No, you're not alone – Google Hangouts has crashed and burned this morning. Reports are popping up all over the web, and none of us are able to connect on the desktop or web. There's no word from Google yet, but there are probably engineers running frantically around a data center somewhere in California right now.
|Ryan Whitwam||Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.|
There are definitely a few features lacking in the way paid content is handled in Google Play – gift codes and free-to-paid app transition, for starters. According Google's GDC announcement, the company isn't addressing those issues in particular, but some other features are coming to Google Play in the form of some new developer options and support for in-game gifts.
Google is really dropping the ball with regard to surfacing Chromecast enabled apps in the Play Store. Sure, there's that Chromecast app page, but that's just a tiny fraction of all the apps and games with support for Chromecast now that third-parties have been turned loose. Enter Cast Store, which aggregates a bunch of apps with Chromecast support.
There's a mystery afoot and only your most skillful tapping and dragging can solve it in Broken Sword: Serpent's Curse. This is the fifth title in the Broken Sword franchise, and it returns to the series' 2D roots with clean pre-rendered graphics. This game tore it up on Kickstarter back in 2012, eventually raising $771,000. If you didn't back the project, you can now get your hands on the Android version for $6.99.
Our friends across the pond will no longer have to resort to importing a Chromecast from the US as of March 19th. That's apparently the day Google's streaming dongle is set to hit shelves in the UK. At least one retailer already has the device in stock and has alerted employees to the impeding launch.
Google has updated its support pages and started sending out emails to alert users of Google Wallet to an upcoming change in the way NFC payments work. As of April 14th, tap and pay will require KitKat or higher. Older devices will no longer be supported after that date.
The reason for the change is Google's desire to only use Host Card Emulation (HCE) to make NFC payments work. That feature was introduced in Android 4.4, so it's the end of the line for Jelly Bean and earlier devices.