Google sells a lot of games, but often, the ones downloaded from the Play Store require Internet access even in single-player modes. (Square Enix, Gameloft, we're glaring at you.) So for the latest promotion, they've decided to highlight games that don't require such frivolities. You can play them on a train. You can play them on a plane. You can play them in a box. You can play them with a fox.
My Devices interface
Most importantly, today's update finally adds the ability to manage and deauthorize devices without having to go to the web interface - a feature we've longed for ever since discovering the 10-device limitation. While 10 devices may seem like a lot, once you factor in a few rounds of phone upgrades, various tablets lying around the house, and Google TV, you may just find yourself running into the limit soon.
Remember when Microsoft angered legions of fans by announcing that the Xbox One would require an Internet connection to use? The company reversed that decision, but thus far, the Xbox Music Android app has functioned in much the same way. Fortunately for it, streaming music is already an established thing, so there won't be nearly as many people excited to find out that the newest version of the app now supports playing playlists offline.
There's a new version of YouTube out, and as usual, hidden inside its chocolaty center are hints at upcoming features and capabilities. We've seen information about a lot of this stuff before, some of which has even been confirmed by Google itself. Aside from the user interface changes we mentioned in the announcement post, there are framework elements for the upcoming YouTube subscription service, "Uninterrupted Playback," an offline video mode, and background music listening.
Every time I try a new non-AOSP Android device, I lament the lack of Google's News & Weather app and its excellent widget. But the latest app from Falcon Pro developer Joaquim Verges might just get me to let go of that standby. Flyne is a news reader in the vein of Press and Flipboard, but it's powered by curated Twitter lists and your own Twitter and Feedly content.
Setup is simple, at least for the free version: select your topics of interest from a wide list, and Flyne will populate your personal news list with authoritative sources for that particular niche.
Last month YouTube announced that they were going to introduce an offline viewing option to their mobile apps sometime in November. They've since rolled out details about how it's going to work. If you add videos to your device and then disconnect it from the Internet, you will be able to watch the content for up to 48 hours. After those two days have passed, you will have to reconnect in order to watch the videos again, but the 48 hour window will refresh, and the content will remain on your device.
Duolingo, the much-loved app/game for learning new languages, got its second significant Android update this morning since being released back in May. Version 1.2 of the app brings with it the ability to store up to an hour of lessons on-device for offline use. Previously, Duolingo required an always-on internet connection in order to download your lessons and stay in sync with the server, but with the latest update this is no longer necessary.
Google Translate has always been one of the unsung heroes of the free service space. On the one hand, it doesn't provide a perfect translation, so people are still hesitant to call it a true breakthrough. On the other hand, we use it all the time to translate web pages enough to get the gist and, when combined with speech-to-text and text-to-speech, you can use the Android app as the closest thing to a universal translator in your pocket the world has ever seen.
Yesterday, Google did what Google does best: announce a first version of something that is completely ridiculous, very few people care about, most folks mocked, and that will ultimately end up forgotten in the annals of internet history. No offense, Goog. Some later products are spectacular, but let's be real. Very rarely does Google get it right on the first try.
However, the Chromebook Pixel is still a huge deal and the savvy analyst should take notice, because things just changed in a big way.