About a week ago, Google announced a new Chromecast update that would bring about some bug fixes and a "refreshed home screen." It wasn't made clear at the time exactly what that meant, but the update appears to be rolling out in full force now, so we've finally gotten a glimpse at this refresh, and it looks a lot better. Instead of just a stock image with huge "ready to cast" text and Chromecast's details, the new, minimal home screen cycles through beautiful images with the Chromecast's name in the bottom left and time in the bottom right.
The Chromecast launched last summer with a lot of promise, but very limited app support. We've been limping along these last few months with only the occasional addition like Pandora and HBO Go to keep us going. Well, now the floodgates are beginning to open. Google just announced 10 new apps are launching with Chromecast support, and some of them are super-exciting.
You don't have to spend much time on the Play Store to see that games are a big part of the service and the platform. Google has already done a lot to highlight gaming with Play Store categories and landing page promotions, but starting in February, developers and end users will have roughly three times as many categories to browse through. The new game categories are as follows:
- Role Playing
That's seventeen categories, up from the previous six (Arcade & Action, Brain & Puzzle, Cards & Casino, Casual, Racing, and Sports Games).
To wrap up the year, TIME's been working on a "Top Ten of Everything 2013" series, listing off the top ten items in various categories from Pop Culture and Social Media to, of course, tech gadgets. In that category, TIME listed things like the LEAP Motion controller, Oculus Rift Developer's Kit, and new iPads, but they awarded the top spot to Google's plucky Chromecast dongle.
The piece, published Tuesday and shared by Larry Page on Google+ this evening, lauds the Chromecast's focus - it essentially only does one thing but does it so well, makes it so easy, and costs so little, that picking one up is really hard to resist.
The last time we saw an expansion of Google Play Books was nearly a month ago when the service opened up shop in South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. Since then, it would appear Google has been making headway in its continued effort to bring more of its services to as many countries as possible. This time around, the list of countries in which Play Books is available has been updated to include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela.
So you're trying to choose between a new Altima and a Civic for your next car. Naturally you Google them both to check out their specifications and features. But it turns out that you can get most of the important numbers without clicking on a single link. Today Google pulled the wraps off of a new addition to Search's Knowledge Graph both on the web and on mobile: car stats.
When Android founder Andy Rubin announced that he was leaving the Android team back in May of this year, it was a shock to say the least. At the time Mr. Rubin confirmed that he was staying with Google itself, but declined to say what his new role would be. Six months later, a report from the New York Times seems to have the first information on what he's been doing.
Since its introduction, Google Glass has been in the unfortunate position of having relatively limited functionality. However, with a steady stream of updates and eventually the emergence of the Glassware tab in the MyGlass interface, we've known the elusive wearable was due for some more exciting things. A few weeks after announcing plans to add Play Music to Glass, Google has quietly added it to the list of apps supported on the elusive wearable.
It's that time again - Google has updated the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers. Following a predictable trend, KitKat has eked out its own 1.1% niche, Jelly Bean (API version 16-18) is going strong at 54.5%, putting it further over the mark it reached last month, running on over half of all devices that have checked in to the Google Play Store in the past two weeks, while Gingerbread's grip continues to slip, decreasing to 24.1% from 26.3% last month.
The Chromecast is already a pretty fantastic deal at $35, but less is always more when it comes to price. Both Best Buy and Amazon are offering the streaming dongle for $29.99. You still get the $6 credit for Google Play movie rentals from either retailer, so you won't be wanting for something to watch when you plug it in.
Google has been pushing the Chromecast hard as of late, adding a special section for Chromecast to the on-device Google Play Store to highlight the apps that can take advantage of it.