15
May
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Let it be not be said that Google neglected the Google TV platform today at I/O. Though it wasn't mentioned during this morning's 3 hour-plus keynote, the company rolled out a new version of the YouTube app for TV during the presentation.

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Specifically, the updated application brings a simplified UI, enhanced video playback controls, and support for paid channels. The video discovery and subscription tabs now show playlists with blown-up video thumbnails and bolded titles for easier browsing.

15
May
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One of the cooler new features of both Gmail and Google Wallet that didn't make it into today's three-hour Google I/O keynote is the new ability to send money to any Gmail contact. Just message or reply to someone, write something along the lines of "here's your money, dog," and click the Attachments paperclip icon. You'll see a new option among the expanding icons: a dollar sign. Click the dollar sign, and you can send funds straight from Google Wallet.

15
May
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Today, Google announced a new look for the Google+ stream. Gone is the weird, bubbly look that we've had for forever. The cards-centric UI that we've seen on phones and tablets is now coming to the desktop as well. You can select a one, two, or three-column layout and each individual card can flip over with a slick animation and provide more information and options.

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Google's also improving its search and tagging functionality.

15
May
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Google just announced that a brand-new Google maps smartphone experience will be landing on Android and iOS soon, and it looks astoundingly good. The aesthetics of 2D street maps have been completely redesigned to be easier on the eyes, and better at organizing information. The only downside is that it's not coming until "this summer."

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Nearly every aspect of the Maps app has been reworked. Zagat ratings are no longer the default ratings system for places (it's now a 1-5 star user rating), and place cards have an all-new look.

15
May
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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.

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The second new feature is suggested content, in the form of upcoming books, music, TV, and video games you might be interested in.

15
May
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We heard some last-minute rumors that Samsung's shiny new flagship, not even released in every market, is getting a special Google Edition. Well it's true, boys and girls: the Galaxy S4 Google Edition is real, and it's going to feature the same stock Android experience as Nexus devices. The GS4 Google Edition will be sold through the Google Play Store with the same AT&T and T-Mobile bands as the Nexus 4, plus LTE support.

15
May
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Today, Google brought it's A-game with a subscription service for Play Music. Now, you can pay a $9.99 monthly fee to get unlimited access to a library of music. It also comes with a new, updated Play Music app that doesn't look like complete garbage. There's also a host of features including the ability to turn any track into a radio station.

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The one key way that this service distinguishes itself from other subscription services is that this includes all of your own personal music.

15
May
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Right off the bat here at Google I/O, the company is telling developers about some awesome new tools for apps. A new series of APIs will enable a variety of new services for both developers and end users. Here are some of the highlights.

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Version 2 of the Location API, which includes:

  • Geofencing (assigning triggers to specific geographical locations) and up to 100 fences per app

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  • a fused location provider, which should allow for active location gathering at just 1% battery drain per hour or increased accuracy
  • Activity recognition - API can recognize if users are walking, biking, driving, et cetera.
15
May
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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.

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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.

15
May
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Speaking at Google I/O, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Punchai just let on that there has now been over 900 million device activations. However, Google can't rest on its laurels. In the same breath as the announcement that Google has reached nearly a billion users in just a few years, the company showed off a map of countries where Android has less than 10% penetration. Those countries are green in the map below:

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The message to the rest of the world is clear: Google's on its way to your town, too.

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