Google changed things up this year by giving us a preview of the next big version of Android. However, they didn’t name the damn thing. It’s simply Android L. Will that be the name or will tradition remain in place with the “L” being a tasty dessert such as Lollipop or Licorice? All signs seem to point towards Lemon Meringue Pie, but we won’t know for sure until a statue is put out in front of the Googleplex.
Google’s Nest Protect, the conscious in-home thermostat and smoke alarm, has released new features that will be rolling out to users starting today. One of the features is a 10-day history of use which details what has happened day-by-day and displays graphical data to help you understand what is going on in your home. The new history feature should help you identify potential sources for false alarms in order to avoid them in the future.
Google has reached a settlement with the FTC agreeing to fully refund consumers charged for their children’s in-app purchases. The decision is hardly a surprise, considering Apple reached the same agreement in January, and Amazon did the same in July. The issue arises from Google’s requiring a password for purchases every 30 minutes and “blurring the lines” between real money purchases and virtual ones. The FTC’s issue arises from a few lawsuits filed by parents looking for retribution after giving their children free reign over their devices.
Android Wear is still a pretty new piece of software from Google, but it’s looking like we might see Wear version 2.0 hitting smartwatches in the middle of October. Rumors suggest that some Wear devices will start getting an OTA update on October 15th that might bring things like GPS support and Bluetooth headphone pairing capabilities, plus typical improvements and bug fixes.
We knew Google was getting close to releasing a new version of the Chrome browser for Android devices that incorporates their new Material Design guidelines after the beta version came out with the updated interface. Today Google started to roll out the new version of the stable branch of the Chrome browser that will give the new UI to all users.
If you’re the proud owner of a Nexus 5 that’s seen a bit more wear and tear than it should then you should pay attention to this news. Allegedly Google has created a new policy that will allow you to replace your damaged Nexus 5 one time. Should you shatter your display or crack your phone Google will send you a free replacement no questions asked.
Starting today, Google’s enterprise solutions will fall under a new name. The company has announced that Google for Work is replacing Google Enterprise. The rebranding is to better align itself with small businesses rather than large companies alone. Google, as stated by chairman Eric Schmidt, wants small businesses to feel empowered by the tools available. Google for Work includes services such as Gmail, Drive, Maps, Search, Chrome, Android, and much more. On the hardware end of things, Google is making sure that Google for Work is an extremely useful tool on Android and Chromebook devices.
Google continues to make their YouTube service more valuable to film-makers and casual users, including the launch of the new Fan Funding feature, which allows the video’s host to set up a virtual tip jar which fans can contribute to using their Google Wallet. The service, which has so far launched in the USA, Japan, Australia and Mexico, can be used directly from the video’s page or from the Android app. Obviously YouTube gets a cut of the donations, which in the US equates to 5% of the total donation plus a flat 21 cents.
In a new interview with CNET, Google’s Director of Engineering for Android Wear David Singleton and the Vice President of Engineering for Android Hiroshi Lockheimer talked about the future of the Android Wear platform and where they see it going in the near future. According to Singleton, “one of the things we’re going to be able to do is add the ability for these devices to start working with some of the other devices you might wear on your body” as part of several updates expected to be pushed out. The two engineers think the update cycle for Android Wear will be quite fast, reminiscent of the earlier years of Android on smartphones.
Back in December, Google showcased several apps that really stuck to Android’s design guidelines and had great interfaces. Today they’ve updated the Play Store with the best designed summer apps as a follow-up to the winter selection, and this time they’re bragging about apps that are already using the Material Design guidelines.
Android L isn’t out yet, but Google is already recommending that developers take advantage of the newer design elements to create some consistency across Android apps. Many of the apps listed, including Yahoo News, Lumosity, and Duolingo, jumped at the chance to update their apps to stay in line with Google’s design standards, and that’s paying off for them.