Google Hangouts hasn't had any major changes since its debut earlier this summer, but the latest version of the app adds some interesting tweaks. Google's new, annoying habit of staged rollouts means that a lot of people don't' have access to the updated app, even though it started becoming available on the 23rd. The indefatigable Ron Amadeo had a look inside, and found it to be a housecleaning update, with a lot of tightened code and only a few new features.
Want to know how you're expected to connect your phones, tablets, and computers to that fancy Chromecast that's shipping in the mail? Simple, there's an app for that. Google has dropped dedicated software in the Play Store that configures all that Chromecast devices in your house, because I know there are a good number of you that have already ordered more than one.
The app will set up your Chromecast to work on your local network and give you an interface for managing its settings, such as changing the device's name or inputting a new WiFI password.
Google has made a small change to the Google Calendar API that nonetheless could make a huge difference for developers and users. The Calendar API now supports push notifications - alerts sent directly to devices and apps instead of waiting for a client-side sync, a la Gmail - for updates that are practically instantaneous. The official app has had this for a while, but now third-party developers have access to this functionality, meaning that push notifications for subscribed Google Calendars can be sent to any app that supports the general Gcal API.
Amazon's cloud service is a little behind the curve when it comes to mobile apps, mostly because it's segmented on photo, music, and general storage lines. But today's update to the Cloud Drive Photos app is a big one: users can now upload videos. Not just in the old-fashioned file browser way, either - Amazon has enabled auto-upload for videos, just like the photo options that were already in place.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an impressive space strategy game, a platformer that encourages you to die, and a ruthless roguelike.
Turn-based strategy is a classic style of gameplay, but it's still pretty big these days with titles like Frozen Synapse hitting Android. But sometimes these games can be a little slow, or even tedious if a not designed well. The developers of TurtleStrike are trying to combine real-time with turn-based gaming in what they call "live turn-based" gameplay. This approach has the potential to make matches proceed quickly, but still allow careful tactical planning.
Look, I know you like shooting monsters. Doing so has been the premise of roughly 80% of video games ever made. Master Chief's done it. Samus has done it. Have you ever heard of Space Invaders? I remember that pixelated little ship shooting quite a few monsters back before it was even cool. Gamelion Studios' Monster Shooter 2: Back to Earth may not have the brand recognition, but there should be no confusion about what this game is all about.
Netflix made several appearances at today's Google event, but the most notable is perhaps the announcement that content delivered to Android devices may soon look a whole lot better. Hugo Barra demoed the new Nexus 7, showing off the 1080p content the device will be able to stream from Netflix when it launches in the US on July 30th. Prior to now, Android devices streamed content in standard definition, regardless of their resolution.
Google laid out a few important announcements today, which included both Android 4.3 and a new streaming device called Chromecast among others. As a result, the Play Music app was updated with support for Chromecast streaming last night, and Play Movies & TV received a very similar update today.
- Send what you’re watching to your TV screen (when used with Chromecast).
- Support for virtual surround sound on the new (2013) Nexus 7, and on the Nexus 10 running Android 4.3.
Get excited, students - textbooks are coming to the Play Store next month, so you can get gouged digitally rather than in your university book store. This morning at an event which also featured the new Nexus 7 and Chromkey, Google announced that you'll soon be able to get some of those gigantic hardback tomes in eBook form on the Play Store, and they will presumably be viewable through the existing Play Books app.