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.

12
Aug
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Back in May, Google announced "a new classroom," powered by Google's own tools. Appropriately, the effort was dubbed Google Classroom and previewed to educators around the world. Today, Google Classroom will become available to all Google Apps for Education users in 42 languages, optimized for both desktop and mobile use.

For those unfamiliar, Google Classroom is basically a web platform for managing assignments and projects - educators can assign projects, dispense information (through announcements or real time discussions), and collect assignments using Google's tools to spend "a little less time at the photocopier and a little more time doing what you love—teaching."

12
Aug
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A single SMS message is generally limited to 160 characters, which gives it the potential to be a very concise means of communication. If, however, you feel that the point of your message will be hard to convey in such small snippets, Hangouts has a feature for you.

Hangouts allows users to specify a subject for SMS messages. Simply hold the send button for a moment, and a subject box will appear as shown below.

11
Aug
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Android's Google+ app also got an update today that - while masquerading as a stability/bug-fix release - packed in at least one new treat - the ability to cast your stream to a Chromecast.

While casting, users can flip through posts with manual controls or just wait for the stream's auto-play. The interface shown through your Chromecast will look much like the one in the app, minus Android's system interface and playback controls.

11
Aug
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When we first discussed Google's effort to re-imagine interface design, it was expected that Google would release fresh designs in small steps, gradually easing its own apps into the new design language a few pieces at a time.

Inside an update that officially only contained stability improvements, Chrome Beta got one more lovely design element today - a beautiful build-out animation for the overflow menu. Readers who have taken a look at Google's new design spec will recognize the mechanics of the animation right off the bat - the menu appears in a sensible way, expanding from one origin point and building out menu items in a coordinated, predictable manner.

07
Aug
fit

At Google I/O, we heard a little bit about Google Fit - Google's renewed effort at quantified, managed health data. We heard that multiple partners had signed on and got a taste of what Google Fit would be able to accomplish, but beyond that details were a little hazy.

We were however told a preview SDK would be made available in "coming weeks," (a dreaded phrase to any Google user) and today that promise has been fulfilled.

05
Aug
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Quite a while ago, we wrote about an upcoming hands-free (and eyes-free) interface code-named KITT. The interface - intended for use in the car or in other places where looking at your phone isn't wise - would be stripped down, displaying a black screen and large iconography, and would have the ability to read notifications aloud, among other things. More recently, an icon for an app called Google Hands-Free showed up in a promotional gif posted to Google's Google+ page, hinting that the service was still under development.

01
Aug
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Google hasn't exactly had a great track record when it comes to official Nexus accessories. Accessories have been teased or shown off only to arrive months later or not at all (remember that Nexus 10 dock?).

Recently, though, Google has done a much better job - there are a bevy of case options available for both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013) in a variety of colors, catering to almost all tastes (though at times the quality may not be ideal).

26
Jul
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There's been a lot of confusion lately over the fate of Google's Nexus program. Rumors swirled, after LG's planned Nexus was canceled (and later denied entirely), that the program was dead in favor of an upcoming Android Silver initiative. With the revelation that HTC is working on a 9" tablet device (code named Volantis), it seemed the Nexus program had at least one more device in store - expected to launch with Android's L release this fall.

25
Jul
handsfree

Earlier this month, when we recapped all the rumor and leak posts we had published leading up to Google I/O, hands-free functionality called Android Eyes-Free (codenamed KITT) was marked as "partially live." For those in need of a refresher, our post outlined in-car functionality that would carry a stripped-down interface, notifications read aloud by Google, and a new hand-waving gesture used to wake the device.

While the hands-free hotword functionality has already debuted, the dedicated in-car interface, void of any visual chrome, has yet to be revealed (or even really hinted at) by Google.

24
Jul
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In case you missed it, Jon Wiley hosted an AMA session on Reddit yesterday. Wiley, as the principal designer for Google Search, had plenty of insight to share on topics from specific product features to what roles a tech company should play in its local community.

Sifting through the whole thread can take a while, so we thought it'd be helpful to pick out just a few of the most interesting responses for those who just want a quick taste.

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