Up until recently, the Google Wifi router and mesh network system was only available in 7 countries on the Google Store: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. The country availability support page of Google even officially attests to that. But Google Wifi is now up for sale in 5 more countries, mostly from Northern Europe.
Your opinion is worth something. Not much, but something. Companies are willing to pay for consumer feedback, and in this area, Google is no exception. It is happy to reward people for answering a few mundane questions. And now that offer extends out to people in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
Google is often accused of having a heavy focus on the United States. That's certainly true, but come on - it's a US company. Nobody seems to mind that Samsung sells a ton of phones in South Korea, or that Japan gets the newest and hottest Canon cameras before anyone else. Can you really blame a company with limited hardware resources for prioritizing a new product launch in certain markets?
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.
Belgium, Finland, and Ireland all get cards with Euro values of 15, 25, and 50, while Denmark, Norway, and Sweden get 150, 250, and 500 Krone/Krona cards.
If you're a Norwegian Android developer, you might want to consider attending JavaZone, an independent Java programming and development conference being held in Oslo from September 9th through the 11th. If you're not, you can still enjoy this parody trailer for the event posted to the group's YouTube page. If you're at work or in public, heads up: the video below has some mild swearing.
To get all the in-jokes here you'd probably need a programming undergrad degree, a passing knowledge of George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones novels or the HBO TV show, and an awareness of the litigious copyright and patent lawsuits spiraling around the technology industry.
Good news, European readers: physical gift cards for the Google Play Store are coming to more of you soon. Google updated its list of supported countries for gift cards today, marking Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as "coming soon." We can't say exactly when - a few other countries like Greece, Poland, and Portugal got the same treatment earlier this month, and they're still marked as coming soon instead of linking to the relevant page.
Today's a big day for Chromecast. Earlier today we reported that Google's little magic media stick was ready to stream shows to TVs in Japan and Austrialia. Now we see that the device has also arrived in Belgium, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland as well.
Even better, all four new territories can access the all-you-can-eat All Access music subscription service. That's generally been the way it works - currently all twenty-five countries supported by Google Play Music also have access to All Access. New users, please keep in mind: you almost certainly won't be able to access exactly the same selection of music that's available in the United States, or even in the country next door.
Update: It looks like Telstra has had carrier billing for a couple of months, and Google is just now getting around to updating the support page. Thanks to Adam Ricket (@onlineadr) for the heads-up.
Good news, Aussies: your mega-carrier Telstra is now in Google's good graces when it comes to billing for apps and other purchases on the Play Store. Just select carrier billing during the checkout process, and the purchase price will be added to your next phone bill instead of your credit or debit card.
Customers of Telenor in Norway and Beeline in Russia, you can also spend your kroner and rubles via your phone bill.
Samsung is definitely on a roll with the Galaxy S III updates - not a day goes by without a massive rollout of Jelly Bean to devices all over Europe, and now the Middle East as well. The company began sending Android 4.1.1 OTAs to the following territories: