When the 4.4W.2 firmware version began rolling out a few days ago, it became possible to swipe down on the top-most card to show an unobstructed view of your favorite watch face. This still left Wear with the irksome tendency to put a card preview back on top when a new notification came in. Not only did the W.2 update give us the ability to hide that card, but there's also an option to keep new cards from getting in the way.
According to Re/code, an organizational reorganization will see Sundar Pichai, head of Chrome and Android, appointed as "czar" of all Google's major products. This includes ads, Search, research, Google+, Maps, commerce, and infrastructure. These duties previously fell on CEO Larry Page. Page will retain his leadership positions, though, at Nest, Calico, Google X, corporate development, finance, and business. Page will also most likely retain final say in most decisions he chooses to be involved in, being CEO and all.
The newest Android Wear update has started rolling out to the Samsung Gear Live after hitting G Watch and Moto 360 devices in the last few days. The update comes with version number 4.4W.2 and makes a handful of tweaks to the OS, not the least of which is the option to hide notification cards on the watch face.
Developers have a lot to look forward to with the latest release of Android, but not everything requires Lollipop to run. With the official release of the SDK for API Level 21, Google also included an updated version of the AppCompat Support Library, which contains back-ported versions of UI controls and other features for use on older versions of the OS. Some of the new libraries were first available with the L Preview SDK, but just about everything has received an update, and there are some additions for the official release.
Android includes tools to follow the state of your battery, but not Android Wear. Seems like an oversight on Google's part, but developers are trying to fill in the gaps. The first such app showed up just recently, but now there's a new Wear battery tracker from the developer of the fantastic Wear Mini Launcher. Wear Battery Stats can be used on the phone or watch to see how the battery has been doing and identify potential issues.
Update: While the message sent out to developers may be new, as it turns out, the information is not. It repeats what Google said back when it announced the availability of the Android 5.0 SDK. Here's the relevant passage.
"OK Google, what is Microsoft Garage?" Well, Rita, it's an idea incubator for Microsoft employees who like to dabble with things non-Microsofty in their spare time, like Android for example. They have a crush on us, but they still can't completely deny their allegiance to the quad colors of Redmond so they indulge by mixing in some Bing bangy bongiddy features. "Ah, thanks Google. Can you give me an example?" Sure Rita, that Bing Torque app they just released, though if you ask me, they need a copy editor for their Play Store listing: "It is like to have Microsoft’s Cortana running on your smart watch." That was a direct quote and it is like to read a torturous story for me.
Google has promised standalone music playback over Bluetooth as part of Android Wear for some time, and it appears with Wear version 4.4W2 we're finally getting it, at least if you use Play Music (you're also getting new playback controls). If you're using the latest Play Music APK on your Android phone and have the Android 4.4W2 update on your smartwatch, you can now download your pinned music from your smartphone to your watch.
Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.