During CES this year, Google and NVIDIA announced partnership with GM, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai in forming the Open Automotive Alliance. The initial announcement was predictably sparse on details, noting only the initiative's core principles, and the goal of bringing Android to cars. After hearing approximately nothing about the effort since then, we now have information that gives us a first look at Google's vision for Android in the Car, referred to internally as Gearhead.
In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.
We've recently seen plenty of rumors related to Google's future plans for its Search app, from automatically remembering where you parked to reminding you of things when you're with another person, to reminding you to pay bills, down to something as simple as setting a proper timer. Clearly, Google's got plenty of plans for what will happen inside Search. But today, we've got something a little different - this time, it relates to how Google's voice assistant will break out of Search, entering other Google apps to help you do more with your voice and perform more actions with Search in general.
Several weeks ago, we caught wind of Android 4.4.3 and some of the changes it could bring, consisting mostly of bug fixes, both big and small. At this point, according to several sources familiar with the matter, Android 4.4.3 has entered internal testing outside of the core Android team - a process otherwise known as dogfooding. The final release isn't expected to hit public devices for a number of weeks, so those of you expecting it any day now will have to wait just a bit longer.
We've reported on several Google Now-related rumors recently. If our information is accurate, Google Now will soon be able to help you remember and pay for bills, automatically infer events from your communications, and serve you reminders depending on who is near you. Today, we've got another one. This time, Google wants to help you remember where you left your car.
Occasionally, an OS update will bring around features that really change things. Android 3.0 brought the Android experience to tablets. 4.0 completely revamped the UI and added guidelines that made Android look cohesive for the first time. 4.4 added Svelte, which promised to seat Android comfortably on an even broader range of devices. We have reason to believe another one of those changes is right around the corner, and it's known internally as Hera.
It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.
Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.
Ready for another Google Now rumor? We've already seen evidence of contact-based reminders reliant on your proximity with another person, and "inferred events," whereby Now would pluck mentions of meetings or other appointments from your conversations to automatically create calendar entries. This time, we have something just as useful - a new bill pay card and interface, evidently headed for Google Now.
In the last several weeks, word of an upcoming Android 4.4.3 release started spreading around, for the most part based on sightings of new build numbers in server logs and bug reports, along with this tip by @LlabTooFeR. Of course, with so many 4.4.3 mentions, it's no surprise that these are actually legitimate and not creations of random trolls.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Android 4.4.3 is, unsurprisingly, going to be a pure bug-fixer release.