15
May
2013-05-15_12h22_45

Today, Google announced Google Play game services that brings a suite of new features that game developers can integrate into their titles. The biggest of them is cloud data sync. Game developers can sync their players' progress across devices and platforms. Yes, this feature works on Android and iOS. This is hot.

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In addition to cloud data sync, the suite of services also brings achievements and leaderboards. Any game can now tap into a unified system for showing off your accomplishments.

15
May
2013-05-15_12h14_53

Speaking at Google I/O, Android and Chrome chief Sundar Punchai just let on that there has now been over 900 million device activations. However, Google can't rest on its laurels. In the same breath as the announcement that Google has reached nearly a billion users in just a few years, the company showed off a map of countries where Android has less than 10% penetration. Those countries are green in the map below:

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The message to the rest of the world is clear: Google's on its way to your town, too.

14
May
music

On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.

13
May
image

Listen up, Android users. If you're using Google Now, don't go to its Settings -> My Stuff and try to modify sports teams or stocks right now, as doing so completely borks the whole app. As soon as you go back to the main screen or click into Search, you will experience a force close. Repeated attempts to restart it will result in a crash as well:

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The only thing that works is clearing out Google Search's data in Settings -> Applications, after which you need to re-enroll into Google Now.

13
May
breakout

Sometimes you have to assume that there are entire teams at Google whose sole job is to think up fodder for nostalgic technology bloggers. Case in point: for the 37th anniversary of the classic arcade game Breakout, Google has thrown together another one of its elaborate Easter eggs. Do a Google Image Search for "atari breakout", and the results will turn into the smashable blocks, with your mouse working as a control for the paddle.

13
May
google_play_thumb

If you've spent as much time on the Google Play Store as I have, you begin to recognize a pattern: developers asking (and sometimes begging) users to email them directly with complaints or bugs, because they can't reply to that snarky review left in lieu of a bug report. After years and years of frustration for devs who just want to make their apps better, Google has finally rolled out a direct reply feature.

11
May
image

As a recent convert to the Nexus 4 (after waiting months for my Sprint ETF to drop), I'm in love with the wireless charging orb. That's not to say it doesn't have issues (besides its price), though. While I've had nary an problem with the orb, I have heard a few times that it has one serious issue – failing to keep the Nexus in place as it charges.

A few days ago, I came across a potential solution to this problem – the Nexus 4 Charging Orb Cradle by Etsy user Pixil3D.

09
May
YouTube-Icon

It should come as no surprise that after attracting millions of content creators and billions of viewers, Google is developing new ways of monetizing YouTube. Starting today, the company is introducing a pilot program for a select group of partners. These contributors are offering paid channels with subscription fees starting at 99 cents per month. Each channel comes with a 14-day free trial, and some include discounted yearly rates, which is very similar to how Google offers magazines in the Play Store.

08
May
nexusae0_ic_head_wake_up_large_lower_thumb

Man, Google Glass moves at the speed of light. This is crazy.

The big XE5 update just hit the interwebs, so that means it's time for a teardown! XE5 is still Android 4.0.4 based, but now we're up to build 4.0.4-665738; the old version was 4.0.4-625737.

The Glass Team is still extraordinarily messy; any new file usually has copies in a million different locations. Basically, everything ships in every APK.

08
May
image

While the Google Developers site received its massive redesign quite a while ago, its sibling AOSP one at source.android.com has remained an ugly duckling. Until about an hour ago.

The difference is huge - it's like it went from Cupcake days to Jelly Bean in the blink of an eye. It would be nice if you could update Android the same way, wouldn't it?

Here are some images of the old (visible at archive.org) and new sites side-by-side (can you guess which one is which?):

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image image

Source: AOSP

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