Quite a while ago, we wrote about an upcoming hands-free (and eyes-free) interface code-named KITT. The interface - intended for use in the car or in other places where looking at your phone isn't wise - would be stripped down, displaying a black screen and large iconography, and would have the ability to read notifications aloud, among other things. More recently, an icon for an app called Google Hands-Free showed up in a promotional gif posted to Google's Google+ page, hinting that the service was still under development.
Google hasn't exactly had a great track record when it comes to official Nexus accessories. Accessories have been teased or shown off only to arrive months later or not at all (remember that Nexus 10 dock?).
Recently, though, Google has done a much better job - there are a bevy of case options available for both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013) in a variety of colors, catering to almost all tastes (though at times the quality may not be ideal).
At this point, it's essentially impossible to deny that Android is beating other mobile operating systems with a big market share stick. According to a report issued by Strategy Analytics, phone manufacturers sold a combined 295.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, 249.6 million of which ran Android. That gives Google's OS a staggering 84.6% of the market share for new devices, up from 80.2% the previous year.
Google I/O 2014 has come and gone, but that doesn't mean great stuff from the conference isn't still coming out. The companion app used by thousands of attendees -and hundreds of thousands of fans and followers- has been open sourced! Code for the I/O app is meant to serve as an example of best practices for Android developers, providing fully functioning implementations of the latest design principles, UI controls, networking code, and more.
Hangouts may be fun, but it's not all fun and games. It should come as no surprise that in this day and age, many people turn to Google's video chats as a means of getting work done. So the company is rolling out a number of business-related improvements to the service.
For starters, the company is now covering Hangouts under the same terms of service as other Google Apps for Business products.
Good news, European readers: physical gift cards for the Google Play Store are coming to more of you soon. Google updated its list of supported countries for gift cards today, marking Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden as "coming soon." We can't say exactly when - a few other countries like Greece, Poland, and Portugal got the same treatment earlier this month, and they're still marked as coming soon instead of linking to the relevant page.
The Google Play Developer Console has undergone some pretty major changes over the years, including a complete overhaul 2 years ago. While the improvements continue to make for a more powerful and usable tool, some developers still find areas where it could be better. Google's engineers don't have time to build everything for everybody, but a new version of the Google Play Developer API makes it possible to build quite a few things for yourself.
Google's announcement of Android TV made it clear that a final product wasn't ready for store shelves, but it was certainly getting close. While Google is finishing up the software and hardware for an official release later this year, developers have been invited to begin work on their own apps. For most, that means firing up an emulator to test on, but a few have also been granted access to a preview device called ADT-1.
According to your grandmother, over 96% of kids these days don't know their history and will be doomed to repeat it. Also, no one learns cursive anymore. There's not a whole lot that Google can do about the latter, but with a new search tool, they may be working on the former. Chrome and Search enthusiast Florian Kiersch posted screenshots of a new Knowledge Graph tool that automatically generates timelines of broad historical topics based on content from Wikipedia.