In the Android Police teardown of the latest Google Play Services support app posted yesterday, Cody Toombs noted that the "Nearby Players" feature we've been spotting for a few weeks seems ready to go. And lo and behold, several users have seen the feature become active on their phones, heading to Google+ and our own tips box to spread the joy around. Check your own app to see if it's enabled, though the distribution seems somewhat random - we're seeing reports from players in Mexico and Italy at the moment.
As evidence mounts that the official release of Android L may be days away, Google began rolling out yet another update to Play services, just one week after the previous update. As it turns out, there's a bit more than just a new icon, a few UI tweaks, and the usual bug fixes. This version brings some finishing touches to a couple of features, no doubt getting them ready to launch alongside the next version of Android.
Recently, we posted about a new feature Google was testing to help users better "explore" their surroundings, offering more fine-tuned exploration options for a user's immediate vicinity or their destination, with suggestions of what to do in the area based on time of day or conditions. The interface would apparently get its own button in Google Maps' primary view, but the button only appeared for a few users at the time.
Yesterday’s update to Google Maps was certainly no slouch for new features; it came packing some great improvements for cyclists, new voice commands during navigation, and a few other interface tweaks. In addition to these public changes, there are also two brand new features buried within the code which are not active yet, but they may point to some exciting stuff on the horizon.
"I Am Here"
Google Maps is pretty good at figuring out where we've gone; between GPS, Wi-Fi, and even things like BLE-based iBeacons, it's possible to pinpoint our locations just about everywhere, even inside of buildings.
A couple of months ago, we posted one of our early Google Search/Now rumors, and it was something of a long range rumor compared to others. While things like parking reminders, proper timer management, and bill pay reminders have already seen their public release, the ability to set contact-based reminders ("remind me when I'm with this person"), hasn't come forward yet. But it will likely appear very soon with a new feature in Android called Nearby, which will allow new interactions between you and nearby people, places, and things.
What do you do when you arrive in a new city and want to know what to do? I'm sure there are plenty of possible answers, but the correct one is to fire up Yelp. In the US, it's just hard to find a competing platform that offers the sheer depth and functionality that the service offers. Yelp displays discounts, allows user to make reservations, has Open Table integration, and - my personal favorite - gives quick access to addresses.
In the information age, discovery is a profitable trade. Google even built its fortune on discovering new and relevant info. As everyone and their mother begins sharing everything about their lives online, startups and large corporations alike have a new source of data to pull from. Enter Likes!, an app that uses things your friends and family have liked on Facebook to help you discover restaurants, movies, events, and more.
The app is a great concept.