At the Google I/O 2014 keynote, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to let us know that the L release of Android is set to make massive improvements in security for the enterprise as well as regular users. The Washington Post has received word from Google that gives us another glimpse of what we should expect in the next version. It seems that devices shipping with Android L will have disk encryption enabled by default.
Google Now is only as good as the cards it tosses up for users to play around with. Since launch, TV cards and the ability to customize them has been a luxury exclusively available to people in the US. Now it looks like the feature is trickling out to residents of the UK as well.
A couple of readers on that side of the Atlantic Ocean sent us these screenshots of the feature in action.
Among the many things announced at Google I/O was support for casting custom backdrops to the Chromecast. We haven't heard anything about it since then, but now users are beginning to report seeing "Casting Backdrop" listed on their devices.
The landlocked European country of Austria and the Chinese island megacity of Hong Kong don't have a lot in common, but this morning (or this afternoon, depending on where you are) they can come together and bond over cheap Google streaming gadgets. The Chromecast just launched on the respective Play Stores in both territories, making it easy to get a hold of one without importing it or bribing your American buddies.
In addition to a handful of new Chromecast-supported apps announced by Google, Sling Media is getting in on the action. According to this blog post, the Slingplayer app for Android smartphones now has Chromecasting capability. Though the latest update for the app itself was way back in July, Chromecast support is often enabled via a server-side switch, so it should be working now. Compatible Sling hardware includes the Slingbox M1, 350, 500, and SlingTV.
Getting the kernel source code for devices is something of a rite of passage for new Android phones. In the United States and other parts of the world with heavy smartphone penetration, the focus is on the big, flashy flagship models - the sooner the kernels are published, the sooner those ROM makers can get cracking on custom ROMs and kernels. But considering the immediate response that Google's Android One program has received, I think those phones may turn out to be some of the most popular ROM recipients around.
The stable of apps that support Google's Chromecast device just seems to keep growing. In addition to NPR One and Watch ABC last month, Google just announced a handful of new apps that have been enabled today. The biggest additions for our readers are probably Twitch, the online game stream broadcasting service, and iHeartRadio, the radio streaming service from
ClearChannel iHeartMedia. Both of them should be ready to stream content to your TV now.
Those willing to venture into chrome://flags can often enjoy experimental treats that haven't made it into default circulation yet. One flag in Chrome, brought to our attention by a tipster, enables "answers in suggest," giving users answers to simple questions right in the omnibar. So if for some reason you're wondering what the capital of Maryland is, or the population of the world, you can get the answer without actually performing a search.