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Changelog Posted For Android 4.4.3 (KTU84M) To 4.4.4 (KTU84P), Just Security Fixes

An unexpected treat came zooming out of Google HQ today as Android 4.4.4 OTAs and factory images have started rolling out for Nexus devices. The updates have already been posted to AOSP and Al Sutton quickly followed up with a list of the changes. Since 4.4.3 is only 2 weeks old, and I/O is merely a week away, we had a feeling this was just a security update, and it looks like that's all it is.

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Most of the significant changes are centered around fixing a recently discovered vulnerability in OpenSSL.

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Google Will Add A 'Factory Reset Protection Solution' To The Next Version Of Android, AKA A Kill Switch

Both PCWorld and Bloomberg are reporting today that Google is on the record as saying the next version of Android will contain an anti-theft "kill switch," or as Google calls it, a "factory reset protection solution." Smartphones are among the most commonly stolen possessions in the world today, presumably because of their small size and high value. With increasing pressure from governments to incorporate built-in countermeasures to deter theft by rendering a user's smartphone inoperable in the event it is lost or stolen, expanding the existing Android Device Manager's features to include a reset-proof lockout only makes sense.

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Google Search On Android Now Gives You Direct Links To Music Apps If You Search For Artists (US Only For Now)

It would seem Google's added a new musical feature to Search queries on Android, with searches for specific musical artists now giving direct links to your installed music apps (including Spotify, Play Music, TuneIn, YouTube, iHeartRadio, and Rdio). What actually happens when you tap one of the shortcuts, shown below, seems to vary significantly depending on the app.

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For Play Music, you'll be sent to the artist's page, whereas for YouTube, you'll head to the topic for that artist.

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Sprint Starting Deployment Of Android 4.4.3 For The Moto X

Android 4.4.4 is a thing now, but Sprint Moto X users will have to make do with 4.4.3, which is heading out starting today (build KXA21.12-L1.22). This is one of those times you're going to have to wait your turn, as the OTA is going out in waves.

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Google Play Movies Launches In 21 New Countries - Here's The List, Including Greece, Poland, Argentina, Thailand, And More

Google Play Movies will likely soon be announcing one of the largest-ever expansions of the service since its launch, adding 21 new nations from around the world. Here's the complete list, because I know that's what you're here for:

  1. Albania
  2. Argentina
  3. Armenia
  4. Azerbaijan
  5. Belarus
  6. Croatia
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Estonia
  9. Greece
  10. Kazakhstan
  11. Kyrgyzstan
  12. Lao People's Democratic Republic
  13. Latvia
  14. Lithuania
  15. Moldova
  16. Poland
  17. Slovakia
  18. Tajikistan
  19. Thailand
  20. Turkmenistan
  21. Uzbekistan

Just in March, Google announced a full 35 newly-supported countries for the service, and in December last year it added 13 more countries.

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Google Chrome's Newest Game Experiment, Kick With Chrome, Makes The Cardinal Sin Of Calling It "Soccer"

Looking to kick back and kill a few minutes this afternoon / evening / morning / whatever time it is where you are? Google's got a brand-new set of football-themed mini-games out via the Kick with Chrome experiment today.

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The games include Infinite Dribble, Space Kick, and Shootout. Shootout is actually a multiplayer penalty-shot game, so that one could be fun with friends. Infinite Dribble is a tilt-based endless... dribbler, and Space Kick is a sort of vertical platformer.

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Google Rolling Out Android 4.4.4 Update (KTU84P) With A Security Fix, Factory Images/Binaries Up For Nexus Devices

Nexus owners are about to get a surprise OTA update, but it's not Android 5.0 Lemon Drop Sunshine. It's another build of KitKat, specifically 4.4.4 with build number KTU84P (branch kitkat-mr2.1-release). Sprint has posted the Nexus 5 changelog on its community forums, and it's apparently a security fix.

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Square Order For Android Leaves Beta, Presumably Will Be Better At Letting You Buy Stuff, Still Only In SF And NYC

Square Order is actually a pretty interesting service - think Amazon Fresh meets Eat24. While it's still only available in New York City and San Francisco, the on-demand ordering system is finally out of beta on Android, with the app now available for consumption.

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Square Order allows you to order food from restaurants, but it's a bit more than that - it's designed to be used even while you're inside the restaurant, because the app actually notifies you as soon as your order is ready, and payment and tip are integrated as well.

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Facebook Went To Africa To Make Its Android App Faster, Slimmer, And More Reliable

As one of the world's largest advocates for web access in emerging markets, Facebook obviously cares very much just how well its own platform works on mobile devices in those markets. As such, Facebook sent a team of product managers and engineers to various regions in Africa to learn more about just how people were using the service, on which devices, and what the major pain points for the app were.

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Nokia Made An Android Launcher, And It's Actually Not Horrible

Nokia doesn't have much to do with Android, but it does make those super-cheap Android devices with the wonky interface and no Google services. That's not the extent of Nokia's Android ambitions, though. There's a new launcher from the company called Z Launcher, and you can try it right now. Make no mistake – it's basic, but kind of neat.

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