Google bought Nest and its smart thermostat a few months ago, and now it's integrating the product into its ecosystem more completely on Earth Day. The Nest Learning Thermostat is now available in the Play Store. It's selling for $249 and Google will plant a tree for every unit sold today, presumably because of Earth Day. Yay, Earth!
Today's Hangouts update was a bit of a surprise. Besides landing on Monday, the update was a fairly large one. Users of the latest version of Hangouts are already enjoying merged SMS/Hangouts threads, improved status markers, a new home screen widget, new sound effects, the ability to share contact cards, and other touches. But - as with any Google update - it's worth looking a little deeper in the app to see what may be hiding in the code.
If you entered Google's new lottery system for I/O 2014, go check your email account. Odds are pretty good that you've got an email, or that you will receive one shortly. Several Google+ users are showing off their fancy invitations. Those who have "won" the right to purchase their $900 tickets have already been charged via their Google Wallet accounts.
Source: Bao-Long Nguyen-Trong, Google+
And if you didn't get in?
So we all know that Project Tango is cool – programing a mobile device to be aware of its own surroundings just as people are can be potentially beneficial in many ways. NASA has clearly seen something in the in Tango as well, as the company has been working with Google since last year to utilize the project with its own robotic platform called SPHERES. In a nutshell, it wants to incorporate Tango into autonomous, space-aware robots that will take some of the load off of astronauts on the International Space Station by doing some of the work for them.
Two days ago, Google Glass received the XE16 update that bumped the device up to KitKat, introduced photo bundles, brought in sorted voice commands, and added a number of other features. This release was different for a few reasons, the most notable of which being the long wait (the last release was XE12 back in December).
Now the Glass team has released the update's system image to the Internet. The file is available for download from the usual location.
The lottery situation with Google I/O this year means nobody is guaranteed entry. Google knows this. And it's Google we're talking about. So they planted a bunch of secret codes you can redeem for a guaranteed I/O ticket. The hunt is already on, and some lucky folks have already won.
Correction: You don't win free tickets, but rather a guaranteed opportunity to buy them.
Good scavenger hunts are tough, and the best ones don't even announce the rules.
In a rare (and very amusing) fireside chat between Matias Duarte and Joshua Topolsky, we heard that I/O 2014 might put significantly more attention on great design as a topic. Today, a post on Google's Developer Blog is here to back up that declaration and adds that there will be sessions and workshops geared for designers and developers interested in improving their products. While there still hasn't been an official session list posted, this is surely meant to encourage designers to apply for registration before the window closes on Friday.
Earlier today, Google released a dedicated camera app into the Play Store. This would have been news on its own, as this method of distribution allows for camera updates without having to wait for a new firmware to come along. But the goodies didn't stop there. Google has completely redesigned the app, and while your opinion may vary, here's mine - it's better.
Why, You Ask?
For starters, there's a new lens blur effect that I've already elaborated on in great detail.