Google rewarding Chromecast owners with 90 days of unlimited All Access

by Justin Herrick on
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Google is saying thank you for owning its $35 darling. To celebrate the first birthday of Chromecast, the company is giving every owner 90 days of Google Play Music All Access. Well, almost every owner. For existing subscribers of All Access or people that have already had a promotional code used, Google will not allow this promotion to be applied. So for those getting to take advantage of this, you basically save $30 which is what three months of a subscription would cost.

Source: Google Chrome Blog [Promotional Offers Link]

You can now make Google Voice calls through Hangouts on your computer, all without a Google+ profile

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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We already know that Google has been working for a while now on completely migrating the functions of Google Voice into Hangouts, so that it can merge most of its communication apps into one (besides Gmail).

We’re getting closer to that reality now, as Google has added support for making phone calls via Hangouts from the Google Voice website — and you don’t even need Google+.

» Read the rest

Google Maps gets new Explore feature to help you find points of interest nearby

by Jared Peters on
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In addition to getting new ad extensions, Google Maps is getting a brand new Explore feature that’s going to make finding new locations and points of interest even easier.

Tapping the new Explore button at the bottom of Google Maps opens up a pane that displays different kinds of places to visit in your general location. After confirming your location, you can specify how close you’d like recommendations to be (within 10 minutes walking distance or 20 minutes driving distance, for example) and what time of day you’re interested in going, and Google populates the results based on that information. This keeps the feature from suggesting you head to a breakfast spot at 8 at night, or from recommending driving locations when you’re out and about on foot for the day. » Read the rest

Google Maps now show ad extensions in search results

by Jared Peters on
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Google maps ads

Not too long ago, Google Search started returning results for eligible ads whenever you searched things like hotels or restaurants. These results quickly show you nearby and relevant locations, which is great if you’re trying to find somewhere to eat or go and need to see what’s in the area. Starting today, those ad extensions are also going to start showing up in Google Maps, too.

Whenever you search for any type of location, the results you see in Maps will show ads for businesses or places if applicable. Searching for a restaurant will show places to eat near you, and you’ll be able to quickly tap one and get directions to it. The implementation isn’t intrusive, so it’s a very welcome addition to make navigating and finding places much more convenient.

source: Google Plus

[APK Download] Google updates Play Store app with Material Design

by Robert Nazarian on
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You don’t need Android L to experience a little Material Design. Google has updated the Play Store to version 4.9.13 and it brings a new look with Material Design. You will notice larger videos, new animations, and a bigger emphasis on +1s. You can also view app descriptions, changelogs, the version number, last update time, and number of downloads in full screen mode.

This is of course a staged roll out so you might not get it for a few days. If you’re the impatient kind, we have the APK download link below.

source: @GooglePlay / APK Download from XDA

Google releases updates focused on filters and views for Google Sheets

by Jeff Causey on
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The Google Drive team has announced some new features and updates that have been added to the Google Sheets spreadsheet app. The updates focus on filter and view options for spreadsheets. Headlining the changes is the ability to create a “temporary filter view” on spreadsheets for which users only have read access permissions. Using the temporary filter, users can filter and sort data in those spreadsheets.

Google also added some features that will make it easier to share spreadsheet data with other users. First, a specific view can be shared so that recipients don’t have to go through a long list to figure out what it is you are wanting them to look at. This can be achieved just by copying and pasting a URL. Second, Google added the ability tothe range that is used to define a filter view. Previously, to change the range users would have to delete the existing range and then create a new one.

source: +Google Drive

Siri and Google Now duke it out, which is better?

by Robert Nazarian on
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The war between Android and iOS isn’t just about smartphone or tablet market share. How about Google Now vs Siri? Which is better? Well Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster conducted a study that answers the question.

He threw 800 questions at both apps, and half of them were asked indoors, while the other half was outdoors. The questions were about local information, commerce, navigation, general information, and OS command.

» Read the rest

Kernel source files for LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live released by Google

by Jeff Causey on
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Google, via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), has made the official kernel files for the Samsung Gear Live and LG G Watch available for download. This is good news for developers who want to work on developing custom ROMs for the devices or fine tune apps to take full advantage of the platform. Being smartwatch devices, this should also help those developers who want to create unique watch faces for the devices.

In releasing the code, Bill Yi on the Android Building Google Group indicated the development team is planning a “full platform push” for the next version of Android, currently dubbed Android L.

If you want to grab the source, hit the source link below.

AOSP

Google redesigns the Chromecast site with improved usefulness

by Justin Herrick on
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Google has given the dedicated site for Chromecast a redesign. It was previously difficult to actually use the site as a tool for exploring what Chromecast has to offer in terms of applications. Now, though, Google is giving breakdowns for featured, new, and other apps to help users get the most out of the $35 dongle. A filter is included to see which platforms for Chromecast are supported. And there is even a search button to see if Chromecast has exactly what you are looking for.

Let us know if you find the redesign useful.

Source: Chromecast

Amazon Wallet is a new digital wallet to compete with Google and Isis

by Justin Herrick on
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There are a few options for people wanting to take everything in their wallet and turn it digital. Google Wallet and Isis (which it is being called for now) are both among the popular choices. Amazon is the newest entrant with an appropriately named app. Amazon Wallet will collect and store you gift cards and loyalty cards from various retailers and companies.

Right now, Amazon Wallet is missing the ability to actually act as a payment tool. So its current state is more of a digital wallet strictly for storage. To easily add items to the digital wallet, Amazon Wallet will allow users to use their devices to scan barcodes.

Hit the break for download links. » Read the rest