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Google Cast Gets New APIs, Allowing For Second-Screen Functionality, Autoplay, Queuing, And More

Google Cast is one of those things that just seems to keep getting better, and with Chromecast sales doing so well, it's no wonder Google is throwing resources at the platform to make it even more robust. While not technically a part of Google I/O, Google did announce yesterday that some very awesome new Cast APIs are coming... right now. As in, they're here - for both iOS and Android.

There are a few major new features, so let's go over them.

The first is second-screen functionality. Casting graphically intensive apps from your device is no longer limited to simple mirroring - the new Cast Remote Display APIs (which are betas, so beware) will allow full-on second-screen functionality when casting something like a video game.

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Google Open-Sources Its I/O 2015 Web App

Google's I/O conference app is generally considered a boon for developers. Each year the app is open-sourced following the conference, exposing the code beneath Google's latest design suggestions and functionality on Android.

This year, however, Google is offering up another open-source goodie. In a post to Google+, Google Developers announced that this year the source of the I/O web app will be released for inspection. In fact, the ioweb2015 project is already available on Github.

The dazzlingly-designed web app is mobile-first and offline enabled, and comes with a long list of impressive functionality. A few features Google chose to specify include "Polymer, material design, web components, service worker, push notifications, google sign-in 2.0, add to homescreen, and web animations APIs."

Knowing that, it's clear that the site is well-rounded from functionality, design, and UX standpoints, so the source undoubtedly holds some treasures for intrepid developers.

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Google Releases Cardboard Design Lab To Walk You Through VR Design... In VR

Since debuting at last year's I/O, Google's Cardboard effort hasn't slowed down. Google has been making it easier and easier for manufacturers and developers to hop on board with its vision of virtual reality, and the project got some major updates yesterday. On stage, Google showed off a new Cardboard viewer that accommodates bigger phones (including those running iOS), 360 degree videos, and expeditions for classrooms.

Just last month, Google announced its "Works with Cardboard" program, along with new design guidelines and today Google has released an app that will make those guidelines tangible for VR developers and designers - Cardboard Design Lab.

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InBrief
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HTC Posts Kernel Sources For Android 5.1 On One M7, M8 Google Play Editions

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[I/O 2015] Android Studio v1.3 Developer Preview Adds C/C++ Support With Refactoring, Code Completion, And Debugging Capabilities

Google I/O is first and foremost a developer conference. New products may be announced at the keynote, but just about everything is really meant for the people that build the apps. For Android developers, there are few things that matter more than their tools. Today, a fresh release of Android Studio hit the Canary channel, and it brings one of the most often requested features: C/C++ support.

Android apps, as most people think of them, are usually written in Java and have a runtime environment that imposes some additional overhead on execution. Games and other performance-critical software are usually built with C or C++ and the Native Development Kit (NDK) so that they can avoid most of that overhead.

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[I/O 2015] Dave Burke Wears Android Wear Watch With A Picture Of A Milkshake On It During I/O Presentation - Internet Freaks Out

With the Android M developer preview being made available to the public today, some of the secrets of Android's latest OS have been unwrapped and shown to the public. One secret that still remains is which dessert themed name beginning with M the next gen software will be known by.

Well, there is nothing that the internet does a better job of than spreading rumors, and the image on the face of Google's own David Burke's watch started a big one. There, on his shiny new Huawei Watch (Huatch), was the picture of a milkshake for all to see, a dessert that just happens to start with the letter M.

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Google Releasing A FABulous New Design Support Library [Updated]

One year on, Google's material design philosophy is still picking up steam. As popular as it's become in the community though, there are still some holes left to fill in terms of implementation.

Until now, developers have had to rely on third-party libraries (in conjunction with Google's own support library) to create elements like floating action buttons, but Google is looking to fix that, releasing a new design support library today that fills in some of the holes.

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[I/O 2015] Google Is Working On Smarter Play Store Search

Besides new family-friendly and kid-friendly efforts on search and discovery in the Play Store, Google announced during its keynote today that Play Store search will be getting smarter overall.

Specifically, Google wants to more effectively surface apps when users search for vague or topical queries. The example given in the screenshot above shows the user searching for "shopping" apps. The Play Store then returns, of course, shopping apps. But those apps are then categorized intelligently into different sub-genres like Fashion and Coupons.

This may seem like a small tweak to most users, but - if Google is right - it will help introduce users to the right app when the user is not sure exactly what they're looking for, which is a good step in helping along discoverability in the Play Store as a whole.

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[I/O 2015] Android M Will Support App Deep Linking Without That Annoying Selector Prompt

We've all seen, probably many times, the common situation where you click a link on your Android device and you are then asked with which app you would like to open it. On one hand, this is a great feature; merely guessing could be very annoying and it is a sensible way to allow users to assign default apps. Sometimes, though, certain types of links should always open in a particular app without prompting the user.

app-selector

A new addition to Android M, as discussed at I/O today, will allow that to happen. Developers can add an "autoVerify" attribute to their app manifest to tell the operating system that there is no need to prompt the user for certain types of links.

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[I/O 2015] Google Opens Up A/B Testing For Play Store Listings For Developers

When it comes to getting users to your app, your Play Store listing counts for a lot. What users see (and read) when they reach your app's listing can make or break their decision to download or buy, so carefully crafting a good listing is important.

To that end, Google has announced that it will open up what amounts to A/B testing for Play Store listings, meaning developers can play with their listings by testing different screenshots, graphics, etc. to see what performs better and end up with the best possible listing.

To facilitate this, Google will add "Listing Experiments" to the Play Store developer console.

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