Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
Google I/O 2014 has come and gone, but that doesn't mean great stuff from the conference isn't still coming out. The companion app used by thousands of attendees -and hundreds of thousands of fans and followers- has been open sourced! Code for the I/O app is meant to serve as an example of best practices for Android developers, providing fully functioning implementations of the latest design principles, UI controls, networking code, and more.
The Chromecast has identity issues. It may be based on Android, but it updates like Chrome. The device ships on the stable channel, but it's possible to switch it beta and dev channels. These options are progressively bleeding edge, but this comes at the obvious sacrifice of stability, and there's a strong risk of bricking your device. Granted, it's only $35, far cheaper than breaking a smartphone or tablet.
Just like last year, the Google I/O app's source code has been released in an effort to get developers acquainted with Android best practices.
In a post to Google+ today, the Android Developers page outlined some of the things the source code has in store for those curious. Among them are techniques to implement responsive design across phones and tablets, use content providers and implicit intents in app navigation, using sync adapters to provide new content "in a battery-friendly way" and loads more.
If you like to tinker with Sony Xperia devices, things just got a little more fun (funner, if you will). Thanks to Sony's newly-released Illumination API, developers can now tweak the illumination bar settings on compatible devices, including the Xperia SP, ZL, ZR, UL, A U, L, S, SL, P, sola, ion, acro HD, go, M, and M dual.
Sony is calling the Illumination API an experimental API (the first of its kind for the company), which essentially means it will be released with limited documentation and virtually no support; basically, you're on your own with this one.
Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts. Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.
As usual Google has updated monthly platform distribution numbers for Android in its developer dashboard. The numbers, based on devices accessing the Play Store over the last 14 days (ending May 1st), tell developers which versions of Android are most prevalent, and which are on the decline.
This month, as last month, we're seeing a decline in Gingerbread and a rise in Jelly Bean. Gingerbread has dropped from 39.8% to 38.5%, a 1.3% drop for those keeping tally at home.
Google just updated the sold out I/O 2013 conference website with the full schedule developers have been dying to see for months, ever since the initial announcement back in February. During the three days in mid-May (May 15-17), the company's engineers will host over 120 talks on such topics as:
- Chrome & Apps
- Google Cloud Platform
- Knowledge & Structured Data
- and other tech subjects
On day 3, developers will also be able to participate in Code Labs on the topics of Android, Google+, Chrome & Apps, Google Cloud Platform, and YouTube.
- U.S.: Sprint and T-Mobile
- Asia: Taiwan and Hong Kong (CHT)
- Europe: unbranded European version, Italy (TIM), France (Bouygues), and Germany (O2).
Of course, the Canadian and Developer Edition had their own releases earlier this month.
Among US carriers, only AT&T and Cincinnati Bell are still unaccounted for, but likely to make their own appearances shortly.