Google asserts that over 97% of mobile shoppers abandon their shopping carts because the process simply makes them jump through too many hoops. To free Android users from this heavy burden, Google has launched a new Google Wallet Instant Buy API that will allow mobile shoppers in Android apps to check out in as little as two clicks. No more poking out lengthy street address and re-looking up credit card information. If you're like me, and already spend too much money because of your phone, this is probably a double-edged sword. Just look at the reduced number of steps in the screenshots below and imagine your bank account slowly draining.
Google's official Search app (aka Google Now) for Android has been updated with a few new features, though they're pretty awesome ones. First, voice reminders are finally live - you can now say, for example, "remind me to buy milk this evening" or "remind me to take out the trash when I get home." I think we can all agree that's kind of amazing.
The second new feature is suggested content, in the form of upcoming books, music, TV, and video games you might be interested in. Presumably, this is based on your email and search history. Finally, real-time public transit updates are coming for select cities.
Today, Google announced Google Play game services that brings a suite of new features that game developers can integrate into their titles. The biggest of them is cloud data sync. Game developers can sync their players' progress across devices and platforms. Yes, this feature works on Android and iOS. This is hot.
In addition to cloud data sync, the suite of services also brings achievements and leaderboards. Any game can now tap into a unified system for showing off your accomplishments. If you want a more personal grandstanding experience, Google also introduced both live and turn-based multiplayer features for game developers to utilize.
If you're in the market for a new Android virtual keyboard, you could do a lot worse than SwiftKey, especially since it's just been updated to version 4.1. In the company's ceaseless drive to improve every nook and cranny of the app they've added three shiny new themes: Regal (purple), Pitch (black) and Dusk (navy blue). In addition, both the smartphone and tablet version of the swiping, predicting, multi-language keyboard are on sale for half off. You can pick them up for just two bucks each (£1.49/€1.99) at the moment.
The themes are pretty swanky, and should make SwiftKey more attractive for those users who just have to make their keyboard match their launcher icons (you know who you are).
Google Maps has been performing solid, mostly thankless service for more than eight years now, and last week its most significant update yet was leaked. It's that time of year, so we naturally assumed that we'd be hearing more about it at today's Google I/O keynote, but someone in Mountain View must have been a little quick on the trigger. Droid Life spotted a signup page for the revamped web interface and managed to grab a few screenshots before it was hastily shoved back in the digital closet.
Between this and a string of small maintenance updates to Google Maps for Android (not to mention a name change - the Play Store entry is just "Maps" now) we think there's a pretty good chance that the Google Maps app will also get a major overhaul in the very near future.
Even if you're not physically attending Google I/O, the official convention app might serve you well. It allows attendees to scan badges, view schedules, and just guide themselves around with vector-based maps. If you're not going to be in Moscone Center tomorrow, you can stream sessions with the app. Waiting just about as long as possible, Google has pushed an update to the I/O app, and it adds some cool stuff.
Here's the full changelog:
Cydia by developer Saurik has been around the block a few times, beginning in 2008 as a means of installing and modifying software on jailbroken iDevices. A diverse ecosystem has sprung up around the platform, expanding what iOS fans can do on their usually restricted devices. Saurik's Cydia Substrate, a platform for modifying devices without flashing new ROMs, has now made its way over to Android.
Cydia Substrate does not do anything interesting on its own, but developers can use the platform to distribute extensions that modify software without requiring access to source code. Rooted users are free to load these extensions to pimp out their phones without having to go through all the hassle of installing custom ROMs.
Google I/O is almost here, so surely you've got Google on the brain. Why not take your mind off things with some neat new apps and games? Oh, but the cost! At least there are some cool sales going on to reduce the impact on your wallet. The selection is solid today, ranging from classic utilities to polished games. These deals aren't just in Google Play – Amazon's Appstore is makes a few appearances this time, as well. Let's check it out.
Shiny The Firefly – $0.99 (66% off)
Tapatalk – Free (100% off on Amazon, and probably permanent)
SoundHound Infinity – $1.99 (66% off on Amazon)
Contre Jour – $0.99 (50% off on Amazon)
Beautiful Widgets Pro – $1.99 (33% off)
The Sandbox – Free (in-app purchases discounted).