Google has enabled support for Google Play Music and All Access to the following new countries today: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Ukraine. Now folks in those parts of the world will be able to stream their own music from Google to any Android or iOS device — or their computer — as well as sign up for All Access and listen to Google's catalog of tunes for a monthly fee. We love seeing Google find a way to get services like this into more places.
Snapchat is updating its app to include location information in your snaps and video. While the service originally was built around self-destructing image sharing, location information overlays help to personalize and add a bit of character to those shares. If a business or location supports the new feature, rather than checking in on Facebook, you can share your snaps privately with friends with an overlay of the location or business name or logo.
Here it comes, kids. Timberman. Downloaded at least a half-million times. (But no more than 1 million.) That will change soon enough, no doubt, as it's being heralded as the next Flappy Bird. It's mindless. It's easy to play. It's got 8-bit-style graphics and sound. And you're already starting to see it written about in that vicious circle of navel-gazing, feed-buzzing, clickbaiting cliche that we thought we narrowly escaped when that damned bird stopped trying to get through those damned pipes.
Get ready for the story of Timberman. How it went from a slow start to an overnight sensation, capturing the hearts and minds of the world and advancing mankind toward some sort of greater somethingorother. Mission to Mars? Save the whales? Nah. Let's play Timberman.
So say hello to Timberman. As the name implies, he chops down trees. He eats his lunch. He goes to the lavatory. (Wait. That's something else.) The idea is that he's chopping on one side of the tree. Or he's chopping on the other. Tap either side of the screen to move him over and avoid the branches that threaten to end your game. The faster you chop, the higher the level you'll reach. But you have to pay attention to those damned branches on that damned tree.
Timberman is free. It has a lot of ads. You can pay to remove the ads. You can play against your friends.
A big, welcome, long-awaited, about-time change for Google+. You can now use whatever name you want.
We know you've been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today's change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.
Source: Google+ (if, indeed, that is its real name)
Proprietary charging docks suck — but Motorola's much-anticipated Android watch could make things better
The smartwatch market is still in the very early stages of development, and the three main platforms out there right now — Pebble, Samsung Gear and Android Wear — all have their own unique quirks. But if there's one area of the smartwatch experience that's pretty much universally terrible, it's charging them.
Low-quality proprietary chargers and the relatively short battery life of current smartwatches make for a frustrating situation when it comes time to charge your wearable. Fortunately, though, there are signs of hope ahead, and it starts with Motorola's Moto 360 and the Qi wireless charging standard.
Google has posted the factory images for Android 4.4.4 Release 2 — but only for a few specific carriers in a few select countries. And only for the Nexus 5. The release, which carries a build number of KTU84Q, is available for download from Google's Android factory images page, is only good for the Nexus 5 on Telstra in Australia, 2Degrees in New Zealand, and unlocked in India.
Google's head developer advocate Reto Meier has introduced a new series of online courses to get you started writing Android apps. The Android Fundamentals online training course is being offered by Udacity, and along with Meier and developer advocates Dan Galpin and Katherine Kuan, is designed for folks new to Android or even mobile development, but have the basics of programming covered.
Crushed by a flood of commenters, the FCC has extended the open comment period for their Open Internet proceedings until Friday. When we wrote about the importance of net neutrality back in May, the FCC had opened the door for open comment, and that window was due to close today. But after having been smashed yesterday and today by people like you registering their thoughts with the FCC about how best to address net neutrality, the FCC has extended that window to Friday.
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