On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.
Listen up, Android users. If you're using Google Now, don't go to its Settings -> My Stuff and try to modify sports teams or stocks right now, as doing so completely borks the whole app. As soon as you go back to the main screen or click into Search, you will experience a force close. Repeated attempts to restart it will result in a crash as well:
The only thing that works is clearing out Google Search's data in Settings -> Applications, after which you need to re-enroll into Google Now. Changing your Home or Work locations does not seem to trigger the issue - it's just sports teams and stocks.
Sometimes you have to assume that there are entire teams at Google whose sole job is to think up fodder for nostalgic technology bloggers. Case in point: for the 37th anniversary of the classic arcade game Breakout, Google has thrown together another one of its elaborate Easter eggs. Do a Google Image Search for "atari breakout", and the results will turn into the smashable blocks, with your mouse working as a control for the paddle. It even works on Android, assuming you use a compatible browser in desktop mode.
Interestingly, the prototype version for the original 1976 Breakout hardware was designed with help from Apple's future dynamic duo, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
If you've spent as much time on the Google Play Store as I have, you begin to recognize a pattern: developers asking (and sometimes begging) users to email them directly with complaints or bugs, because they can't reply to that snarky review left in lieu of a bug report. After years and years of frustration for devs who just want to make their apps better, Google has finally rolled out a direct reply feature. Developers, you can now reply to user reviews using your developer console.
This has been a long time coming. A number of developers had been included in the testing program for the better part of a year, and rumors of a wide rollout have been circulating for a while.
As a recent convert to the Nexus 4 (after waiting months for my Sprint ETF to drop), I'm in love with the wireless charging orb. That's not to say it doesn't have issues (besides its price), though. While I've had nary an problem with the orb, I have heard a few times that it has one serious issue – failing to keep the Nexus in place as it charges.
A few days ago, I came across a potential solution to this problem – the Nexus 4 Charging Orb Cradle by Etsy user Pixil3D.
The 3D-printed cradle isn't necessarily the most elegant solution imaginable, and adding a $24 fix to a product that already costs $60 isn't exactly palatable to this writer, but the cradle has one thing going for it – it's 3D-printed, and anyone that has a 3D printer can make their own.
It should come as no surprise that after attracting millions of content creators and billions of viewers, Google is developing new ways of monetizing YouTube. Starting today, the company is introducing a pilot program for a select group of partners. These contributors are offering paid channels with subscription fees starting at 99 cents per month. Each channel comes with a 14-day free trial, and some include discounted yearly rates, which is very similar to how Google offers magazines in the Play Store.
Sesame Street is one of the partners included in the pilot program and will offer full episodes through their paid channel.
The big XE5 update just hit the interwebs, so that means it's time for a teardown! XE5 is still Android 4.0.4 based, but now we're up to build 4.0.4-665738; the old version was 4.0.4-625737.
The Glass Team is still extraordinarily messy; any new file usually has copies in a million different locations. Basically, everything ships in every APK. Maybe the Glass Team is using extremely bad organization as a form of Teardown obfuscation. (It's not working.)
Take A Note
It looks like note taking is coming to Google Glass!
The difference is huge - it's like it went from Cupcake days to Jelly Bean in the blink of an eye. It would be nice if you could update Android the same way, wouldn't it?
Here are some images of the old (visible at archive.org) and new sites side-by-side (can you guess which one is which?):
So, to rectify this great injustice of the Internet (and because people keep asking me, personally) we've decided to hit you up with the Glass system dump. The Explorer program seems to be all about hacking and experimentation, so hopefully Google adopts an open policy towards posting Glass code. Please don't yell at us. <3
You can grab the original 285.7MB version of the Glass software, XE4, from our list of mirrors:
And the brand new, updated, 298.9MB XE5 version from any of these fine bit shifters:
If you find anything neat, or get any of this to run on something that it isn't supposed to run on, let us know.
Wow. So when Glass was first making the rounds, we heard a few rumblings about a ridiculously fast update cycle; something like monthly updates. Sure enough, it seems like Google is delivering on that sort-of rumored promise:
Today, less than a month after the Glass unit left Google HQ, there's a new update: Version XE5. There's no public change log, but Phandroid says they emailed Google and got back the following list:
New features in XE5:
- Change to sync policy: require power + wifi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
Google+ integration sounds awesome;
the only problem is it doesn't actually work right now.