Two new features are coming to Chrome for Android today, but they'll be old news if you have been running the beta of Chrome on your device. Bandwidth management and homescreen web shortcuts are both graduating from beta status, and will be showing up in the new version of stable Chrome.
The Play Store device section sure is hopping today. Google dropped the new Moto G Google Play Edition earlier, then a new red N7 sleeve popped up, and now folks in more countries have some accessories to splurge on.
The updated wireless charger is now live in the Play Store for Australia, India, Japan and Korea. Pricing will vary, but it should be about in line with the $49.99 US price.
Google has been increasingly transitioning new features in Android to a more closed model. Whether you're talking about music playback, search, or even the dialer, Google's updated apps have features not included in the Android Open Source Project. The developers of OmniROM are looking to make the handy features of the new Google Dialer available without the proprietary bits, so they're working on an integrated phone number directory without Google.
Schemer, Google's niche quasi-social network for sharing all the things you want to do in life, is being shut down. Since launching over 2 years ago, it has struggled to find a user base, new features were few and far between, and the app itself was only updated a handful of times. For those unaware of how Schemer works, the idea is pretty simple. You use it to list things you want to do, and mingle with other people who either want to do the same thing or have already done it.
Each month, Google updates Android's platform distribution numbers according to devices that have accessed the Play Store in a seven-day period. January's updated pie chart has just hit, and things seem to be following a fairly predictable pattern.
KitKat, which was positioned at 1.1% last month, has eked out an additional 0.3% to reach 1.4%. Gingerbread, meanwhile, fell from 24.1% to 21.2%, continuing its gradual decline. Jelly Bean (including API levels 16-18) has actually grown to 59.1%, up from 54.5%, as manufacturers work to catch up to Android's latest and greatest.
Google Play Services 4.0 was released in late October just after the Nexus 5 and Kit Kat became official, bringing with it plenty of improvements to things like Google+ sign-in, Wallet, Location services, and more.
Today, via the Android Developers Blog, Google announced the rollout of Google Play Services 4.1, which offers developers more and better tools to make compelling apps.
Google said it would do it, and now it has. The latest update to Android's Gmail app has enabled images automatically, now made safe because Google is serving up the images after hosting them on its own proxy servers. Users will no longer need to tap the "show pictures" message above the email content.
Left: old style. Right: 4.7.2.
We're looking through the application now to see if there are any more changes - this thing is so fresh that Google hasn't even updated the Play Store description.
Cramming mobile technology and other goodies into automobiles is a recurring theme at CES 2014, and even Google is getting in on the action. The web giant is normally pretty quiet at the industry's biggest hardware trade show, but today it officially launches the Open Automotive Alliance, a collaborative association aimed at bringing Android to your car. Google and NVIDIA have already partnered with some of the biggest car companies in the world, encompassing the American, European, and Asian markets: General Motors, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai.