30
Sep
google japan

Japan loves vending machines. You know those machines with iPods and Bose headphones at the airport? Japan had them first, among, many, many others, including machines for liquor, live bait, produce, Pokemon, and various other slightly insane things. Now it looks like Google is joining the fray with a promotional machine that dispenses Android games right to your phone. What?

vending4

Engadget was on-hand at a Google event where the company showed off one of three vending machines that will soon go into service.

28
Sep
gmail

Now that the insane week of Google app updates has passed (gotta love those Rollout Wednesdays, right?), I've had some time to dig into the APKs and have found a number of interesting things in some of them.

We'll start with Gmail, which received a fairly significant Card UI update with version 4.6.

wm_Screenshot_2013-09-25-10-51-27

Ads are coming to Gmail

The most significant under-the-hood and probably not active yet addition to Gmail 4.6 is ads.

27
Sep
unnamed

It looks like Google isn't done adding goodies to the latest round of updates for the official Search app. The hotword for activating the voice search function is now "Ok Google," and it also works while looking at results, not just from the standard search screen. You'll need Search 2.8.7 (grab the APK here if you don't have it yet) and an updated English (US) language pack to see the new functionality.

25
Sep
unnamed (5)

We've got one last Google update to discuss this evening – YouTube. Bumping up to version 5.1.1, YouTube didn't get an official change log, but there are a few things worth discussing briefly (before Artem does his teardown magic, anyway).

First up, YouTube has a new permission for receiving data from the internet, which it uses to give you new video notifications.

25
Sep
nexusae0_unnamed_thumb32

Somewhere amid the rest of Google's app updates today, Google updated its Search app. While the Play Store still shows an old change log, there are at least a couple of notable changes with the new update.

First among them, as part of Google's ongoing quest for better language processing, is the ability to have language packs automatically update themselves. This is something we uncovered in our last APK Teardown, though some of the more exciting features we saw evidence of (custom hotwords) haven't quite hit prime time yet.

25
Sep
unnamed (4)

Google's got a surprise for users across Asia and New Zealand today, bringing Play Books availability to nine new places: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

The company that claims the world's largest selection of online books has been slowly but surely making headway in spreading its Play products across the planet. Of course, it would be great if Google could simply flip a switch to bring Play to all Android users everywhere, but legal issues and other roadblocks mean it still takes some time to expand.

25
Sep
gmail

Google started rolling out a nifty update to Gmail with the Card UI earlier today, but since the update is staged, it may take a while to get to a device near you. Not to worry - we've gotten a hold of the APK (thanks, Kevin!) and verified it's indeed legitimate. You can find it below on several mirrors. As always, just download and install - simple as that.

25
Sep

Cards, cards everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Or something like that.

That seems to be Google's mantra these days, as everything is getting card-ified. Not to say that's a bad thing, because cards are clean, simple, and effective. All three of those things have been a clear goal in Android in the Duarte era, so it makes sense that cards have been so widely adopted.

Today, it's Gmail's turn.

17
Sep
image

Earlier today, Google announced that the new LTE Nexus 7 was now available for purchase from the Play Stores in 9 countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, UK, Japan, Korea and U.S. For some reason, the company has neglected to mention Italy, which just got the Devices (Dispositivi) section added to the Play Store for the first time ever.

The only devices available at the moment are all three flavors of the Nexus 7:

The Nexus 10 and Nexus 4 are nowhere to be found, which isn't too surprising considering they're now almost a year old.

16
Sep
glass_profile

The update to version XE9 started hitting Google Glass a week ago, and now the full factory image has been posted on Google's developer site for interested parties to tinker with. This is a bit longer than past updates have taken to arrive in full system image form. The download clocks in at 327MB, which is about what all the updates have been.

2013-09-16 15_59_52-Google Glass — Google Developers

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