Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
The solution is a mere six lines which, when added to the AndroidManifest.xml file, will allow a user to say something like "Search for pizza on Eat24" to open the corresponding app (in this case Eat24) to pizza search results.
We've already cruised through Liberty City and significantly lowered property values in Vice City, now it's time for a west coast vacation in San Andreas. The third Grand Theft Auto game of the PlayStation 2 era just landed on the Play Store in its blocky, polygonal, sandbox glory, and you can pick it up for a cool $6.99. No in-app purchases, no time-outs, just good old-fashioned Rockstar madness.
San Andreas takes the GTA action to California with a huge, fictional city amalgamating Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, and some rural backcountry that hadn't been seen in the series up to that point.
Earlier today, we published a first look at what we believed to be a Yahoo!-made competitor to voice assistants like Google Now and Siri. The video, sent to us by an anonymous tipster along with screenshots showed what looked to be a very impressive app with an implementation similar to Facebook's Chat Heads, whereby a Y! icon would constantly float on the home screen waiting to be activated.
This evening, TechCrunch learned through a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects" that the app wasn't real, implying the video was nothing more than a really nice concept demo.
The most recent news is that the app is actually real, but it isn't made by Yahoo.
We have just a week to go before the sequel to 2011's Thor hits theaters, which makes this the perfect time to drop a movie tie-in game that cashes in on the hype. Gameloft's Thor: The Dark World places the god of thunder in a top-down dungeon crawler that looks not unlike the company's own Dungeon Hunter series, minus the multiplayer aspect. If you have an engine that works, why not use it, right?
Thor: The Dark World pits the heroes of Asgard against the dark forces, so our red caped protagonist won't have to charged into battle alone.
In Dynamite Jack, you play the part of a space marine that has been captured by the enemy and forced to work in the Anathema Mines. You don't have time for that nonsense, so escape it is. It seems like your alien captors are not the brightest stars in the cosmos – they leave explosives, flashlights. and keycards laying around everywhere. Lucky for you.
Gameplay And Controls
You start at the lowest level of the mines, and your goal in each stage is to find the exit denoted by a shimmering point of light. You wander around the top-down maze of tunnels and facilities in search of the necessary tools to take you to the goal.
I am going to show you a game. It costs about a buck on the Play Store and is very fun. However, once you begin playing it, you will have roughly five minutes until you either scream, demand a refund, or your head explodes. There are no other options. The game is called Puk. And it is insane.
The concept is simple. At the start of each level, you are given a set number of slingshot-able pucks (I get it!). You have to hit a number of large white circles on the play field with said pucks (...ohhh.
Crumble Zone has all the ingredients for a great action arcade game. Aliens? Check. Guns? Check. Great artwork? Check. Best of all, it just came out on Android and it's free!
So here's the deal: you're the alien, naturally, and you have to shoot down a load of meteorites and asteroids whilst rotating around a planet that you're trying to save. The more space rock you destroy, the higher your score.
Despite the simple premise, the game promises to keep you playing until your battery has run dry. If the graphics don't get your attention (they probably will), you'll still be busy beating your score or playing multiplayer mode, so if you tend to procrastinate a lot then watch out.
Do you like sword fighting giant spiders, expansive worlds to explore, pickpocketing items from strangers, avoiding jail time, riding horses, sneaking around, gathering loot, switching from first- to -third-person at the tap of a button, choice-based questing systems, ragdoll physics, and ancient lore? Then I can think of two games you might be really interested in! One of them is Ravensword: Shadowlands!
The game is set in a fantasy landscape and sends the player on a mission to "solve the mysteries of the Kingdom of Tyreas." Presumably, these are different mysteries from the ones in the Kingdom of Aralon, which were addressed in Aralon: Sword and Shadow, a previous game from the same developer.
It wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of the previous month's best Play Store offerings. Of course, we've already taken a look at the best new apps from February 2013, but games – as usual – were also well-represented by new entries last month.
Typically, we try to narrow down our list of the top new apps and games to five entries each month. This month, however, saw the debut of plenty of new games that are definitely worth taking a look at, and have included seven of the very best games no Android gamer should miss. Without further ado, here are the top games from February 2013.