Over the past few weeks and months, it seems Google has been testing out a minor tweak to the search bar that appears on the home screen above your apps. Instead of simply showing Say "OK Google," some of our readers are seeing search recommendations such as "OK Google 15% of 80" and "OK Google... Movies nearby."
The former shows that you can use Google to do math. The latter nudges people to use Search to find what movie theaters are currently playing nearby. Many of us may already be accustomed to this functionality, but these recommendations serve as a way to subtly inform a broader audience of all the things Google Search can do.
YouTube is just over ten years old. That's about the time that a global and ubiquitous web service oughta straighten up and stream right, throw off adolescent comforts and maybe start considering some branch-off services, like Music or Games. The development team has decided to release news of upcoming features in that time-honored and totally not aggravating format, the video list. The following is specifically for "creators" (read: people who upload regularly and/or try to make money with videos), but some of the information is interesting for mobile users.
If you don't have four and a half minutes to spend watching for the new stuff, here's a breakdown in the old-fashioned and completely dead text format.
Google Earth debuted way back in 2005, long before Android existed in any meaningful way. It was a borderline magical experience at the time—you could just open a program and see the entire planet from orbit. Google Earth might be old news now, but Google is celebrating the anniversary with a new discovery feature. It's only on the desktop right now, but "Voyager" shows you the best things available in Google Earth.
Trains are big and fast, and if they hit your car, you might die. You would think that was sufficient motivation to be careful at railroad crossings, but there was actually a sharp 9% increase in rail crossing accidents last year. Google has agreed to work with the Federal Railroad Administration to list more than 200,000 public and private rail crossings in Google Maps to help people be more aware.
Back in February, we caught sight of an interesting experiment Google was undertaking with the help of trusted local guides. The experiment was an app called Tablescape - a "community to make, share, and discover amazing foodographs." With a little digging, we found that the content shown in the screenshots (originally posted by El Androide Libre) lined up with a community called The Plate, which was likely serving as a Google+-based content funnel for the app.
After that initial glimpse though, we didn't see or hear anything official about the service.
Today we've heard something more, but it may not be what we had hoped - it looks like Google is officially closing down the Tablescape experiment before it had a chance to see the light of day.
The standalone Photos app was released to the public during last month's Google I/O conference, finally completing the separation with Google+ as rumors (and facts) had long suggested. While the new Photos app was widely accepted as an improvement in many ways, it also lacked many of the enhanced editing features that had made the old version so useful. Unfortunately, installing the standalone Photos app effectively hid access to the version built into Google+. That was probably a pretty good sign about what was to come. With the latest update to Google+, users who have stuck to the old version will be warned that it is not long for this world.
Last night, we received a tip that the Play Store listing for AirDroid, a popular app that allows users to see notifications, respond to messages, and manage content from their Android devices on a desktop, had been removed from the Play Store. The listing was directing to Google's infamous "Not Found" page.
We reached out to the AirDroid team who, at the time, were still trying to figure out what had happened. As it turns out, Google had removed the listing after a mass-complaint from Facebook. The sweeping set of complaints picked up tons of apps with "WhatsApp" in their names, but also apps - like AirDroid - that simply mentioned WhatsApp in the description.
No longer a labs option, file attachments in Google Calendar are going to the stable channel. A feature oriented towards shared events, this can allow you to share important information that can't be captured in a written description. It is live now on the web and the API is ready for use, which means we should see app developers taking advantage in the near future.
You'll see that "add attachment" option when creating a new calendar event, and when clicked you will see something like this:
That should look familiar if you've shared files on the web with any other Google product in the recent past.
Google isn't taking the arrival of Apple Music lightly, it would seem. The company just announced a new free tier of Play Music in the US that provides access to ad-supported streaming radio. It looks to have all the same restrictions as other free streaming services, but you can't argue with the price.