It just got slightly easier to blow money on apps and games through Google Play all over the world. Google has updated the list of carriers that support carrier billing with six new entries. Going to buy yourself a little something?
Cramming mobile technology and other goodies into automobiles is a recurring theme at CES 2014, and even Google is getting in on the action. The web giant is normally pretty quiet at the industry's biggest hardware trade show, but today it officially launches the Open Automotive Alliance, a collaborative association aimed at bringing Android to your car. Google and NVIDIA have already partnered with some of the biggest car companies in the world, encompassing the American, European, and Asian markets: General Motors, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai.
One has to wonder: what's the point of a sale on a proverbially cheap item? And the obvious answer is, it's five bucks you wouldn't have otherwise had. So it is with Google's Chromecast streaming HDMI dongle, which has once again gone on sale at both Amazon and Best Buy. You can pick one up for $29.99 at either retailer, with free shipping for Prime members at the former and free shipping for everyone at the latter.
In an odd bit of M&A news, the developers at Bitspin announced that the small company will be joining forces with Google. Whether Google has purchased the company outright or merely hired its Zurich-based development team isn't clear, but in either case, the big G will be benefitting from their impressive user interface experience soon. Google has not commented on the situation, and there is no dollar amount posted on the Bitspin website.
Bump was and early innovator in the area of file and contact sharing on mobile devices. Interest has waned a bit in recent years, but then Google bought the company back in September. Work seemed to stop on Bump's apps shortly thereafter, and now we're getting the official word – Bump and Flock are no more. Both apps will stop working and be removed from Google Play (and the App Store) on January 31st, 2014.
We all know about Google's experimental self-driving cars, but according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Mountain View is partnering up with Audi to tackle the entertainment aspect of the automobile first. The companies are expected to announce a new Android-based in-car entertainment system at CES in January to combat Apple's already tight relationship with auto manufacturers.
Google hopes to establish Android as a core element of future cars to provide music, navigation, apps, and Google voice search.
Whether it's a "moonshot" or not, Google seems to be dedicating considerable resources to its new robotics initiative, both financial and human. Almost three months ago Romain Guy, a highly-visible part of Google's internal Android software engineering team (and a pretty spiffy photographer to boot), announced that he was leaving Android for another internal Google position. He has since confirmed that he's moved to the new Google robotics team, currently headed by ex-Android head honcho Andy Rubin.
Amid the flurry of new devices quietly launched recently, Google released a new Nexus accessory - a folio case for the Nexus 7 (2013). Despite my varied experiences with Nexus accessories, I'm always eager to see what Google thinks will work best with their devices. I'm particularly interested in tablet accessories. Tablets are meant to be super portable and usable anywhere, so making an accessory that retains the appeal of the device's form factor while also adding some utility is an interesting challenge.
Have you been wondering how you'd keep up with Santa's comings and goings this year? I know I have been losing a lot of sleep over it, but fear not – Santa has a special place in Google Maps today only.
If you tap the search bar in Google Maps, there will be a "Where's Santa" banner. Tap on that, and Maps will take you to the sleigh's supposed coordinates.
Just a few days ago, Google Glass got a hefty update to XE12 with new Glassware, a new (official) wink gesture for taking photos, a lock screen, and other tweaks.
As expected, the Glass team has made the update's system image available for download from the Glass developers website.
The download table has also been given a fresh coat of paint with a new column dedicated to checksums. The update, which weighs in at 344MB can be downloaded by hitting the link below.