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[I/O 2015] Google Introduces Family Star, A New Set Of Kid-Friendly Filters And Parental Tools For The Play Store

The Play Store has a crap-ton of content, much of which you might not want your kids to access. Google is aware of this, and at I/O 2015 the company has announced a new set of tools specifically designed to help parents find age-appropriate content, plus a few extras to help kids engage with the content itself. It's all being introduced to the Play Store under the "Family Star" label and logo.

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[I/O 2015] Google Is Working On Smarter Play Store Search

Besides new family-friendly and kid-friendly efforts on search and discovery in the Play Store, Google announced during its keynote today that Play Store search will be getting smarter overall.

Specifically, Google wants to more effectively surface apps when users search for vague or topical queries. The example given in the screenshot above shows the user searching for "shopping" apps. The Play Store then returns, of course, shopping apps. But those apps are then categorized intelligently into different sub-genres like Fashion and Coupons.

This may seem like a small tweak to most users, but - if Google is right - it will help introduce users to the right app when the user is not sure exactly what they're looking for, which is a good step in helping along discoverability in the Play Store as a whole.

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[I/O 2015] Google Opens Up A/B Testing For Play Store Listings For Developers

When it comes to getting users to your app, your Play Store listing counts for a lot. What users see (and read) when they reach your app's listing can make or break their decision to download or buy, so carefully crafting a good listing is important.

To that end, Google has announced that it will open up what amounts to A/B testing for Play Store listings, meaning developers can play with their listings by testing different screenshots, graphics, etc. to see what performs better and end up with the best possible listing.

To facilitate this, Google will add "Listing Experiments" to the Play Store developer console.

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InBrief
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[I/O 2015] Google Announces Cloud Test Lab To Remotely Test Your App On The Top 20 Android Devices

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[I/O 2015] Android Pay Is Now Official, Will Be Available For KitKat And Newer Devices

While we've been following this rumor for months now, Google made Android Pay official during today's keynote. We first heard the name back in February, and knew something was coming ever since they acquired the intellectual property of mobile payment competitor Isis, an agreement that would also make Wallet a pre-installed app on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon phones. Though it was announced as part of Android M, it will work on KitKat and newer versions.

Functions new to Android Pay include the ability to tap to pay within apps. For apps that use the Pay API, you will only have to click "Buy with Android Pay" and leave the arduous typing of numbers and addresses to the automated system.

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Google I/O 2015 Live Blog

The Google I/O 2015 live coverage begins at 9am Pacific.

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First-Person Puzzle Game The Talos Principle Comes To The SHIELD Tablet, SHIELD TV, And Nexus 9

This one's been waiting in the wings for quite a while. NVIDIA teased The Talos Principle, a puzzle game played out primarily in full first-person 3D, way back at the reveal of the SHIELD Tablet in July of 2014. After nearly a year of waiting (and the game's full release on the PC), it's now available exclusively for newer high-end Tegra-powered devices. According to the game's Play Store description, it's intended for the SHIELD Tablet, the Nexus 9 (equipped with a Tegra K1), and the upcoming SHIELD Android TV set-top box only. It uses either touchscreen controls or external controllers.

The Talos Principle is an introspective and somewhat philosophical puzzler created by Croteam, of all people - that's the developer of the over-the-top Serious Sam shooters.

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InBrief
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Chrome For Android Hits Version 43 With Touch To Search [APK Download]

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Google Begins Selling Project Tango Tablet Invitation-Free For $512

Back in April, some Project Tango invitees reported that the tablet development kit's price had dropped from $1024 down to the "special price" of $512. In an email notification to invited buyers, Google advised, "We're opening up sales more broadly, so now is the last chance to buy the device we've reserved for you."

Evidently Google wasn't joking, as today Project Tango can be bought for the same $512 price invite-free from the Google Store.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 8.41.25 PM

Dropping the invitation requirement just one day before the 2015 I/O keynote is certainly an interesting move, and may suggest that Google will have more to tell us about its 3D sensing and tracking efforts during the conference.

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Goo.gl URLs Now Support Deep Linking To Apps If They Are Installed, Opening In Browser If Not

If you are sharing a link, you want whoever opens it to access the web service in whichever way makes the most sense on their device. On a desktop, you probably want to see it in a browser. On a mobile device, it often works better to open up that service's app. Google's URL shortening service, goog.gl, now offers that functionality. The same link will open either app or browser depending on the OS and whether an appropriate app is installed. Deep linking works on both Android and iOS.

This news is maybe most relevant to developers, but it should end up benefiting end users as well since you shouldn't have to deal with the confusion.

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