To wrap up the year, TIME's been working on a "Top Ten of Everything 2013" series, listing off the top ten items in various categories from Pop Culture and Social Media to, of course, tech gadgets. In that category, TIME listed things like the LEAP Motion controller, Oculus Rift Developer's Kit, and new iPads, but they awarded the top spot to Google's plucky Chromecast dongle.
The piece, published Tuesday and shared by Larry Page on Google+ this evening, lauds the Chromecast's focus - it essentially only does one thing but does it so well, makes it so easy, and costs so little, that picking one up is really hard to resist.
Google's streaming music subscription service continues to creep across the globe, arriving in new countries suddenly and without warning. It's kind of like the Black Death, except fewer people die (so far). Today Google Play All Access has hit Germany with millions of songs for just a few bucks per month.
German users were greeted by the All Access popup in Play Music yesterday and immediately began shouting from every social media rooftop. Google has now updated the support pages to show that Germany is included in the All Access club.
According to postings from our German friends, the All Access subscription starts at €7.99 per month for anyone who signs up before January 15th.
Just by tapping the microphone icon in the search bar, English speakers can ask Google any number of questions and have their phone respond in their native language. Thus far, others haven't been so lucky. But now Google is expanding that functionality to more languages. Starting today, French, German, and Japanese speakers shall also be able to ask their Android devices questions and hear answers spoken in the same tongue.
The changes should take place server-side, so you don't have to wait for a update (as long as you already have the latest version, that is). Just fire up the Google Search app on your Android phone and ask away.
So you're trying to choose between a new Altima and a Civic for your next car. Naturally you Google them both to check out their specifications and features. But it turns out that you can get most of the important numbers without clicking on a single link. Today Google pulled the wraps off of a new addition to Search's Knowledge Graph both on the web and on mobile: car stats.
Search for a car make, model, and year, and you can get the basic information in a pop-up card or side column, including MSRP, horsepower, city and highway MPG, and various engine, trim, and option levels.
When Android founder Andy Rubin announced that he was leaving the Android team back in May of this year, it was a shock to say the least. At the time Mr. Rubin confirmed that he was staying with Google itself, but declined to say what his new role would be. Six months later, a report from the New York Times seems to have the first information on what he's been doing. I'll give you a hint: it's robots.
Photo credit: Jim Wilson/New York Times
Yes, robots. That's not some kind of corporate codename for a new hardware platform running Android, we're talking about actual robots.
Google has provided the tools for developers to create desktop Chrome apps for a while now, but it's looking like Chrome apps are going to be hitting mobile devices too. A GitHub repository managed by a Googler contains tools and documentation for the project. Google isn't really keeping it a secret, but neither is it discussing any official details.
As part of an effort to expand adoption of CyanogenMod, the developers recently released the CyanogenMod Installer app in Google Play. All was well for a few weeks, but today Google contacted the CyanogenMod team to explain that the installer app was in violation of Google Play’s policies. So, the CM folks agreed to take the app down.
The app acts as a tool to help users get their devices connected to a computer over ADB – it doesn't actually do any of the heavy lifting of unlocking and flashing the device. All that is handled by the desktop client that connects over ADB.
The 1080p update to the Nexus 7 is all the rage at the moment, but that doesn't make the original Tegra 3 version from 2012 any less worthy. And since it's now being discounted just about everywhere, it's considerablymore worthy than it might otherwise be. Case in point: Groupon is offering the WiFi tablet on its online-only shopping portal at $119 for the 16GB version, $149 for 32GB.
Google has been building up to something big with YouTube, as indicated by our recent APK teardowns. It looks like yet another version of the YouTube app is rolling out to devices all over the world, and we've got the file for you to check out. It's not a huge update at first glance, but maybe there's something beneath the surface.
The first really obvious visual change is a slight reorganization of the slide-out navigation menu. If it wasn't pointed out to you, you might not even realize. What to Watch is now at the top of the list, followed by a link to your subscriptions.
Google's voice search feature has been slowly but surely working its way into more mobile products recently. First the hotword came to the search app, then to the search results. The Moto X launched with always-on listening, and the Nexus 5 now has voice commands from anywhere on the homescreen or in the search app. Now the "OK Google" command is coming to the desktop via a new Google Chrome extension.
The extension is explicitly labeled as a beta, but it seems to work well. After installation you just have to allow it access to your microphone and get ready to start talking to your computer like a crazy person.