Chromecast might not be the most dramatic of Google's products on stage at I/O 2014, but it's getting just as much love. Rishi Chandra, product manager for Chromecast, demonstrated a lot of new features in his presentation. The low-cost streaming device will get newer and more advanced capabilities soon, including the ability to stream the screen contents of your phone or tablet directly to the television. We've seen this done with various third-party hacks, not to mention a peek or two on some people's active devices.
Android is coming to the car, and I don't mean a better way to attach your phone to the dashboard. Android Auto is officially a thing now, and more than 40 OEMs are now in the Open Auto Alliance. That includes 25 car makers that will be working with Android Auto. The first vehicles will come out later this year.
We've known about Project Hera for quite a while, and at Google I/O today, it was confirmed by Google's Director of Product Management for Chrome, Avni Shah. Hera is a new way for the web and apps to interact with each other on Android via an API, allowing apps like Chrome and Docs to use multiple scrolling items in the Recents menu at one time. Combined with the visual overhaul in the L release, this may drastically change the way that users interact with content.
We had some information to share yesterday about Android notifications in L, so you might have been having a bit of deja vu during the demo. Android L has a new stacked card style for the notifications using the Material Design interface. The features are also getting a boost in L.
A while ago, we posted about explorations Google was undertaking in revamping Android's home screen. Part of this was a new notification shade that looked similar to Google Now.
Since then, we've seen new materials that show something a bit closer to what the notification shade and Quick Settings will resemble in Android's L release. The images we'll discuss in this post are based on more recent information, but as with any unreleased software, anything can change - particularly design.
Google is kind (or maybe bold) enough to back up all your photos as you take them. Google+ Photos has some solid editing tools to go along with that functionality, and now it's getting a little better with two new features. You'll be able to go back and tweak a previous edit, and G+ will also be able to apply filters to your photos as part of the Auto Awesome process.
Sometimes corresponding events that might otherwise be considered mere coincidence are so amazing that they're attributed to serendipity or universal irony. This... isn't one of those times. But it might just make you go, "huh." Google's recent acquisition Nest Labs has launched the Nest Developers Program, which will allow developers to easily create connections between the smart thermostat and smoke detector hardware and other integrated devices. You can check out various tools and documentation at developer.nest.com.
The Chromium Issue Tracker, a perennial source of accidental "leaks" and unreleased information, has delivered something interesting (the issue appears to have since been removed). Reddit user Doopl came across two screenshots of what look like Android's yet-unannounced L release.
The shots show a Google account login dialog that looks substantially different from the current implementation, and what appears to be a re-styled Chrome with design elements from Quantum. Additionally, the status bar shows a place holder "L" icon, and a bell icon that sources tell us is indicative of a new feature in L that will offer "limited interruptions," basically muting or partially muting notifications.
Google and Verizon Wireless seem to be in a perpetual state of "it's complicated." The protracted issues with the Nexus 7 LTE, the infamously terrible launch and support of the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, and a few other spats come to mind. Now JR Raphael of ComputerWorld is reporting that Verizon has unceremoniously dumped the 100MB per month of free packaged wireless data that came with the LTE model of the Chromebook Pixel that went on sale last year.