Google has rolled out an update to their Google Play services, which features some pretty cool new features. Both new maps APIs and Google+ sign-in are features present in the update.
Google+ sign-in allows users to sign in to their applications using Google credentials, which brings along all of their Google information with them for the app. Things like your name, display picture, and social circles will carry over into applications. Sharing posts to your Google+ page are also more customizable and will allow you to make them a bit more interactive, like including actions such as “listen” and “check-in” to your posts. Popular location app Banjo was used to showcase the integration, and showed what’s possibly one of the coolest features of the update; over-the-air installs of an application from a website, with or without access to an app store. That seamless integration is going to let developers add plenty of cool features to their apps in the future. TuneIn Radio is also on board with the Google+ integration, and more apps are sure to follow.
Google Maps also received some API updates, fixing plenty of bugs for users. Not quite as flashy and exciting, but still worth having. Hopefully we’ll see some apps take advantage of these features in the near future.
source: Android Developers Blog
We’ve seen Google push more and more for complete desktop and mobile integration through it’s popular browser, Chrome. Now, we’ve got a sneak peek at some brand new features to be debuted in Chrome OS, including some new notifications and an unnamed icon sitting pretty in the task bar. The notifications appear to pull from both Google+ and Google Voice, cleanly keeping everything in one place. As far as that mysterious icon goes, we don’t have much information on it, but since Google has a plethora of different communication apps in their portfolio, it isn’t too much of a stretch to assume it’s going to tie all of those together, or consolidate them. Personally, I think getting an application to text via your PC built into Android natively would be a great addition.
source: The Verge
The crafty CyanogenMod team has introduced a brand-new clock widget for CM10.1 ROMs today, offering impressive weather and calendar integration. Featuring the same bold face as the revamped clock in Android 4.2, CM’s new clock, Chronus, works on both lock screens and home screens. Also included are several nifty features that aren’t apparent in Jelly Bean’s stock clock widget, with complete control over your choice of weather data and a slew of calendar options. The best part? The new clock will be included in CM10.1 nightlies starting tonight.
Google has been relentless with its updates lately, and today we see yet another important release from big-G; this time to its Google+ application. Early this morning Google released Google+ v.3.3 for Android and it includes some pretty big feature additions. First of all, Google has made the general user experience better by giving you the ability to easily edit your profile details, quickly author new content, receive more “subtle” notifications, and giving you access to Google’s newly released “Google+ Communities”. On the photo/video side of things, you’ll be able to upload full sized photos via Instant Upload (up to 5GB of free storage) on top of the unlimited storage that you already get for standard-sized photos (2048px). Android 4.2 users will now be able to post Photo-Spheres to their feed, and anyone running Android 2.2 and up will be able to view them. For video chatting capabilities, Google has made it possible for people to join a Hangout even if they have extremely low bandwidth (down to 150KB), though this feature seems to be enabled only on the web version of Google+. Also available on the web version, Google has made some improvements to the Hangout user interface, including hiding the “filmstrip” of faces if you’re the only participant in an “On Air Hangout”.
Lately Google has been cranking out important updates and improvements to many of its products across all of its platforms (Android, IOS, Gmail, etc). Today we see yet another improvement coming out of the Mountain View company, this time in connection with its quickly growing Google+ social network. The company announced on its blog today that it will be rolling out a new feature within Google+ called “Google+ Communities”. Google+ Communities act as a hub around which people with common interests can gather, discuss, debate, trade ideas and more. In essence it functions in many ways like a Facebook “group”, but catered toward specific interests. The communities are arranged by topics (photography, surfing, Android, music) so people of a like-mind can flock together, make new friends, network and more.
Vic Gundotra announced today that Google+, in just one year, has hit the 400 million total user milestone. He also mentioned that Google’s social network has 100 million active users per month, including both Web and mobile users. It still has some catching up to do to reach Facebook’s 955 million active users per month, but it took Facebook much longer than a year to reach those numbers.
With Android activating over a million devices daily, Google+ only stands to keep growing, and that’s a good thing. Personally, I prefer Google’s UI over Facebook’s, and the overall user experience feels cleaner. But with so many people I know still on Facebook and not “upgraded” to G+, both social networks are still required. This is most likely true for most of us.
Do you use Google+? Exclusively, or in combination with Facebook? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.
source: vic gundotra on google+
Ten heads are better than one, or so our friends at Google think as they have today unveiled that Google+ Hangouts will be replacing Google Talk as the embedded video chat service within Gmail. From today the service will be available for all users with a personal Google account, you’ll need to sign up for Google+ to enable the video conferencing feature.
Google Talk has long been Google’s messaging service since it launched on desktops back in summer 2005. It was also a mainstay of Android right from the very beginning, included as a core application in version 1.0 back in 2008. Google later added video calling to the application via the Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 update for the Samsung Nexus S.
Cue the launch of Google+ back in summer 2011. Google+ has had mixed success to date, although still very much a work in progress. All pros and cons considered, it’s fair to say that Hangouts has been one of the stand-out features of the service. As soon as Google+ was launched many Android users questioned the need for both Hangouts and Google Talk. Could this latest move be a nail in the coffin for Google Talk? Check out the video below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Source: Gmail Blog
If you were wondering what Google was going to do with the newly acquired Zagat, just check out your Google+ page. The search giant has added a little kick to Maps and to your general search functions on the site. You’ll now find Zagat’s point system in place and will automatically pop up in search results when looking for your favorite resaurant or hot spot. And if you’ve always been weary about who’s leaving feedback on these places, fear not. The site will now allow you to view Google+ friends’ favorite places and what they’ve had to say about them, certainly a review you can trust, right? Google has even added a Local tab on Google+ to show you recommendations. So, if you need to find the hottest spot around, your favorite sandwich or a sushi place, you’re in for a treat with Google’s new service. The feature is now live so head on over to your Plus page and get started. Check out the videos below as well touting the new service. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
While I may not post much on Google+ I do use the app on a daily basis. It keeps me checked in to the various Android happenings (like TalkAndroid) out there as well as my close friends who only use that network. However the kicker is, while the app is useful it just feels there and not really too polished. But all that has changed as the new Google+ experience has hit Android. Here’s what you’ll see in the new update:
- - Visual refresh of the stream and improved navigation
- - Initiate a Hangout from the main menu
- - Support for ringing hangout notification
- - Support for post editing
- - Messenger suggestions for people you may know
- - Download photos from posts or Messenger conversations
If you’re interested in picking this up we have the QR Code and Google Play Store link after the break. I like the idea of easily being able to access hangout and having Google+ look more natural to the ICS environment. If you haven’t already done so, hit the links below. Enjoy!
For those of you that are currently enjoying mobile hangouts and group messaging, Google has just updated their Google + for Android app in the Play Store. Version 18.104.22.1689322 will now bring users support for hashtags, improved sharing support for 3rd party apps, along with the typical bug fixes. Google + is still quite small compared to other giants like Facebook, but to no surprise, Google is starting to provide users more options and different methods for staying connected with friends and family. I strongly encourage anyone interested to hit the Play Store link below and check it out.
Play Store Download Link