After nearly a year of rumors, teardowns, a vague announcement, and a false start, Google Play's Family Library is finally going live today. It will begin rolling out over the next few days to users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other countries will surely join the list in time, but those will be the first. Family Library will allow up to six family members to share purchased content with each other without paying for additional copies.
There are about a half-dozen countries that have enacted some form of official "do not call" registry and many others that have signed in laws to prevent various types of spammy behavior from running rampant over the telephone system. Unfortunately, little to nothing is done to enforce these laws and the penalties usually aren't steep enough to discourage bad behavior. Google is taking matters into its own hands and giving users a way to fight back. Starting today, a new version of the Phone app is rolling out to Nexus and Android One devices with built-in spam warnings.
The warning feature comes as a part of the phone app's existing Caller ID capability, which already maintains a very thorough directory about various businesses.
Google is in the process or rolling out cleaner maps to Google Maps in an attempt to show more relevant information to users without overcrowding. You'll notice certain elements going away, but there is one new thing coming to your maps—areas of interest. If Google thinks there's some cool stuff in a particular area, you'll see it highlighted on the map.
You may be wary of making your location available to apps and services on Android, but that uneasiness goes away in an emergency situation. If you call emergency services, you want them to know exactly where you are, and now Android has the tools to make that happen. Well, if you live in the UK or Estonia. Those are the first two countries with support for the new Emergency Location Service.
Has it already been three years since the original Chromecast came out? My, how the time flies when you're streaming video. Google marked the occasion on the Google Store's Plus page with the nifty animation below, but there aren't any promotional deals. Not that you really need them - it's $35, for cryin' out loud.
Google has been on a roll this week with app updates and there have been some pretty cool new features, not the least of which makes comic books more awesome. One of the latest arrivals to the list is a beta update to the titular app. Known originally as "Search," the Google app now encompasses a custom launcher, the Now stream, Now on Tap, voice commands, and more. The recently announced Google assistant is on course to join the party, promising to bring many of these technologies together to deliver something not unlike the computer from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The Google+ app is getting an update today, bringing the latest version to 8.3. The changes aren't going to be very extensive for most people, but there are signs that one highly requested feature will be coming in the future: image comments. It looks like there may also be some changes for community moderators either in place already, or coming soon.
Hey, remember that Google Arts & Culture tool that the company talked about for exactly one day? No? Well now it's back. The hub for all things historically and artistically relevant has been given a fresh coat of paint, so to speak. Both the web portal and the app (which was previously little more than a web wrapper anyway) have been overhauled with a new interface, including a more contextual search bar that allows users to hunt for specific articles or pieces. Check out the difference in the app below:
Google rolled out the fifth and final Nougat developer preview yesterday, and it includes a new version of the Google Camera app. It's v4.1, a significant jump over the current Play Store version. There are a fair number of changes to the UI, some new animations, and better control over buttons.
Most of the intrepid users who tried the most recent Android N developer preview were none too pleased with the new notification toggle behavior. Google changed the WiFi and Bluetooth buttons from simple toggles to connection list triggers. After more than 1,500 issue tracker stars in just a few days, Google has relented.