Google has begun rolling out an update to the Play Services package we all know and love. Details about version 4.4 have already been posted to the Android Developers blog, and it features updates and new features to the APIs for Maps, Mobile Ads, Activity Recognition, plus a few minor fixes for Games Services and Wallet. Aside from general bug fixes, it looks like this update is mostly about giving new tools to developers.
IFTTT is the kind of black magic that web mages use to bend the Internet to their will. The best part is that the command that gets it to work is pretty simple. There's no abra cadabra or expelliarmus to memorize here. Just head to the website and fill in the blanks within the statement if ___ then ___ with triggers and actions (known as channels) of your choice. Now this special craft isn't just reserved for desktop use, as an official Android app is due out today that aspiring web wizards can carry around as their well-disguised wand.
People are after your credit card information. Okay, this isn't a cable news report, so I'll dial it back a bit. Sometimes bad things happen when credit cards fall into the wrong hands, whether that's from physical theft or large-scale cyber crime. There's been a number of incidents in the news of late, so companies are doing what they can to provide their customers with peace of mind. So MasterCard has released a new MasterCard In Control app that monitors your credit card activity and notifies you if it detects anything suspicious.
HBO has a mobile app. It lets you watch shows, and it supports Chromecast. Really, that's all that matters here. There's little else it needs in the way of features that will determine whether or not users will turn to it when the opportunity comes to spend some time with HBO. The real question is - do you really want to watch all those sex scenes on the family TV?
Let's go through the checklist.
The premise behind Zombies, Run! is pretty simple - there are some zombies, and you're probably not going to want them to catch you. Fire up the app, stick some earbuds into your ear, and run. No, run! You typically don't spend too much time looking at your phone while using this app, but (wait, why did you stop moving, run!) the new update to version 3.0 will make sure the app looks holorific the next time you do.
There are nothing short of three-quarter bajillion things that need to be remembered over the course of a day, and we as a species have steadily worked to provide a solution that compensates for our forgetfulness. Notepads work, but they take up space. Post-it notes aren't all that elegant or portable of a solution. Smartphones, when combined with the right app, are pretty close to nailing it. But can Google Glass do it better?
If you use Pocket for your "read it later" needs, you'll want to check the Play Store for an update. Today, Pocket announced version 5.4 of its Android app, and it includes several new features that are sure to be of interest to users. Here's the official changelog:
Cover, the contextual lock screen replacement that's been available in open beta since December has been acquired by Twitter.
For now, the app is still available in the Play Store, and Cover promises that "for now" that won't change. When or if it will eventually change is unclear, but Cover's blog post on the matter goes on to explain their newly forged relationship.
It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.
Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.
Ready for another Google Now rumor? We've already seen evidence of contact-based reminders reliant on your proximity with another person, and "inferred events," whereby Now would pluck mentions of meetings or other appointments from your conversations to automatically create calendar entries. This time, we have something just as useful - a new bill pay card and interface, evidently headed for Google Now.