The day after Update Wednesday isn't always as quiet as it may seem. A new version of another Google app is trickling out over the Internet, and this time it's the Big G's social network. The update is peppered with changes, so let's dive in.
One last app came rolling in at the tail end of update Wednesday. This time, we've got a relatively small update to Android Device Manager, Google's answer for lost or stolen phones. The changelog hasn't been posted on the Play Store, but a quick teardown told us everything we needed to know. There's a new callback feature that makes contacting the owner a one-touch operation.
Google buys a lot of companies, and the deals don't always make a lot of sense from the outside. However, the acquisition of messaging client Emu totally jives with Google's priorities lately. Emu uses context clues in your messages to automate actions—sound familiar?
Last night, YouTube received what looked like a substantial update v5.9, and, of course, I rushed to start digging through the APK in hopes of finding all sorts of under-the-hood changes. Imagine my excitement when I saw the following new string buried, among other things, inside res/strings.xml:
Quite a while ago, we wrote about an upcoming hands-free (and eyes-free) interface code-named KITT. The interface - intended for use in the car or in other places where looking at your phone isn't wise - would be stripped down, displaying a black screen and large iconography, and would have the ability to read notifications aloud, among other things. More recently, an icon for an app called Google Hands-Free showed up in a promotional gif posted to Google's Google+ page, hinting that the service was still under development.
It's been a number of months since the Google Now Launcher debuted in the Play Store as an exclusive for Nexus and Google Play Experience devices, but today that changes. The newest update has opened up official access to all devices running Android 4.1 or higher.
ZOMG! Volantis? Is it time for Volantis? You know you were thinking that, but we just don't know what's going on. All we can say for certain is that Google's Play Store in the US has no stock of the WiFi N7 or the LTE versions with AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs. The only version you can get is the "GSM Networks" LTE tablet.
Google I/O 2014 has come and gone, but that doesn't mean great stuff from the conference isn't still coming out. The companion app used by thousands of attendees -and hundreds of thousands of fans and followers- has been open sourced! Code for the I/O app is meant to serve as an example of best practices for Android developers, providing fully functioning implementations of the latest design principles, UI controls, networking code, and more.
Hangouts may be fun, but it's not all fun and games. It should come as no surprise that in this day and age, many people turn to Google's video chats as a means of getting work done. So the company is rolling out a number of business-related improvements to the service.
For starters, the company is now covering Hangouts under the same terms of service as other Google Apps for Business products.
There's been a lot of confusion lately over the fate of Google's Nexus program. Rumors swirled, after LG's planned Nexus was canceled (and later denied entirely), that the program was dead in favor of an upcoming Android Silver initiative. With the revelation that HTC is working on a 9" tablet device (code named Volantis), it seemed the Nexus program had at least one more device in store - expected to launch with Android's L release this fall.