You may remember Google nearly bought the game streaming service Twitch a while back, but then Amazon swooped in and snatched it up when the Google deal fell through. Now Google is announcing a new service that competes directly with Twitch, and it's called (predictably) YouTube Gaming. While it uses the YouTube brand, this will be a standalone service with its own website and app when it launches this summer.
Buying an Android phone can be intimidating, what with all the options out there. Google has a new tool that might help you narrow things down a little, and it's right there on the main Android phone homepage under "Find the Android phone for you." Just answer some question and the Google machine spits out some suggestions.
Hangouts may not be as ubiquitous as Skype, but as Google sells more devices, people are increasingly turning to the company's built-in method of video chatting. Today the search giant announced an addition to the desktop Hangouts experience that we Android users may encounter as we hop from our phones to our laptops. Now when users share their screens, others can view it in fullscreen.
Google says the video will use as much visible area as possible.
Yesterday, we took a look at the upcoming Hangouts 4.0, a yet unreleased update that promises to clean up the Hangouts interface in many ways. But there was one thing we didn't cover in that post - the Android Wear app that will apparently come with the update to 4.0. Since yesterday we've been playing with the app and thought it would be good to follow up with a quick overview of what it does.
Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
Some updates get everyone excited. Others appeal to a select few. Google 5.7 is more of the latter. There are a few tweaks here, and while they're not going to drastically alter your Google+ing all that much, they're still worth a peek. So here's a look.
You know the floating action button that hovers in the bottom right corner? Usually it's red, and there's a white pencil inside. Tapping it allows you to quickly make a post.
Now when you're browsing a community, that button turns gray.
Left: Gray FAB in communities, Right: Spinning loading indicator for profiles
Another change makes Google+ come off as a tad less flaky.
Android Auto is starting to finally show up in cars and third-party head units, but there are still a handful of compatibility issues to work out, it seems. The latest update to the Android Auto app includes compatibility for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5 on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
It's been a year since Android Auto was announced, and it's only now starting to hit the market. You can buy a handful of cars with support for Auto (with a software update), and more vehicles are on the way. There are also some aftermarket head units that can smarten up your dumb old car. Now that it's finally reaching consumer availability, we can see how Google's car infotainment platform works.
I've had a chance to play with one of Pioneer's NEX Android Auto kits (the AVIC-8100NEX), and have already posted some initial impressions. Now let's dig in and explore this new frontier for Android.
Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
The Google Keyboard has been updated to v4.1, and it brings a few handy new features. At the same time, several options have been removed. Google giveth and Google taketh away. One of the additions is cross-device dictionary sync, so maybe you can forgive Google on this one.