Google has an odd definition of "soon." For example, five of the countries that just received access to Google Play gift cards were first told that they were coming "soon" almost five months ago, and the last one has been waiting a further six weeks. Oh well, I suppose it's best not to look a gift card in the mouth. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden have been added to Google's gift card system, and merchants should have gift cards in stock well before Christmas.
Support for Google Play carrier billing has recently extended to a number of additional carriers scattered around the globe. A quick visit to the site's direct billing support page shows that four carriers spread between as many countries have joined the list of accepted companies.
Residents in New Zealand can now add their app payments to the 2degrees bills at the end of each month. The option is also available to Belgacom customers in Belgium and people who turn to M1 in Singapore.
For folks who like to stay on the cutting edge of technology (which I assume includes you, since you're reading an Android blog), thermostats and smoke alarms don't get much cooler than the Nest and Nest Protect. They're Internet-connected, which is great because reasons. They can talk to your mobile device, which is all any gadget really needs to do to be considered smart (since many of us do less talking on our smartphones these days, does that make us dumber?).
Hello, European readers. Yes, we know you're there, and if we should ever forget, you're sure to let us know in the comments section for every cool new Google product you can't play with. If you live in Belgium, France, the Republic of Ireland, or the Netherlands, you'll soon be able to scratch at least one of those off your list. Nest is bringing its smart connected thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector to these countries sometime in September.
Update, December 16th: Google Play gift cards are now available in all five countries. Good things come to those who wait.
Good news, European readers: physical gift cards for the Google Play Store are coming to more of you soon. Google updated its list of supported countries for gift cards today, marking Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as "coming soon." We can't say exactly when - a few other countries like Greece, Poland, and Portugal got the same treatment earlier this month, and they're still marked as coming soon instead of linking to the relevant page.
Today's a big day for Chromecast. Earlier today we reported that Google's little magic media stick was ready to stream shows to TVs in Japan and Austrialia. Now we see that the device has also arrived in Belgium,
Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland as well.
European readers, no one could blame you for being a little miffed at Google when it comes to the Play Store. The company's focus on the United States is impossible to deny, especially when you look at the availability of carrier billing. But they're slowly, slowly rolling out the feature to more and more carriers and countries. Today Both Switzerland and Belgium get one carrier each added to the Play Store billing club: Swisscom and Mobistar, respectively.
Google quietly brought Play Books today to four new countries: Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Portugal. The aforementioned countries only had access to Google Play Apps and Music before, so I'm sure the book lovers among those of you who reside in the four territories are ecstatic.
The new Books section as seen in Ireland
Google has been very slow to roll out various content stores worldwide. The last time Play Books expanded was all the way back in March and only included one country - Mexico.
Last week, Google announced that over the next 2 weeks, support for purchasing paid apps was coming to 18 more countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, and Taiwan.
This morning, reports are trickling in that the switch has been indeed flipped, at least in some of these countries. So far, we've been able to confirm Sweden, Denmark, and India.