Just like the new version of Google Play Movies & TV, the Google Play Games app sourced from the recent ADT-1 Android TV device update works fine on recent phones and tablets. There doesn't appear to be any huge functionality improvement in this release, it's merely a shiny new coat of paint. That being the case, it might be best to wait for the official phone/tablet update. If you don't want to wait that long, then have at it with the update below.
For a while now, we've been aware of an unreleased keyboard theme, shown off in screenshots of Google Chrome on the Play Store. Today, the Android 5.0 Lollipop developer preview brought us Google Keyboard 4.0 that carries both the Material Light and Dark themes. There's really not much to say about the themes that can't be communicated in images - they are similar to the keyboard included in the original dev preview, but now there's a light theme.
Of course, as I have to pick up my son from daycare, breaking news had to hit, and Google had to start pushing out the Play Store 5.0 update (5.0.31, to be exact). We'll start looking at every corner in just a bit. In the meantime, a few things are immediately obvious. One, it looks like the app in our exclusive early look from mid-September.
You would think that with the popularity of Google's search engine, Gmail, Maps, Docs, and all of the company's other web apps, it would know everything about us by now. Millions of us have Android devices in our pockets capable of transmitting our location to Google servers every second of the day. But there's one thing Google hasn't been able to pin down just yet--our opinions. It wants to know these enough to pay us (kind of) for the information.
Update 10/2/14: The initial beta APK (1.0-124) started showing an expiration message and stopped working, but a newer beta APK (1.0-172) has popped up. We've validated its legitimacy, and it indeed no longer shows the expiration message. Download it here (thanks, Branko Kostic!).
Last month Nokia announced that it would release a version of its highly-regarded HERE mapping and navigation app for Android, but only to licensed partners, starting with Samsung.
You can now use at least some Android apps as stand-alone Chrome extensions on your laptop or desktop, with a little bit of hacking. The handy Chrome APK Packager made that process much easier... at least until Google booted it off of the Play Store, presumably for a copyright violation. The creator of the tool, who goes by "bpear96" on XDA, said that he would have to change the name in order to keep the app on Google's playground.
According to Google, approximately one out of every two hundred Android users reading this post actually placed the built-in YouTube app widget on their homescreen. That's not really surprising: the one that has been a part of the YouTube Android app for years isn't all that useful, it just grabs a handful of videos that the search algorithm thinks you might be interested in and plops them down in a stacked list.
Update: Hangouts 2.3 is now rolling out to devices in stages. If you rather not wait, we can help you download it manually. And as it turns out, this Dialer just links to a tab within the new Hangouts app. It is not a separate, standalone piece of software.
Hangout's Google Voice integration is finally happening. We started seeing functionality merge into Hangouts overnight, but there remain a few kinks to work out that we're hoping an upcoming app update will fix.