Hey, Spotify users – how's it going? It's about to be going even better, because with the latest update to the music streaming app, you can finally add full albums to playlists (I kind of can't believe this wasn't possible before), and it will also confirm if you try to add the same song to a playlist twice. Both are welcome features, and should improve the playlist experience pretty drastically – it'll definitely make it a lot easier to make playlists from the collected works of a single artist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.