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:
There are many reasons to pick up a Google Play gift card. Whether someone's birthday is coming up, you don't have your own credit card, or just you want to force yourself to stick to a budget, gift cards can make it easier to scratch a Google Play itch. Google's gradually rolled out availability to a handful of countries around the world, and it looks like the latest locale to make the list will be Hong Kong.
That new smartwatch may not be the first platform that comes to mind when the urge comes to kill time gaming, but Pebble wants to change that. Today at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco, the company announced three games that it's immediately making available for its smartwatch. The three titles - Mr. Runner, Icon Pop Quiz, and Hatchi - all come from different developers, and as you can see below, they're now just a tap away in the Pebble appstore.
Google Now is a powerful tool. A step toward Google's vision of a Star Trek computer in the palm of your hand, Now is built to serve up information that you need, exactly when you need it, without you asking for it.
To that end, the service has seen many improvements since its debut. It will tell you when your favorite teams are playing, when you need to leave to make it to the airport on time, whether your plane is delayed, and plenty of info about your destination and surrounding attractions, among numerous other things.
People who have used Duolingo on the web or on iOS may have grown accustomed to a virtual shop where they're encouraged to spend hard-earned points on cool stuff. Now that engaging feature has come to Android. Whenever you complete an achievement going forward, Duolingo will reward you with Lingots that you can spend on all sorts of items ranging from power-ups to bonus language skills.
Duolingo already turns language-learning into a game by breaking down lessons into achievements and giving players a limited number of hearts.
When Samsung announced the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo last month, the news came with the confirmation that the company was dropping Android from both devices. Instead, both smart watches are powered by Tizen. This may not mean all that much for consumers in the short term, but it does impact developers. For you, Samsung has just shared the first version of the Tizen SDK aimed at wearables. This is what you need to grab if you intend to build apps for the company's two intelligent wristwatches.
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.