In just 3 weeks, we expect Google to officially announce a new subscription option that will allow users to enjoy YouTube completely ad-free. In the lead-up to this, both the web service and its Android apps have received a swarm of updates and features. In just the last month, there has been a revised web player, search for 360-degree videos, and some improvements to YouTube Kids (with more to come). Read More
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
Last year, we shared some fascinating information surrounding a rumored effort called "Nearby." According to our information at the time, Nearby would enable Android devices to communicate with people, places, and devices that were, well, nearby.
At the time, we had evidence that the feature would come with a future version of Play Services, with a friendly overview for users explaining that the service could use device sensors to communicate with nearby things.
We've seen some of this functionality already - consider Chromecast's guest mode. The device can use ultrasonic sounds (picked up using your device's microphone) to connect to your device. Read More
The Nexus 9 is not the most beloved Nexus device ever made. Its build quality is a bit questionable (people don't call it the Flexus 9 without good reason), the price is a little on the high side, its performance leaves something to be desired, and it hasn't had the best track record with updates. With these issues it's possible that Google is sitting on a fat stack of these tablets that it hasn't been able to unload.
Until now that is. You see, Google has a trick up it's sleeve that's sure to help relieve their Nexus 9 overstock problem faster than a Snapdragon 810 overheats. Read More
I'm sure everybody can agree, it makes almost no sense that the Nexus 9 is only now receiving a tiny maintenance update to 5.0.2 a couple of months after 5.1 came out. Nevertheless, that's how events are playing out, so we should at least know what's so special about this update. We've generated a changelog from AOSP, and honestly, there's not much to see.
Be aware, the Nexus 9 update goes from 5.0.1_r1 to 5.0.2_r3. However, since we've already seen the changelog for 5.0.1_r1 to 5.0.2_r1, we're keeping the previously seen changes in the old list, and producing a new one that includes only the commits that make up r1 to r3. Read More
Google has updated the Nexus developer page with links to factory images for the latest Nexus 9 Lollipop build. Don't get too excited, though. This is the 5.0.2 build that started going out as an OTA earlier today. Google, you monster.
You know how the Nexus 9 is still waiting to get the Android 5.1 update? Well, there's an OTA update rolling out right now that isn't Android 5.1. When next you see that glorious system update icon, it'll probably be for a build of Android 5.0.2, which is rolling out right now. Oh, Google.
A relatively small Google Maps update to v9.8 began rolling out last week, adding batch photo uploads and a way to restrict bookings from showing up in location screens. It turns out there was another secret feature waiting to be shown off. In the latest version, a search for one of four key phrases will pop up results related to your personal bookings. Just try asking for my events, my flights, my hotels, or my reservations to see a short list of personalized results.
This functionality is new to Google Maps on Android (confirmed with v9.7.1), but it's not exactly fresh to Google. Read More
We first saw Ultraviolet, Google's Hangouts app for Chrome, back in August. Just a couple of months later, the app went live for Chrome users with an interesting new chat heads-style interface that put your Hangouts conversations on top of everything else as floating circles.
For the most part, Ultraviolet currently resembles the Android app - it's got green toolbars, and a one-at-a-time approach to viewing conversations or the conversation list. Plus on OS X, the floating buttons unfortunately still aren't transparent, so the whole app is wrapped up in a window.
According to Caschy's Blog though, Google might be testing a new interface for Ultraviolet, and the image posted there looks like a step in the right direction. Read More
Timeful produces an iOS app of the same name that takes your calendar or to-do list and makes it smarter. The service suggests events to go along with those you create manually. I see you have a meeting at 12. How about spending the hour before working on your presentation? That sort of thing.
In a post to the official Gmail blog today, Google announced that it has acquired Timeful. Going forward, the team will now spend its time working on Google apps.
Google Calendar already creates events based on messages in your Gmail account. This acquisition shows that more expansive predictive capabilities are on the way. Read More