The web version of Hangouts, tucked away in the bottom of left-hand corner of Gmail or the right-hand side of Google+, has just received an update that hearkens back to simpler times. Now when a contact is currently available, a green dot is displayed atop their avatar (instead of the green line the web version used to display). It's not exactly the same green dot that many of us grew accustomed to in the days of Google Talk, but it gets the point across.
Next month will be the two-year anniversary of Gmail becoming the most widely used email service on the planet. While it remains the uncontested champion, the Gmail app for Android struck its own accomplishment last week as it became the first conventional app in the Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads. Technically, the Google Play services package crossed the same mark back in January, but it is automatically installed on any device equipped with the Play Store and running Android 2.2 or higher.
If you missed that big game and want to catch up quickly, you can always tune into Sportscenter or any number of websites. But if you want to do so as fast as humanly possible, Google is happy to oblige with a new addition to the ever-expanding search functions. For the latest NBA games in the US, Google is adding short video recaps to the score cards that automatically appear when you search for a team or a game.
In our recent post about Google's plans to break its Search sauce out of the dedicated app and bring it to the rest of Android, I alluded to the fact that we'd have more to talk about later. Specifically left un-discussed were the implications of new navigation buttons for the Android home screen. As readers will remember, our information leads us to believe that the navigation bar will be getting a shakeup, with the new layout including the typical back and multitask buttons, plus a "Google" button, which appears - for now - to be an actual Google logo.
There should be no doubt, Google is getting ready to make a lot of announcements at I/O. If we've learned anything from past experiences, Google starts packing its apps full of surprises in the weeks leading up to the big show. The latest update to Play Services started rolling out yesterday and it has grown by a whopping 4 MB, almost 30% larger than the previous version. There's obviously a lot of stuff to look at, so let's just jump right in.
There are plenty of apps for beaming music to a Chromecast these days, but one of the most popular music services is still lagging behind. Yes, Spotify. Well, you don't have to wait for the official app to get with the times now that Spoticast is available and ready to stream.
Using Spoticast is a little less straightforward than other Chromecast apps. You have to connect Spoticast to your Chromecast, then wait for Spotify to launch.
Google Glass is receiving an update today - build XE17's release notes just went live on the Google Support site, and they're about as terse as you can get: "XE17 fixes some bugs that caused Glass to unexpectedly restart. Even more improvements are coming soon. Stay tuned."
And that's all she [or he] wrote, folks. The update comes less than a month after XE16 was released, bringing Glass up to Android 4.4, adding photo bundles, sorted voice commands, improved battery life, and more.
If most of your exposure to American culture comes from television and movies, you might get the impression that everyone in the country lives in New York or LA, with just New Jersey and some cattle spread thin in the middle. The people who do live in New York and LA seem to think that's the case anyway. Coastal urbanites, Google is ready to indulge your fantasies: Google Shopping users on Manhattan Island and the western portion of Los Angeles now have access to the Express delivery service.
Did your last phone cost too much? Do you hate, hate the fact that Google Search is included in Google's Android operating system? Does the sight of a pre-loaded Gmail app fill you with scorn? Then call the offices of Hagens Berman, a consumer rights class-action law firm. They want to sue the pants off of Google, Because it's easier to get the money out of someone's wallet that way.
Attorney Steve Berman of Hagens Berman.
The latest version of Google Search rolled out yesterday with a couple of pretty great new features. We already know that 3.4 offers a new parking reminder, mall directories, and the start of voice commands for system settings. But there are still a few secrets worth exploring, so let's get to it!
See Your Friend's Photos
The content of Google Now tends to focus heavily on your current or future location, and as a close second, it tries to be helpful with reminders about TV shows and events.