13
Aug
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According to Florian Kiersch (who has uncovered many in-progress Google projects including Google Stars), Google is testing a new Hangouts experience for now codenamed Ultra Violet.

Kiersch says (and shows) that Ultra Violet will present significant interface changes for Hangouts, including a new Chrome extension that would introduce a floating, Chat Heads-style icon on the desktop, which users could move around freely.

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Once the circle is clicked, Kiersch says, the Hangouts welcome screen would appear to introduce users to the new experience.

13
Aug
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You know what's better than being able to stream Netflix, Hulu, Play Movies, Play Music, and loads of other content to a TV in your house? Having the option to stream it to more than one TV in your house. Sometimes the living room just isn't he place to be, but you're out of luck without a Chromecast in the bedroom. That's a bummer. Thankfully Best Buy is ready to save the day.

12
Aug
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It's that time again! Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, showing the current state of Android version distribution among devices that have recently checked in to the Play Store.

As expected, KitKat has grown a bit more, up to 20.9% now (vs 17.9% last month), while Jelly Bean is down from 56.5 to 54.2%. Still hanging above the 50% mark and encompassing 3 API levels, Jelly Bean is the new Gingerbread.

12
Aug
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Update: Opening up email to a greater number of characters is a good thing for users, but it's also exciting for spammers. Certain characters - such as ဝ, ૦, ο, and the letter o - look very similar. Too similar, really. So Gmail will now block email addresses attempting to take advantage of this, and it will use the Unicode Consortium's "highly-restricted" specification to do so. Wဝ૦ο!

It may seem to many of us that there are an endless number of email addresses available out there, but if your name contains characters that don't fit somewhere between A-Z, that illusion is shattered pretty quickly.

12
Aug
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Back in May, Google announced "a new classroom," powered by Google's own tools. Appropriately, the effort was dubbed Google Classroom and previewed to educators around the world. Today, Google Classroom will become available to all Google Apps for Education users in 42 languages, optimized for both desktop and mobile use.

For those unfamiliar, Google Classroom is basically a web platform for managing assignments and projects - educators can assign projects, dispense information (through announcements or real time discussions), and collect assignments using Google's tools to spend "a little less time at the photocopier and a little more time doing what you love—teaching."

12
Aug
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A single SMS message is generally limited to 160 characters, which gives it the potential to be a very concise means of communication. If, however, you feel that the point of your message will be hard to convey in such small snippets, Hangouts has a feature for you.

Hangouts allows users to specify a subject for SMS messages. Simply hold the send button for a moment, and a subject box will appear as shown below.

11
Aug
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Android's Google+ app also got an update today that - while masquerading as a stability/bug-fix release - packed in at least one new treat - the ability to cast your stream to a Chromecast.

While casting, users can flip through posts with manual controls or just wait for the stream's auto-play. The interface shown through your Chromecast will look much like the one in the app, minus Android's system interface and playback controls.

11
Aug
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When we first discussed Google's effort to re-imagine interface design, it was expected that Google would release fresh designs in small steps, gradually easing its own apps into the new design language a few pieces at a time.

Inside an update that officially only contained stability improvements, Chrome Beta got one more lovely design element today - a beautiful build-out animation for the overflow menu. Readers who have taken a look at Google's new design spec will recognize the mechanics of the animation right off the bat - the menu appears in a sensible way, expanding from one origin point and building out menu items in a coordinated, predictable manner.

11
Aug
GoogleSearch-Teardown

Last week, Google pushed out an update for Google Search, bringing the version number up to 3.6.13. While it added support for deep linking into apps and a few more of the bits to make hands-free operation a little more convenient, most people probably felt like they didn't get too much out of this update. As it turns out, we found one more addition that might interest a few more people.

08
Aug
Youtube-Teardown
Last Updated: September 5th, 2014

A couple of days ago, Google fulfilled its obligation to prevent me from sleeping by releasing a stack of newly updated apps for me to examine. Some of them were pretty straight forward, like the latest version of Android Device Manager, and others turned out to be pretty mind-boggling. That's how the YouTube update turned out. The apk grew by 2 MB, and Google certainly packed in quite a bit, but many of the additions don't make much sense.

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