It's update Wednesday, and you know what that means. It's right there in the name—updates. There's a new version of Google+ rolling out, but it doesn't look like a huge change so far. As usual, we're digging in to see what's what, but you can grab the new version below.
Through the Google Play for Education platform, Google has brought Android tablets to schools throughout parts of the US, along with the apps teachers require to put the hardware to use in their classrooms. Now the search giant is expanding the offering to the UK, including software that caters to the country's curriculum.
The rumors of Google buying a stake in SpaceX started percolating a few days ago, and now it's official. Google and Fidelity have invested a total of $1 billion in the private space firm, which gives them about 10% share. SpaceX says the new funding will go toward the development of reusable rocket technology and satellite manufacturing.
Google doesn't want developers naming their apps in ways that could imply association with or endorsement from Android, so instead of the Android Music Player, it prefers Music Player for Android. The idea is that this distinction makes it clearer to users that the folks who make Android had nothing to do with the creation of this particular app.
Now the Big G has expanded this guideline to all other brands. Android developers who visit the company's support page on the topic will see a new section dedicated entirely to this.
Field Trip is one of Google's less-known official apps (from the same people who work on Ingress), and appropriately, one of the most unique. The urban exploration app gets its 2.0 update today, bringing the user interface in line with Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. As nice as it is to see Google keeping its apps fresh, I have to say that the redesign takes something away in this case.
Google Maps, for its part this Update Wednesday, has received a bump to version 9.3. The changes aren't immediately apparent to users just opening the app, but there are at least a couple of things worth mentioning in the new update.
First, shareable directions. Once a user looks up directions or navigation to a destination, they can share the directions with any app in the normal share menu or - if Google Glass is connected - to Glass.
We had an exclusive preview of upcoming changes to the Google Translate app last month, and Google just announced an update that matches exactly with our information. The new version of Translate is rolling out on Android and iOS with built-in Word Lens translation via the camera and a smarter conversation mode that can listen to both languages at once.
Update: With the Google Classroom mobile app, teachers and students get some features that aren't available on a traditional computer. For starters, they can use their phone cameras to take photos and attach them directly to assignments.
When Google and HTC announced the Nexus 9, they showed it off in the now-standard black, white, and gold "sand" color options. The off-brown color wasn't seen on launch day, though considering the low initial manufacturing runs that Nexus devices seem cursed with, that's not overly surprising. In the small hours of this morning the sand option appeared on the Play Store in the United States - you can pick up a 32GB model now for $479.
It seems like we can't go a day without hearing about how the Play Store review process is broken and annoying. Earlier this week the media management app Mizuu was removed (again) without warning. Google sent a cryptic email like it usually does, but now the developer has all the details. Turns out Google just wanted to make sure the app was properly licensed to display movie data.