Under the hood of Google Now, powering all those beautiful cards that pop up when you search for certain things, is Google's Knowledge Graph. In what might be the company's most ambitious project ever, Google aims to categorize and classify all information so that when you search for, say, Jeff Goldbum, the search engine knows you might also be interested in information about Chaos Theory or survival tips for raptor attacks.
Amazon, in an effort to continue expanding its services globally, announced today that its Android app distribution service, the Amazon Appstore, is heading for Japan.
The shopping and media giant is now inviting developers to submit their apps and games for distribution in Japan, giving them the chance to participate in a new market with Amazon and "expand their business." Jim Adkins, VP of the Appstore, explained:
Opening our portal to app and game developers looking to reach Japanese customers is an important milestone as we strive to serve consumers and developers globally.
Games on Android continue to get bigger and more elaborate. One of the top developers leading the way in less-than-casual gaming on the mobile platform is Idea Factory (together with Hyperbox Studio). Previously, the company released Spectral Souls, a 1GB RPG for $15 that promised hundreds of hours of gameplay (as any decent RPG would). Today, the similarly priced, and even larger 1.2GB sequel lands on the Play Store: Blazing Souls Accelate.
Quick. Name the top three most time-consuming video games you can. Did you say RPGs, sims and "anything that even remotely looks like Farmville"? Well, one, Farmville already is kind of a sim so that doesn't really count and two, yes! Now, what happens if you mix all of these together into one big, colorful Japanese game? You get Kairobotica.
Part of the game takes place in a sim space colony where you build shops, tech, and bolster your forces for missions.
The developers at int13.net introduced Shogun Rise of the Renegades to the Android Market today, bringing "bullet hell" gameplay reminiscent of Japanese arcade games from the 1990s to the palm of your hand.
For those not in the know, the Japanese sometimes call "bullet hell" style games "danmaku," referring to insane shooters in which players can generally expect most of the screen to be filled with flying bullets.
Shogun definitely delivers on this reputation, providing a continuous stream of chaotic scrolling shooter action.
Back in October, Swype announced that with Swype BETA 3.26, the popular keyboard solution would have automatic update capabilities, replacing the tired routine of uninstalling Swype and using the proprietary installer with a significantly easier OTA process, which keeps all your settings intact.
In the keyboard's first OTA, which began rolling out today, Swype brings a context-based prediction engine, which learns from text you've already entered to better predict what you want (or meant) to say, while continually learning from your typing.
Second only to Google Voice Search in terms of popularity on Android, Vlingo received a major update today. What's new? The entire UI has been streamlined into a much more intuitive list format that makes learning Vlingo's various voice command capabilities, or quickly accessing them, a breeze.
You can send text messages, make phone calls, find places, open apps, get directions, buy movie tickets, and more. Vlingo also includes a handy InCar mode, which you can set to activate automatically whenever your phone connects to a Bluetooth headset.
As of late, there has been a lot of talk about Toshiba's upcoming-but-still-unannounced (in the US anyway) Android 3.0 tablet, but now things are starting to speed up. Toshiba has officially announced the "Regza" tablet - the Japanese version of the tablet that we're pretty sure will be called the Thrive. It sports the same specs that we've known about for a while now:
1Ghz dual-core Tegra 2 processor
16GB Internal storage, SD Card slot
5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
10.1 inch, 1280x800 display
HDMI, miniUSB, and USB ports
It also includes a feature called Regza App Connect, which links the tablet up to other Regza devices.
If you use Dropbox on your Android device and either like to live on the edge or help the company test out the latest betas, you will want to check out this post on the Dropbox forums, announcing a new public beta v18.104.22.168 with some new translations, Honeycomb improvements, new Lock Code support for the security-conscious, and other fixes. Forum replies also indicated that some sort of a folder opening bug got fixed in the process, though I am not sure what exactly that bug was in the first place.
Another game hit that was previously available only as a Flash game on PCs is now on Android, and its premise may surprise you. Mr. Karoshi, who happens to be an "overworked Japanese salaryman" is feeling suicidal. Your job? Finish him off.
The puzzle game features dark humor (no kidding?), 50 levels, a mini game, and is actually quite a bit of fun. Check out the trailer below - it shows off the Karoshi quite well: