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.
A few days ago, we posted a rumor we felt pretty confident in that would see "who" added to Google's "when" and "where" options for reminders. We now have another rumor, from a source familiar with the matter, which is also related to Google Now's ever-expanding functionality.
Google Now is a powerful tool. A step toward Google's vision of a Star Trek computer in the palm of your hand, Now is built to serve up information that you need, exactly when you need it, without you asking for it.
To that end, the service has seen many improvements since its debut. It will tell you when your favorite teams are playing, when you need to leave to make it to the airport on time, whether your plane is delayed, and plenty of info about your destination and surrounding attractions, among numerous other things.
A few days ago, we published a story about Google's possibly upcoming smartwatch. Current rumors suggest that the watch may be ready in time for Google I/O, and that it might be made by LG. We also mentioned that we had heard of a Motorola prototype previously - a prototype that may have been scrapped in favor of a new design from the manufacturer who made the Nexus 4 and 5.
Every so often, something shows up in the Android Police tip box that seems just a little too wild to be true. Such was the case with the information that led us to publish this story. After all, if someone simply claimed that Google was forcing device OEMs to use up-to-date software in order to get access to Google Mobile Services, you'd probably find such an allegation dubious at best. Even if they included moderately convincing evidence that this was the case.
Update 2: According to TechCrunch, and Co-Founder/CEO of natural language processing startup Robin Labs, the app is a real, functional product built on the startup's "white-label" voice assistant platform. While it was not commissioned by Yahoo!, it was created during ongoing discussions with the company. Read the full story here.
Update: According to TechCrunch, who has a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects," the video doesn't depict a real Yahoo!
Yesterday, The Information reported that Google is rumored to be working on smart thermostats, in a renewed bid to help users manage their home energy (and interior climate). Information on the project is sparse so far, but Google hopes it will be a successful follow-up to the unsuccessful PowerMeter, a service that was killed off due to apparent scaling difficulties.
Thanks to a tipster who is - we know you've heard this before - familiar with the matter, we've got an early glimpse into Google's upcoming thermostat foray - we've got a few new details and a look at the service's Android app.