Congratulations, Austrian readers, you're the latest ones to get access to paid TV shows on Google Play. And they're sincere congratulations, too - it's still a pretty small club. Right now there are only eight countries that can stream TV via the Play Store (the others being the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan). Compare that to over one hundred countries that have access to Google Play Movies, as listed on the Play Store's help page. Austria itself was given access to movies almost two years ago. Read More
Google wants as many people to use the web as possible, because at this point it can reliably count on more or less every internet user earning the company revenue. Having a decent connection is a big part of that, and while there are plenty of adequate speed tests available, apparently Google wants one right in the search interface. To that end, they're testing an integrated speed test created with the help of Measurement Lab. Read More
Google makes most of its money from showing ads, both on its own services and on third-party sites running Google's ad network. When you use Google products, you have to be okay with some of the things you do being used to inform the ads you see. Today, Google is making a new tool available to users that lets you see and control the information Google uses to show you ads, but it comes with an (optional) expansion of Google's advertising personalization. Read More
American cities do a lot of things well, but public transit isn't one of them. Get outside the major metropolitan areas on the East Coast, and you're pretty much hosed without a car - try to treat cities in the Midwest or Texas or California like New York, and you'll soon walk right through your shoes. Even if you do have your own vehicle, parking and traffic can become your personal nightmare. According to a new report in the Guardian, one of the many subsidiaries inside Google's new Alphabet parent company is working on fixing that. Read More
The main reasons I can speak and write in English so well (or at least I think I do), despite it being my third language, are song lyrics and movie subtitles. Teenage-me used to spend hours listening to American music and watching American movies, trying to understand what was being said, then resorting to hit the subtitle button on my VCD player (I'm old) or to go to LetsSingIt to find the lyrics. They helped me get pronunciation right like no book or college course ever could.
I still love checking out lyrics to my favorite songs, even if I can pretty much understand everything, but there are instances when words or sentences aren't that clear or can be interpreted in different manners. Read More
Google first talked about Expeditions way back at I/O 2015, after which they began trying it out with a large number of classrooms worldwide. Using the magic of VR, Expeditions would allow educators to take their students on realistic escapades into far-off lands. At long last, Google is making the app available to anyone who wants it.
Using a viewer like Google Cardboard and a smartphone, people can go on (self-)guided tours of places like Machu Picchu, Antarctica, the International Space Station, and even the now-defunct studio of The Colbert Report.
To go as a group, it works like an old-fashioned LAN party. Read More
Google has offered the Cast SDK to developers in some capacity for three years, but there have long been some annoyances that made it difficult to implement and maintain in certain apps. Cast SDK v3.0 was announced at I/O 2016 last month, and now it's available to developers. This version of the SDK seeks to simplify several elements of the old one to make developers' lives a little easier. Read More
The Landsat 8 satellite was launched by NASA in 2013 to snap photos of Earth in higher detail than was possible before. This is an open project, so you can dig through all the data if you want. Today, we get to enjoy the benefits of Landsat 8 in a more convenient way. Google has rolled out improved worldwide satellite imagery in Google Earth and Maps using the data acquired by this satellite. Read More
One of the handier voice commands that users can give to Google Now is "remind me to [whatever]," which will automatically start a function that adds a reminder and alarm to the cards. Follow that up with a specific time or day, and it will make the necessary adjustments to your command. Now it's even faster: the dialogue used to create a short countdown in the form of a blue line. But if you try the same command today, it will create a card instantly. Read More