Version 8.9 of the Play Store began rolling out earlier today, but as usual, you're probably not going to spot a lot of changes. However, I've been watching the last few updates and there have been clues for a few projects that are slowly coming together. Some truly cool things may be coming to us later this year, including what appears to be apps that can be downloaded in separate pieces. It also looks like users in data-constrained regions will soon be able to share updates with each other. Finally, we may soon be able to see a history of the edits users have made to their app reviews. Read More
Google dropped the news last week that Nearby was about to get a whole lot more interesting. With the use of Bluetooth and a special blend of tricks collectively known as Location Services, Google will enable Android devices to learn about all manner of things in close proximity, whether they be Eddystone beacons, Chromecasts, or even Android Wear watches waiting to be set up. In the announcement, it was mentioned that an update to Google Play services would be rolling out shortly that adds support for all of these new features, and this is the one. While most of the features have already been disclosed, there's one in the teardown that wasn't mentioned. Read More
Google is changing Hangouts to place peer-to-peer calls when possible. A notification containing the news is now appearing for users when they initiate a call with one of their contacts. Read More
Android users have yet another option for data-only calls and text messages today, as BitTorrent Inc. posted an alpha version of its Bleep communication client to the Play Store. Bleep is designed to be an alternative to conventional calling and texting systems like Skype or WhatsApp, and requires no central server or service. Bleep has been invite-only since July, but now it's ready to go public. Clients are also available for Windows and OS X computers.
The core idea here is privacy: because Bleep makes a person-to-person connection with no middleman, there's no way for anyone to hack in via remote and get to all that sweet, sweet, personally-identifiable communication. Read More