Earlier this month, Google surprised us with OnHub, a $200 WiFi router made in partnership with TP-Link that looks great and packs in some smart technology (even if it only has one ethernet port). We knew Google planned to release an app to pair with and control the OnHub, and today Google On hit the Play Store.
The app appears to be super straight-forward, guiding users through initial setup with a variety of simple, pleasing illustrations, and - after that - allowing for easy troubleshooting, speed testing, and network sharing. Users can also rename their network or change the password, and the app even has a feature to "remotely provide or receive help from friends and family." On's interface relies on shades of blue and teal that should be familiar to OnHub customers, matching the device's body and glowing light (assuming you went for the blue version).
If you use Google Play Music on your Chromecast on a regular basis, you may have noticed a few issues lately. According to this Google support forum thread, casting Play Music to a nearby Chromecast has been broken for about three weeks for at least some users. Once the music playback begins on the television it reports an error shortly thereafter. Multiple users began reporting the same problem and similar issues.
It doesn't seem to be universal - trying out the casting feature in Google Play Music on my Nexus 6 and SHIELD TV doesn't appear to be broken - but enough people are experiencing it that it's beginning to gain notice.
In an apparent effort to boost app discoverability and engagement, it looks like Google is rolling out a beautiful new layout for "apps" search results on mobile. Doing a quick search for pretty much anything followed by the word "apps" will get you a grid of app results above the normal search results, each block colored according to the app's icon. Clicking the "expand" button opens up the grid, with more results smoothly flowing in. Check it out in motion below.
Worth noting is that these results seem to only appear on Android for now - the download numbers and ratings of course reflect Play Store stats, and each block will take you to the relevant Play Store listing.
Alright, the Chromecast may not rank high on the list of devices you're waiting to catch a deal on. $35 isn't the kind of price that has you setting aside paychecks. A kid could get one relatively quickly just by saving up their allowance.
It's been a while since we last heard anything about Project Soli - Google's radical post-touch experiment unveiled at I/O - but it looks like the project is still rolling right along. According to a tipster, Google has begun notifying interested parties of an impending "Soli Alpha DevKit," asking that those notified fill out an application for the chance to receive one.
Google says it's looking for pretty much everything when it comes to possible applications - health, art, interactive installations, robotics, HCI, VR, and more are all specifically called out as fair game in Google's email.
The email says that those selected to receive a DevKit will get a development board and SDK, along with the opportunity to participate in a Soli Alpha developer workshop at some point in the future.
If you grew up in Lebanon like I did, you'd consider potholes an unavoidable fact of hitting the road. Any road. You start planning your driving and lanes based on the placement of potholes, until you get surprised by a new one that just sprung up out of nowhere in the last 24 hours. Sometimes you have to take the wrong side of the street to escape one, other times the pothole is so huge you can't find any way to drive around it. And your car suffers the consequences day in and day out.
Google knows this and is apparently working on a pothole patrol and detection system that crowd-sources data from our collective cars as we drive down the streets.
Living life primarily as a Google Apps customer must be a rough existence. You get to see all the shiny new things regular Gmail users are getting, but when can you have it? Later. Much later. The latest old feature made new again for Apps customers is automatic Gmail event integration with Google Calendar. Yay.
This last spring, a couple of trolls took to Google Map Maker and created a park that looked like a bugdroid peeing on an Apple logo. Google's reaction to this was removing the ability to make edits using Map Maker altogether, and the community was told that the feature would be added in at a later time. A couple of weeks ago the service came back to life in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, the Philippines, and Ukraine. Notably missing from this list is the United States. Well as of yesterday, the USA and 44 other countries were added to the countries open to edits.
Filed in the category of "things we just noticed" is a pretty strange interface element discovered in the "help" interface of Google Settings. When opening an article, users can tap a "full screen exit" icon in the toolbar to trigger the little floating window seen above.
The window is reminiscent of the one found in YouTube, where users can collapse a video and keep browsing, but this window can be moved up to the top of the screen as well. Sliding it to either side will dismiss the mini-window. Here's a quick video demo:
There's no doubt this element seems a little out of place in Google Settings, but my first guess is that, functionally, it would serve a similar purpose to YouTube's mini player - if a user is following step-by-step instructions in a help article, they may want a fast way to switch between the steps and the app that they're dealing with.