Google Maps is one of those apps that will always have an enormous number of potential new features, so it's interesting to see the things Google is focusing on with each new release. We just saw an update to v9.2 with new navigation settings and auto-correct for searches, but there are plenty of other really interesting additions in the works. Let's take a look at some of the features we might have to look forward to.
Shortly after the release of Samsung's Galaxy Note 4, owners were dismayed to learn their new phone was unable to mirror its screen to a Chromecast. No other Google Cast apps were affected, but plenty of people still wanted screen casting. Well, it took about a month, but this oversight has finally been remedied. The Note 4 has been officially added to Google's list of devices with support for screen casting.
Today was an extremely exciting day for Android fans. Besides brand new Lollipop preview images coming out, along with a new SDK and final APIs, some new hardware went up for pre-order. Specifically, the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player went up for sale ahead of launch, and the Nexus 6 listing was put up, but it's still not available to order just yet.
But a few hours ago, something curious happened.
Back at Google I/O 2014, we learned about a pretty neat feature called Backdrop that gives your Chromecast a little more pizazz with localized weather, news, and photos. It turned out to be a bit of a tease, because Google waited until earlier today to actually enable it through an update to the Chromecast app for our phones. During the same presentation, another feature called "Guest Mode" was announced promising to allow visitors to cast from their devices to a Chromecast in the same room without being on the same Wi-Fi network.
Earlier this summer word got out that Mozilla was working on a media streaming stick of its own that's intended to be a more open option than Google's Chromecast. The device would allow anyone to cast to it, regardless of their platform or the content they're hoping to cast. Yet even with these big plans, the organization has still taken the time to bake Chromecast support into Firefox, starting with the nightly builds.
Android's Google+ app also got an update today that - while masquerading as a stability/bug-fix release - packed in at least one new treat - the ability to cast your stream to a Chromecast.
While casting, users can flip through posts with manual controls or just wait for the stream's auto-play. The interface shown through your Chromecast will look much like the one in the app, minus Android's system interface and playback controls.
So, you still don't have Koush's AllCast? If you happened to snag all those free Amazon Coins from a few weeks ago, you can officially get this incredibly useful casting app for exactly zero moneydollars. If you didn't jump on the free coins bandwagon, however, you'll have to suck it up and pay five moneys for the full version (via IAP). See, it pays to get free Amazon things from time to time, because then you can get more free Amazon things.
Just yesterday Google announced that it would soon allow users to send video and other entertainment items to a nearby Chromecast even when they're not connected to the same WiFi network, with the backend relying on location data for verification. It looks like there's some even more interesting technology going on behind the scenes. GigaOm reports that the upcoming update will allow Chromecast and Android devices to authenticate each other using ultrasonic waves.
Chromecast has apparently received support for Google Drive presentations, something that should drastically change just how useful the product is for offices and schools. This feature was previously visible to only a limited number of users while Google worked out the kinks, but now it looks like it may be ready for primetime. The option is visible to us, along with plenty of you as well.
To cast a presentation, hit the Present button in the top right corner.