The Nexus 6 came in for a landing on my doorstep yesterday, and I've been happily exploring Google's new phablet ever since. Because I've had it for just one day, there's no way I could write anything resembling a review, so instead I thought it may be fun to do a very basic "initial impressions" post. There are a few things that immediately strike me about the device, so I'll discuss those here, with more details to come in the full review. Read More
Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun. Read More
Google's apps, alongside Facebook's, remain the only Android apps to reach over 500 million users. Some of the tech giant's offerings, such as Gmail and YouTube, have even managed more than a billion downloads.
Now Play Movies & TV has become the company's latest app to join the former category. On Google Play, it resides in the 500,000,000 - 1,000,000,000 range.
This is a significant achievement for Play Movies, a brand that has only really been around since the Android Market turned into the Play Store not much more than a couple of years ago. Read More
We've been seeing bits and pieces (and fully functional prototypes) of Google Stars for a long time now. The tool, which for now acts as a replacement for Chrome's bookmark manager, has been in development even longer, but it looks like the Chrome extension might finally be ready to roll (assuming it doesn't get pulled again) as Google released "Bookmark Manager" to the Chrome Web Store earlier today.
Despite the new name, the extension takes over chrome://bookmarks just as before, with options to organize bookmarks into folders, give those folders descriptions, and even share folders with others. Read More
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user. Read More
It is apparently 'material all the things' day as Google keeps rolling out those updates. This time we've got a new version of Play Games, but unlike the last one we brought you, this is for all Android devices, not the version intended for Android TV.
Project Ara stirred up plenty of excitement when it was first announced, and it continues to entice people with its promise of a modular and upgradeable phone. We recently learned that users will be able to hot-swap modules (excluding the CPU and screen) while the device is on thanks to a modified version of Android Lollipop.
Now Phonebloks has shared a video of Ara's porgress at NK Labs, a Massachusetts-based contractor doing a great deal of work on the project. Read More
Google is serious about revamping Android to look more modern, but most of the apps we spend our days in are still stuck in the past. With a little friendly encouragement, maybe developers can make the transition more quickly. Google has posted a checklist of material design elements on the Android developers blog, and it's quite extensive.
The checklist covers everything from tangible surfaces to how apps should implement tabs. There are a number of nifty little animated GIF examples, along with plenty of links to the developer documentation and sample code. Read More
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. Read More