Google just announced all of the great new APIs developers would be able to play with from the Google Play services, and now we've got some apks to check out. As usual, there aren't a lot of user-facing features in the GMS package, so don't expect to see any huge changes immediately after installation. However, there are at least a couple of interesting bits and pieces that stand out in a side-by-side comparison. Read More
As the resident teardown guy, Update Wednesday was a huge letdown this week. After slicing and dicing a dozen or so apks, all I saw were bug fixes, minor adjustments, and updates with full changelogs. Come on Google, I can't write about the neat stuff if none of the secrets are allowed to leave Mountain View. Fortunately, I did get to look at an unreleased version of Play Services, and there are a few interesting things to take away from it. Read More
The Smart Lock feature that has been slowly cooking in the Chrome OS dev and beta channels has made its way into the latest stable release, version 40. Now anyone with a phone running Android 5.0 or later (sorry, no tablets) can automatically unlock their Chromebook just by keeping the two devices within 100 feet of each other.
You can find the option tucked away under advanced settings. In this shot I've scrolled the area to the top and have already turned things on. Read More
Smart Lock in Lollipop encompasses both trusted face and trusted devices, but a new option is joining the party—trusted places. The latest Google Play Services for Lollipop devices is adding this option to the menu automagically. Just choose a trusted place, and your phone will remain unlocked when it's in that geographic area.
Google showed off the trusted device unlock support back at Google I/O, but the feature didn't make it into the last dev preview. Well, it's there now and it works as advertised. Just pair your favorite wearable or Bluetooth gizmo, and the secure lock screen goes away. Lose connection, and it's back.
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. Read More