It seems like the only thing we hear about the upcoming YouTube music service as of late is how many problems it's having. Case in point: the Wall Street Journal reports that YouTube's product manager in charge of music, Christopher LaRosa, is leaving the company in favor of an as-yet unnamed startup. LaRosa's LinkedIn profile says he's worked at YouTube for over four years, and at Google for two years before that. Read More
When certain things finally happen, they make us want to search for that hidden ladder that takes people up to the rooftop and scream "Hallelujah," religious or no. This is one of those things. Google apparently no longer requires people with two-factor authentication enabled to sign in twice when setting up a new Android device or adding another account. Better yet, this change doesn't require Android L or anything fancy. Here's a video of the magic taking place on an HTC One M8. Read More
The official Chromecast page has not thus far been a good resource for finding apps. It only listed a tiny fraction of the apps with Chromecast support, but now you can use the page to see all the apps. That's a lot of apps, but luckily you have search functionality now too.
There are a lot of goodies in the newest version of Google Maps, which just started rolling out to devices last week. However, some users are getting a bonus that didn't show up in the changelog. We've been able to get a few confirmations of a new Explore Nearby tool in Maps that offers much more fine-grained control of location-based suggestions.
When the Google Maps Engine app hit Android in late 2013, it enabled users to view and share custom maps. Now an update has landed that empowers them to create and edit such maps as well. Users can spawn new ones, add layers, and move points around as needed. They can then go back and rename aspects as they wish.
The update has also introduced some UI changes, so while it may look largely the same, it's a little cleaner around the edges. Read More
Update Wednesday has gotten off to a slow start, but there's a new Google Wallet version to get things moving. You can now use Wallet to manage your gift cards and request money. As usual, it's US only.
The Chrome developers have released a new version of their browser that may not have a particularly exciting changelog, but it does lead to a better browsing experience. Version 36 should make text on those websites that don't have a mobile alternative render somewhat better. This, combined with non-specified performance improvements and bug fixes, should result in more enjoyable browser use.
Text rendering on a non-mobile website using a previous version of Chrome. Read More
Since the beginning of Google+ itself, the service has required as part of its registration process that users fill out their real names in order to create a profile. Since the beginning of Google+ itself, people have found various ways to skirt this requirement, Google has added support for 'established' pseudonyms, and dropped the real name requirement for Google+ pages.
A lot of this, it seemed, was an effort to reign in the anonymous hate speech and trolling rampant on things like, I don't know, YouTube. Read More
Let's face it, as the world becomes more dependent on computers and the Internet for the functions of day-to-day life, security will become ever more important. Clearly encouraged by employee Neel Mehta's discovery of Heartbleed, Google has decided to do more in the area of Internet security. To help combat this ever increasing problem, they're offering up Project Zero. Essentially, Google will begin hiring "the best practically-minded security researchers and contributing 100% of their time toward improving security across the Internet." Their work will not be limited to just Google products, but will instead be focused on "any software depended upon by large numbers of people." The idea is that researchers will find the threats, then inform only the software developer. Read More
Google Glass hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but it wasn't meant to. It and other projects under the "Google X" team were designed to be experimental, and we're still months away from seeing it hit a retail market at the very least. Even so, the news that one of the original architects of Glass is leaving for the distant shores (if not the greener pastures) of Amazon is a little disheartening. Read More