Chromecast has been slowly but steadily adding support from major media apps since it launched: Hulu Plus, Pandora, and HBO GO have joined Netflix and Google's own Play Music, Play Movies, and YouTube. Apparently the Big G thinks this is enough to warrant a dedicated sub-section of the Play Store, as spotted by Google Operating System. Depending on your device and its resolution, it might show up on the main Apps page or necessitate a quick swipe to the left to open the Categories menu.
Google Play for Education launched earlier this month as a curated market that distributes apps aimed at helping teachers with classroom instruction. Apps in this separate market are, naturally, both educational and kid-friendly. Another aspect of program is the ability for schools to place bulk orders for Nexus devices, and now an app is available to help school officials activate their tablets once the shipment arrives.
This app is intended solely for school administrators, helping them to set up their tablets and prepare them to access Google's educational app store.
If you're listening to music while using your phone or tablet for something else, you don't always want to stop what you're doing to fiddle with the song. If you're in a game, for example, you may have to exit to the home screen just to get to your music controls, but SidePlayer offers an alternative. It pops a small control panel out from the edge of the screen when you need it, and hides it when you don't.
There's a new version of YouTube out, and as usual, hidden inside its chocolaty center are hints at upcoming features and capabilities. We've seen information about a lot of this stuff before, some of which has even been confirmed by Google itself. Aside from the user interface changes we mentioned in the announcement post, there are framework elements for the upcoming YouTube subscription service, "Uninterrupted Playback," an offline video mode, and background music listening.
A few months ago we told you about a nifty music streaming app called SoundSeeder, which lets you stream audio directly from one Android device to another over WiFi. At the time I mentioned that it was a cool idea, but the fact that it didn't allow users to stream Google Music songs over the connection was a bit of a let down. Developer JekApps took my complaint under advisement, and let us know that there's a new version that enables Google Play Music streaming after all.
For a lot of users, Titanium Backup is one of the first Android apps they install on a new device or ROM. So it's no surprise that a few of them were dismayed when they tried to do so on the Nexus 5 (or one of a growing number of updated Android 4.4 devices) with the fancy new Android Runtime enabled, and found that Titanium would crash. The developer has updated the app to 184.108.40.206 in short order, and it should now run in both ART and Dalvik.
Google has been building up to something big with YouTube, as indicated by our recent APK teardowns. It looks like yet another version of the YouTube app is rolling out to devices all over the world, and we've got the file for you to check out. It's not a huge update at first glance, but maybe there's something beneath the surface.
The first really obvious visual change is a slight reorganization of the slide-out navigation menu.
If you're a regular user of the iHeartRadio service, there's a big update waiting for you in the Play Store. The most useful addition in the new version of the Android app is undoubtedly the expanded control options: you can now pause, play, or advance your streaming music on the lockscreen or the new notification. The notification is even expandable - are you watching this, Pandora?
The user interface gets a fancy new slide-out menu, accessible from the main player and home screens.
As a tech addict who lives in a remote area, Amazon Prime is a godsend for me: getting stuff delivered to my door quickly when it would otherwise necessitate a three hour round trip is well worth the nominal fee. Amazon hopes you'll agree, and to that end they've now included the ability to sign up for an Amazon Prime free trial right in the official Amazon app.
If you qualify for Prime (and just about everybody does), you can sign up for a 30-day trial within the app itself.