Whether Easter to you involves bunnies, crosses, or just heralds super cheap chocolate at the store on Monday, the one thing we can all agree on is that inexpensive apps are cool. A wide array of developers share this belief and, to celebrate your preferred reason to consume candy, have offered steep discounts to their Play Store submissions. Continuing our lengthy tradition of rounding up stuff for you to buy, we've assembled a big list of things to save money on.
Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.
According to the guys over at German site MobiFlip, Google and LG may have pulled a fast one on us by very subtly updating the Nexus 4's design. The changes appear to be quite minor (yet useful), with the addition of small "nipples" on the bottom of the phone's backside being the most notable. Why would Google add such a small difference, you ask? Because as it stands, the N4's back is completely flat, which essentially mutes (or drastically muffles) the speaker when the phone is laid down.
While Google's been on a roll entering new countries with all its services lately, today is a little different. The Nexus 4 has reached Brazil's shores, but it's not via Google's own-branded storefront. You can pick it up at Fast Shop, Ponto Frio and, presumably, other retailers. No word on when (or if) it might launch on the Play Store.
With the good news comes the bad, though. According to Google's post, the phone starts at $1,699 Brazilian Reals, or about $843 USD.
Google Keep, the app that Goog sprung as (almost) a surprise recently, is interesting. Its functionality is undoubtedly handy, and – if Google chooses to pursue the service in earnest – it could actually be a decent competitor to other note taking apps like Evernote.
Something else has had us interested though, and that's Keep's UI and UX. There are a few weird things going on, but one stuck out: what is that serif font?
We've all played the "Wait, who is that guy again?" or "What song is that?" while watching a movie. Now, with the latest update to the Play Movies app, if you want to get the answer to that question, all you have to do is press pause. Info cards will then pop up with face recognition of actors on screen, what other movies they're in, and what music you're hearing.
The feature only works on "supported movies" and it's a little unclear which ones those are (there doesn't seem to be any icon or indicator that shows whether any given movie in your library can show cards).
Google Translate has always been one of the unsung heroes of the free service space. On the one hand, it doesn't provide a perfect translation, so people are still hesitant to call it a true breakthrough. On the other hand, we use it all the time to translate web pages enough to get the gist and, when combined with speech-to-text and text-to-speech, you can use the Android app as the closest thing to a universal translator in your pocket the world has ever seen.
Back in 2011, Google added the ability to keep up with live transit updates to Google Maps. After all, commuters in big cities that require cars to get around (like my own Atlanta), have traffic info for highways. Why not people who primarily use the subway to get around? One glaring omission from that service, though, was the New York City subway system. Today, that problem is rectified.
Starting today, seven lines of the MTA will show live arrival and departure times for stops along their routes.
Recently, Google quietly began to test auto translation for app reviews in the developer console. Today, the company publicly announced that same feature and began rolling it out to all devs. Now, when they log in to their control panel, they can see the reviews in their preferred language, along with the original text. Neat.
Of course, this still isn't a replacement for native fluency, but it should aid developers in troubleshooting problems that users on the other side of the language barrier discover.
When Google announced Keep last week, one of the coolest features we learned about is the ability to accept the "note to self" command that has been part of Google's Voice Actions since the Froyo days. Previously, this would send an email to your own account with the transcribed text and the original audio file. Keep allowed users to send that data to a proper note-taking app instead. Well, as it turns out, Catch wants in on that voice action, so in a recent update, it's added the ability as well.