Work is pretty dull. Google wants people to use its products to get stuff done, and the company's previous name for its efforts in this area - Google Enterprise - fully communicated just how stuffy and non-exciting the experience would be. Now the search giant is changing the name of its business-related offerings to something that, while equally mundane in its approach, doesn't have to show up for work in oxford shoes and a tie.
As a platform, Android Wear is in its infancy. Even Google itself is still figuring out some of the applications and limits of Android in a wrist watch form factor. But that's not stopping them from adding in a bunch of goodies, even at this early stage. Google's Director of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton spoke with Cnet on the subject, and let loose a few snippets that should excite Wear fans.
YouTube thrives off the videos produced by independent content creators all over the world, and while it compensates many of them through ads, that money is hardly enough to make a living off of in most cases. Earlier this summer Google said that producers would soon have the option to request donations right on their YouTube pages. The feature's live now, so here's a look at how it works.
When you're watching something produced by someone who's willing to accept donations, an icon will appear in the top left corner of the video.
Earlier last month, we posted an exclusive story about Google's explorations into a product called "Workshop," which would allow users to customize snap-on cases and live wallpapers for their Nexus phones. The effort would be a major step-up in what has historically been an inconsistent lineup of accessories for Google's devices.
From information made available to us, it appears Google plans to continue upping the offerings when HTC's nine-inch Nexus tablet becomes official.
In July, Chrome Beta was updated with a new interface that more closely adhered to Google's new design vision - material design. Fitting with Google's occasional habit of stripping things down during major refreshes (see Google Maps on the web), many elements of the interface were sliced, rearranged, or simplified, including the tab indicator in the top right corner of the screen. Previously, the indicator showed users how many tabs were open, but after the redesign it simply displayed a square (or two stacked squares if you had multiple tabs open).
Google's official Glassware selection has a new member today - Pandora. As Carl Edwards explains in a post to the official Pandora blog, the addition of Pandora to the Glassware page of Google's MyGlass interface is the result of Pandora's semi-annual 72-hour hackathon. "It was such a hit," the blog says, "that we decided to show it to Google."
In keeping with Google's UX vision for Glass, the Pandora app is exceedingly simple.
YouTube has videos. Google+ has videos. In fact, Google+ uses the YouTube backend and interface for its videos. So it makes sense that you can seamlessly move uploaded videos between the two. Except that you can't, or at least you couldn't before the latest update to the web versions of both services. You'll need to "merge" your personal YouTube channel with Google+ to take advantage, which might be a sticking point for all those YouTube users that cried foul about the whole username thing a while back.
Google is continuing to shine a brighter light on Hangouts users who are currently online. A few months ago the company brought back the green dot that used to mark online contacts in the days of Google Talk (which was replaced with a subtle green line in Hangouts). Going forward, the messenger in the web version of Gmail will contain a new tab that puts online contacts at the top. It's still possible to message friends who are offline, they're just tucked at the bottom where they're out of the way.
Update: An update to the News & Weather app posted yesterday, September 8th, seems to have fixed some of the compatibility errors people have been seeing. At least here in the United States, the app is compatible with every Android 4.0+ device for all of our writers. There doesn't appear to be any other significant update just yet.
Google's News & Weather app, AKA the "Genie" widget (after the APK name), has been more or less unchanged for years.
Gecko Design Inc. is the kind of company others look to when they have ideas that they want to turn into physical products. Google is the kind that has said ideas, and it started working with the folks at Gecko in 2013. The two hit it off so well that they started discussing the possibility of taking their relationship to the next level, and the rest, they say, is history. The tech giant will use its newly acquired talent to boost up its Google X research lab.