It's not quite live yet, but Google would like you to know that Google Maps 6.10 is on its way to handsets by the end of the day. "What's new for me, the public transit user?" I hear you ask. Quite a bit, in fact! First off, Google has announced that it now has data on more than one million transit stops worldwide, spread throughout almost 500 cities. In an effort to make that information more usable, the Transit Lines map layer can now me narrowed down to a single method of transportation.
When Google announced that it would support all major credit and debit cards, it was big news. What may have slipped under the radar, however, is that Mountain View also sent an open invitation to card issuers to sign up for tighter integration into the service. Today, Google is announcing that you can add your Discover card to Google Wallet directly from your account on Discover's website. You even get fancy card graphics now, too!
Google has released an update to its social network app on Android today that should please Hangout enthusiasts both young and old. For starters, now you can join Hangouts on Air via your mobile device (like the one we use to broadcast our weekly podcast every Thursday at 8pm EST hint hint). This is fantastic news as Hangouts on Air are among the most useful application of the already-awesome Hangouts feature.
Another day, another Kickstarter project. This one actually looks like it could have potential, though. Ubi is an Android-powered speaker system that connects to your local WiFi network. The small black box plugs into a power outlet and is controlled primarily via voice. It comes equipped with colored LEDs for notifications, and an array of sensors including temperature, humidity, air pressure, and ambient light. To round out the specs, the box packs a full-size USB port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Sprint has finally announced what we'd heard almost a month ago. The Kyocera Rise, the budget smartphone best known for making my movie references easy, is heading to the Now Network on August 19th. The device will cost $19.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. So if you want the internal specs of the original Evo in a QWERTY slider from the company that you probably didn't know also makes cutlery, it will run you $70 out the door.
Earlier today, Google rolled out a brand new feature for its online patent research tool: prior art search. Now, while looking at a patent, you can click a single button to pull up a host of results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, with a bit of Google's typical search results sprinkled on top. The goal, of course, is to aid in researching whether a patent that's been filed is "new and not obvious." Which is far more complex than it sounds.
While Ice Cream Sandwich continues to struggle to gain significant proliferation, more and more devices are receiving the bump to Android 4.0. The latest entrant into the post-crappy-design world of Android is the Motorola Droid 4. According to Verizon's software update page, a new upgrade is on the way. In addition to bringing Android 4.0.4 and everything that entails, the software will also enable Global Roaming capabilities. This should make international travellers very happy.
This may not be strictly Android-related news, but it's safe to say that what Google does to search results is relevant to our readers' interests, no? Today, Google announced via its Inside Search blog that the company will start including the volume of valid copyright removal notices as a factor in determining how high or low a site ranks in its search results. Translation: pirate sites won't be removed entirely, but they'll start ranking lower than legitimate sites.
If you happen to be in the market for a new phone on Sprint in the near future, you might want to hold off for a couple days. TechnoBuffalo reports that the Now Network is getting ready to launch a promotion on August 12th—and continuing until September 30th—that will offer customers a free ZTE Optik tablet when they purchase any new smartphone. Yes, any new smartphone. Including the free Galaxy Nexus for new users ($99 for upgrading customers).
Today on Facebook, HTC took to answering some user comments about ICS timelines for a few of its flagship devices. In particular, the manufacturer confirmed that both the Desire S and the Thunderbolt would be receiving updates to Android 4.0 before the end of this month. The latter in particular is good news, as rumors have been circulating that the Thunderbolt would not receive the upgrade after its similarly-specced sibling, the Desire HD had its frozen dessert plans cancelled.