The latest Google Glass update is on its way, and thanks to its new features, so are you. With version XE11, Glass wearers can now tell their most expensive pair of glasses where they live and work. After that, commuting becomes as simple as saying "Ok glass, get directions to work." In addition to that, Glass now functions even more like a personal secretary. Saying "Ok glass, google my agenda" pulls up a list of upcoming calendar appointments.
Yes, yes, we know: Google takes its sweet time in getting all the various parts of the Play Store rolled out to all corners of the globe. This evening (or morning, I suppose) they've expanded the Google Play Books service to South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. Android and Chrome users in these countries should be able to buy and read books right now.
Pics or it didn't happen: South Africa
Today's update brings Google Play Books to 39 countries, mostly in North America, Europe, and Asia - in fact, South Africa is the first country on the continent to get access to the service.
Back when the Google Glass Explorer program was starting up, there was a bit of a to do about the fact that users of the beta hardware were not permitted to sell their Glass units. After some consumer uproar, Google amended their position to allow lending Glass to others on a limited basis. They still preferred people not sell Glass, and explicitly told Explorers that their Glass units would be disabled if they did so.
Text-to-speech engines read text aloud, saving users from having to read it themselves. Google's TTS offering comes pre-installed on numerous Android devices, and like much of the software previously shipped as part of Android, it's now ready to spread its wings in the Play Store. Here it's available to far more users, as it can now be installed on devices that don't come with the software pre-installed (pictured below -left). In contrast, on the Nexus 5, Google TTS is apparently already installed and unremovable (pictured below - right).
Normally we're pretty pleased when we can report that a new country or carrier has enabled the option for carrier billing in the Google Play Store, allowing customers to charge app and media purchases directly to their phone bill. But for some reason, European carrier Vodafone seems to have dropped the option entirely. Vodafone has disappeared from the list of carrier billing partners on Google's Play Store support page, and we've confirmed the loss of capability from individual users in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
It was understandable when early pre-release specs listed the Nexus 5 as having a fictional 802.11nc (as opposed to 802.11ac) Wi-Fi, which many definitely noticed at the time. After all, the Nexus 5 wasn't official yet, and something like that could have been a typo made by a PR person or an intern.
Users of Google Voice have long called for the company to pay more attention to the seemingly forgotten service for quite some time. Unfortunately, they may be getting more than they were hoping for. While many people are thrilled to hear Voice will finally support MMS and become a part of Hangouts in early 2014, Google is also planning to close up shop for all 3rd-party apps that relied on the service for free texting and VoIP calling.
As you may have noticed, your friendly neighborhood Android Police writers have been more than a little busy in the last couple of days. Google had the odd notion of launching a new flagship device and a major operating system update on a holiday, so it's understandable if you haven't been able to keep up. If you spent most of last night escorting your kids around the neighborhood (or if you don't have kids, and you spent most of this morning nursing a Halloween hangover), here's everything we've got on KitKat, the Nexus 5, and anything else you want to know.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Reuters reports that the Rockstar consortium, a joint effort between Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and Blackberry, has sued Google and Android manufacturers Samsung, HTC, LG, ASUStek, Huawei, ZTE, and Pantech over patents formerly held by the now-defunct Nortel Networks. Rockstar won the patents in an auction in 2011 that topped out at $4.5 billion - Google lost the same auction with a $4.4 billion bid.