Good news if you make a lot of short calls overseas. Google had started offering the first minute of Hangouts calls to 25 countries at no charge. It only lasts through the end of 2014, but that's still not a bad deal.
The downside to cloud services is that they're of absolutely no use when they're not available. Today Google Docs, Drive, Sheets, and Slides have all been unavailable for some of the people that have come to depend on them.
Google is aware of the issue, and it's showing a service disruption for each service on its apps status dashboard page. This is delineated in the screenshot below by the presence of an orange icon next to Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Update 2: Wow, that was fast. One of the Android Police staff already has at least some of the Material Design changes enabled for searching from Chrome for Android, and others are reporting that they can see them as well. This isn't active for everyone - even my Nexus 5 with the latest KitKat firmware is showing the old interface.
The midterm elections are fast approaching in the United States, and you know what that means: horrible commercials interrupting all of your football games. But it also means that citizens should sincerely evaluate candidates for local and national posts and make informed decisions while performing their civic duty. And if you'd like to do that without taking a few hours off of work in November, you can register to vote early in most states.
Good news! Those lucky individuals who are already using Inbox by Gmail, Google's latest comprehensive reimagining of email, are now able to invite three people to the service, just by hitting (or hovering over) the compose button (which Google calls "speed dial"). It's not clear if every user has received their allotment of three invites just yet, but Google says everyone can expect to get three invites "soon."
Hey Inboxers, you can invite your friends.
When you search for certain artists, movies, or figures, Google sticks a card within the results that displays background information all in once place. This way you can potentially get what you need without having to click on a single link. Recently the company started giving video games this same treatment.
When you search for a particular title, Google will toss up such details as a brief history, the developer, release dates, and supported platforms.
Today, Google officially announced
Gmail Blue Inbox, a service we posted about just last night. Previously codenamed Bigtop, Inbox by Gmail is a full reimagining of how an email product should work, and how users should interact with their email.
It is really rare for a product to come out that actually reimagines something rather than just claiming it does, but Inbox is really a fresh take on... the inbox.
Google is rolling out a big update to the Google Earth app, and as usual it's a staged deployment. Never fear, we are here with an APK download. In this new version (8.0) you'll find better 3D images, cleaner maps, KML import, and more.
Google hasn't updated the changelog on the Play Store yet, but there's a whole blog post about Google Earth v8.0. The gist of it is that 3D images will look much better now with the new rendering engine.
Google has just launched a new email system, but you can only get on in by requesting an invitation or being sent one from a friend. No, it's not 2004, it's Google's new Inbox system, an alternative to Gmail and a new way to look at electronic messaging in general. We've highlighted the new system before its official release, but now you can get it for yourself... if you're lucky enough to get through the invitation system.