Google's had fun creating new Auto-Awesome animations that match the theme of every holiday season these days, but this latest one is rather amusing. For Valentines Day, Google has rolled out animated hearts that will automatically appear on any photos of people kissing. This can add a little extra spark to that loving picture of you and that special someone. As usual, the animation may not appear immediately, but Google+ will shoot you a notification when it's ready.
The recent release of Google Play Services 4.2 brought with it some exciting additions like the official Cast API and significantly improved support for Google Drive. One of the lesser publicized additions is the official launch of GoogleApiClient, a new component intended to simplify setting up and managing connections to Google's assorted API endpoints. Additionally, there is now support for queuing up read-only queries and a choice of executing calls synchronously or asynchronously.
Fitbit's Android app is useless without a matching fitness device to pair it with, but buying one without having a phone that supports it means having to rely on your computer for synching. That's less than desirable, so it's a good thing that the company is steadily working to expand the number of Android phones its products will support. Following the latest update to the Fitbit app, Moto G owners can now sync their handset up to a Fitbit accessory.
Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems.
Klinker Apps is on a roll lately. In addition to debuting the excellent Talon for Twitter and EvolveSMS apps last month, they've been consistently updating their portfolio with new features like Pebble integration. Yesterday Talon was updated to version 1.4, and there's a new version of EvolveSMS in the pipeline for the next few days as well. But perhaps most interesting is the way that the small developer has issued a secondary support app, Klinker Apps Portal.
Looking for a good mid-sized tablet? You can't do much better than the LG G Pad 8.3, the company's first tablet in two years, at least in terms of hardware. The price is a bit high at $350 retail, but today you can get some relief from that sticker shock. Newegg has the G Pad 8.3 on sale for just $279.99, plus a $30 discount with a code at checkout, bringing the total price down to a very reasonable $249.99.
If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.
This change mirrors the one made to the on-device Play Store back in December.
If your phone was already one of the very first devices to get the latest version of Android, do you really need a custom ROM like CyanogenMod? If you're shouting "YES" at the screen right now, you'll want to know about the first nightly builds available for the Moto X. The CM team has published CM11 nightlies for the Moto X on T-Mobile (XT1053, which is also the standard unlocked GSM edition) and for Verizon (XT1060), though the later needs to be a Developer Edition.
Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and you know what that means: bitter disappointment fruitlessly displaced with technology. (That might just be me.) Google's got you covered on the second part, at least if you have a Chromecast. A new visualizer option for Google Play Music ditches the bars and equalizers in favor of a looped video of a cozy fireplace. You'll have to supply your own music, of course.
The visualizer isn't on by default, but it's easy enough to enable.