Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
There are a lot (a lot) of caveats when it comes to Google's just-announced Project Fi mobile service. Aside from all the phone and network tomfoolery, Google Voice users have some tough choices to make as signing up for Fi essentially nukes your Voice account. It's nice to know that at least you can go back, according to Fi product manager Simon Arscott.
Last year, we shared some fascinating information surrounding a rumored effort called "Nearby." According to our information at the time, Nearby would enable Android devices to communicate with people, places, and devices that were, well, nearby.
At the time, we had evidence that the feature would come with a future version of Play Services, with a friendly overview for users explaining that the service could use device sensors to communicate with nearby things.
We've seen some of this functionality already - consider Chromecast's guest mode. The device can use ultrasonic sounds (picked up using your device's microphone) to connect to your device. Read More
We first saw Ultraviolet, Google's Hangouts app for Chrome, back in August. Just a couple of months later, the app went live for Chrome users with an interesting new chat heads-style interface that put your Hangouts conversations on top of everything else as floating circles.
For the most part, Ultraviolet currently resembles the Android app - it's got green toolbars, and a one-at-a-time approach to viewing conversations or the conversation list. Plus on OS X, the floating buttons unfortunately still aren't transparent, so the whole app is wrapped up in a window.
According to Caschy's Blog though, Google might be testing a new interface for Ultraviolet, and the image posted there looks like a step in the right direction. Read More
Google's monthly platform distribution numbers are in, and there's finally a respectable showing for Lollipop. Meanwhile, the remainder of the versions ticked downward as the Android device ecosystem marches slowly into the future.
Timeful produces an iOS app of the same name that takes your calendar or to-do list and makes it smarter. The service suggests events to go along with those you create manually. I see you have a meeting at 12. How about spending the hour before working on your presentation? That sort of thing.
In a post to the official Gmail blog today, Google announced that it has acquired Timeful. Going forward, the team will now spend its time working on Google apps.
Google Calendar already creates events based on messages in your Gmail account. This acquisition shows that more expansive predictive capabilities are on the way. Read More
It seems that while Google hasn't actually released the official announcement yet (it's expected this morning), the Collections feature we've heard so much about in recent days now appears to be going live for some users.
Google is just about ready to introduce Collections to Google+ publicly, according to sources.
Evidently, Collections is expected to launch tomorrow, May 4th, in the morning (Pacific Time), with an announcement coming from the official Google+ page of ... Google+. After its announcement, the feature will activate for web and Android users on a rollout that's expected to last a day or so. There's no word yet on when Collections will come to iOS.
The new feature, which we got a sneak peek at recently (followed by pretty strong code-based clues of an impending launch), will allow users to curate "collections" of their content for others to share and follow. Read More
Before we go any further: Google's local delivery service Shopping Express is still limited to portions of the San Francisco bay area, Los Angeles, northern California, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, and New York City. If you live outside of those areas, go ahead and skip this story, because Google Shopping Express (and similar competing services) aren't expanding outside of the densest US urban zones anytime soon. But for those who do qualify for the service, version 3.0 includes a new user interface.
New above, old below.
The app has been redesigned from the ground up, more or less, conforming to Material Design guidelines. Read More