Google Talks Android L Preview Features, Can’t Promise Updates Though

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…)

Google Now Seems to be Learning Contact Addresses When Traveling, Gives Time to Navigate to Them

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…)

Google Maps 8.2.0 Adds Bicycle Elevation, Voice Actions in Navigation

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…)

Google Lays Out Q2 Earnings, Beats Revenue Expectations

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…)

Android Wear Watch Face API Coming Soon

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…)

Google Wallet Update Lets You Manage/Use Gift Cards, Request Money, and Pay Without Fees

Google Wallet received a solid update this afternoon that brings in features which could make the app immediately more useful. For one, Google Wallet now lets you manage gift cards (check balances) and redeem in stores using the app, rather than having to worry about carrying around the actual cards. You can also request money from friends, instead of only being able to send in the past. Finally, sending money using your debit card is now free. In the past, Google used to tack on a decent sized fee when sending money unless you were sending with cash that was already loaded in the app.

Participating merchants for the new gift card management include AMC, Best Buy, Nike, Sephora, Toys R Us, TGI Friday’s, and Whole Foods.

You can grab the update on Google Play now or sideload using the apk below.  (more…)