From poorly-executed "leaks" to potential legitimate sightings, there's been a lot of hubbub about Google's supposed unified messaging service, likely called Babel. This isn't necessarily surprising. After all, if you asked most Android enthusiasts what feature they most wanted from the platform in its next iteration, you'd hear a lot about unified messaging. We've tried to stay clear of covering every flurry of Babel-related murmurings so far, but today we saw something new – Google+ user Patric Dhawaan posted a screenshot of what he says is a notification in Gmail, triggered when "pruning" his inbox.
Today, Facebook announced the Facebook Home suite that we've been hearing so much about. Well, to be more accurate, we've been hearing that Facebook is going to build its own phone and fork Android and create its own special social OS and that it would be the end of Google and that civilization will crash around us and we'll all wear monkey pelts and "Like" statuses by hurling spears through our enemies.
Today, Google launched a couple new features for developers that will give them a lot more flexibility in storing data associated with apps. For starters, using what's called "app data folders," a developer can store important files in a user's Drive storage space. This is huge news as, up until this point, the main method for backing up data has been the Backup API, which is great for small things that are 1-2MB or so, but isn't really sufficient for larger files.
You know what we just can't get enough of? Google Now cards. Today, the data giant updated its search app with a new real-time package tracking card (as opposed to the static "Your order has shipped" option before). In addition, regular old search results should be faster, which users on older devices are likely to love.
As a bonus, the app now provides quicker access to feedback and settings on the cards themselves.
Back in December, we noticed that a bunch of countries had been added to the list of supported areas for Google Maps Navigation. That list was promptly updated to remove most of them, but now it looks like they're (almost) all back and available for use right now, including Bulgaria, Lithuania, Slovakia and more.
Here are all the new countries that have been re-added to supported list:
- Ivory Coast
Of those, we have independent confirmation from users in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Estonia, and Slovakia that turn-by-turn navigation is available as of right now, which leads us to believe that the entire list is legit.
Well, it's that time again – time for the monthly update to Android's Platform Distribution Numbers. Each month, Google publishes the latest figures, letting developers know what versions of Android are currently dominating active devices.
This month, we're seeing a familiar pattern – Gingerbread is continuing its slow descent, hitting 39.8%, down from 44.2% this time last month. Meanwhile the latest and greatest – Jelly Bean – accounts for exactly 25% of the overall distribution, meaning it's finally hit one quarter of all tallied devices.
Yesterday, BorrowLenses, a site that rents gear to photo and video enthusiasts, posted up a rental page for Google Glass and a matching blog post. Those interested were invited to rent Glass on April 30th. The prices started at $105 for 3 days all the way to $499 for 4 weeks. With the developer version of Glass going for $1500, this didn't sound like such a bad idea if you were just looking to see how it worked without a huge commitment.
Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.