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Google's Cardboard App Updated To Version 1.5

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Amazon Echo Now Includes Voice Commands For Google Calendar Functions

Amazon's voice-controlled, web-connected life manager thing, the Echo, is about as close as you can get to a conceptual product while still asking people to pay for it. But to its credit, Amazon seems to be constantly improving Echo by expanding its functionality. The latest update makes Echo compatible with Google Calendar (one of the web services offered by Google that Amazon doesn't directly compete with) thanks to a selection of voice commands.

echo

According to an email sent to Echo owners, you can now ask Echo (or Alexa, if you've allowed your semi-sentient monolith to retail a sense of identity) "What's on my calendar" to get a quick overview of your upcoming events.

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Android M Developer Preview AOSP Changelog Posted, Probably Not A Complete Platform Release

The Android M Developer Preview was released just yesterday and we're all very closely examining the changes. While there's still quite a bit to dig through, it looks like Google is getting some of the source code up right away. Before anybody gets too excited, it's likely that this code dump occurred to ensure GPL compliance. However, there are quite a few projects in the changelog that wouldn't normally require updates due to licensing, so there may be quite a bit more going live on this release.

The entire changelog totals about 29,000 commits and weighs in at about 4.7 MB. It's not entirely clear where the official starting point would be, but we generated the changelog from 5.1.1_r4, which is currently the latest release available.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] Deep Linking Without Selector Prompts Can Be Changed Or Removed By Users On A Per-App Basis

We reported yesterday on Google's announcement that Android M would support deep links that skip the sometimes-annoying app selector prompt. Details were scarce at the time and many were worried that this would shut out third party apps or make it hard to view content with a browser when it might be more appropriate.

Screenshot_20150528-145229 Screenshot_20150528-153957

If you go to an app from the list within the "apps" section of the system settings, you will see something like the first picture. You can set defaults and decide whether that app should open its own links without asking. If you go to the advanced area instead of selecting an app, you will see the second screenshot.

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[Android M Feature Spotlight] The New Share Menu Is Simplified, Shows Many More Apps At Once Instead Of One Option Per Line

For many, this one falls into the category of "fixing problems you didn't know you had." If you have a lot of apps installed, though, you probably have already been frustrated by the share menus on previous Android versions. God forbid the app you want falls too low in the alphabet, because you will be scrolling like the dickens to share with it. Android developers clearly recognized that they were really wasting some space, so the Android M version is a lot more efficient.

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Left and middle: the old share menu Right: the new one

If you look closely, you'll notice that you can actually see more share options in the compact version of the new menu than you could in the fully expanded view of the old one.

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Google Cast Gets New APIs, Allowing For Second-Screen Functionality, Autoplay, Queuing, And More

Google Cast is one of those things that just seems to keep getting better, and with Chromecast sales doing so well, it's no wonder Google is throwing resources at the platform to make it even more robust. While not technically a part of Google I/O, Google did announce yesterday that some very awesome new Cast APIs are coming... right now. As in, they're here - for both iOS and Android.

There are a few major new features, so let's go over them.

The first is second-screen functionality. Casting graphically intensive apps from your device is no longer limited to simple mirroring - the new Cast Remote Display APIs (which are betas, so beware) will allow full-on second-screen functionality when casting something like a video game.

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Google Open-Sources Its I/O 2015 Web App

Google's I/O conference app is generally considered a boon for developers. Each year the app is open-sourced following the conference, exposing the code beneath Google's latest design suggestions and functionality on Android.

This year, however, Google is offering up another open-source goodie. In a post to Google+, Google Developers announced that this year the source of the I/O web app will be released for inspection. In fact, the ioweb2015 project is already available on Github.

The dazzlingly-designed web app is mobile-first and offline enabled, and comes with a long list of impressive functionality. A few features Google chose to specify include "Polymer, material design, web components, service worker, push notifications, google sign-in 2.0, add to homescreen, and web animations APIs."

Knowing that, it's clear that the site is well-rounded from functionality, design, and UX standpoints, so the source undoubtedly holds some treasures for intrepid developers.

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Google Releases Cardboard Design Lab To Walk You Through VR Design... In VR

Since debuting at last year's I/O, Google's Cardboard effort hasn't slowed down. Google has been making it easier and easier for manufacturers and developers to hop on board with its vision of virtual reality, and the project got some major updates yesterday. On stage, Google showed off a new Cardboard viewer that accommodates bigger phones (including those running iOS), 360 degree videos, and expeditions for classrooms.

Just last month, Google announced its "Works with Cardboard" program, along with new design guidelines and today Google has released an app that will make those guidelines tangible for VR developers and designers - Cardboard Design Lab.

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