There was a time, a few months ago, when I would check Kickstarter and Indiegogo every couple of days for new projects. I was fascinated by the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and creators and I wanted to keep an eye on all the new ideas that were just ripe for production. I haven't lost that interest, but after investing in dozens of crowd-funded projects — most of which resulted in really great products that I use and love, thankfully — I'm a bit less obsessed and more selective in my choices.
At long last, Chromecast has a functional guest mode. While it presumably has something to do with the update to the Chromecast app that rolled out earlier Wednesday, the change did not appear immediately afterwards. Google apparently flipped a switch on the server side, and suddenly anyone with an up-to-date app can cast to a TV without being on the same Wi-Fi network. We've been waiting for this feature to roll out since it was announced way back in June at Google I/O.
It's Update Wednesday again, and Google is firing on all cylinders. We've seen updates for both Android Wear and the companion app, Chromecast, Cardboard (who saw that coming?), and many more. Google Wallet also found its way onto the list with a few changes to its organization and styling. It started rolling out today, but we've got the latest version ready to download right now.
A post on Google+ earlier today calls out the most significant change for this version, which brings together gift cards, loyalty programs, and offers into a single link on the navigation drawer.
If you're the owner of a Moto G GPE, your Lollipop update is here. Google and Motorola have begun rolling out the latest version of Android to the budget GPE device, but if you don't have it yet, we've got the direct download link for you at the bottom of this post.
Oddly, even though this new firmware is Android 5.0.1, the build is LRX21Z, which would appear to be older than LRX22C, which is the 5.0.1 build heading out to Nexus and other GPE devices.
There's a new 2D fighter available for Android, and it stars iconic Marvel characters! Now settle down, it's not Marvel Versus Capcom. Nope, this is a new property licensed by Marvel and developed by Kabam, which specializes in that sort of thing. Formerly a browser game, Contest of Champions has an impressive setup for a mobile fighter, with tap and swipe-based gameplay replacing the somewhat impractical on-screen buttons. But once you master the innovative controls, you'll find yourself in familiar freemium territory.
Google My Maps allows you to create your own custom maps, which you can use to chart out a vacation, plan for a difficult hike, or prepare for a lengthy road trip. There's an Android app dedicated entirely to the task, but in a move that makes your creations even more accessible, Google has given them a prominent location inside of Drive on the web.
Now when you go to create a new document, you can produce a new map by going to More > Google My Maps.
If you fire up a game on Android with Play Games integration, you may notice something new. The level cap for those at the top of the XP heap has been raised to 25, and the icon border is blue. It used to be 20 with a pink border around the icon. That means you may be a whole five imaginary points better than your friends now.
Welcome to Google Update Wednesday, everyone, where you never know quite what you're going to get. The Wheel of Fate has given us a Chromecast update this week, and it's a doozy. A brand new user interface matches the rest of Google's various Material Design apps, more or less. But even more interesting is that the Chromecast app now allows screen casting (where your phone or tablet's screen output appears on your television) for all devices.
The foldable cardboard VR kits Google gave away at I/O 2014 weren't just a one-off stunt. Today, in its developers blog, Google had some big announcements for the home-brewed virtual reality viewer.
First up, Google has grouped a handful of Cardboard-compatible apps into their own collection on the Play Store. The Cardboard app itself has also received an update, with the ability to discover cardboard apps on the Play Store, and launch them directly from the viewer.