Google updates Chromecast to build 13300, includes kernel update and security fixes


If you’re a Chromecast owner, you should be expecting an update to your device relatively soon. Google is pushing out build 13300 to Chromecasts that updates the kernel and includes improvements for security and stability. It’s pretty much just a maintenance release,  but hey, at least it’s an update. Your Chromecast should automatically update over the next few weeks as the build is gradually pushed out.

source: Google Chrome Team

Google rolling out an update to Maps

Google Maps Icon 16:9 lowres PNG

If you are looking for a place to lay your head down for some rest, the latest update to Google Maps that is rolling out is definitely geared toward you. The latest improvements include improved hotel search results, including “sponsored” rates and booking links. To help you get to the hotel quicker, Google has made it faster to access navigation and provides both route and traffic overview information. Sliding out the side menu will reveal a new option “Tips and Tricks” that will take you to a help page in your browser. Of course, Google includes the standard “bug fixes” as part of what is included in the update.

You can use the link below to head over to Google Play to try to grab the update if you have not already installed it.

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Google Play Download Link

Google unhooks Glass from smartphone tethering with XE9 update


Last week when Google started rolling out the XE9 update for Google Glass devices, the focus was on some new features and user interface improvements. A more subtle, but perhaps useful, change was included in the update package that frees users from having to use a wireless “tether” to their smartphone when a WiFi connection is not available. That can help users of the device since many carriers charge an extra fee for tethering capabilities. The connection between a smartphone and Glass is accomplished via a Bluetooth connection which is normally detectable by a carrier. The XE9 update bypasses the normal link, so at least for now, carriers are not able to detect the tethered device.

With so many manufacturers working on wearable computing devices that are connected to their smartphones, it will be interesting to see whether workaround like this have to be implemented on a routine basis or whether carriers change their business models and policies regarding tethered devices.

source: 9to5Google

Samsung reportedly adding multi-user to Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and 10.1


According to a recent report, Samsung is preparing a software update for their Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 tablets to add multi-user support. Multi-user functionality is supported by Android 4.2, but despite shipping with Android 4.2.2, Samsung did not include this feature on these Galaxy Tab 3 tablets. Screenshots purporting to be from a Galaxy Tab 3 device show the multi-user account function available in Settings.

No information is available concerning other improvements or new features that Samsung may include in the update nor is there any information on an expected date for the update to start rolling out.

source: SamMobile

DROID DNA to receive Sense 5 update “soon,” may be included with Android 4.2.2 or 4.3


We now have news that the HTC DROID DNA will be receiving Sense 5 through Verizon soon, but we don’t know whether it will send alongside Android 4.2.2 or 4.3.

We previously believed that HTC would be skipping Android 4.2.2 on most of their devices, as they tweeted that since it was a “minor” update, they would be going straight to 4.3. This might have only been referring to the HTC One Dev Edition, but the tweet was not clear.

Either way, we do know that Sense 5 will be arriving soon, which will bring a series of updates that will improve your device.

Source: Verizon Wireless


Google rolls out Ingress update


Ingress “Agents” may be interested to know that an update to the app is rolling out to Google Play, and on to users, over the next couple days. The new version 1.35.1 includes a new Agent profile and statistics tab, some Scanner performance improvements, and bug fixes. As part of the rollout of an AGENT tab for viewing statistics and recognitions, the follow achievements can now be part of your dossier thanks to some fancy badges:

Seer: Discover and successfully submit new Portals.
Connector: Link Portals.
Guardian: Maintain control of a Portal for an extended period of time.
Mind Controller: Create Control Fields.
Purifier: Destroy enemy Resonators.
Hacker: Hack Portals.
Builder: Deploy Resonators.
Explorer: Visit and hack distinct Portals.

Users may also notice some Portal notifications have been moved from Faction COMM and the GPS lock will remain on temporarily after a user switches to a different task or app. The Ingress app is still in closed beta.

source: +Ingress

Google Earth receives new update, now displays geo-coded Google+ photos


Google Earth just received an update in the Play Store which will bring geocoded photos to the 3D view in the application. This is certainly a welcome feature which will bring a more rich experience to the user— there could be a bit of a concern with privacy issues, but Google has quelled them by making it necessary for picture uploads to be turned on in your Google+ settings, and geo-location turned on in your camera. Google also isn’t pulling your private photos into the Google Earth database, so no worries here. Hit the break for the download link and QR code.

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AnTuTu benchmark gets updated to version 4.0, brings new interface and updated benchmarking algorithms


AnTuTu benchmark, one of the most popular benchmarking applications for Android devices, has gotten a major upgrade to version 4.0. The new version brings a few extra features, most notable of which is a redesigned interface that just looks great. It’s also sporting a new benchmarking algorithm that’s supposed to better support newer devices; IE, crazy-fast phones with multi-core processors. Many older benchmarking apps would sometimes only benchmark 1 or 2 processing cores, so keeping those algorithms up to date is necessary. There’s also a new benchmark you can test called the “User Experience” benchmark. I’m not entirely sure what that measures, as it scored my Galaxy S 4 well below every other phone on the results, including the reference Galaxy S 4 and the Galaxy S II.

Quirky benchmarks aside, the update is a very welcome upgrade, and like always, it’s free. Hit the link below to get your hands on it. And just for fun, why not post some benchmark results in the comments?

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Play Store Download Link

Waze finally showing some signs that it’s a Google-owned company, new update sets Google as primary search provider


When Google bought Waze back in June for around $1 billion, we all speculated about the awesome changes this could eventually bring to Google Maps.  We’ve seen quite a few since then, but this is the first time that we’re actually seeing signs that Google is truly taking control over the Waze application.

In a new update, Waze has integrated a new search bar (powered by Google, of course) which is visible while viewing the map. The UI is someone cleaner-looking as well and certainly more minimal. 1080p devices also now have full support available, and some bug fixes and optimizations were thrown in as well.

This is certainly just the start of the changes we’ll be seeing with the Waze app, as Google will want to make their $1 billion acquisition worthwhile.

QR Code generatorPlay Store Download Link


Twitter updates Android app once again, this time bringing improved conversations, new notification settings, and more


Twitter has been firing out some really nice updates to their native Android app at a pretty regular rate lately, and continued the trend with an update today which will bring improved conversations and new notification settings. The update makes it much easier to follow conversation threads, as each tweet is linked to the one above it, giving it a much more natural look and feel. It’s definitely a nice addition, because the app was certainly missing the feature. The update also applies to the Twitter site. Here are some more things provided in the update:

  • Optimization for entry-level Android smartphones
  • Report Tweets as abusive or spam
  • New notification settings
  • Bug fixes for direct messages, login verification and more

It’s a staged roll-out so you might not get it quite yet— but check the Google Play link after the break to see if its arrived for your device. There’s also a video by Twitter about the new conversations feature below.

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