Google Maps is practical, but Google Earth is kind of the show off side of Google's mapping project. You can explore satellite imagery from all over the world and check out detailed 3D photos of many areas. Now there's even more to see in Google Earth with the addition of your geocoded Google+ photos.
Google's a little late with the Android platform distribution numbers this month. It might have something to do with a rather large announcement yesterday, involving a candy bar, a statue, and the announcement of Android 4.4. But the numbers were just posted, so let's have a look at 'em, shall we?
First of all, Android 1.6 and 2.1 have been dropped from active tracking because they don't work with the latest version of the Google Play Store app.
Odds are you don't yet have access to Google Glass yet, but the MyGlass app should be quite robust by the time you can buy Google's face-computer. A new update to MyGlass allows you to control the Glass UI from the screencast experience on your phone or tablet.
A screencast on Google Glass is a way to stream the Glass interface in real time to a regular Android device.
European readers, no one could blame you for being a little miffed at Google when it comes to the Play Store. The company's focus on the United States is impossible to deny, especially when you look at the availability of carrier billing. But they're slowly, slowly rolling out the feature to more and more carriers and countries. Today Both Switzerland and Belgium get one carrier each added to the Play Store billing club: Swisscom and Mobistar, respectively.
Traditionally, Google has stuck with generic names for Android versions: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. Thus, when the big unveiling of 4.4, codenamed KitKat, happened out of nowhere this morning, the web was abuzz with questions. How can they do this? Is this a joke? I thought the name KitKat was "trademarked!" Well, there's a very simple answer to all these questions: it's a mutual partnership.
Usually, $199 is the price you pay for a smartphone when signing a soul-crushing two year contract. Not with the Nexus 4, which dropped $100 in price last week. The 8GB model was just $199 after the change, and the 16GB was $249. If you're looking to snag a sub-$200 Nexus, you're too late – the 8GB model is gone for good.
We watched the Play Store page bounce back and forth between in-stock and out-of-stock all day yesterday, but Google has now confirmed the 8GB Nexus 4 is not coming back.
Most manufacturers tend to be coy when it comes to release dates, especially when it's customers asking rather than press or investors. But Chinese manufacturer Oppo sometimes shoots from the hip, as they did with a recent Google+ post. When asked about release dates from an inquisitive poster, someone using the official account replied with a general target release for two upcoming devices, the N1 and Find N7.
The N1 was recently leaked in all its minimalist glory, and though specs are thin on the ground, it looks like a contender for a flagship device with a relatively large screen.
If you're into the idea of a smartwatch but haven't quite been swayed by the current offerings, Samsung's Galaxy Gear is likely on your radar. If you thought that's the only watch tech to look forward to, however, think again. Word just broke that Google purchased a smartwatch manufacturer about a year ago, right under everyone's noses.
That manufacturer was called WIMM, and it created an Android-powered watch called the WIMM One.
Update 2: Hugo Barra himself has confirmed his plans on Google+. He'll become the new Vice President of Xiaomi Global. We wish you the best of luck, Hugo - you will be missed.
In a few weeks, I'll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global. I'm really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem.