There's little doubt that the Chromecast is one of the best tech products released last year, and with the recent availability of the Google Cast SDK, it's on its way to getting even better. While the majority of users probably send content to Chromecast from their mobile devices, let's not forget that there's also a Chrome extension that allows things like Netflix, Play Music, YouTube, and even specific tabs to be beamed over to the TV.
Google has just pulled the curtain off Project Tango, the latest innovation to come to us from its Advanced Technology and Projects hardware group (the folks also involved with Project Ara). This device is capable of tracking its movement within an area while creating a 3D map of the environment at the same time. It could be immensely useful for indoor navigation or the creation of highly immersive video games.
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp was certainly yesterday's biggest story when it came to web and social news. But according to Amir Efrati of The Information, there's an interesting backstory that didn't make it into the financial pages. He reports that six months ago, Google offered to pay WhatsApp to notify the larger company if they received an acquisition offer from anyone else. While an exact amount hasn't been disclosed, the deal was reportedly worth "millions of dollars."
The Information's anonymous sources say that WhatsApp declined the offer - surely a hard pill to swallow for a startup company, even one with the fantastic number of users that WhatsApp boasts.
Google Fiber coming to your city, with its promise of gigabit Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than what most of us currently put up with, is about as awesome as winning the lottery often enough to buy Time Warner Cable yourself and using all of the company's resources to funnel a connection to your house and yours only. Thus far the service has only appeared in a few parts of the country, namely Kansas City, Austin, and Provo.
When Flappy Bird left the Play Store and Apple's App Store, it left a vacuum. And since it was pulled, that vacuum has been pulling in all kinds of lint, in the form of knockoffs, clones, or games that simply want to use Flappy Bird's success as promotion for their own games.
It would seem, though, that Google (along with Apple) has begun taking steps to prevent the store from becoming overrun with such entries.
An international mega-corp like Google buys companies like the rest of us buy coffee. Google's latest latte is SlickLogin, a startup that aims to make authentication simpler and safer by using sonic login codes on phones. The details of the purchase aren't public just yet, but SlickLogin's site confirms that "the [team] is joining Google."
SlickLogin's system is unique: it uses a cell phone as an authentication key with the help of nearly-silent audio codes sent via computer speakers.
If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.
This change mirrors the one made to the on-device Play Store back in December.
Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and you know what that means: bitter disappointment fruitlessly displaced with technology. (That might just be me.) Google's got you covered on the second part, at least if you have a Chromecast. A new visualizer option for Google Play Music ditches the bars and equalizers in favor of a looped video of a cozy fireplace. You'll have to supply your own music, of course.
The visualizer isn't on by default, but it's easy enough to enable.
Google announced the final version of the Google Cast SDK and Play Services 4.2 early this month, but it wasn't quite ready for the public. Developers were asked by Google to hold off until the new services framework was finalized, and today is the big day – it's open season on the Chromecast.