Google has an odd definition of "soon." For example, five of the countries that just received access to Google Play gift cards were first told that they were coming "soon" almost five months ago, and the last one has been waiting a further six weeks. Oh well, I suppose it's best not to look a gift card in the mouth. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden have been added to Google's gift card system, and merchants should have gift cards in stock well before Christmas.
OK, European readers. We know Google doesn't always put a rush on features and products outside of the United States. America got lane guidance (which tells you which lane to get into before you approach a turn or exit) way back in May. It looks like US roads were the only ones on which this feature was available, at least until yesterday, when Google announced lane guidance for some European countries on the official Google Europe blog.
Update, December 16th: Google Play Store gift cards are now available in Ireland.
Good news, everyone! Well, not everyone - everyone who wants to buy Google Play Store credit in the form of gift cards, and currently lives in Ireland. Actually, let's be specific: in the Republic of Ireland, since the United Kingdom has had Google Play Gift Cards since last May, presumably including Northern Ireland. OK, so if you're somewhere between Donegal and Cork and/or Galway and Dublin, and you want to buy a Google Play Gift card, I've got good news.
Irish is hard. Like, really, really hard - as someone who can generally fake his way through Latin-based languages, I was completely lost when I went to Ireland and found that all the road signs were in what I had previously thought of as "Gaelic." It's a good thing that English was also on the signs. But if you're interested in learning it (or if your Republic of Ireland education demands that you do) you can now get some practice in Duolingo, along with Danish.
You know what thermostats and smoke detectors need? They need touchscreens, and internet connectivity, and apps, and gesture recognition. The only way you're getting that is with Google's Nest thermostat and Nest Protect smoke/carbon monoxide detector. Now you can get them even if you're in France or Ireland.
Hello, European readers. Yes, we know you're there, and if we should ever forget, you're sure to let us know in the comments section for every cool new Google product you can't play with. If you live in Belgium, France, the Republic of Ireland, or the Netherlands, you'll soon be able to scratch at least one of those off your list. Nest is bringing its smart connected thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector to these countries sometime in September.
Google's HDMI dongle continues to spread across the world, bringing streaming video to bigger screens. This time the Chromecast has landed in Ireland just days after Google Play Movies became available. How convenient.
The device will cost €39 from the Play Store, which is somewhat higher than the US price when you figure in conversion. Until Android TV comes out, the Chromecast is the only way to beam content from all those cast-enabled apps to a TV.
Play Movies have been available on Google Play for years now, but this is the case only in certain parts of the globe. People living elsewhere have to wait patiently for their countries to get added to the list. Ireland is the latest one to gain support, so its residents can now fire up the Play Store to download movies. TV shows, however, are not available.
When it comes to Google Play content, movies have a relatively broad reach.
It's a good time to be a Samsung owner, at least if you've got some recent hardware. After beginning an extensive campaign of Android 4.3 updates for US models of the Galaxy SIII, S4, and Note II (likely motivated by the Galaxy Gear compatibility it provides), Samsung is now starting to update the massively popular international SIII model, the GT-I9300. According to SamMobile, Irish S III owners on Vodafone are the first to get the update, with no other regions reporting in at the moment.
Google quietly brought Play Books today to four new countries: Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Portugal. The aforementioned countries only had access to Google Play Apps and Music before, so I'm sure the book lovers among those of you who reside in the four territories are ecstatic.
The new Books section as seen in Ireland
Google has been very slow to roll out various content stores worldwide. The last time Play Books expanded was all the way back in March and only included one country - Mexico.