21
Dec
youtubetiny

It's rare that the phrases "developer API" and "holy crap" are uttered in the same sentence, but if anything's going to pull it off, it might just be Google's new YouTube APIs. These allow developers to embed high-quality videos right inside their apps, obviating the need for that silly WebView thing.

Here's the full list of new features that this API allows:

The API, which was pre-announced at Google I/O 2012, offers these benefits:

The news is fantastic for developers, partly because it will make it much easier to include video content, but will also make it possible to improve on the YouTube browsing experience.

21
Dec
unnamed (2)

Update: Turns out the app is only compatible with LG Google TV's for the time being (meaning no Google TV set top boxes are compatible at this time). That's lame.

Remember Google TV? You know, the Google-developed set top box running an Android variant that never managed to catch on? Well, if you're one of the small but dedicated users of the most neglected streaming device around, there's reason to celebrate: Amazon's Instant Video app, previously "exclusive" to the Kindle Fire, iPad, Roku, TiVo, Blu-ray players, various connected TVs, and just about everything except standard Android devices, is available on Google Play from your Google TV.

20
Dec
image

In a pair of new thirty-second ad spots, Google is showing off what it does best – search. The spots both feature Google's Search app for Android, using the same cozy, refined aesthetic as Google's other ads in recent memory, even showing off Search's new "search with camera" functionality.

The first spot follows the story of a nervous job candidate, gaining some insight into his prospective employer's interests with a last-minute Google search, while the second spot shows us a "smart Dad" who uses Google Search as a cheat sheet to answer his inquisitive son's astronomical questions.

19
Dec
2012-12-19_11h03_27

You've gotta hand it to the folks in Mountain View. When NORAD decides to pass Google over for Santa tracking data, the company isn't one to sit on its hands and let someone else handle Christmas. This isn't the first year that the data giant has kept you up to date on the comings and goings of everyone's favorite fat bearded man in a red suit, but this Santa tracker may just be the best yet.

18
Dec
play music logo

While Google's been working feverishly to build out its Play Store, bringing it to other countries and expanding its offerings, the company's music store has been lacking one crucial feature that its competitors have: library matching. Where Amazon and iTunes can scan your current collection and add the songs to your online storage, Google has, until recently, required users to upload every individual track manually. A long and tedious process. In mid-November, the scan and match feature came out for Europe, and today it arrives for US residents.

14
Dec
mapstiny

In times past, we've seen Google add new countries to its list of supported territories for Google Maps Navigation shortly before we see the update itself rollout. Today, there's been a pretty huge change to that document that added 10 new nations including Bulgaria, Estonia, Ghana, Iceland, Ivory Coast, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Senegal and Slovakia (for some reason Singapore appears to have been added to the list, even though that nation already has Navigation).

14
Dec
1[5]

Yesterday, the gift card redeem page went live in the UK's Google Play Store, suggesting that gift cards will be hitting the scene relatively soon. It looks like Google is already gearing up for launch, as the option just showed up in the mobile Play Store, as well.

1

Of course, there's still one major problem: Play Store cards can't yet be purchased anywhere in the UK. In fact, they're not available anywhere aside from the U.S.

13
Dec
google-g-logo

Mobile advertising is an unavoidable part of the Android experience - in fact, some would make the case that it's the whole reason for Android coming to exist in its current form. But that doesn't meant that it can't be improved. So Google's AdMob team has been looking at ways of making delivered ads both less intrusive and more functional, namely by cutting down on unwanted activations.

12-5-2012 12-03-26 PM

According to the post on Google's Mobile Ads Blog, accidental and non-intentional taps on the ad space are one of the biggest problems they've had to deal with.

11
Dec
booksmovies_thumb

It seems like we can't go more than a week or two without hearing that one of Google's content services has rolled out to a new country. Today, Russia is getting in on the action with Play Books and Movies now available throughout the country. You can purchase books like normal, and movies are available both for rental and purchase.

2012-12-11_15h35_46

Prices for movie rentals start at around 49 rubles (USD$1.60) and purchases start at 99 rubles (USD$3.22).

10
Dec
play logo

Sure, "in-app purchases" becomes a bit of a dirty phrase when we're talking about games that abuse the privilege, but they're a critical element of any profitable app ecosystem, and today Google's making a bunch of IAP features easier and smoother for developers and, by extension, you. Here are some of the new improvements.

Easier Purchasing Implementation

2012-12-10_15h00_53

Previously, if you bought an item in an app, the purchase was handled via an "asynchronous notification through a background service." This meant that the app would call out to Google to announce a purchase, but then have to talk to a separate service in order to find out how it went.

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