Chromecast might not be the most dramatic of Google's products on stage at I/O 2014, but it's getting just as much love. Rishi Chandra, product manager for Chromecast, demonstrated a lot of new features in his presentation. The low-cost streaming device will get newer and more advanced capabilities soon, including the ability to stream the screen contents of your phone or tablet directly to the television. We've seen this done with various third-party hacks, not to mention a peek or two on some people's active devices.
Today's Google I/O isn't exactly the coming out party for Android Wear - the company has already demonstrated the wearable platform in a preview form. But for developers, it's the main event: the full Wear software development kit will be available soon, and some of the more esoteric capabilities were elaborated upon. The early portions of the keynote demonstrated the user interface, which we've seen before, but the demonstrated capabilities are nonetheless impressive.
We've known about Project Hera for quite a while, and at Google I/O today, it was confirmed by Google's Director of Product Management for Chrome, Avni Shah. Hera is a new way for the web and apps to interact with each other on Android via an API, allowing apps like Chrome and Docs to use multiple scrolling items in the Recents menu at one time. Combined with the visual overhaul in the L release, this may drastically change the way that users interact with content.
At the Google I/O 2014 keynote, Google SVP Sundar Pichai announced that Android is now being used by more than a billion people every day. But in order to gain customers in the emerging market, Google has a new initiative: Android One. This program will be centered around affordable hardware with essential features, but it will also have an exciting software component.
In short, Android One is Nexus for emerging markets.
Nest Labs only released its Developer Program just yesterday, which opened up its hardware to third-party developers, and IFTTT has already introduced new channels and recipes for use with the company's thermostat and smoke alarm. This integration will allow users to tie their devices to over 100 other products or services. Now you can have your thermostat turn on your fan shortly after sunrise, for example, or let your lights inform your Nest devices that you've turned them off and left the house.
Once the CyanogenMod team found and implemented the hidden Heads Up notification mode, it was basically inevitable that all the other major custom ROMs would follow suit. The unicorn-powered Android Open Kang Project has done so with their first nightly based on Android 4.4.4. They've also thrown in the usual bug fixes, as well as settings for automatic Immersive mode, disabling the full-screen keyboard, lockscreen orientation, and a few other goodies.
A while ago, we posted about explorations Google was undertaking in revamping Android's home screen. Part of this was a new notification shade that looked similar to Google Now.
Since then, we've seen new materials that show something a bit closer to what the notification shade and Quick Settings will resemble in Android's L release. The images we'll discuss in this post are based on more recent information, but as with any unreleased software, anything can change - particularly design.
Google has made small tweaks to Glass throughout the Explorer program, but today the company has announced a real spec bump. All Glass units shipping from now on will have 2GB of RAM instead of 1GB. There will also be a new viewfinder mode when taking pictures and some more cards. It's not all sunshine and lollipops, though. Current Glass Explorers should take a deep breath – Google won't be swapping out the old version for the new one.