The Google Keyboard has been updated to v4.1, and it brings a few handy new features. At the same time, several options have been removed. Google giveth and Google taketh away. One of the additions is cross-device dictionary sync, so maybe you can forgive Google on this one.
A few days ago, we wrote about Google's new My Account interface, which had its material design debut coinciding with Google I/O. The new interface makes checking and adjusting your security and privacy settings both beautiful and easy.
The My Account page wasn't the only account management tool that got some material love though - Google's account history interface has also received a facelift. The account history page now ties together all your history from various Google services - history is broken into Web & App, Voice & Audio, Device info, Location, YouTube Watch, and YouTube Search, along with a general heading to turn on or off history for each of the above sections. Read More
If you own a Chromecast or Nexus Player and grabbed a free rental from Play Movies last time the deal was offered, it looks like you can head to chromecast.com/offers and grab another.
After opening up the Dads & Grads sale, Google has apparently reset the free rental deal, which gives Chromecast and Nexus Player owners the chance to select a movie to rent from the Play Store. Read More
You have two options when you sign up for Project Fi. You can buy a SIM card with a new Nexus 6. Or you can just buy the SIM card and stick it in your own Nexus 6. Want to use another phone? You can, as long as you tether it to a Nexus 6. A Project Fi SIM has to go into a Nexus 6.
For the time being, that eliminates a sizable chunk of interested consumers. Project Fi is relatively cheap, but the Nexus 6 is not. The latter is also a pretty girthy device to choose as your one-size-fits-all solution. Read More
We've already talked about Doze in Android M a few times. That's a system-wide state that keeps your phone or tablet in deep sleep when it's not being used. App Standby is a distinct feature that works to keep individual unused apps from gobbling up power in the background. Depending on how many apps you install on your phone, this could be a bigger deal than Doze. Read More
Touchscreens are okay, but what about putting those pipes to better use? The description of one of Google's talks at I/O later this month points to an interesting new feature called Voice Access. Basically, instead of touching the phone, you talk to it to control apps. So essentially Star Trek? That'd be rad.
Doze is one of the more interesting features of Android M, and also potentially huge for the platform. Google has said again and again that the new version of Android would improve battery life, but they might have actually done it this time. Doze puts apps into deep sleep when the device isn't in use to save power, and Google's developer docs explain exactly how this will work. Read More
It looks like Google is performing some surgery on the Google bar, the familiar toolbar that appears across the top of many of Google's web properties (including Chrome's new tab page). Until recently, the bar held a G+ sharing shortcut, a profile switcher, an "app drawer" to switch between Google products, and a link shortcut to your Google+ profile.
Today it looks like two of those things have been axed - specifically the Google+ link and the sharing shortcut.
Of course, while "Google+ is dead" sentiments have been floating around virtually since the service's inception, we'll resist the urge to speculate about the rationale behind removing Plus-specific functionality from the bar for now. Read More
The folders in Google's stock Google Now Launcher are currently restricted to just 16 entries (four rows of four). That's going to change very soon. The version of GNL that ships with the Android M preview has folders that automatically paginate when you add more than 16 apps. How many pages can you have? I'm not sure as I have yet to hit the limit.