Recently, we posted about a new feature Google was testing to help users better "explore" their surroundings, offering more fine-tuned exploration options for a user's immediate vicinity or their destination, with suggestions of what to do in the area based on time of day or conditions. The interface would apparently get its own button in Google Maps' primary view, but the button only appeared for a few users at the time.
|Liam Spradlin||Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.|
Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass).
When we first wrote about Quantum Paper (the internal name for the material in Material Design), we noted that Google was anticipating a series of updates to its own apps between the introduction and completion of the new design direction - updates which would bring the apps a bit closer to the new design style in a progressive fashion, so that the apps wouldn't undergo fundamental transformations overnight.
If you thought (like me) that Update Wednesday had concluded, you thought wrong. It appears Google's also started pushing an update to Google Play Games, bringing the app up to version 2.0 with Level-up notification controls, XP rankings, and a few UI changes.
Readers may remember Quests and Level-up notifications from one of our exclusives last month. The functionality, along with Snapshots, was confirmed in the official announcement of Google Play Services 5.0.
Though we just finished up our rumor recap for pre-I/O leaks and rumors, we've received information regarding Google's plans for the Play Store suggesting that Google may be building cross-device app restoration into the store's Android app.
Information is sparse so far, but from what's available to us, it appears that Google may be working on new functionality to restore apps and "data" to a new device, based on the data accrued on another device.
Google's Camera app just got a bump up to version 2.3 (rolling out in stages of course), which adds a very welcome feature - remote shutter functionality for Android Wear devices.
We saw hints of this functionality inside the code of a previous version of the Camera app, but now that Wear devices have hit release, it's finally live. Users need only open the Camera app on their phone or tablet, and Wear will automatically insert a card for remote capture.
In the run-up to I/O (starting all the way back in March), we posted a relatively large number of leaks and rumors based on information that was provided to us about some of Google's plans. It's easy to lose track of all the rumors, and just how accurate they turned out (or didn't turn out) to be, so we thought it would be helpful to do a quick recap of the pre-I/O rumors now that the dust has settled.
Google didn't spend enough time on Material Design during the keynote. We saw a beautiful video and learned a little bit about the intent and thought behind Google's new cross-platform look (which we actually saw a bit earlier than anticipated), but there's so much more to be said. Having attended as many design sessions as possible during I/O, I think it's worth taking a somewhat closer look at Material Design. In this post we'll attempt to scratch a little bit deeper into what Material means, why it's awesome, and why it's a forward-looking move for Google.
LG's G Watch is one of the first two devices to launch with Android Wear. The G Watch, along with Samsung's Gear Live, are expected to be available for pre-order from the Play Store today, so it's worth taking a quick look at how the two stack up. The Gear Live is still awaiting our hands-on treatment, but we've already spent a little time with the G Watch.
For those who aren't caught up, LG's first Android Wear entry is a 37.9x46.5x9.95mm smart watch with a 1.65" IPS display at 280x280.
A while ago, we posted about explorations Google was undertaking in revamping Android's home screen. Part of this was a new notification shade that looked similar to Google Now.
Since then, we've seen new materials that show something a bit closer to what the notification shade and Quick Settings will resemble in Android's L release. The images we'll discuss in this post are based on more recent information, but as with any unreleased software, anything can change - particularly design.