Google Search was just updated to version 2.6, which means it's teardown time! As usual with Google Search, it's impossible to bring up the new stuff "at will." Cards pop up entirely based on a bunch of crazy inputs that I can't easily replicate (emails, location, etc) so there's no way for me to check if new code is functional or not. So, I'll just cover everything that's not in the change log, and if you manage to see a live, working version of something, just send in a screenshot.
We've been seeing leaks about a new Google Play Store UI, that we all thought was going to be released at I/O this year. Nope! The rollout starts today, chaps! According to a post over on the official Android blog, the fancy card-based UI is coming to Android phones and tablets running Froyo (v2.2) and up. Worldwide, the new version will be available "over the next few weeks.
Oh, and you should be happy to know that the ugly pattern across the Action Bar is, in fact, not part of the final release.
A mere seven months ago, we saw the launch of Google's Play Store gift cards, a much wished-for addition to the store front that made gifting the store's digital content almost as easy as it should be. Unfortunately for international users, though, the cards were only destined for the US at launch. When "redeem pages" popped up in the UK's online and device-based stores in mid-December, many thought the cards would hit retail stores in time for the holidays.
If you aren't quite feeling the holiday spirit yet, Google has decided to lend a hand with a few holiday-oriented offerings focused on our favorite green robot.
The official Nexus page on Google+ shared a few "Happy Holiday Cards" this evening, depicting Bugdroid hanging out with some arctic pals sitting by a fire, having a party, ice skating, and – of course – playing with Android-powered phones and tablets. To download the full-resolution cards or share with friends, just click through to the original post, linked below.
The lack of expandable storage in Nexus devices becomes one of the hottest and most controversial topics every time Google does a refresh and we find out that the next generation lacks SD cards entirely yet again. Couple that with the decision to limit onboard storage options to 16GB max, which is the case with the Nexus 4 at the moment and was the case with the Nexus 7 for a while, and you've got a full-blown revolt.
This is why it's great that Google unbundles core apps from the OS. While it might take a considerable amount of time before the newest version of Jelly Bean rolls out to your device, current Android 4.1 users can upgrade Google Search right now and get access to the latest improvements to Google Now. The list of fun new features includes additional cards (like Stocks, News, Concerts, and Packages), as well as voice actions, including the glorious ability to add events to your calendar with via speech.
Google Now is a feature we've been eagerly anticipating for what seems like forever now. In fact, we've been seeing hints at something like it since 2010. When Apple announced Siri last year, an official counterpart from Google became not only inevitable, but necessary - iOS' speech service provided direct Apple competition to Google's mobile search engine. Today, in one of the most notable announcements at I/O, the Big G made official its answer to Siri: the aforementioned Google Now.