Google's Play services are gradually working their way out to more countries around the globe, and the latest expansion we've spotted is occurring south of the Equator. Google has enabled Play Music access in the countries of Brazil and Uruguay. This way users can back up their albums to Google's servers and access them from a web browser or mobile device.
All Access has technically come to both countries as well, but in the case of Brazil, there appear to be some substantial caveats. Read More
Developers are understandably upset about the new requirement that they provide a publicly visible address for paid apps in Google Play, but another interesting (and much more positive) tidbit has surfaced in relation to that change. The developer of the GoneMAD Music Player contacted Google to ask about the new policy. In addition to confirming address requirement, Google support says the Play Store will also start listing in-app purchase price ranges. Read More
Among the many things announced at Google I/O was support for casting custom backdrops to the Chromecast. We haven't heard anything about it since then, but now users are beginning to report seeing "Casting Backdrop" listed on their devices.
Google is set to institute a new policy in the Play Store, and it has some developers up in arms. A message in the developer console (seen below) has appeared asking developers to add a physical address to their account profile. For those offering paid apps and in-app purchases, this is mandatory as of September 30th. Failing to do so could result in Mountain View pulling the apps.
Getting the kernel source code for devices is something of a rite of passage for new Android phones. In the United States and other parts of the world with heavy smartphone penetration, the focus is on the big, flashy flagship models - the sooner the kernels are published, the sooner those ROM makers can get cracking on custom ROMs and kernels. But considering the immediate response that Google's Android One program has received, I think those phones may turn out to be some of the most popular ROM recipients around. Read More
Here's a Google app that few people would judge you for not knowing about. There's this thing formerly known as Maps Engine that lets people create custom maps and share them with others. Now it goes by the name of My Maps. And, put bluntly, it's a change that makes sense. This conveys to users what the app actually does. Map Engine? Not so much.
To go with the name change, Google has changed the app's icon as well. Read More
Those willing to venture into chrome://flags can often enjoy experimental treats that haven't made it into default circulation yet. One flag in Chrome, brought to our attention by a tipster, enables "answers in suggest," giving users answers to simple questions right in the omnibar. So if for some reason you're wondering what the capital of Maryland is, or the population of the world, you can get the answer without actually performing a search. Read More
You've probably heard the joke by now. A 20-something job applicant or apartment hunter or a long-suffering customer support victim is talking to someone who asks him, "and what's you're landline number?" To which the young man replies, "what the hell is a landline?" But niche hardware company Obihai aims to bring back the home phone with its line of VOIP phones and adapters that use your broadband connection to make and receive calls without a landline. Read More
Text-to-speech is one of those little pieces of an operating system that not many people use, but which is indispensable for those who do. Now if your first language is Japanese, you've got the option to play out text on your phone with Google's first-party Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine. The relevant app is on the Play Store and was updated today, so you might not have immediate access to it thanks to Google's rollout system. Read More
Back at Google I/O we were introduced to Android One, an initiative from Google to give smartphone manufacturers guidance on how to build quality Android experiences using affordable hardware and updates directly from the Google mothership. At the time, Sundar Pichai explained that the program would be launched in India with three hardware partners - Spice, Micromax, and Karbonn "this fall," with other territories coming later.
Google evidently sent out invites for the official Android One launch event at the beginning of the month, and partner Karbonn is already teasing that its device is coming soon. Read More