains like Reliance Digital, Croma and Vijay Sales. The pre-order for the phones will begin tomorrow. For after sales service, the company has partnered with HTC India, it told Mashable India in an emailed statement.

Google says it will offer support for Pixel smartphones at 56 HTC India walk-in service centres in more than 30 cities in India. The company will also offer a toll free phone support service at 18004190655 in India. The number will be functional all days of the week between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm (local time).

“Pixel devices come with dedicated Phone support – Toll free number: 18004190655 and support hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, seven days a week. We will also offer support at 56 walk-in service centres across 30+ cities in India. For after-sales support, we are partnering with HTC India,” a Google spokesperson said.

Apart from brick and mortar service centres and phone support, Google is also debuting online support directly from the phone itself, where the phone will initiate a screen sharing feature with a service representative. This could come handy in troubleshooting common issues users face.

Unlike with Nexus brand of smartphones and tablets, Pixel is being marketed as “made by Google”. Google is also assuming more control over how these phones are sold and supported in different regions. In the United States, for instance, it is providing after sales support for the Pixel smartphones. With Nexus smartphones, its manufacturer partner was tasked with offering repair and other services for the phones as well.

While pre-orders for the Pixel smartphones go live tomorrow, they will ship by the end of the month, coinciding with Diwali festival.

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Marketing genius or mad man? The man who sells sneakers for $132K

(CNN)Shoppers who enter the Buscemi boutique in downtown Manhattan searching for the footwear brand’s signature leather sneakers are greeted first by five gilded pyramids.

The structures, according to the label’s founder, Jon Buscemi, have significance beyond their role as an eye-catching display.
“It’s a mix to showcase the shoe and to tell the story of going to the beginning, where luxury started,” Buscemi explains. “In Egypt.”
    Though the reference Buscemi is making with the tableau is historical, the product he’s using them to highlight is modern. Since the store opened in September, the largest pyramid has housed a one-of-a-kind pair of diamond-encrusted white sneakers that retail for $132,000.
    It’s an astronomical sum for a pair of shoes, but speaks to a strategy Buscemi has employed with great success since launching his namesake brand in 2013.


    The first batch of 100mm sneakers was limited to 600, but Buscemi now produces thousands of pairs of shoes a month, available in 37 countries.
    Buscemi is privately owned and doesn’t disclose revenue, but private equity firm Lion Capital, which previously backed John Varvatos and Jimmy Choo, invested an undisclosed amount in Buscemi in November 2015, a show of faith that the brand has room to grow, even with their controlled availability.
    As for the one-of-a-kind diamond sneakers, Buscemi says they sold to an unnamed private client.
    “We did it for fun,” he says. “It’s great to see that that guy actually exists out there and bought the shoe.”

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    Heres The App That Thinks LOL Women Are Stupid Is A Good Marketing Strategy

    Here’s how fake news is created in order to get you to buy stuff:

    An app company (Good&Co) seems to be making money off this photoshopped tweet which was a successful attempt to go viral and get attention for the company. The fake exchange has almost 170,000 notes on Tumblr:

    There are some suspiciously ‘deactivated’ very sales-person-sounding accounts coming to the company’s defense (boosted through Tumblr’s paid ad program?):

    Another suspicious account came to the company’s defense. It is the account’s post. Ever.

    The made up exchange banks on the fact that our culture loves to make fun of women we perceive as vapid or stupid — something the Kardashian/Jenner clan is especially ripe for since we tend to think of them as bimbos instead of businesswomen. Maybe you genuinely think Kylie Jenner is a stupid woman. That’s not too controversial, there’s very little incentive for someone like her to study anything. She’s not even able to drink legally and she didn’t even go to college.

    But let’s be clear, this is fake news. This isn’t about Kylie Jenner being smart or dumb, this is about a company that’s using fake information about her in order to burn her at the stake following the court of public approval. This is witch-burning. This is spreading misinformation for profit.

    The company continues to heartlessly troll Kylie, though she is attempting to set people straight on her Twitter:

    Call me overly optimistic, but I’m surprised any company is trying to win over millennials by showing themselves to be so greedy and callous. Why is this okay with the company’s female employees who might have a say over what happens on social (Kerry Schofield or Emma Tolkin)? We’ve all dealt with internet bullies, we don’t want or need to support them financially.

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    Google adds polling place, ballot information to search results

    Voters fill out their ballot paper in London, Tuesday, March 1, 2016 as voting begins in the U.S. Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary.
    Image: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

    Google is making it easier for you to find information about the upcoming election.

    The company is updating its search so that information about polling places and who is on your ballot will appear directly within search results.

    Now, when you enter queries like “where is my polling place” or “who’s on my ballot,” Google will surface relevant results within the search in both Spanish and English.

    In both cases, you’ll need to enter your home address where you’re registered to vote in order for the correct results to be displayed (if you have your location saved in Google Maps it can also pull from there.)

    If you’re looking for a polling place, the results will show designated polling places in your area.

    Image: google

    For ballot information, the search results will reflect everything from presidential candidates down to local offices like school board positions. From there, you can click into the individual results to find additional information about candidates. Google says it may not be able to turn up results for every single local race nationwide just yet, but the company is working with local secretaries of state and other organizations to add more to the results.

    The update is the latest search addition to emphasize voting. The company previously rolled out a similar search feature for helping people register to vote and highlighted the voter registration process in a recent Google Doodle.

    Additionally, Google is also making all of its election data available to third-party developers via its Civic Information API, which helps other developers integrate the information into their apps.

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    Ad fail: Google Assistant gets flight info wrong in Pixel smartphone ad in India

    Humans are letting down the super smart Google Assistant.

    Its a big day for Google in India. The company is launching its Pixel smartphones in the country today. On the occasion, Google ran a two-page ad on Times of India newspaper, showcasing the power of one of Pixel’s most interesting features, Google Assistant. Its only sin: the almighty artificial intelligence bot has got the facts wrong.

    In the ad, Google Assistant is shown responding to a users query who wants to know about their flight to London. The plane, the United Airlines Flight 83, is shown to depart from DEL (New Delhi) and reach LHR (London Heathrow, United Kingdom). Which seems about fine except that United Airlines Flight 83 doesnt actually fly to LHR. The plane instead flies to EWR (Newark Liberty International Airport).

    In Googles defense, its Assistant probably knows all of this and its likely the fault of people who were tasked for this ad. We checked Google Assistant on Allo for United Airlines Flight 83 and it did show its destination to be EWR and not LHR.

    It also doesnt help that Times of India is the countrys most circulated English newspaper and people are going to notice it. Oh well.

    Google Assistant is the headline feature of new Pixel smartphones. The feature uses artificial intelligence to understand what users are saying and responds conversationally with most relevant and accurate answers. Google Assistant will be exclusive to Google’s Pixel smartphones Pixel and Pixel XL until next year.

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    Apple is betting a drone fleet can make its Maps as good as Google’s

    Image: AP

    In news that should make anyone who’s experienced an Apple Maps fail a little less angry, Bloomberg reports that unnamed sources say that Apple is taking steps to overhaul its Maps service.

    The report’s sources claim Apple is building a new team of robotics and data-collection experts with the directive to use drones to capture and update map information. Up to now, Maps data has been collected by a fleet of street-bound cars, so taking to the sky would immediately expand the effort.

    The drones would be especially helpful for up-to-the-minute road monitoring for accurate traffic information, an area where Apple Maps has lagged behind Google Maps. The data collected will be sent to Apple teams, which will be tasked with updating the app for the highest level of accuracy possible. According to Bloomberg‘s sources, at least one person from Amazons Prime Air division has been brought in for the work.

    But do we really want a bunch of flying Apple cameras patrolling the skies across the country? The company will have to abide by the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial drone-use regulations, which Apple committed to when they were rolled out back in August.

    Those regulations might make the drone initiative in cities near impossible, since flying over people and buildings are two of its strongest prohibitions. But in countries where there aren’t commercial restrictions, Apple can fly all it wants.

    Along with the drones, Bloomberg‘s sources said that Apple is also developing new Maps features for use indoors and for its in-car navigation service. In a move that went largely under the radar last year, Apple acquired Finnish startup, a deal now confirmed.

    That purchase, along with the more well-known acquisition of WiFiSlam (whose tech looked to be behind a mysterious mapping app that popped up last year) point to improved indoor navigation on Apple Maps.

    In the future, Appel Maps users might be in for a new indoor mapping view for high-traffic buildings (think airports and museums).

    BONUS: Keep this mini camera drone inside your phone case for the best aerial selfies

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    Two Google publisher metrics suspended over missed deadline

    Google’s DoubleClick ad network had an issue with the Media Rating Council’s updated rules.
    Image: (Associated press/David Goldman)

    In the wake of revelations that Facebook overestimated a key video metric for years, Google the other half of the mobile advertising duopoly is having troubles of its own.

    While Google’s issue was more of a technicality than intentionally misleading advertisers, it seems the search giant’s publisher ad network, DoubleClick, failed to update its measurement model to account for new rules from a major trade group in April. This led to the suspension of two of its mobile viewership metrics.

    The Measurement Rating Council the benchmark accreditor for how online ad impressions are measured announced the decision last month, Business Insider first reported.

    The group rewrote its rules in spring to mandate that ad impressions only be counted after “reasonable assurance that the ad wasrendered on the device.” The previous standard measured each time an ad was served.

    Because of the scope of the project, Google wasn’t able to meet the new criteria within the allowed 30-day window, and accreditation of its mobile web impression measurement and viewability metric used to verify impressions was put on hold until the company is able to address the issue.

    A Google spokesperson told Mashable the company is hoping to do so by the end of the year.

    In the meantime, the Alphabet-owned site still has dozens of other metrics with the requisite papers in order.

    As the industry transitions to new metrics for how they count ads, were working closely with publisher partners to make sure they continue to thrive,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Were updating the methodology for our publisher ad server [DoubleClick For Publishers] to reflect the change.”

    Proper viewership gauges have become an increasingly big topic of conversation in the ad industry as ad fraud networks of bots designed to mimic human behavior and scam advertisers and technical load problems have thrown into question the true value of display advertising.

    Two years ago, Google revealed that half of all digital ads served are never seen by actual people for these reasons.

    The MRC an obscure, half-century-old agency with an outsized influence has been leading the charge for a new viewability standard along with other industry trade bodies like the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

    A consensus was eventually reached: At least half of every ad must be seen for one second or two seconds for video in order to qualify.

    “We did a lot of research around this focused on where you had evidence that ads were in view and had been recognized by a user,” David Gunzerath, senior VP and associate director at the MRC, said in an interview at the time of the update. “With all our measurement standards, we’re always sort of revisiting them and re-challenging them over time.”

    The MRC has accredited a total of 18 different companies for ad measurement, including giants like Nielsen and Rentrak, but not all of them have been vetted since the change due to the intervals of the group’s audits.

    The suspension is expected to have little impact on Google’s day-to-day business.

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