Occasionally, an OS update will bring around features that really change things. Android 3.0 brought the Android experience to tablets. 4.0 completely revamped the UI and added guidelines that made Android look cohesive for the first time. 4.4 added Svelte, which promised to seat Android comfortably on an even broader range of devices. We have reason to believe another one of those changes is right around the corner, and it's known internally as Hera.
In a bit of unexpected news, the Verge has just posted images and descriptions of Android TV, based on information provided to them by an unnamed source.
Android TV, according to the Verge, is Google's renewed bid for the living room, looking to put Google TV in the rear view mirror, and deliver content in a cohesive experience that users will actually want to do. It does this by focusing on being an entertainment platform, rather than making your TV function like a large tablet with a remote.
Chromecast support is becoming something of a fashion item: all the cool kids (or at least the cool media-focused Android apps) have it. The latest app to add support for Google's tiny streamer is Flixster, known for its up to date selection of movie trailers and tight integration with sister service Rotten Tomatoes. Notably, Flixster also supports the UltraViolet system, giving users an alternative to VUDU for their digital copy collection.
Google's Project Ara might be the very definition of a geek pipe dream: an idea that makes a lot of sense, but isn't quite possible with current technology, being made real with applied engineering and creativity. Even with Motorola being sold to Lenovo, the Ara modular phone project is still full speed ahead at the Googleplex under the new ATAP team. Dave Hakkens of Phonebloks, who presented a very similar concept back in September, was recently given a tour of ATAP's progress.
If you come across an embedded video online that isn't piped in from YouTube, odds are pretty good that it's running on JW Player. The HTML5 and Flash video player from this company is used on more than 2 million websites including Kickstarter, Electronic Arts, and ESPN. That's why it's kind of a big deal that JW Player is adding support for Chromecast.
It's hard not to be excited about the future of Google Now. It's already an incredibly powerful tool, on its way to being a do-anything personal assistant, and we've heard tell of even more functionality from bill pay reminders to inferred events entries to contact-based reminders.
Today, though, we've heard about something that many have asked for from Google Now for a long time now - actual timer functionality. Search may not be getting its own built-in timer, but it won't be side-stepping your request to set an alarm, either.
Google is really heavy on the joke content this year. There's the Photobombing, Pokémon Maps, Signature Apps, and now Chromecast for Squirrels. What? Small mammals have video they want to watch on bigger screens too.
The video really drives the point home that Chromecast is all about squirrel empowerment and choice. No longer will squirrels have to watch human video content, because now there's Chromecast. As for the paw-friendly app situation, Google is working on that.
Chromecast apps are popping up almost faster than we can install them, but let's not forget one of the first apps to show us what the Chromecast was capable of doing. Of course, I'm talking about AllCast. Koush's streaming app has been updated with a few goodies, some of which are still listed as 'beta.'
On a scale of one to ten, how much do you like movies and TV shows? I'd like to think that most people thoroughly enjoy a good flick, and basically everyone probably has at least one series they follow, as well. Of course we all love Netflix and Hulu+ (well, maybe we don't love the latter), but you know what else is good? Free. Free movies and TV, to be exact.