Dateline: 1988. Across the country, thousands of Amiga computer owners discover a revelation: they can now play a game that includes both white-knuckle driving and indiscriminate violence (without heading to the arcade to spend a quarter on Spy Hunter) with Fire And Forget. The little-known but much-loved Titus game has been given new life in Fire & Forget: The Final Assault. This is no nostalgia trip, it's a brand new title, complete with modern graphics and a new trick for your rolling death machine: flight.
Hey, have you heard? Google Hangouts is now a thing. And by a thing, I mean Google's new universal, cross-platform chat solution. Ron's closer look hands-on should give you an idea of how Hangouts works (and how it doesn't). But the launch of Google's Talk / G+ Messenger replacement hasn't gone entirely smoothly, and there remain a few bumps to be ironed out - bumps Google has promised to fix.
The Nexus Q has had a tough life so far – that goes without saying. Things just got a little worse for the handful of us that use (and enjoy) the Q though – Google has seemingly sliced streaming support from the latest Play Music update, further reducing the impact of the Q's admittedly very limited use case.
Google made a big deal out of its improvements to the Play Store in the massive keynote that kicked off I/O, and at least some of them are live right now. Probably the most important for tablet owners is the ability to highlight apps specifically designed for tablets, or at least, the ones that have given some thought to layout and interface on larger screens. The updated tablet view is being rolled out right now, and on at least some devices (read:mine) it includes the option to filter out the smartphone chaff from the tablet wheat.
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:
- World of Goo by 2D BOY
- Osmos HD from Hemisphere Games
- Eufloria HD from Omni Systems
- Riptide GP from Vector Unit
- Beach Buggy Blitz from Vector Unit
- Shine Runner from Vector Unit
- Modern Combat 4 from Gameloft
- Dungeon Hunter 4 from Gameloft (update coming soon)
- Asphalt 7 from Gameloft (update coming soon)
- Eternity Warriors 2 by Glu
- PBA Bowling Challenge from Concrete Software
- Townsmen from HandyGames
- Save the Puppies from HandyGames
- Farm Invasion USA from HandyGames
- Rocket Island from HandyGames
- Triple Town by Spry Fox LLC (temporarily pulled due to crashes)
- Chip Chain by AppAbove Games LLC
- Super Stickman Golf 2 by Noodlecake
- Wind-up Knight by Robot Invader
- Plague Inc.
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.
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.
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.
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.