Google Voice and Hangouts will be merged at some point in the future, at least that is what Google keeps telling us. Google announced back at last year’s I/O conference, again in October, and then again in March that Hangouts is the “future” of Voice, only they forgot to give us another update at this year’s I/O conference. So yes, we are more than a year into this supposed merger of Hangouts and Voice, yet the mystery surrounding the timing of that action is thicker than ever.
Thankfully, we know that at least Google’s Alex Wiesen has not stopped working on Google Voice. He told us back in June that Google is working to improve voicemail transcriptions with your help, and has followed that up with the unveiling of Hangouts calls through the web version of Google Voice. Mentioned on his G+ page last night, Weisen noted that when placing a call through the web version of Voice, you now have the option to call through Hangouts instead of through your phone or “Google Talk.” If you aren’t a G+ user, you can still use the Hangouts option as it doesn’t require a G+ account. (more…)
On Friday, the Android team’s Rich Hyndman took to the Google Developer YouTube channel to run through some of the new features introduced in the Android L developer preview. Most of this stuff we covered in a series of Android L feature posts, but for developers, the clip was a good refresher for the new goodies that can be taken advantage of. Rich talks everything from notifications to the new camera API to Material Design to the devices that the L preview is available on. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago, I took a 5-day trip back to my home state of Montana to visit family and friends. I stayed with my dad, of course, but during the stay, I noticed an interesting Google Now card that kept coming up after a day or two after having been there. The card kept popping up with “Time to Dad’s,” as a reminder of how long it would take me to get back to his house. It was like the “Time to Home” card that you see if you have your home location added to your Now location settings. The card shows up if you leave home, so that you always know how long it will take to get back there no matter where you are.
I thought this card was interesting because my dad’s address wasn’t on my calendar, it isn’t in my location settings, and not once did I perform navigation on how to get to his house while I was there, because it’s in my home town of Whitefish and I know exactly how to get there. But over the last couple of days on the trip, each time I left his house, it kept telling me how to get back there, just like that “Time to Home” card. It was as if Google knew I was in Whitefish, MT, and that I was staying with my dad because his address is included in his contact card and I kept hanging out there for hours on end. It also could have been that it was simply looking through contacts to find nearby friends or family and was giving me the time it would take to get to their houses. (more…)
Over in Europe, a handful of companies got a slap on the wrist for not securing their app stores properly from children. The European Commission (EU) is forcing Google and others in the selling business to better label applications that are free to download, but feature hefty amounts of in-app purchases. (more…)
A Google Maps update to version 8.2.0 showed up last night and actually includes new goodies for you to look forward to. Once updated, you will find that bicycle directions now include elevation and a comparison of elevation between multiple routes to get you to a destination with less strain. You will notice that the profile button in the search bar has been replaced by a voice actions button, with the profile information moving into the slideout menu under a “Your places” section. (more…)
It’s Google earnings day, with Mountain View posting up their second quarter financials for the year of 2014. This quarter, revenue was up 22% year-over-year to $16 billion, with Q2 of 2013 ending at $13.11 billion. Patrick Pichette, CFO of Google, stated in the earnings report, “We are moving forward with great product momentum and are excited to continue providing amazing user experiences, with a view to the long term.” (more…)
Along with the news of major layoffs at Nokia, Microsoft has stated that there will be no more intermingling between the Nokia X lineup of devices and Google’s Android. Going forward, the Nokia X lineup will be Lumia devices, set to run Windows.
While it was almost encouraging to see Nokia working with Android, Microsoft has laid down the law. (more…)
Perhaps Android Wear’s most important point of customization is the watch face. It’s a little surprising, then, that Wear doesn’t yet have an API for watch faces, meaning developers who have so far released custom watch faces have had to work around limitations of Wear’s most recent iteration.
That’s changing, though, perhaps not nearly fast enough. Google’s own Wayne Piekarski announced on Google+ that an official API is in the works, due out “soon.” (more…)