Google jumped the gun just a little bit and shipped tomorrow's version of Google Music today, which means we've got about 12 hours to spoil even more of the surprises Google has in store for us at their "Breakfast with Sundar Pichai" event. Let's get to it.
Music ships with all sorts of support for something called "Chromecast." It's basically Google's version of Airplay. Check this out:
<string name="error_start_session_failed">Unable to start a session with the Chromecast device.</string>
<string name="error_session_ended">Lost connectivity with the Chromecast device.</string>
<string name="error_ramp_command_failed">Failed to control the media.</string>
<string name="error_no_session">Not currently connected to the Chromecast device.</string>
Connect to a remote device, and start playing media! Read More
You might not have noticed, but a fresh version of Google Play Services started silently rolling out a few days ago. Google I/O came and went without an Android version bump because Google wanted to send a message: Google Play Services is the single most important APK on your device. It was recently used to roll out Google Play Games, cloud app data storage, and the fused location provider. Google can't get OEMs to update Android versions, but there's no way to stop a Play Services update - they're silent and automatic. So, whenever technically possible, that's where Google will be sticking major new features from here on out. Read More
I totally missed this in my Android 4.3 teardown, but luckily there are some fellow tinkerers out there, namely Kevin of TeslaCoil Software (maker of fine products such as Nova Launcher and WidgetLocker), picking up my slack. It looks like Google is planning some cool notification services for 4.3, possibly something that gets third party apps into the mix!
Contained in the leaked S4 Android 4.3 build are all sorts of notification-related changes. After being pointed in the right direction, I spotted this:
<string name="manage_notification_access">Notification access</string>
<string name="manage_notification_access_summary_zero">Apps cannot read notifications</string>
<string name="no_notification_listeners">No notification listeners are installed.</string>
<string name="notification_listener_security_warning_title">Enable %1$s?</string>
<string name="notification_listener_security_warning_summary">%1$s will be able to read all notifications posted by the system or any installed app, which may include personal information such as contact names and the text of messages sent to you.
Wow. Out of the blue, an Android 4.3 rom hits the internet, and it's not built for the Nexus 4, or 7 or 10, but for the Samsung Galaxy S4. What a strange turn of events.
Of course, I couldn't stop myself from diving right in, and while I don't have a Galaxy S4 to show you screenshots, that's really not a big deal, because this leak pretty much looks identically to 4.2. If this build of 4.3 is near completion, it looks like we're getting a pretty minor update. But hey, 4.3 is 4.3. It's worth a look no matter how minor it is. Read More
Google Search was just updated to version 2.6, which means it's teardown time! As usual with Google Search, it's impossible to bring up the new stuff "at will." Cards pop up entirely based on a bunch of crazy inputs that I can't easily replicate (emails, location, etc) so there's no way for me to check if new code is functional or not. So, I'll just cover everything that's not in the change log, and if you manage to see a live, working version of something, just send in a screenshot.
First up, the changelog:
For Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean):
- Information about shows you're watching on your internet-connected TV (US only)*
- Saved offers when nearby a redemption location
- New voice action: play music from your phone or the Play Store
- Voice actions tips
* Requires phone/tablet to be on the same network as your TV
The full version number is pretty interesting: "126.96.36.1991924.arm." I love that we are specifying processor architecture in the version string now. Read More
As I was digging through the latest build of Google Play Music, I noticed something strange: lots and lots of YouTube stuff. "That's odd," I thought, "What does YouTube have to do with Play Music?"
Oh, right, music videos!
Sure enough, there's some fairly revealing text included, too:
<string name="finding_videos_for_track">Finding related videos for the track...</string>
<string name="no_videos_for_track">No videos found for the track.</string>
<string name="youtube_video_details_hd">%1$s | %2$,d views | HD</string>
<string name="youtube_video_details_nonhd">%1$s | %2$,d views</string>
While listening to music, you'll be able to tell Play Music to hunt down the YouTube video for that song. It looks like the video will play in the music app, since there's lots of "video" views and styles in the xml. Read More
Welcome back! Google Play Services 3.1 is such a ridiculously huge update; I had to stretch it out over two articles - that's a first for APK Teardown. If you somehow missed the Google Play Games extravaganza, part one is right here.
Part two is all about the non-games discoveries, which there are a lot of. Before we get into that though, there is one detail I left out of the games article that I really should mention:
The Play Games Codename
Google always comes up with the coolest code names for projects, and the Play Services games client is no exception. Read More
Remember how we told you Google Games was coming, and how it's going to pack multiplayer functionality, leaderboards, achievements, and stuff like that? That's happening. There are going to be cloud game saves too.
Fresh out of Google HQ, we've managed to score a copy of the new Google Play Services v3.1.36, which is very slowly rolling out to devices right now. For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27. 3.1 is a massive update - the strings file, for instance, has more than doubled from 300 to 700 entries. This is how Google is pushing out all the shared files for Google Play Games. Read More
Man, Google Glass moves at the speed of light. This is crazy.
The big XE5 update just hit the interwebs, so that means it's time for a teardown! XE5 is still Android 4.0.4 based, but now we're up to build 4.0.4-665738; the old version was 4.0.4-625737.
The Glass Team is still extraordinarily messy; any new file usually has copies in a million different locations. Basically, everything ships in every APK. Maybe the Glass Team is using extremely bad organization as a form of Teardown obfuscation. (It's not working.)
Take A Note
It looks like note taking is coming to Google Glass! Read More
Despite not (yet) having Google Glass, I've managed to get a hold of a system dump, so it's time to have some fun for the day and see if Glass has any (more) hidden goodies for us. It'll also be fun to see just what makes Glass tick, and how the OS is laid out.
APK Teardown is usually at its best when I have a previous version to diff against and, you know, when I've actually used or at least seen the software in question. I don't have any of those benefits for this teardown, so things could get interesting. Read More