Today, in a post to the Official Google TV Blog, Google announced officially the new functionality offered by the YouTube update we covered yesterday, along with a few other treats set to hit Google TV users starting with LG devices "this week."
First among the enhancements is the addition of Voice Search, allowing users to "simply speak to watch anything." Voice Search recognizes commands for opening apps, playing YouTube videos, visiting websites, and even finding channels or specific TV shows.
We know a lot of our international readers have been eager to get their hands on the Play Store's content ecosystem. It turns out Google is just as eager for that as you are. In addition to movie rentals, users in Canada, the UK, France, Spain, and Australia will be able to purchase movies outright and watch them forever.
Said Google on the matter:
We’ve recently added a ton of great new entertainment to Google Play, such as movies and TV shows from Twentieth Century Fox.
One of the most common questions users have regarding Google's various content offerings is "Why isn't it available in [insert any number of countries here]?" Google has been working to change that, offering more and more of the Play Store's non-app content abroad. In that spirit, today it announced that Google Play Movies is now available in Korea (where we saw Eric Schmidt having some Gangnam style fun earlier this week).
Yesterday, Netflix introduced a new UI for Android phones that brings it more in line with the tablet version. While most of the new features were detailed in a video, they apparently missed one major selling point: the app can now be used to control the Netflix app on a PS3 running on the same Wi-Fi network. See it in action:
It seems that not everyone has this feature yet - we've seen a few comments here and there form users who can't seem to replicate what happens in this video, even under the same circumstances.
The Redbox movie and video game rental kiosks that seem to be at every McDonald's, Walgreens, Walmart, and umpteen other locations across the country are easily one of the most convenient ways to get your entertainment fix. If Redboxes in your town are anything like they are in mine, however, there's always a line of people. Instead of standing around waiting for you chance to grab The Cabin in the Woods, though, you could fire up the recently updated Android App.
Chances are, most of you only ever hear about Epix in an article discussing streaming rights (like this one). Epix is an online streaming video service a la Netflix that you can only get access to if you have a cable bundle that includes the site. Or, you know, if you have Netflix. For now anyway. The real value of Epix is the stable of movie rights it brings to the table, and now the joint venture is sharing its media library with Amazon Instant Video for all of the online retail giant's Prime customers.
Movies by Flixster has a very interesting design history. The developers behind this app are usually among the first to adopt new Android design guidelines—they had a Honeycomb-style action bar back when the Xoom was the only Android tablet around—and today it got another new refresh. The good news is that now it looks better on the Nexus 7, as opposed to the broken mess it was before. Now, for the bad news.
This may not be strictly Android-related news, but it's safe to say that what Google does to search results is relevant to our readers' interests, no? Today, Google announced via its Inside Search blog that the company will start including the volume of valid copyright removal notices as a factor in determining how high or low a site ranks in its search results. Translation: pirate sites won't be removed entirely, but they'll start ranking lower than legitimate sites.
If you've never heard of the Xbox Media Center (XBMC), you can turn in one of your geek cards right now. The open-source streaming media platform is legendary among tinkerers and DIY types, with its long list of features and insane customizations being its major draws. After nearly ten years of active development, the creators are preparing a full Android version complete with video/audio streaming and all the other goodies. Not to be confused with the current remote app (or any of the third-party alternatives) the upcoming XBMC for Android will have almost the full set of functions found in its desktop and stand-alone counterparts.
IMDb is already one of the most awesome movie apps on the market. With the world's largest and most popular catalog of who's-in-what and which-came-out-when, IMDb has single-handedly solved that whole "I recognize his face, but what was he in?" problem. Today, it's getting even better by adding support for the oft-forgotten IMDb message boards, providing recommendations based on your movie tastes and, perhaps best of all, Metacritic scores.
The Metacritic scores are perhaps the most exciting, as the site is one of the better opinion aggregators out there.