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Posts Tagged: Google

Google Nexus Line

You may recall that about a month and a half ago, there was a widespread rumor that the Nexus program would come to a halt in favor of Android Silver. This rumor originated with a set of tweets by famed leaker @evleaks, stating that there would be no Nexus 6. This rumor can be put to rest for now, thanks to the head of Android engineering and Google’s Nexus program, Dave Burke.

In an interview earlier today posted by ReadWrite, Burke stated that the Nexus program isn’t going anywhere. As such, users can expect a new Nexus device with the official release of Android L later this year. And although Burke couldn’t comment directly on Silver, he made it clear that they “are still invested in Nexus.” And to that end, he wishes to put people’s fears to rest by stating, “People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make.”

When we are working, there are sort of two outputs. We’re building a Nexus device and we’re building the open source code. There is no way you can build the open source code without the phone or tablet or whatever you are building. You have to live and breathe the code you are developing.

You can’t build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don’t think can can or will ever go away. And then, I think Nexus is also interesting in that it is a way of us explaining how we think Android should run. It is a statement, almost a statement of purity in some respects. I don’t see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn’t make sense.

So there we have it, straight from the head of the Nexus program. The Nexus line isn’t going anywhere. So now that we can remain hopeful for a new Nexus smartphone this fall, what are you looking forward to in the N5′s successor? Let us know in the comments below!

[Source : ReadWrite | Thanks to Senior Member dd98 for the heads up.]

Screenshot_2014-06-26-14-39-50

Even with all of the I/O 2014 and Android L commotion, Google still managed to give us a healthy Update Wednesday yesterday, with app updates to Google Drive, Search, and Maps, as well as the arrival of Slides and Android TV Remote in the Play Store. But not content in simply delivering 5 new APKs for us, Google has now issued updates to Keep and YouTube. The Play Services 5 update that we talked about yesterday has also begun rolling out.

First up, we have a relatively significant update to Google Keep. Today’s update brings us to version 2.3.02 (up from version 2.2 from early April), and it packs one major feature. If you’re one of the lucky few to already own an Android Wear device–either through I/O or by ordering on the Play Store–you can now view your Keep notes, reminders, and lists on Android Wear-powered wearables.

In order to run this latest version of Keep, you must have Play Services 5 installed. This is most likely due to new APIs needed for the Wear integration. Thankfully, we have you covered there as well, with mirrors for every known variant. In addition, YouTube was also updated to version 5.7.41 (up from version 5.7.38 two weeks ago). There’s nothing major here, so it’s most likely just a bugfix update.

These app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our DevHost account for your sideloading pleasure:

Google Play Services:

Are you a current / soon-to-be Android Wear owner? If so, do you see yourself using this Keep integration? Let us know in the comments below!

[As usual, many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the APKs!]

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Google Android Apps

Despite all of the Android L craziness we’ve seen today (from its unveiling to the permissions changes and UI improvements) it’s still Wednesday, and you know what that means. It’s time for another Google Update Wednesday, folks. This time, we’ve got major updates to Google Drive and Google Search, a more modest update to Maps. In addition, we also have two new apps in the Play Store: Slides and Android TV Remote Control.

First up, we have a significant update to Google Drive, which brings us to version 2.0.222.39 (up from last week’s 1.3.222.29). There aren’t too many new features in this new version, but it packs a massively updated, and more modern UI that is visible when viewing file details. This refreshed screen now allows you to perform actions more easily, and with fewer clicks. The screen now allows you to share, download, move, and rename a file–and if you hit the overflow button, you can print and delete as well. In addition, a new activity tracking section at the bottom of the details page shows the last modifications made to a file, by date.

Next, we have an update to Search. This update takes us to version 3.5.14.1234234 (up from April’s 3.4.15.1143430). Upon updating, most users won’t immediately notice anything different. However, with Search 3.5 installed, certain Google accounts are now able to use “OK Google” Hotword detection in any screen, including the lock screen and third-party apps. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on a few accounts at the moment, but hopefully the rollout continues quickly.

Last in terms of app updates, we have a more modest update to Maps, which brings us to 8.1.1 (up from last month’s 8.1.0). This update is a bit less significant than the Drive and Search updates, but according to the Google Play Store listing, this update improves terrain view and transit directions. And for those lucky enough to already own Wear, it adds support for that as well!

Finally, we have two new applications, which have just made their Play Store debut: Slides and Android TV Remote Control. We’ve been looking forward to the release of Slides ever since Docs and Sheets were introduced several months back. Now, it’s finally here–and with it, Google now has a fully functional office suite. Most impressively with Slides is that as announced at the I/O keynote, you are even able to natively edit Microsoft Office files. In addition to Slides, we also have Android TV Remote Control. Even though none of us actually has Android TV yet, this application will be quite useful once Android TV-enabled TVs and set-top boxes start popping up later this year and early next year.

All of these app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our DevHost account for your sideloading pleasure:

google i/o 2014

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks—and that’s OK if you have—you’re undoubtedly aware that we are just two short days away from Google’s yearly I/O conference. Google I/O 2014 is set to kick off at 9 AM PDT (UTC-8) with a two-hour event keynote.

This two-day conference will cover topics such as the future of Android, Android Wear, Glass, Project Tango, ART Compiler, developer tools for Android and Chrome, and so much more. And within all of the talks and events, there will be plenty for both developers and end users to enjoy. At this point, everyone who failed to get a ticket to I/O2014 is probably feeling a little left out. But fret not, as Google will be live streaming the event keynote and all of the sessions from the event webpage.

It’s time to start getting excited for I/O, folks–even if you can’t physically attend. To view all of the topics that will be available for live streaming, head over to the Google I/O 2014 schedule site and tick the live streaming option on the right hand side. And when the time finally comes, you’ll be able to stream from there directly–but don’t worry, we’ll remind you at that point as well.

What sessions are you looking forward to at this year’s I/O? Are you most excited about the changes to Android and the possible release of Android “L”, or are you more interested in the future of Project Tango, Android Wear, Glass, and other Google products? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

SpotifySocialPostings

While yesterday was certainly the day of Android 4.4.4 thanks to a rather unexpected security update, a new Android version isn’t all that Google had in store for Android users. Yesterday evening, Google began the rollout of a Google Search backend update that makes it easier than ever before to go from searching for an artist to listening to their music.

With this latest backend update, Google Search now integrates with several Android media player apps. When searching for a particular musical artist, Search now gives you direct links to listen to said artist directly from your search results, as can be seen in the screenshot to your right.

At the moment, this feature is compatible with iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, Rdio, Spotify, TuneIn, and YouTube. But unfortunately, this feature is only enabled in the US at the time being. However, it’s more than likely that this feature, which doesn’t seem to have any particular reason for being US-exclusive, will make its way to other regions soon. In fact, Google even mentions this by saying, “we’ll keep expanding this, so stay tuned.”

It’s nice to see yet another useful Google Search backend update deliver useful functionality without the need for an application update. Being US-exclusive for the time being certainly isn’t ideal and we can’t imagine why such a feature must be regionally locked. Hopefully, however, it is made available in more regions soon.

[Source: Official Google Google+ Page]

dogfood

Yesterday, we had a rather healthy dose of Google Update Wednesday, thanks to updates to Chrome Beta, Drive, Hangouts, My Tracks, and Translate. This was promptly followed by a new Google Email app, which unfortunately also meant the potential loss of yet another formerly open source application. Now, we have an incremental update to Google’s Play Movies & TV app, as well as yet another update to Translate–this time without the dogfooding.

First up, Google issued yet another update to its Translate app. You may recall that yesterday, a dogfed version of Translate unintentionally made its way out to certain consumers via the Play Store. This version, which came in at 3.0.8, has been promptly followed up by a non-dogfood 3.0.10. This unfortunately means the loss of the cute dogfood icon in both the application icon, as well as when switching translation direction in the app. Aside from that, there are no known changes between this and yesterday’s release.

Next, we have Play Movies & TV, which actually began rolling out late last night. Just like most of the app updates we saw yesterday, this one is pretty minor by bringing only one noticeable user-facing feature, which is wishlist support. This list can be viewed both in the app’s Watch Now section, as well as in the slide-out “hamburger” menu on the left panel.

All of these app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our DevHost account for your sideloading pleasure:

Dalvik Gone, ART Runtime Compiler Default

Ever since we first saw ART appear alongside the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, we all knew that it would eventually replace the aging and relatively inefficient Dalvik runtime compiler. Well folks, the time is now upon us, as commits made late last night to the AOSP master branch show Dalvik getting the axe and ART being set as the default.

The changes in question are in the form of merged commits 98553 and 98618. The former is responsible for the removal of Dalvik from the AOSP master branch, and the latter switches the default runtime compiler to ART.

The changes in their full glory can be seen below:

Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik! DO NOT MERGE
croot
cd libcore
repo start dalvik-is-dead-long-live-dalvik .
repo sync -c .
git rm -r libdvm
git add JavaLibrary.mk (after removing libdvm references, adding explict core-libart references)
git add Docs.mk (after replacing references to libdvm with libart)
git add benchmarks/Android.mk (after adding explict core-libart references)
git add Android.mk (after removing dalvik-host target)
git commit -a -m ‘Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik! DO NOT MERGE’

 

Switch from core to core-libart

Well folks, the merges speak for themselves. Dalvik is dead, long live Dalvik! And judging from how workable ART has become over the past several months, Dalvik probably won’t be missed—at least not after XDA Senior Recognized Developer rovo89 releases an ART-compatible build Xposed Framework. :)

[Source: AOSP Code Review (Changes 98553 and 98618)]

Google Email 6.3-1218562

Earlier today, Google gave us yet another “Update Wednesday” with new versions of Chrome Beta, Drive, Hangouts, My Tracks, and Translate. Seemingly not content with simply updating the above, Google has now given us one more: Google Email—no, not Gmail.

Over the past couple of years, Google’s made efforts to make much of the core Android independent of any particular Android version. Google’s done this by bringing many first party apps to the Play Store such as Gmail, Chrome, and Hangouts, as well as the introduction of Google Play Services. Google also recently brought the Camera app to the Play Store, along with a whole lot of added functionality.

Now, Google has added the company’s “other” first party Email client to the list, which you may be familiar with if you use a POP3 or IMAP Email account in addition to Gmail. According to the Google Play Store, in addition to simply bringing the app to the Play Store, the update to version 6.3-1218562 brings increase security for Gmail accounts, easier account setup, KitKat printing support, and various other bugfixes. In addition, we’ve also noticed a refreshed UI that brings it inline with Google’s recent UI paradigms including that ever-present slide-out “hamburger” menu. Finally, this likely means that we’ve unfortunately lost yet another formerly open source application to its closed source counterpart.

This update should be available to the vast majority of Nexus and Google Play edition devices (other than the M7 and S4) through its Play Store listing. Unfortunately though, this means that if you’re rocking any other device, you’re out of luck for the time being. Luckily, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APK over on our Dev-Host account for your sideloading pleasure. However, compatibility will surely be hit or miss for unauthorized devices.

nexusae0_871546400

Over the past year or so, Google Now has gained some surprisingly useful and intuitive capabilities. Most of these haven’t made their way to users through Google Search application updates, but rather through transparent backend updates. In addition, many of these new capabilities have involved integration with other Google products, and today’s addition is no exception to either.

Today, Google has added a new feature to Google Now that allows it to automatically detect potential calendar events from Gmail messages. These potential events can either be created in the Calendar app, or they can be ignored and forgotten. This is similar to functionality added to Gmail in May of last year–except now, it’s done with one fewer steps, and on mobile.

As this is a backend update, there’s no app update to install. In addition, the new feature doesn’t seem to be live in all regions or for all users (yours truly included) just yet. However, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see this make its way to other users and regions soon.

Are you a fan of Google’s omniscient presence in your life, or has this crossed the boundaries into the creepy realm? Would you like for Google to also pull data like this from Hangouts, or has the company’s assault on user privacy gone too far? Let us know in the comments below. Personally, I know that I’m going to be a bit more careful with how I use my Gmail account going forward.

[Via AndroidPolice]

Screenshot_2014-06-11-21-24-42

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means. As is often the case on humpday, we’ve got our hands on some first party Google application updates. Today’s updates come in the form of minor updates to Google Voice and YouTube. And although they aren’t quite as numerous as on previous Google Update Wednesdays, the Google Voice update is particularly noteworthy because the application hasn’t seen an update in quite some time.

First up, we have an update to Google Voice. Today’s update to the first party call routing app brings us to version 0.4.3.8 (40308) from the previous version 0.4.2.82. This is the first time that we see an update to Google Voice since November of last year. There are practically no visible changes available in this new version, with the exception of additional information when placing international calls. Upon updating, users are shown a dialog that lets them know about the new policy change. And then when placing calls, users are given rate information.

In addition to Google Voice, YouTube also saw another minor update from 5.7.38 (up from 5.7.36). This is primarily a bugfix release, as the update brings no user-facing changes. But hopefully, this includes fixes for the bugs that prevented certain devices from being able to stream in HD, despite having adequate connection speed.

These app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our DevHost account for your sideloading pleasure:

It’s certainly strange to see Google Voice updated after such an extended time without an update. And even though the update is pretty insignificant, it’s nice to see that Google is apparently not canning the project altogether. Are you a Google Voice user? Would you like to see Voice integrated into Hangouts? Let us know in the comments below.

[Thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai!]

skybox

Google is an incredibly large corporation with equally diverse set of projects. While many of these have originated inhouse, an even larger number have come through strategic acquisitions. Recent acquisitions have included smart thermostat manufacturer Nest, AI startup DeepMind, sound-based authentication pioneers SlickLogin, and drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace. But of course, the primary acquisition on the minds of most reading this article today is none other than Android itself.

Earlier today, Google added one more notch to its metaphorical belt by announcing its intentions to acquire the Mountain View-based Skybox Imaging. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, the relatively obscure company has spent the better part of five years working to improve satellite imagery technology. This has lead to the release of the Skybox Constellation, whose claim to fame is being the world’s smallest high-resolution imaging satellite. Using this technology, Skybox is able to obtain sub-meter satellite imagery and high-definition video of up to 90 seconds at 30 frames per second.

So why is Google interested in a satellite manufacturer? The most obvious potential use for Skybox’s strengths is to bolster the already impressive Google Maps satellite imagery with even higher resolution images and, perhaps at some point in the future, video. But in addition to simply improving Maps, Skybox’s wishes to improve global Internet access may align with Google’s similar efforts with Project Loon, as well as the recent Titan Aerospace acquisition.

It’s interesting to see Google evolve and mature as a company that has its hands in essentially what amounts to the future. What are your thoughts on Google’s ever-growing scope? Let us know in the comments below.

[Source: Skybox, Google | Via AndroidPolice]

Google Android Apps

Two weeks ago today, we saw some rather substantial updates to Chrome stable and Google+. The former brought better fullscreen video and the ability to undo closed tabs out of beta, while the latter featured an all-new UI, Auto Awesome Stories, and much more. Then more recently, we saw Hangouts receive a rather substantial update just two days ago that brought the ability to block incoming SMS numbers and set per-contact notifications.

Now, Google is back with updates for all three of these first party applications. The update for Google+ comes in at version 4.4.1.68642489 (up from 4.4.0.67636377), Chrome Browser is now up to Google Chrome Browser 35.0.1916.141 (up from 35.0.1916.138), and Hangouts is now at 2.1.224 (up from 2.1.223). The updates for all three of these applications are essentially minor bugfix releases, without any user-facing changes that we’ve noticed. However, users have reported that the Google+ update brings improved app fluidity and performance.

All of these app updates will make their way out to consumer devices through the Play Store via a staged rollout. Naturally, not every device will be in initial wave. However, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the APKs over on our DevHost account for your sideloading pleasure:

And in reverse chronological order, here are the latest versions of all of the Google first party application updates we’ve seen over the last few weeks:

[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the APKs!]

res

Although we’re approaching the end of the day here on the Eastern seaboard of the US, Google Update Wednesday still continues strong. Earlier today, we talked about rather substantial updates to Chrome Remote Desktop, Google Hangouts, and Google Translate.

Now, we’ve got one more update to share, and that’s YouTube 5.7. The last time we saw a YouTube update was version 5.6.36 in the middle of last month. Today’s update brings us up to version 5.7.36, and it packs one very important feature: user-selectable streaming resolution. As pointed out by XDA Forum Member  RedInuYasha, this is something that the iOS version of the app has had for quite some time.

For the last several years, ever since HD resolution support was added to YouTube, web users have been able to select the exact streaming resolution for their videos. Unfortunately, however, mobile users only had the option to enable or disable HQ/HD. But with this update, the HD/HQ button has been removed, and instead it has been replaced with a cog wheel that once clicked, allows users to select their streaming resolution manually. Just like the webapp, the YouTube 5.7 defaults to “Auto.” But if you’re feeling brave about your bandwidth and monthly data quota, you can now manually stream in HD goodness as long as you’d like. Unfortunately, though, several highly anticipated features such as background audio are still apparently on the backburner.

As always, this update is gradually making its way out to consumer devices via Google Play Store. But of course, not every device will get the update in the initial wave. Luckily, we’ve gone ahead and mirrored the update on our Dev-Host account for your early access, sideloading pleasure.

[Many thanks to XDA Portal Supporter MihirGosai for the tip!]

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