It looks like the "OK, Google" search hotword has now become a standard feature for advanced Android launchers. Nova Launcher added the search function in its 3.0 update earlier this month, and now its biggest competitor, Apex, has followed suit. Users who are on Android 4.4 can enable the voice-activated search function in Apex Launcher 2.4. Earlier versions, sadly, cannot access the functionality - you'll have to search with your fingers like some kind of sad troglodyte.
Other changes for 2.4 include support for the new dynamic calendar icon in Today Calendar, which changes based on today's date, new small or hidden group/folder tabs in the app drawer, notification badges in the app drawer (for those who've purchased the $4 Apex Pro upgrade), and smoother transition effects. Read More
The hunt is on. Or it will be right after the main Google I/O keynote is over. If you're a registered attendee of the conference and you have some free time between sessions, the yearly location-based I/O treasure hunt will provide you with enough trivia and challenges to keep you entertained.
This year, you will be looking for Alex, the Android dog, who left a trail of NFC tags all over Moscone Center, starting with a booth on Floor 3. By answering questions and completing quests, you will unlock achievements and reveal some cool surprises that "you won't want to miss!"
Attendees who finish the quest will be able to claim a final prize as well, while supplies last. Read More
BeyondPod has long been one of the top Android podcast managers, but it was definitely not tops in the looks department. The current version is okay, but it could use a fresh coat of paint. The new 4.0 beta is getting more than that, though. BeyondPod 4.0 has been rebuilt from the ground up with a completely new UI and a new name to go with it. BeyondPod is BeyondPod EVO now.
The Netflix app has come a long, long way in terms of design during its run on Android. It wasn't even a year ago that Netflix changed the interface dramatically in v3.0 and killed most of the lag. Now it's up to v3.6 with a new logo/icon and a black action bar in the app.
I'm a twenty-something bachelor, so if you were to assume that my homemaking skills are somewhat lacking, I probably wouldn't bother to chide you for stereotyping. If I cared enough about such things (or owned a house), I might look into BrightNest, a subsidy of Angie's List that's focused on giving you tips for keeping your living place in tip top shape. The popular website just launched an Android app to compliment its online tips and tricks.
BrightNest offers a few fashion-style tips, but it's more like Lifehacker than Better Homes & Gardens. When you first start the app, you'll be prompted to answer a few questions: do you have any pets or kids? Read More
Admit it, Glass owners, half the reason you're going to Google I/O is that you want to chat with other Glass people about how cool Glass is (hashtag throughglass). Google has given you plenty to chat about: they've just thrown a dozen new apps into the Glassware gallery, all of them from notable sources. Probably the most interesting is Livestream, the official app for Livestream.com, which was previously available as a side-load install.
Clockwise from left: Livestream, Duolingo, MusiXmatch, Star Chart, The Guardian, and Zombies Run!
Other possibly useful additions include a Glassified version of the Duolingo language learning app, a really cool take on the augmented reality Star Chart app, heads-up versions of the Runtastic and Zombies Run! Read More
A trio of notable apps have been updated with support for Chromecast streaming today, and all of them are free (or free-ish). The apps in question are PBS Kids, Daily Burn, and Deezer.
Everyone's favorite notification LED manager Light Flow received quite a large update today, to version 3.20. The new app features a totally overhauled UI with better support for tablets, quicker access to notification settings, and more. On the substantive side, Light Flow can now allegedly be controlled by apps such as Tasker, and the developer promises documentation for that is forthcoming.
100 or so new apps have gained Light Flow support, including Blue Mail (which is apparently popular), and new pickers for ringtones and color top off the major UI changes. The typical bug fixes are in tow, as well, but this update is obviously more about the new looks than anything. Read More
Google's general intent with Google Play Games is simple. Google wants to provide a solid backend with common game features to developers who want to make more compelling games. Once developers integrate these features, Google's user base offers a cohesive score/competition experience.
Providing features like leaderboards and achievements, Google has managed to catch the interest of many game developers already, but we have reason to believe that Google will be peppering a few new features into Google Play Games some time soon, with an update to Google Play Services and the Google Play Games app.
Quests & Level Up Notifications
First, quests. Read More
I love Google Shopping Express. I am practically a Google Shopping Express fanboy. Sure, that's mostly because it comes with a 6-month no-delivery fee trial thus literally making it cheaper than actually going to the grocery store, but hey, it's awesome regardless.
But now, Shopping Express is ready to do something it hasn't to date: deliver big-people juice to your doorstep. Yep, GSE is going to liquor you up. Or wine / beer you up, whatever. And unlike a bartender, you don't even need to tip it (seriously, they discourage tipping). For now, alcohol delivery is limited to San Francisco and even further only to Nob Hill supermarkets, but a source tells us that Costco, AKA bulk booze mecca, will soon join the list of stores catering to the 21+ crowd. Read More