Have you ever wondered what it's like in the giant facilities where Google keeps all your data magically tucked away, ready at the tap of a screen? Well today, you can explore one such data center, street view style. An accompanying video will take you on a guided tour, showing you how the internet giant stores your data, keeps it cool, and destroys it when hard drives fail. Of course you can also walk around the building by yourself, and we certainly suggest you do, as there are plenty of easter eggs.
Hi. Welcome to the future. Mountain View, California, 2012. I'm telling you it's great here. You've got a location-aware, always-connected supercomputer in your pocket. What good is it, though, if you're only ever using it to check what's going on in Facebook land? Enter Field Trip, the latest app to be released by Google (via the obscure Niantic Labs), which offers you information about all the things around you, including trivia, facts about local monuments, restaurant reviews, and more.
It looks like the biggest leak of the Play Store's soon-to-launch gift cards may be coming from Google itself. A support page showed up in search indices (that has now been pulled) which confirms the cards will be US-only at launch and will come in $10, $15, $25, and $50 increments. Through some Google-fu, we've also learned your Google Play balance will have a $2000 limit and cannot be used on subscriptions or devices.
One of the great things about Android's ecosystem is the number of indie developers who are able to enter the market successfully, providing a great product and inspiring would-be developers to join in. For many though, Android development in general is a mysterious topic. How an app or game goes from an idea to an entry in the Play Store is unknown, but (thankfully) not unknowable.
Of course, considering how major development studios bring apps to life doesn't require too much thought – major companies like EA, Disney, or Rockstar have no problem hiring designers and developers to crank out and maintain polished apps.
The Google Dashboard is a handy tool for keeping up with what information Google has stored for you in its various different products. One piece of the handy information, though, has taken a while to become available but it's there now: your Android devices. It's unclear if this feature has been around for a while, but either way, it's useful. If you'd like to see which devices are registered with Google, and more interestingly, which apps on those devices have backups stored on Google's servers, you can do so from your dashboard.
When we first discovered Slice, the app that scans your email for packages that you're waiting to be delivered, has updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features with it. For starters, if you use Hotmail, AOL, or iCloud as your primary email, you can now join in the fun. You can track outgoing packages by scanning tracking barcodes as well or entering the number manually, and filtering options have been improved.
One of the nicest things about Android that gets taken for granted is the ability to customize your user interface. While most folks tend to stick to app icons for launching their apps, Tagy offers an alternative approach: a tag cloud. Tagy is actually a set of widgets that let you specify a list of apps, contacts, or bookmarks to appear in a single widget. Then, as you use the widget, the items you use more often will get bigger.
Going above and beyond their promise to save "time and annoyance" when screening, placing, or receiving calls, CallApp recently released their namesake app (a TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 finalist) to Google's Play Store.
CallApp – in what may be the biggest understatement of the week – bills itself as a "super caller ID," increasing call productivity with a set of handy interactive tools and quick informational displays for everyone that calls (or initiates a call with) you.
While not everyone who owns an Android device roots, the Android modding community is at the very heart of everything we love about our little green buddy. Security researcher Dan Rosenberg recently gave a presentation where he elaborates on root and modding methods, as well as expounding on the security implications of modding Android phones.
Rosenberg also had quite a lot to say about how carriers influence the Android landscape.
You've got to hand it to Google. They don't let silly things like "feasibility" and "finances" get in the way of an awesome idea. The New York Times is reporting that Google is working on a set of glasses with the specs of a smartphone, including 3G and 4G data connectivity, GPS, a camera, and oh yeah, a heads-up display.
Not the actual display. We wish, though.
The glasses, which are supposedly under development at Google's not-so-secret Google X lab, would cost about as much as a smartphone, so they likely won't be for the light wallet.