Google's long, slow journey towards bringing Play Store media to all corners of the globe has advanced another step today: the Movies section has opened up to Android and web users in Italy. Italian readers can check the Play Store on their phone, tablet, or PC to see what's available for rent or purchase. At present it looks like most of the major American studios are on board for the new territory.
Following the new improvements to Hangouts revealed at today's event, Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features for Google+ photos, including new auto-enhance options, 1000 additional image recognition words, Auto Awesome Movies, and other tools aimed at making backing up, editing, and retrieving your content even easier.
Google+'s new auto-enhance options improve upon the tweaks Google already applies to images that are automatically backed up to the service. Faces look brighter, noise is reduced, and vignettes are applied.
It's about bloody time. Starting today, some of HBO's most popular currently-running original programming is available for purchase on the Google Play Store. For starters the fantasy drama Game of Thrones (seasons one and two), urban fantasy True Blood (seasons one through five), and political drama The Newsroom (season one) are available. Episodes are $2.99 for the dramas and $1.99 for The Newsroom, with small discounts for buying a full season.
Google Play Movies & TV received an update to version 2.7.15 today (or yesterday, but I haven't seen anyone with an APK until today), and while
the changelog is still missing, we have noticed a number of new things.
The previous version was v2.6.9, so these line up with a point release - nothing too significant, but still more than just bug fixes.
Update: I just realized that the changelog, which Google updated on September 18th, is actually current - they just never released the update until now.
If you're a fan of the new slide-out menu that has slowly been making its way into all of Google's official apps and also like to watch movies/TV shows, today's your lucky day! Play Movies just got a sizeable update that not only brings said menu, but also a sleeker look and a couple of new features:
Watch Now provides quick access to what you’re likely to watch next.
Allow me to be blunt for a moment: AOL's Moviefone was in desperate need of a makeover. Sure, back in the day the styling was appropriate – but now we want Holo. Everywhere.
Good news: the most recent update to Moviefone ditches the old tabbed-style interface for a much nicer-looking Holo-esque interface and dark color scheme. It really is quite nice looking – especially in comparison to the former version:
We've all played the "Wait, who is that guy again?" or "What song is that?" while watching a movie. Now, with the latest update to the Play Movies app, if you want to get the answer to that question, all you have to do is press pause. Info cards will then pop up with face recognition of actors on screen, what other movies they're in, and what music you're hearing.
The feature only works on "supported movies" and it's a little unclear which ones those are (there doesn't seem to be any icon or indicator that shows whether any given movie in your library can show cards).
MoviePass sounds like a pretty fantastic service for movie buffs. Pay a set fee every month, and you can go to the theater as much as you would like (with a fairly lengthy list of caveats). It's Netflix, but for all the movies that are out now. While it wouldn't be of much interest to the casual viewer who might only see one or two flicks a year, the avid viewer could save tons of money.
Two weeks ago, we took a look at the invite-only beta of Redbox Instant. In that article, we gave a brief glimpse into what the fledgling service's library had to offer. Of course, the inevitable question had to be asked: how does it stack up against Netflix? Or Amazon Instant Video for that matter? While we're at it, how does Google's Play Store compare? Those are pretty big questions! So, they deserve pretty big answers.