A couple of days ago, Google dropped a pretty sweet but surprising late-night update to Google Search with version 2.7.9. You can read about the announced features and download the APK here, if you haven't yet. After the dust settled, I jumped right into the multitude of under-the-hood changes and was able to uncover quite a few things not included in the changelog - both ones that are coming in the future and ones that are already here.
Google just published a major update to the Play Store Developer Content Policy, and whether you're a user or developer, you need to be aware of these changes. The content policy is basically Google's "this is what we don't allow on the Play Store" list. As such, you can understand why it's important. Google periodically updates this policy, but this is the biggest change I think we've seen yet - tons of areas have been touched on and modified, and there are significant ramifications to these changes.
We like to feature at least one or two kid-friendly games in our biweekly roundups, but this one looks so good that we had to give it its own post. LEGO DUPLO is the famous company's line of brick sets for kids age 5 and under, with easy formations, bright colors, and big, swallow-proof pieces. The Android DUPLO game focuses on the branded train sets.
The game itself is a mix between LEGO's standard construction and a sort of "baby's first train simulator." Kids will start and stop the LEGO train, hook up passenger and cargo cars, and build bridges and tracks to avoid simple obstacles.
If you're in the habit of using the fancy-pants Chrome Beta to get access to the newest features for your browser of choice, try this handy zoom gesture out. On any desktop page, double-tap anywhere, and on the second tap keep your finger on the screen. Then slide your finger up and down for a quick and easy zoom. It works the same way that the "pinch to zoom" function does, but with a single finger.
For AT&T customers, the myAT&T app serves as a mobile portal into their cellular accounts, a place to view usage, curse, and make payments (though not necessarily in that order). Version 3.0 has rolled out a new UI, and while it does look better than the previous version, it's still just a mobile web page with an app wrapped around it. Slideout menus are pretty and convenient though (perhaps even pretty convenient), so the app gets points for having one.
Pandora's Android client gets a small update today. The first new feature is something that everyone can use: a sleep timer. In the main station view, tap the Menu icon to find the new "Sleep timer" entry. Tap it, then choose between 15, 30, or 60 minutes. After the set time Pandora will cut off, letting you drift into the arms of Morpheus without killing your battery.
The developers have also added support for the NissanConnect system, which allows the app to be controlled with the dash-mounted touchscreen or media buttons on some late-model Nissan vehicles.
Words are awesome. For writers they're meat and drink, bread and butter, and everything else that goes on the dinner table. But even writers run into words we've never seen before, and at times like that Google Search is an awesome tool for expanding my vocabulary. Google Search just got a little better, because the definition cards have been updated to include word origins and their usage over time.
The origins aren't just a simple footnote, either, such as "Germanic" or "Latin." No, we're talking full trees of information, with base words, root words, prefixes, suffixes, alternate forms, transliterations, and all kinds of other goodies.
Just because you use Facebook, that doesn't mean you have a Facebook page. We all have profiles, but pages are typically reserved for organizations, artists, or products. That said, anyone can create a Facebook page. Yes, anyone They're practically giving them away. And while you're creating a page of your own, check out the Facebook Pages Manager app, which was updated recently with a number of nice features that make managing that new page a bit easier.
Duolingo, the much-loved app/game for learning new languages, got its second significant Android update this morning since being released back in May. Version 1.2 of the app brings with it the ability to store up to an hour of lessons on-device for offline use. Previously, Duolingo required an always-on internet connection in order to download your lessons and stay in sync with the server, but with the latest update this is no longer necessary.