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.
If you've perused the Google Play Store on the web in the last few days, you may have noticed something missing: the Action Bar, wherein you usually find the drop-down links to app categories, top charts, the Play Store settings menu, and other important stuff. We've noticed it too, and we've got no explanation. In addition to making it impossible to browse apps by category or popularity on the web, it's blocking access to the links to My Orders, Settings, and the Android Device Manager, at least from the main Play Store page.
Google's various digital media stores are slowly, slowly making their way across the world. Today's expansion of Google Play Movies brings it to 12 new countries and Hong Kong, for a total of 25. The new countries added today are mostly smaller nations, scattered all over the globe, and strangely featured before larger ones get the service. Put it down to the precarious nature of international content negotiations.
Yesterday, The Information reported that Google is rumored to be working on smart thermostats, in a renewed bid to help users manage their home energy (and interior climate). Information on the project is sparse so far, but Google hopes it will be a successful follow-up to the unsuccessful PowerMeter, a service that was killed off due to apparent scaling difficulties.
Thanks to a tipster who is - we know you've heard this before - familiar with the matter, we've got an early glimpse into Google's upcoming thermostat foray - we've got a few new details and a look at the service's Android app.
The default way to order content from the Play Store is to add a credit card to Google Wallet, but if you've grown accustomed to having purchases show up on your bill like the good ol' days when phones were phones, there's the option to enable carrier billing. The choice isn't universal, and while it's available to customers on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon here in the US, it still has to trickle out to other carriers around the world.
Google Calendar has been updated recently, but a quick glance at the change log only finds "Bug fixes and performance improvements." What actually happened? Not much, but what's there is a doozy - replying to calendar events from within Gmail should now be a much less tedious experience.
Now when you press Yes, Maybe, or No in an email invite, you will get a toast notification confirming your response.
For many of us, it's getting cold outside. While there's always the option to invest in a thicker coat, bundle up in more blankets, or crank up the thermostat, none of these options particularly involve Android (with some exceptions). So here's another approach. Fire up YouTube on your Android device of choice and load up this YouTube channel. Send it out to the nearest Chromecast and you have yourself a warm fire that will burn for the next hour or so.