Google, in a post to its Inside Search blog, has just announced that third-party Google Now cards are on the way. Something users (and developers) have been curious about since the predictive assistant's inception is finally getting some exploration, as Google teams up with "30+ developers" to bring users cards covering everything from Pandora suggestions to Lyft ride prices.
Google says the new cards will be rolling out over the next few weeks, and provides a bunch of examples on the Google Now landing page. Read More
Update Wednesday wasn't particularly active this week, but Google did push a few bug fixers out before the day was done. While most of the apps only saw minor version revs with little more than minor tweaks, Chrome Beta 41 came down the pipe with some noteworthy improvements like pull-to-refresh and an option to block only 3rd-party cookies. However, it turns out that those weren't the only new bits to be found in this release. Read More
Over a year after quietly introducing the feature in the USA, Google has added the ability to send money through Gmail in the United Kingdom. While Google likes to emphasize the fact that you're sending the money through Gmail, it's really done via Google Wallet. The main benefit is that you can embed the send/receive request within an email message and Google will do the heavy lifting for you in terms of enticing the recipient to sign up for a Wallet account, if necessary. Read More
T-Mobile bought up some spectrum licenses in the 700MHz block A space in 2013, and has started upgrading its towers just recently to take advantage of it. However, there are only a few devices available that can connect to Tmo's 700MHz (band 12) network. That's about to change, according to an updated webpage on T-Mobile's site. The Nexus 6, Sony Xperia Z3, and other phones will be getting an update to add support soon. Read More
Update: Google says that the Nexus Player is also available from TigerDirect. The official Nexus Twitter account also mentions Wal-Mart and Fry's Electronics, though it isn't available from their online sites, so it may only be on sale in brick-and-mortar stores. Staples' online store is also mentioned, but as of noon Monday, the Nexus Player isn't listed. Amazon now has an official listing from Asus available at the standard $99 price with free Prime shipping. Read More
I love the "Moto dimple" on the back of the Nexus 6. It makes the enormous phone just a little bit easier to grip (especially if you have a case with an iPhone-style logo cutout, like this one). But apparently the original purpose of the circular depression wasn't ergonomics, or even to match the branding on other Motorola devices like the Moto X. According to Dennis Woodside, former CEO of Motorola and currently the COO at Dropbox, the dimple was intended to be a fingerprint scanner. Read More
Google's compatibility definition document (CDD) is meant to provide guidelines, requirements, and recommendations to Android device manufacturers who want their devices to be "compatible" with the latest release of Android, allowing them to pass Google's Compatibility Test Suite.
Last time Google updated the document, we noted at least one change of interest, requiring that manufacturers use white status icons with translucent bars. Naturally, when we noticed Google had updated the document again, we had to take a look and see what changes had been made. Read More
YouTube has become a great place for indie musicians to get their work out to the public, and in a few cases, even make a little extra money with Google's automated Content ID music identifying and licensing service. That was all well and good, right up to the point where Google decided it would make its video site into a formal music service with YouTube Music Key. We heard of serious issues with the contract terms even before the service launched, but now one independent artist has spilled the beans on those terms, and how they've left her in a conundrum. Read More
Sometimes old stuff is too old. It's sad, but companies don't have unlimited resources, and they can't provide new software updates and service forever. That's especially true of smaller companies like Dropcam (though it's technically owned by Nest, which is technically owned by Google, so I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "small" company anymore). But instead of simply leaving owners of older hardware in the dust, or compromising on new features for the always-on home monitoring service, Dropcam has decided to simply upgrade the old models for free. Read More
The US and EU have put in effect sanctions against the Crimea area of Ukraine following Russia's annexation of the peninsula, and now various tech companies are complying. Google has already started to block AdSense and AdWords in the region, reports TechCrunch, and it plans to cut off Google Play services starting on February 1st.
Google's actions follow the likes of Apple, PayPal, and Valve (which has opted to turn off Steam in Crimea altogether). When Google cuts off access to Google Play services, this will apply to both paid and free provisions, but the company will continue to provide access to web-based services such as search, Gmail, and Maps. Read More