Google's begun rolling out an update to Maps, bumping it from version 7.5 to version 7.6 just after flipping the switch on dynamic rerouting. Officially, what's new in the update hasn't been laid out, but as usual we've managed to get the APK and take a quick peek inside. In this post, we'll outline some of the new, interesting bits we've found in the new app, and those who don't want to wait for the update can grab the APK themselves at the bottom of the post.
As Google Glass continues toward an inevitable public release, users (and developers) are still trying to puzzle out exactly what the device is best suited for. There are games, cooking apps, news alert apps, and of course a tidy bundle of Google services in the slowly expanding list of official Glassware. Of course, there's more to Glass than official Glassware. Developers are making some fairly compelling tools for Google's eyeball computer, and Brivo Labs, in an effort to "explore the future of wearable technology," recently published a demonstration of one such tool.
Today, Google finally opened the Chromecast up to developers in a meaningful way, releasing the Google Cast SDK and integrating the relevant Android API into Google Play Services, the ever-growing backbone of Google's Android-based offerings. The update has already begun its rollout. Of course, that means we're going to look inside and see what's new, and we've also got a download for those who just can't wait for Play Services 4.2 to hit their device.
The Chromecast is cheap, affordable, and easy-to-use. Great. That's almost all you need to have a stellar product. Unfortunately, it's been held up by a lack of content. If you want to cast something that hasn't been made by a handful of providers, you've been largely out of luck. But this situation is hopefully about to change. Today Google has released the Google Cast SDK. This way additional developers can finally build Chromecast support into their apps and websites.
Fans of Google in general and Android in particular are still reeling from yesterday's announcement that Motorola is being sold to Lenovo. Google acquired Moto just two years ago, and while its time within Google has been beneficial, it's clearly not going to become the official mobile hardware arm that many had hoped for. But there's no reason to think that the big G is out of the hardware game altogether - in fact, at least one report says that another recent acquisition may be accelerating it.
Google may have just sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but it seems the giant may have kept one of the manufacturer's juiciest pieces (besides patents) to itself.
According to Pocket-lint, Lenovo has confirmed that Google will be keeping Moto's Advanced Technology and Projects group, notably responsible for Project Ara, the modular phone project announced in October in collaboration with Phonebloks, and other experimental ventures.
The team, led by former DARPA Director Regina Dugan is said by the Verge to be heading to Google's Android team, reporting to Sundar Pichai.
Update: Google has announced that the deal is official on its investor relations site, and Motorola had its say too. The deal is worth $2.91 billion, with $1.41 billion paid at closing ($660m in cash and $750m in stock). Lenovo gets 2000 patents in the deal, plus a licensing arrangement with Google. Original post follows.
Google is always doing surprising things, but this is probably not something anyone would have predicted yesterday.
Questions about Google Glass and conventional prescription glasses have been flying since the project was announced, but Google finally seem ready to initiate a program to make the two come into conjunction. The Glass team announced frames for prescription lenses and sunglasses for Glass on Google+, along with a glitzy video. The titanium glasses frames will be put up for order exclusively to Glass Explorers later today.
Unfortunately, the solution that Google has presented isn't one size fits all - you'll have to choose from a selection of four standard frames (Split, Thin, Bold, Curve) and order lenses to fit.
Through its official global blog, Samsung today announced a new patent licensing deal reached with Google, whereby both companies will have access to each other's existing patents and those filed over the next ten years, covering "a broad range of technologies and business areas."
The cross-licensing agreement is described by Google's Deputy General Counsel for Patents, Allen Lo, as one that will help the two giants "reduce the potential for litigation, and focus instead on innovation." Indeed that has been a popular refrain as both Google and Samsung have historically faced (and continue to face) patent challenges from various other companies on various grounds.