So you've got a Sonos system hooked up, but here you are using an app that looks like a Gingerbread flashback. Don't worry – there's a new beta version available with a ton of fixes. Sonos just made the official announcement on its blog, and you can check it out for yourself.
Those of you who've ben lamenting the GoodNews reader, especially its tight integration with podcasts, now have a new alternative to consider. The developer of the aforesaid app has finally published a replacement that doesn't depend on Google Reader, and the wait has not been for naught: uPod crams in just about every feature a podcast fan could want. A free trial version of uPod and a $4.49 license are now available in the Play Store.
Since what seems like forever, SwiftKey has been able to use SMS, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feeds, and Yahoo to "learn" your typing style and better predict your next words. All of these options work well, and now the SK team has added a couple more choices in the latest beta: Evernote and Google+.
Evernote personalization was added "in response to the great feedback" for SwiftKey Note on iOS, the team's first offering to iOS users; Google+ personalization was added because, well, people like to use G+, basically.
Ever since Google rolled out public beta applications through the Play Store, some of the biggest names in the game have jumped on board to essentially crowdsource bug discovery in upcoming releases. Among those that are now offering users access to early versions of its software is Facebook, which released a beta version of its primary application earlier this year. The company has now done the same with its Messenger application.
An update to Google Play Services is now being released to devices worldwide. This release will be more of interest to developers than end users, but there is actually quite a lot here. In addition to some updates to Play Games services and the Drive API, Google has brought Analytics, Tag Manger, and a new Address API into the fold as well.
Google Play Games
The big story here is the addition of game gifts.
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At the end of last year, Google promised a big Play Store reorganization during which the 8 existing game categories would be cleaned up and expanded to 18. Two of the categories (Widgets and Live Wallpapers) weren't even games at all - they somehow ended up there and bothered everyone who noticed ever since.
Good news, everyone! Well, everyone in four very specific European countries, anyway. After stretching the Movies section of the Play Store today, Google is also spreading Play Music to Greece, Norway, Slovakia, and Sweden. Users in these countries should now be able to purchase songs and albums starting today.
Even better, all four new territories can access the all-you-can-eat All Access music subscription service. That's generally been the way it works - currently all twenty-five countries supported by Google Play Music also have access to All Access.
Google just pushed an update to the Play Movies & TV app with one big change – support for Play Movies in a ton of new countries. We count 37 in total, but the app's changelog says there are over 40. Either way, that's a lot of new places to get video from Google Play. That's in addition to the big Music expansion today. [Update: We spotted Aruba as well. It's been added to the list.]
Last month Facebook bought WhatsApp for way too much money, making the app's developers very wealthy individuals. This deal, theoretically, gives Facebook access to the data provided by the app's nearly half a billion users. The companies behind the social network and the instant messenger have both promised that WhatsApp will continue to operate autonomously, but this hasn't completely alleviated privacy concerns. Thus WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has shared a blog post aimed at "setting the record straight."
In it he states: