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+.

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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

JW Player gets Chromecast support in new update, bringing casting support to millions of sites

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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JW Player, a video playing platform used by millions of sites, most notably including ESPN, Chevrolet, AT&T, EA Games and more, just received a major update that will bring Chromecast support to the platform.

That means that with the new release (version 6.9), you’ll now see the Chromecast button on the bottom of the screen, adding the ability to stream the content directly to an existing player.

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[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

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.

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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

New and improved ‘Explore Nearby feature’ coming to Google Maps

by Robert Nazarian on
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Google recently updated the Maps app last week with new features, but it looks like a handful of people are getting one additional feature. It’s a new and improved “Explore Nearby.”

Everybody already has the current version of Explore Nearby, which will give you ideas for different types of establishments. This newer version gets its own button at the bottom right, and it’s more powerful. It has more groups along with points of interest. You can even select the time of day to get better suggestions such as a bar for later at night.

We aren’t sure when this will land on an official update, but we are thinking sooner rather than later.

source: Android Police

Want an updated factory image of Android L Dev Preview? Not gonna happen, a Googler says

by Harrison Kaminsky on
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If you’re one of the many who jumped ship from their stable Android version to try out the Android L Developer Preview, you definitely noticed it’s not exactly the most polished thing in the world (not even close, actually).

No reason to be mad at Google, though — it’s just a developer preview, and we’re lucky to have something before launch.

As most Android enthusiasts tend to do, we looked ahead, and hoped for Google to upload an updated factory image of the L Developers Preview. But according to Googler Rich Hyndman, it ain’t happening.

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Why wasn’t the Motorola Moto X commercially successful?

by Justin Herrick on
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When Google gained control of Motorola in 2012, the expectation was that Google was ready to release a smartphone of its own. That never happened. The blame can perhaps be put on Google’s engineering team or even the CEO’s lack of wanting to work with Motorola. Instead, Motorola pushed on its own and produced its flagship that was announced and released in August 2013: the Moto X. It was the return of Motorola, eliminating its massive amount of devices to just focus on a single one. Google was now holding an umbrella over Motorola, making sure nothing could go wrong and nurse it back to health. Everyone thought that this device would bring together a superb, unchanged software experience along with cutting edge specifications. For some reason, hardly anyone bit. » Read the rest

ZTE announces Google Now Launcher coming on new devices

by Jeff Causey on
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ZTE has announced that they are adopting the Google Now Launcher for a couple new devices, and probably more later, instead of loading a custom user interface making them some of the first smartphones outside of Nexus devices and Google Play Experience devices to do so. The ZTE Blade Vec 4G is a mid-range device that has been selling in China and Europe. ZTE’s announcement regarding the use of the Google Now Launcher coincides with the device’s entry into the Hong Kong market. » Read the rest