We've already seen that Google is working on some pretty incredible things with Project Tango, the space-aware smartphone project that's essentially capable of capturing 3D maps of indoor locations. The team behind Tango – Google's ATAP – is already working with NASA to use prototypes in autonomous robots to aid astronauts on the Space Station, but now it looks a Tango-esque device could be coming a lot closer to home than that.
Back in April, we posted a rumor that Google Now was on track to properly handle timer queries (like "set a timer for five minutes") using the clock app's built in timer functionality, rather than simply setting an alarm.
Nearly a month later, we saw mention of the functionality in a teardown of the Search app itself, and today it looks like that functionality has finally been switched on.
Users who say "Set a timer for [time]" will be greeted with a card letting them know the timer is about to commence, with the option to skip straight to starting the timer.
Listen up, Explorers - Glass is receiving a minor OTA update this afternoon that does, well, two relatively minor and not all that exciting things. First, your Glass will now do this when the battery is very low and Glass is unable to power on because of it:
Why yes, that is a fun GIF. But the point obviously is to make it clearer when Glass needs a charger if you want to use it.
According to the Nikkei business wire, Toshiba announced today that the company will be providing the processing guts for Google's upcoming Project Ara modular smartphones. The release itself is pretty bare-bones - Toshiba says it will provide 3 different types of processors for the phone, and that while it will initially be the "preferred" supplier for those components, it will become their sole provider a year after Ara's initial rollout.
Gmail just got an update to version 4.8, an update that brings with it some refreshing UI changes, and a few other features too. First, we'll take a look at the UI tweaks.
First up, the pull-to-refresh animation has been brought into line with the Google Search app - it now cycles through Google's red, yellow, blue, and green brand colors rather than using a simple blue animation. The length of swipe necessary to trigger a refresh has also been shortened.
Google has bought Divide, a startup that secures smartphones to make them enterprise-friendly. It uses containers, a concept that should not sound unfamiliar around these parts thanks to the likes of Samsung KNOX. The approach separates a user's personal data from work-related files, effectively isolating them from one another on the same device. Google's purchase could imply a desire to tighten up Android's security out of the box and better attract the interest of enterprise customers.
Asus has lately become the king of anime-style transforming electronics, with their Transformer tablet line and Padfone devices. It looks like Google is paying attention, at least when it comes to conceptual hardware. US patent 8,649,821, granted to Google in February of this year, describes a laptop with a built-in and detachable cell phone, with the two working in tandem for various functions. While Android and Chromebooks aren't specifically mentioned in the patent documentation, it's easy to assume they were on the engineers' minds, since it was filed in September of 2012.
A few days ago, Google added a line of official snap cases to the Play Store for the Nexus 5. Some readers may be yearning for a closer inspection of Google's late-entry accessory, which - at first glance - looks a lot like the myriad cheaper options available online, so we're going to give it a quick look.
To tell the truth, the selection of snap cases online isn't separated from the official case by much.
Good news, sports fans: ESPN is almost definitely adding Chromecast support some time in the near future, as strongly suggested by the Google I/O 2014 Sandbox page. Here it is, GIFified.
ESPN is one of the most-watched cable channels in America, so this is doubtless exciting for a great many folks out there, and the description does suggest that live streaming will be available. Chromecast is certainly stacking up to be one of the most competitive video streaming experiences out there, and while competitors like Apple TV and Roku already support ESPN through the WatchESPN service, the fact that the Disney-owned channel is headed to Google's hardware is encouraging nonetheless.
Google changed the policy for app refunds from 24 hours to 15 minutes a few years ago, but Android users eventually adjusted to it. There is still a less prominent way to seek a refund after the 15 minute window if you have a legitimate gripe – it's tucked away in the Play Store order history. However, at some point recently, Google changed the way these refund requests worked.
The blog iTechTriad posted this as a PSA and a potentially serious bug on April 8th, and we've spent the last several weeks digging for details, eventually confirming it as a new Google policy.