Earlier this year, Google+ community managers gained the ability to pin posts to the top of a page, useful during those times when you want visitors to see something in particular the first time they arrive. The thing is, community pages aren't the only ones that could benefit from such a feature. So the capability is now rolling out for regular profiles and pages as well. General users can now pin posts using the web version Google+ from their PC.
We've already covered the beta, but now AirDroid 3 is available as a completed release on the Play Store. The new app has an updated UI and a few new features, but the biggest change is the addition of stand-alone clients for Windows and OS X, besides the app's famous desktop browser management. You can grab the desktop apps from here.
The Windows and OS X versions of AirDroid let you do pretty much all of the things you could do in the browser, albeit without the "virtual desktop" interface: send and receive SMS, file transfers to your device, contact and call log access, and of course, notification mirroring for your laptop or desktop, including call alerts.
If you're excited to try out YouTube's new music subscription service, you may not have long to wait. We've gotten several tips this morning from users who now have access to YouTube Music Key on the web, though that access doesn't seem to extend to the Android app just yet. Most users seem to be left out at the moment, so it's probably another one of Google's frustrating staged rollouts.
Having the latest version of the YouTube app (5.17) installed on your phone doesn't seem to help, though at least one reader with Music Key enabled said that there were now no ads being shown during music videos.
The web browser version of Google Play Music isn't exactly full-featured - it pales in comparison even to built-in tools like Windows Media Player or iTunes. But now it has one more tool that's bringing it a little closer: a visualizer. A visualizer is an overlay that presets a visual accompaniment to a musical track. Some of them get pretty elaborate, some of them aren't much more than a graphic equalizer.
When you're using a social network, getting tagged in messages is par for the course. Unfortunately Google hasn't always made it easy to find all the times you've been mentioned. Sure, you could look back over all of your notifications, but that list gets cluttered quickly with comments on your posts, +1's, and follows.
Thankfully, Google has added a "Mentions" tab. It's situated between the "More" and "Explore" sections on the right-hand side.
Pocket Casts is one of the more attractive mobile podcast managers out there, and it's pretty accessible too. The Android app is easy to use, and with a cloud sync account, you can keep up with shows across numerous devices. Now the team is expanding functionality to the desktop as well. A web version of Pocket Casts is on its way, and it's currently available in a private beta.
You have to get permission to use the beta, but once in, here's what you see.
Google is continuing to shine a brighter light on Hangouts users who are currently online. A few months ago the company brought back the green dot that used to mark online contacts in the days of Google Talk (which was replaced with a subtle green line in Hangouts). Going forward, the messenger in the web version of Gmail will contain a new tab that puts online contacts at the top. It's still possible to message friends who are offline, they're just tucked at the bottom where they're out of the way.
There have been a lot of leaks and rumors leading up to Google I/O this year. From Gmail to your Android device's home screen, nothing has been spared. Through all of this, we've seen some really interesting and non-traditional Android app designs, with matching web counterparts, that have made readers rightfully question their validity, and Google's design direction.
We've received new information related to what appears to be a new design paradigm for all Google's products across all platforms that should help explain what we've been seeing - say hello to Quantum Paper.
There have been rumblings recently that, adding to its other (perhaps more far-flung) efforts to improve Internet access around the world, Google would eventually deploy its own fleet of satellites. Today, those rumblings got a little bit closer to reality as Google announced its agreement to acquire satellite imaging company Skybox for $500 million in cash.
Skybox's journey so far, according to the announcement on its own blog, has been about revolutionizing "access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth." Having already deployed the world's smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, the company says it's already made "great strides."
Occasionally, an OS update will bring around features that really change things. Android 3.0 brought the Android experience to tablets. 4.0 completely revamped the UI and added guidelines that made Android look cohesive for the first time. 4.4 added Svelte, which promised to seat Android comfortably on an even broader range of devices. We have reason to believe another one of those changes is right around the corner, and it's known internally as Hera.