Growing up in Lebanon, I got used to giving and receiving directions to my home as, "take the second right turn after the chicken restaurant, continue straight past the two gas stations, it's the first building on the left after the falafel stand, with a flower shop below it and facing a pharmacy." I even remember how long I had to stay on hold on the phone with some government dude just to get the ZIP code for my area. Then I opened my own pharmacy in a different area of Lebanon, where the streets were divided by colored sectors and the buildings were numbered, but still, no one used the provided addresses because they were accustomed to the old way of doing things.
Google announced the Stagefright vulnerability fix would start rolling out as an OTA today, but it has also added new factory images to the Nexus developer pages. That means bootloader unlocked Nexus phones and tablets can flash the new build immediately, even if your device is running some wacky ROM.
Android offers developers a great deal of freedom to experiment with apps and come up with (maybe) the next big thing. Now Google has launched a website where it plans to show off some of the most interesting projects on Android. It's called Android Experiments and there are already 20 apps and demos to check out.
After a controversial edit or two appeared in Map Maker alongside an uptick in spam, Google decided to halt user submissions while it figured out a way to deal with things. Now the company is starting to open Map Maker back up to users. It's doing so gradually. The first phase announced includes the countries of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, Philippines, and Ukraine.
Previously Google automatically approved most submissions. A Googler would then review edits manually, especially if community members brought something to the company's attention. The hope was that users would police themselves.
Rather than develop new systems or allocate more employees, Google is increasing its reliance on the community to solve the problem.
To be honest, I'm still not sold on Vessel's business model, which posts original web video content a few days early to paying subscribers before it goes out to more general portals (usually YouTube). But the Android app seems more than serviceable even in its beta form, and the developers are adding features quickly. Case in point: the latest update adds Chromecast compatibility, which no video app should be without.
The feature works exactly as you'd expect it to: start a video and look for the Chromecast icon, then connect to a local Chromecast or Android TV device. You can connect on the main viewer screen as well, if you don't want to scramble to send your video as soon as it starts.
Android One is an exciting program. Inexpensive devices with standard hardware running stock Android, with lightning-fast updates straight from Google - what's not to like? But according to a report this weekend, Android One hasn't been as successful in its premiere market as Google would have liked. The Financial Times, in an interview with Google's managing director for India and Southwest Asia, reports that big changes are coming to the series. First up: even cheaper Android-powered phones.
When One launched in India last year, the first set of phones were sold at around the 5000 Rupee mark - somewhere in the $80 range in USD.
When Android TV launched, it did so to an attitude that, at best, could be described as lukewarm. Google has attempted to corner the living room for years now, and its most successful attempt - the Chromecast - has essentially undercut Google's own more ambitious TV products.
Google TV never really had a chance - it was slow, the hardware was never particularly powerful, and the remotes were a nightmare. Google eventually let GTV die by slowly letting it fade into uselessness piece by piece.
Chromecast actually launched before Google TV was really "dead" in any official sense, and its success was immediate.
A couple of months back, rumors that Google was working on a gamer-focused video streaming service first appeared. And so we waited. Now that the appropriately named YouTube Gaming is finally here, it plans to go head to head with Twitch.tv - easily the most popular such service in the world. Google has a tremendous amount of experience in the video streaming space in the form of YouTube, but it has never offered anything that was geared toward gamers. YouTube Gaming is hailed as the brand-new service that aims to fill that gap.
Currently, YouTube Gaming is only available as a beta program.
Another long design test appears to be drawing to a close for Google. After apparently beginning a wider rollout for the new mobile search UI (in testing since April), it seems that Google is making the revised image results UI final too.
This layout has been popping up since at least May, with a brighter, more crisp interface that offers more iconography, refined typography, and - yes - a section for related images.
Almost anyone who uses YouTube regularly has seen a video with either 301 or 301+ views, according to the player. Why is this? Well, Google automatically checks videos crossing this threshold of views to see if the visitors are legitimate or just bots designed to pump up the number. From now on, they are tweaking the method to count "real" views in real time and only holding off on adding those that YouTube is unsure about.