15
May
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Google officially announced the not-so-secretly-kept Play Games this morning, which brings game sync, leaderboards, achievements, and more to Android. Naturally, the first question on many users' minds is do any games already support it? In fact, several developers have already updated their games to add this new feature. Here's a look at what we've found so far:

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May
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Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.

Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts.  Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.

15
May
Google Wallet

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.

15
May
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Google just announced that a brand-new Google maps smartphone experience will be landing on Android and iOS soon, and it looks astoundingly good. The aesthetics of 2D street maps have been completely redesigned to be easier on the eyes, and better at organizing information. The only downside is that it's not coming until "this summer."

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Nearly every aspect of the Maps app has been reworked. Zagat ratings are no longer the default ratings system for places (it's now a 1-5 star user rating), and place cards have an all-new look.

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May
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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.

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The second new feature is suggested content, in the form of upcoming books, music, TV, and video games you might be interested in.

15
May
2013-05-15_12h22_45

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.

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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.

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May
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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.

14
May
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Last Updated: October 13th, 2013

A hot new Play Store update just hit the internet. We're now up to version 4.1.6. So far we've spotted a much nicer looking button and wishlist designs, more consistent menu text, and a few minor visual tweaks, like new open/uninstall buttons.

Here's the new content section buttons, which are a lot more inviting than the old designs.

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May
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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.

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