You may remember Google nearly bought the game streaming service Twitch a while back, but then Amazon swooped in and snatched it up when the Google deal fell through. Now Google is announcing a new service that competes directly with Twitch, and it's called (predictably) YouTube Gaming. While it uses the YouTube brand, this will be a standalone service with its own website and app when it launches this summer.
Giving away free apps is sort of Amazon's thing. Each day the company offers up a different piece of software in hopes of attracting Android users away from their default app store. Now Google seems to be dipping its toes in the water and trying out something similar. Instead of a free app of the day, we can download one for the week.
The offer isn't immediately apparent when you first open the Play Store. A banner advertising "New Family Fun" appears at the bottom of the screen. Clicking that will take you over to the family section, where you should see another banner advertising a free app of the week from PBS Kids. Read More
If you've got a big media library to manage and you want to get it on multiple screens, Plex is one of the best ways to do it. The Android app has been updating at a breakneck pace recently, and today there's yet another version bump. It comes with various layout improvements and some tweaks to Android TV functionality.
Twitter made its name on the basis of brevity. You have 140 characters to get your point across, and that's it. This limit has also been in place for direct messages this whole time, but that changes in July. Twitter has posted an overview of the new DM API features so developers can get ready for longer messages. Read More
Hangouts may not be as ubiquitous as Skype, but as Google sells more devices, people are increasingly turning to the company's built-in method of video chatting. Today the search giant announced an addition to the desktop Hangouts experience that we Android users may encounter as we hop from our phones to our laptops. Now when users share their screens, others can view it in fullscreen.
Google says the video will use as much visible area as possible. Attendee thumbnails will overlay the content at the bottom of the screen, and a new button will appear on the control bar that allows viewers to hide these images and focus entirely on the presentation. Read More
You can back up your photos to roughly a billion different cloud services, but Amazon's latest Photos update might tempt you to give its Cloud Drive another shot. The v4.0 update offers more granular control over photo uploads, plus you can share photos more easily.
Spotify started rolling its v3.0 update to users today, which brings some design tweaks to the player screens as well as a new feature for the mini player. The relationship between the main player screen and the mini player is now clearer, since there is an up arrow and animation to maximize the mini player along with a down arrow on the main player to do the opposite. You can also now swipe left or right on the mini player to skip tracks, rather than go to the main screen to do that.
Left: old (v2.9), right: new (v3.0)
The most obvious change to the main player is that the album cover has been slightly de-emphasized to allow more room for controls. Read More
Typing to find things while shopping? What is this, the stone age? Pounce is a new app that claims to be able to identify a product from a photo in mere moments. Then it helps you find similar things to buy right from the app. Does it work? Yeah, mostly. Read More
In March we covered work the Chromium team has been up to that changes the way most visited websites appear on Chrome's new tab page. Instead of a grid of (largely blank) thumbnails, the browser can display large icons instead. At the time, users had to force the feature while running Chrome Canary. Now you just have to toggle "Enable large icons on the New Tab page" at chrome://flags/#enable-icon-ntp.
The feature is still in development, but it's stable enough to use. Right now Chrome only displays icons for websites that have images large enough not to look blurry. Those that don't pass this bar show a gray block containing the first letter of the domain. Read More
Yesterday, we took a look at the upcoming Hangouts 4.0, a yet unreleased update that promises to clean up the Hangouts interface in many ways. But there was one thing we didn't cover in that post - the Android Wear app that will apparently come with the update to 4.0. Since yesterday we've been playing with the app and thought it would be good to follow up with a quick overview of what it does.
: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.