Google TV also now moves on to the latest version Chrome, jumps onto the six-week regular Chrome update cycle
Despite being omitted from the 3-hour Google I/Okeynote completely, there is some good news coming out of San Francisco for Google TV. Google already pushed out the update to their YouTube app for the platform, but also announced today is the bump up to Android 4.2.2. And, with the jump to the latest version of Android, the latest version of Google Chrome is also on board, with Google TV joining the regular six-week update cycle for Chrome.
Chrome for Google TV also gets support for hardware based content protection. Simply put, this means that developers have the ability to include premium high definition TV content within web apps for Google TV.
The good news doesn't end there either. Alongside the software updates Google is also announcing that they have refactored Google TV so that OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in "a matter of weeks rather than months."
The update to 4.2.2 is expected to roll out to current Google TV devices "in the coming months" with new devices expected to be seen later this year. Great news for the Google TV fans out there that Google continues to push the platform forwards.
Improvements in design highlight the latest music subscription service
At today's massive Google I/O keynote, one of the bigger announcements was centered around music. Not only did we get the rumored Google Music subscription service -- now called "All Access" -- but we also got a completely refreshed Play Music app and web interface to go along with it. Google is making a pretty compelling push with its new music service, which goes beyond just radio and just streaming to offer customizable playlists with unlimited skips as well as unfettered online and offline access to any music in the Play Store catalog. You can also now access that music through a beautifully redesigned Android app and web player that just tie the entire experience together.
Hang with us after the break for a closer look at Google's refresh of Play Music, one that is likely to be a hit well after the Moscone Center empties this week.
New home screen UI, paid subscriptions and enhanced playback controls the name of the day
While all eyes were on the 3+ hour monster keynote at Google I/O, Google quietly slipped out a decent looking update to their YouTube app for Google TV. Top of the order is a nice looking new user interface for the homescreen, that simplifies everything and makes it all a little more user friendly.
Official support for Google's new paid subscription channels is also included, with Google TV surely being a prime option to take advantage of the new content. Playback video controls are also improved, and it's easier to subscribe to that content creator's channel. Grab it now from the Google Play Store, and be sure to let us know what you think of it.
5 days ago
Google adds 'Send Money' option to Gmail and Google Wallet
Send money to anyone for free from a linked bank account; with small fees via credit cards
It wasn't a headline part of the Google I/O 2013 keynote, but the Google Commerce Blog has just dropped a pretty sweet feature on us -- the ability to send money to anyone from Gmail with Google Wallet. The option is being rolled into Gmail as just another thing that you can attach when sending a message. Right next to the paperclip for attaching files you'll see a "$" icon where you can click and send money free of charge to the recipient -- who doesn't have to have a Gmail account -- if you have a bank account connected to your Google Wallet account. Transfers sent by an attached credit or debit card are assessed a small transaction fee, and it is clearly shown when sending whether or not there will be a fee.
The ability to send money via Gmail will roll out over the coming months to U.S. residents over the age of 18, and won't be available on mobile through the Gmail app but will be possible with the Google Wallet mobile website. We would expect that once the security aspect of sending money on mobile gets figured out that the feature will hit the Gmail for Android app eventually.
Google's new cross-platform group messaging service is pushing out to devices
Hangouts, the long-rumored messaging service from Google that pulls together text, photo, video and group chat all into one service, is pushing out in the Play Store today as an update to the Google Talk app. The app is a serious departure from the old-school design found on talk, with an all new layout that focuses first on conversations and then on individual contacts. The main screen is a list of your different ongoing conversations -- "Hangouts" -- with pictures of the people involved in them. When you start a new hangout you can search people by name, email, circle or even phone number and start a chat.
Right now it looks like it's basically building on just the previous Talk system of chatting, and although it does ask to confirm your phone number and you can search contacts by their numbers, there's no SMS support here just yet. Go grab a download of the new Hangouts app from the Play Store link above.
5 days ago
Google introduces conversational search in Chrome and an expanded Knowledge Graph
Google has shown off what's new in search at Google I/O and during the keynote they announced improvements to conversational search, Google Now and the Knowledge Graph. We've had conversational search on Android and iOS for some time, but now you'll be able to access it through Chrome on any laptop or desktop. You can click the mic to start talking or simply say "Ok Google". It looks pretty slick.
In addition, they also announced support for 4 new languages for their Knowledge Graph: Polish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. The Knowledge Graph is the search iteration they unveiled a while back that presents relevant, immediate data based on what you're searching for.
Google announced a music subscription service today called Google Play Music All Access. It provides unlimited access to music for $9.99/month (or $7.99/month if you sign up for the free trial before June 30th.)
The Google Play Music Android app has been updated to reflect the All Access subscription service, but also provides an entire UI overhaul that is very slick. It's simplified and much easier to navigate, in my opinion. There is a navigation pane to the left that allows you to select between Listen now, My Library, Playlists, Radio and Explore. You can quickly swipe it away to view your choice, which will be taken over by larger album art.
The update is available via the Google Play Store. If you don't see it just yet, sit tight, you'll see it soon. Follow our Google Play links for the update.
5 days ago
Google previews next major version of Maps for Android
New look, new features for Google's mobile mapping software
At the Google I/O keynote in San Francisco, Google showed a sneak peek at the "next major version" of Google Maps for Android. Visually, it looks a lot like the iPhone Google Maps app, with a big search bar front and center, and re-vamped, smoother graphics. There's also a new Zagat experience built-in, with a new five-point rating scheme. Google Offers are now built into the app too, allowing offers to be saved directly from the Maps app.
The tablet maps UI has been overhauled too, with a UI tweaked to take advantage of the additional screen realestate. And in big news for iOS, there's finally a dedicated iPad app for Google Maps.
The company also showed off a re-vamped version of Google Maps on the web, with WebGL-based vector graphics as standard, and a bigger focus on search, through a large search bar at the top of the screen. There's been a complete UI overhaul too, designed to make features like navigation and public transit directions easier to use. For the first time, Google Earth-like 3D imagery is included in Maps on the web, too.
The new Google Maps experience for Android is due to launch "this summer."
5 days ago
New Google Now cards and 'hot words' for voice search launching today
Reminders. Music albums. TV shows. Public transit. Books. Video Games.
Update: The newest version of Google Search has just been pushed out to the Play Store
In among the host of other search features unveiled at the Google I/O keynote today, Google announced that six new cards will be coming to its card-based predictive search system, Google Now. Reminders -- like "get milk" -- details for music, TV, books and video games and public transit messages.
Google also demonstrated "hot words" in Google voice search, allowing potentially ambiguous queries such as "show me my photos from New York" or "when does my flight leave" to produce accurate results based on the information at Google's disposal. The demo ran remarkably smoothly and quickly, and with seemingly perfect accuracy.
The new Google Now cards will begin rolling out from today. Remember we're still liveblogging the I/O keynote, so head over there to see everything as it happens.
At the Google I/O keynote in San Francisco, Google VP Vic Gundotra demonstrated a ton of new features for the company's social network, Google+. Among these is a bevy of photographic capabilities, chiefly Google Photo Highlights. If you've ever uploaded a massive cache of photos to a social network and had to sort through to pick out the best ones, you may appreciate this.
Google's algorithms can cut down a large group of imperfect images and pick out the best-looking ones, reducing potentially thousands of image to a smaller collection of only the very best.