Posts Tagged google maps

Google Calendar update adds location autocomplete from Google Maps

There’s an update for Google Calendar available now in the Google Play Store, and it’s going to make adding locations to events a tad easier. The update is relatively minor, but it brings a recently-added feature from the web version of Google Calendar to the Android app: location autocomplete from Google Maps. All you have to do is start typing in the location field on an appointment and Google Maps’ extensive address and point of interest database will be queried to provide you as-you-type autocomplete predictions. This can be especially handy when you want to ensure you have a correct address for someplace you’ll be using your phone’s navigation tools to reach.

The Google Calendar app update is propagating now through the Google Play Store for your updating pleasure.

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Location suggestions and autocomplete now a thing in latest Google Calendar update

Google_CalendarGoogle released an update for its Calendar app in the Play Store yesterday. It’s not the visual overhaul that was leaked last week, but it does add a pretty nifty little feature when creating an event. Like the web version of the app, the Android version of the app will now suggest locations when creating events. Extrapolated from your location — thanks to Google Maps — Google Calendar will now suggest and autocomplete locations based on businesses and locations near you.

This new feature does ask for an extra permission (coarse location) when you go to install the update. It appears to be rolling out in waves as I have yet to receive a notice for the update in the Play Store. If you can’t wait for the update to hit your phone I expect that there will be an APK somewhere out there in the Interweb sometime soon. Otherwise hit the break for your download link and QR code.


Play Store Download

Come comment on this article: Location suggestions and autocomplete now a thing in latest Google Calendar update

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Updated Google Calendar For Android Finally Suggests Locations Of Nearby Places And Lets You Join Video Calls In Hangouts [APK Download]

nexusae0_Calendar-Thumb_thumbIt’s still Update Wednesday here in San Francisco, and just when I thought I was done for the day, Google decided to upload yet another new version of one of its core apps – Calendar v201404011. And it’s a big one, folks.

What’s New

Location suggestions of nearby places

The main change in this update finally addresses (no pun intended) what I consider the most requested feature missing from Calendar for Android, which is actually present in Calendar on the web – location suggestions for places known to Google Maps.

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Updated Google Calendar For Android Finally Suggests Locations Of Nearby Places And Lets You Join Video Calls In Hangouts [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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With New Camera App, Photo Spheres Get Huge Boost To 50 Megapixels


Photo Sphere product manager Evan Rapoport, who also manages Maps, Street View, Views, and Panoramio, had one more tidbit of Google Camera-related news to convey today. In a post to Google+, Rapoport announced that photo spheres had gotten a major boost to 50MP (about 11776×5884 pixels). This is up from around 8MP in the previous app, and the results are beautiful.


image image

If you liked photo spheres before, you’re going to love them now – Rapoport shared his own Views collection with new higher resolution spheres, and they are crisp, clear, and a pleasure to look at.

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With New Camera App, Photo Spheres Get Huge Boost To 50 Megapixels was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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[Breaking] Google Releases Stock Camera App To The Play Store

imageWhat a way to start our favorite day of the week – Update Wednesday! Google just dropped the official Camera app into the Play Store, thus paving the way for quicker updates and new features without having to wait for and install OTAs.

The new camera version 2.1.037 has a brand new interface and includes a new lens blur feature for more DSLR-like shots. Another important update includes the previously rumored 100% viewfinder fix, which means the final photo will look exactly the same as it did on the viewfinder screen.

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[Breaking] Google Releases Stock Camera App To The Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Significant Google+ App Redesign Allegedly Slips Out In Series Of Screenshots


There have been a lot of leaks lately, and they don’t show any sign of slowing down – today, Yoel Kaseb (via Google+) shared screenshots of what he claims to be a test build of a redesigned Google+ app. According to his post, the build is unstable and probably unfinished, and he has since been locked out from accessing or using the APK. But what we can see from the screenshots Kaseb managed to capture is both compelling and in line with some of the other leaks we’ve seen recently.

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Significant Google+ App Redesign Allegedly Slips Out In Series Of Screenshots was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Need An Offline GPS Solution? Several of Sygic’s GPS Navigation Maps Are Half-Price Till April 22nd [Sponsored Post]


Google Maps/Navigation is fantastic. It’s easy to use, stays (mostly) up-to-date, and is built into Android’s core. However, it has one major flaw: offline navigation simply doesn’t exist within Google Maps. If you’re heading into uncharted territory where cell service may be sketchy or non-existent, you’re basically on your own. And getting lost is not a fun experience.

The solution? A third-party GPS application with offline support, like Sygic’s Maps & GPS Navigation.

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Need An Offline GPS Solution? Several of Sygic’s GPS Navigation Maps Are Half-Price Till April 22nd [Sponsored Post] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Homesnap Augmented Reality Real Estate App Gets Rebuilt From The Ground Up For Version 3.0

Homesnap-ThumbHouse hunting can be tedious, but the tools you use on your search don’t have to be. The Homesnap app lets users look up information about homes and neighborhoods just by snapping photos of locations of interest. When it came to Android nearly a year ago, it arrived with an interface stuck somewhere between Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich. Now, with version 3.0, the app is ready for life on KitKat.

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Homesnap Augmented Reality Real Estate App Gets Rebuilt From The Ground Up For Version 3.0 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Tuesday Poll: Are You Buying Google Glass Today?

Tuesday Poll:  Are You Buying Google Glass Today?

Not that we expect a high percentage of the DL community to pick-up Google Glass, but we figured we should at least ask since it’s available. It’s poll time.

At $1,500, you can take sweet selfies like the one I just included in this post, become a certified Glasshole, and enjoy the world staring at you everywhere you go thanks to the futuristic beacon attached to your head.

OK, it has more uses than that. For example, you could take awesome photos of your kid in action without having to pick up your phone, can see Google Now cards without ever lifting a finger, and can get Google Maps directions placed just above your eye as you drive. Glass does have some redeeming qualities, it’s just so damn expensive in its current form.

But hey, it’s there today, if you want it. Are you buying it?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Tuesday Poll: Are You Buying Google Glass Today? is a post from: Droid Life

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Google bought a company that makes solar drones, and we’re officially freaked out

titan drone

It isn’t unheard of for some of Google’s acquisitions to come with a bit of unease, but their latest one probably takes the biggest piece of cake of them all. The Mountain View company has confirmed the purchase of New Mexico-based Titan Aerospace, a company that specializes in creating high-altitude drone technology for use in… whatever.

The company is said to begin interfacing with the team working on Project Loon, which is a vision that Google hopes can bring balloon-carried high-speed WiFi transmitters and deliver widespread connectivity for the masses. The Wall Street Journal also reports that Google could work with Makani, an internal team tasked with researching and developing airborne wind-powered turbines for more efficient energy.

All of this sounds quite fine — in fact, it’s all kind of cool — but there’s one other harrowing thing Google could be looking to do with their new-found knowledge of drone technology. It’s said that the drones could likely be put to use for purposes of gathering and collecting data, likely to help improve Google’s mapping business.

Google already employs the likes of self-driving cars and camera-equipped airplanes to take snapshots of the world for use in Google Maps, but Titan’s drones could bring a flexible, modular system that does all of that and more. That “more” could including anything from atmospheric sensors for recording climate data to delivering aforementioned airborne WiFi to countries that aren’t well-equipped for hard-line access.

The drones themselves aren’t your Amazon Drone Delivery or consumer-focused Parrot AR Drone-sized pieces of equipment, either — the smallest drone Titan makes is slightly larger than a Boeing 767, which is a passenger cruiser that can seat anywhere between 181 and 375 people. Let that sink into your brain for just a second.

Of course, Google’s intentions probably aren’t as scary as our brains will make them out to be, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the culmination of all these different pieces (Google has made a strong push to acquire robotics and AI companies recently) ends up being.

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Google licenses Room 77 software for travel search

Most don’t know (or take advantage), but you can find a hotel room and/or flight via Google. The problem is that both offer a terrible UI and limited functionality. It seems Google is ready to change all that, as they’ve agreed to license Room 77 software, which should help with results on both fronts.

Room 77 is a startup backed by Expedia, and is located in Mountain View — very close to Google. Bloomberg reports that several of Room 77’s staff, including co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Calvin Yang, are “joining Google”. The company will retain their “brand, websites, mobile applications, patents” as well as other technology. We assume this is what makes it a licensing deal rather than an acquisition, because staff from Room 77 heading to Google definitely sounds more acquisition than licensing.

This could put Google in a better position to offer on-the-go bookings, and situate them better to offer ads for online bookings. Priceline offers a much more lucrative angle for ads when it comes to travel, and Google is likely keen to keep their mantle as a top search and ad service.

Google’s current flight search results come courtesy of a $700 million investment in ITA back in 2011. Their hotel search results come courtesy of scraping, with both services being limited and sparsely used. It’s not yet known if Google will parlay this into a standalone travel app, but that seems likely at some point down the line.

Source: Bloomberg

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This Week in the Life of DROID: 4/4/2014

This Week in the Life of DROID: 4/4/2014

Another week has passed by, as we are already four months into 2014. As with most other recent weeks, these past five days were full of good Android news to cover and talk about. Of course, Google and others went all-out this year on April Fool’s Day, with a Google Maps gag to catch Pokémon, an Emojified version of the Android Chrome browser, and lots more.

We were also able to push out Episode 54 of The Droid Life Show, where we talked about Amazon’s new set-top box Fire TV and shared our official thoughts on the HTC One (M8).

Yup, it was a good week. All the action, in case you missed any of it, is right below.

Have a great weekend, folks!

This Week in the Life of DROID: 4/4/2014 is a post from: Droid Life


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QuizUp puts your geography skills to the test with Google Maps ‘Earth from Above’ topic

So let’s say you love geography, and you also love trivia. Well Google has just made your day by introducing Google Maps-powered “Earth From Above” challenge category to the game QuizUp. The topic is pretty self-explanatory — each round is a satellite image of some place on earth, and you’ll be given options to choose from of where you think the location is.


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April Fool’s Day 2014 [ROUNDUP]


You’ve made it through another April Fool’s Day nearly unscathed. For those braving through the internet on this o joyous of days, peace is almost at hand. But rather than post every prank/gag/joke we came across during our day, we decided to compile them all into one neat and tidy post for easy viewing. This is by no means exhaustive, so if you happened across some others you found particularly humorous, be sure to shout ‘em out. Without further ado, here’s our April Fool’s Day 2014 roundup.

Chrome for Android (and iOS)

The Chrome team announced Google Translate support a language of a different kind: emoji. Whenever visiting websites on your Android phone or tablet, you’ll be asked if you want to translate the text into emoji. Pretty darn awesome (and actually strikingly similar to have the SwiftKey Beta handles emoji). Emoji translate is only available in English.

Download on Google Play: Chrome

Google Magic Hand

The folks at Google Japan announced an all new product for interacting with the touchscreen display on your devices: the Magic Hand. With multiple attachments and a full spec sheet at the source link, we loved what the Google Japan guys did with this one. Check it out.


Google Fiber Coffee to Home

We know there are some of you that simply can’t live without your coffee, and that’s why the Google Fiber team is introducing the latest innovation in coffee making: Google Fiber Coffee to the Home. Just install the spigot into your Google Fiber line, and you’ll be enjoying the freshest coffee this side of the internet.


Google Maps Pokemon Challenge

We covered this one in a previous post, but wanted to make sure it didn’t get forgotten. In what could only be described as the best April Fools “prank” ever, the folks at Google teamed up with Nintendo to litter the real world with actual Pokemon that could be captured. The video shows an augmented reality game, something that sadly didn’t make it into the app, but there’s always next year. Maybe with Google Glass?


Google+ Auto Awesome with David Hasselhoff

Google Plus Apri Fools Auto Awesome David Hasselhoff Photobomb

The Google+ team is always adding festive new overlays into their Auto Awesome editor. We’ve seen snow in the winter, hearts for Valentine’s Day, and now all new for April Fool’s is David Hasselhoff. Simply enable Auto Awesome on one of your pics, and watch as The Hoff appears in the flesh, photo bombing your most precious memories. Awesome.


Gmail Shelfie

Gmail Shelfie April Fools

Not even Gmail was safe from April Fools mayhem. In a new theme that prompted users at the bottom of the page to try it out, Gmail Shelfies picked random popular selfies to set as the background of your Gmail page. Pictures alternate at random, so you’re sure to find something you like. I got Victoria Justice for awhile there, so I wasn’t complaining.



Did you know that YouTube actually makes all those viral hits and trends that end up shared through the 4 corners of the internet? Well, you do now. And for April Fool’s Day, YouTube is giving you a sneak peek into the trends they’re predicting will be a hit in 2014. Take a look.

HTC Gluuv

HTC Gluuv

Samsung wasn’t the only Android OEM introducing a glove-like wearable for April Fools. Introducing the HTC Gluuv. Okay, it’s a strange coincidence that both rival OEMs debuted a similar gag, but it’s easy to see who put the extra effort into creating something more convincing. HTC even had an awesome dedicated web page. Check it out via the source link below.


Sony Power Food

“Introducing the latest in fuel technology, Sony Power Foods. Now, the same fuel we’ve used to power ourselves for thousands of years can be used to power personal electronics. By creating an enzyme that enables the chemical energy of organic matter to be transferred directly into gadgets, we’re bringing about the next step in electronic evolution. Voltaic Enzyme.

And Sony Power Foods it isn’t just for techies and foodies. Everyone will love the tasty variety of charging options. From Crunchy Loops cereal to Sony’s Power Food Cake mix, you’re sure to be charged… in every bite.”

Nest & Virgin Airlines

“We’re teaming up with Virgin America to reinvent the way people fly. Watch as Tony Fadell and Sir Richard Branson introduce Total Temperature Control, the newest product from Nest.”

Samsung Fli-Fy

“Our revolutionary new micro-router brings free Wi-Fi to London with the help of some little friends on 01/04/14. We love animals, and would never cause any harm to them.” Find out more via the source link below.


Waze Dates

“‘WazeDates’ uses the same crowdsourcing technology designed to help drivers around the world outsmart traffic, while creating a new space for people to meet and fall in love. Signup today to become a Beta tester:”

Don’t have Waze? Download it & get the best routes everyday with real-time help from other drivers.

SwiftKey Flow Hard

“Bringing all the awesomeness of SwiftKey Flow to your physical keyboard.” The best part is it actually works! Try it here.

Make a Smart Phone (KDDI)

MyColorLife from MyColorScreen

Toshiba DiGiT

“DiGiT ends the mobile computing race. One simple glove replaces laptops, tablets, smartphones, fitness trackers, watches, glasses and any future mobile innovation.” Learn more:

Roku Watch

Roku Watch April Fools 2014


Reddit: Headdit

“Using revolutionary hand equivalent action detection, headdit allows you to upnod, frownvote and navigate your way around reddit. There is also cat mode. So sit back, relax and enjoy headdit.” This one actually works, just visit on your web browser, and allow it to access your web cam. Fun, fun.

Flipboard (Flappy Board)

“Tap, flap and enjoy Flipboard’s first ever gaming creation, Flappy Board. Tweet @Flipboard to share your highest scores with us.”


Sphero: SelfieBot

“#SelfieBot is fully autonomous and capable of flight. Forged from cutting-edge technology and programmed with advanced artificial intelligence, #SelfieBot hovers at your side and records your life in high definition. Free yourself from smartphone #selfie limitations. Reserve yours before it sells out.”


Alright, so that just about concludes our April Fool’s coverage for 2014. We know there’s gotta be something out there we missed, an April Fool’s joke so hilarious, you got an actual chuckle out of it. Be sure to shout out anything you find — Android related or not. We love to have a good laugh. Cheers.



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Google Text-to-Speech update to version 3.0.11 brings more language and voices Support

google text-to-speech updateContrary to what people think Google actually does during April Fool’s Day, like making Google Maps into a Pokemon-laden procrastination place, Google does actually do some work and today has released a Google Text-to-Speech update to continue its improvements to the dictation app.

Fortunately, this update to version 3.0.11 isn’t a joke and adds some crucial language support, including Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (United States), as well adding high-quality voices for English (United Kingdom) and English (US) should you feel inclined. The full list of updates as per the Play Store page includes:

  • Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish (United States) now supported
  • English (United Kingdom) male voice available for download
  • High quality voices available for download for English (United Kingdom) and English (US)
  • Updated user interface for voice data management

The update should be rolling to you now, but if you can’t wait that long, you can download the apk file at the link below:

Google Text-to-Speech update version 3.0.11


Application: Google Text-to-Speech

Play Store Link

Price: Free

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Google April Fools’ Day jokes for 2014


[We will update this post as more jokes come in]

To check out last year’s antics, click here.

Google seeking the best Pokémon Master to bring Google Maps to the next dimension

Using Maps on their Android or iOS device, applicants need to find each and every one of the wild Pokémon. All applicants that are able to collect every Pokémon will be invited to the Googleplex for the final round of hiring. The winner will be deemed, Pokémon Master, and will start employment at Google on September 1, 2014. Now, yes, this is a joke, but the best part of it is that if you go into Google Maps now on your Android phone or iPhone, tap the search bar and press on the “Press Start” link, you will start seeing Pokémon now. I kid you not. You have until April 2 at 2:00pm PST to capture all of them. Good luck and check out the video below…..

Click here to view the embedded video.

Google’s new input method: The Magic Hand


This brings “hands free” to a whole new level. The Google Japanese team has developed a “Magic Hand” to control your smartphone or tablet. It includes a joystick and push button for complete control, and you can even customize the hand. Forget Project Tango, I want this now. Check out the video below…..

Click here to view the embedded video.

More info: Google Blogspot Japan

Gmail Shelfie


2013 was the year of the selfie, and Google is taking them to the next level in 2014 with Gmail Shelfie, as in the the SHareable sELFIE. Adding your selfie to your own Gmail theme is one thing, but what about your family and friends? With Gmail Shelfie, you are one click away from taking over anyone else’s Gmail theme with your beautiful kisser. Now they can enjoy looking at you all day.

The word of 2013 was selfie, but for 2014, it’s going to be Shelfie.

More info: Gmail Blogspot

Total Temperature Control

Everyone has been wondering what the Nest acquisition will mean for Google, and we might have the answer for you. check out the video below unveiling “Total Temperature Control” which is from an alliance between Nest and Virgin America. Nest CEO Tony Fadell and Virgin Chairman Richard Branson teamed up for this spoof video showing how every seat Virgin America planes will have their own climate control.

Click here to view the embedded video.

More stories to come….


Come comment on this article: Google April Fools’ Day jokes for 2014

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Google+ Now Shows The Number Of Times Your Content Has Been Viewed, But Only On The Web Right Now

f7We all need a little positive reinforcement now and then, and Google’s aiming to give that to you by surfacing a bit of data it’s been keeping track of for a few years. If you head to your Google+ profile online, right next to your followers will be the number of views your content has gotten since Google started keeping track in October of 2012.

2014-03-31 16_06_10-Ryan Whitwam - Google

This number is not just profile views – it’s the aggregated total of photo, post, and profile views over the past year and a half or so.

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Google+ Now Shows The Number Of Times Your Content Has Been Viewed, But Only On The Web Right Now was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Maps now lets you discover wild Pokemon in your area, gotta catch ‘em all! [VIDEO]

Because pulling an April Fools prank on April 1st would be way too conspicuous, Google is kicking things off a little early this year. In an update to the Google Maps app, Android and iOS users can now search their area for Pokemon, as part of Google’s Maps’ Pokemon Challenge. Let us be clear — this is not a joke.

Okay, so maybe the part in the the video that mentions you can catch Pokemon by snapping them with your phone’s camera. While that would be insanely cool, it’s only that part that’s the joke.

Google Maps Pokemon Challenge

By opening Google Maps, tapping on the search bar and pressing “Start,” you’ll notice the presence of new little critters in your area, more specifically: POKEMON. Tapping on them the little guys will let you catch them, with a total of 150 to catch in all.

To view your Pokedex, tap on the search bar where you’ll see 2 new options at the top: “Return to the Pokemon Lab” and “View Pokedex.” If you’re having trouble finding Pokemon in your area, click on the Pokemon Lab option and you’ll notice the once former Googleplex is teaming with pocket monsters.

It’s a fun little touch, one that takes us right back to the 7th grade. Anyone catch ‘em all yet?

[Google Lat Long Blog]

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Nest partners with Virgin Group for in-flight personal climate control

Google Maps aren’t the only ones playing a little early April Fool’s Day shenanigans. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin founder and Tony Fadell, iPod designer and head honcho at Nest, have teamed up to deliver a not-so-believeable skit for Total Tempetature Control.

Sadly, not every seat will really have it’s own thermostat, and we can’t really select an exotic location and bask in the tropical glow.



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Gotta catch ‘em all: Google’s 2014 April Fools pranks begin with the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge

And so it begins.

Google’s always loved April Fools’ Day and has used the opportunity for more than a few well-produced jokes. And, just like Black Friday deals and CES announcements, the new April Fools’ Day is the day before April Fools’ Day. And so Google’s kicking things off with the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge. Says the YouTube description announcing the Pokémon challenge:

To catch ‘em all, grab your Poké Ball and the newest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android. Then tap the search bar, “press start,” and begin your quest. And, follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook or Twitter for hints and tips for the most dedicated trainers.

Clearly we’re getting an early start on April Fools’ Day this year, and if Google’s past pranking behavior is anything to show, we’ve got plenty more coming today and tomorrow.

Source: Google Maps (YouTube)


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Google Wants This April Fool’s Day To Be The Very Best, Kicks Things Off With A Google Maps Pokémon Challenge

catchemThe kids who obsessed about Nintendo’s Pokémon in the late 1990s are now the up-and-comers at some of the world’s biggest technology companies. If you don’t believe us, then check out the following video:

Yup, Google is back to its April 1st tricks, and they’re going all-out this year. The video sets up an augmented reality game that lets you go out into the world and catch “real” Pokémon through you phone’s camera.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

Google Wants This April Fool’s Day To Be The Very Best, Kicks Things Off With A Google Maps Pokémon Challenge was written by the awesome team at Android Police.



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Google Now incident reports tell you which roads to avoid

Further integrating its travel-related services, Google has announced the arrival of incident reports in Google Now. This feature, which can help you take a different route even before you hit the road, is just one of the key benefits brought to the table by Waze.

When Google acquired Waze last year, it was obvious that the tech giant will be tapping into the Israeli startup’s crowdsource-based traffic information. And indeed some of these features have slowly been making their way into Google’s apps, specifically Google Maps. Now, however, this Waze feature is coming to users via Google Now, offering them the relevant information when and where they need it, without having to directly query the Maps app.

Starting with the update, Google Now will alert users if the routes they usually take to and from the office will be unpassable due to certain incidents. Since Google has extended Waze incident reports to as much as 46 new countries, this feature will definitely be useful to many. From there, users can opt to jump to the Google Maps app for more dedicated features, like dynamic rerouting which just got added last month.


This new Google Now feature is available in the Google Search app update that should be rolling out now to users. To be clear, this feature doesn’t require the Waze app to also be installed. Of course, Google Now’s automatic predictions and reporting will largely depend on how much it has already learned from your own habits, like your office and home destinations as well as routes that you often take.

SOURCE: +Google


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Maps Measure for Android Lets You Measure Distances and Areas in Google Maps

If you’ve ever wanted to quickly check distances, Google Maps hasn’t had the most streamlined of approaches. And don’t even think about areas, as Google has yet to implement this feature in both the desktop and mobile versions of Maps. Maps Measure is a handy new app letting users quickly check up on areas or distances simply, even all the way across the world.

The design of the app is simple — drop points wherever you want by searching for addresses, and then choose whether you want the distance between them or the area. You can drop as many points as you would like, so you can go insane with intricate polygons covering the Earth (or at least however much of it Google’s cartographers care to cover).

You can choose satellite or map views when searching around, and can delete points in reverse chronological order by hitting the trash can icon near the top of your screen. I tried the app out for measuring the area of my house and the distance from here to the nearest park, and it seems that accuracy is a non-issue given the performance as of yet.

Possibly the best thing about the application is the fact that it is entirely free, with no in-app purchases or ads. Thanks, devs! Also, Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) transparent notification bars are made use of for applicable users, which gives the app an overall better look.

Weighing in at well under a megabyte, this app is easily recommendable to keep around as a utility for use from time to time. Go check it out.

Play Link

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Google updates Search, adds “I’m Feeling Lucky” radio station

Google has tweaked Search yet again. You may remember their recent update that allows you to open the camera for pics or videos with a simple command. This one is a lot like that, but a little different. This time, we’ll be able to listen to music from within Search.

By saying “play some music” after launching Search, Google will play an “I’m Feeling Lucky” radio station from Play Music. The lucky button is one based on your recent listening habits, and cobbles together a list of songs based on what you’re currently into. Of course, that means you have to be have and use Play Music.

So many changes indicate that Search is fast becoming the go-to service for Google on mobile. Between the quick-launch features of Google Now and new devices launching soon, it seems Search is going to be the tie that binds. We would expect this to be available on your Android Wear smartwatch or Google Glass as well — at least some day soon.

We’ve tried this on several Android devices already to much success. We really like it for the Moto X and its hands-free functionality. This also makes for an easier and safer commute — probably a more entertaining one, too.

Source: Google


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Google’s Project Tango shown working in videos

Project Tango, Google’s 3D mapping smartphone, is now in the hands of Developers. Once that happens, you know we’re getting some hands-on shots and videos of how the tech works. One benevolent soul posted some videos to YouTube, showing just how the tech works. Get ready to have your mind blown a bit.

We’ve gone over the tech powering Tango in a previous post, but to recap, there are basically four cameras doing all the 3D heavy lifting. One shoots in 180-degrees, one in 120-degrees, one for snapping pics of objects, and one for depth perception. All that — plus some special software, of course — give you a 3D render of your environment.

Via the videos, we see an infrared capture effect that just looks amazing. Or scary. We can’t tell yet, but it’s pretty amazing stuff for a tiny handheld. Also, we see a simple scan test in progress, which just looks cool. Very Terminator-esque, Google. Good job.

Project Tango will make it much easier for Google to get an idea of each environment you’re in, and has a ton of potential. We could start to see real environments in Google Maps, as well as uses for the connected home. We still don’t know what the intention with Tango is, though — if there really is one yet. For now, we know about mapping in 3D, and in just that scenario, we can imagine a ton of uses. Real 3D augmented reality games, better Maps, accessibility issues addressed — it’s endless. Check out the videos, and let us know what you think Tango would be good for in the comments section below!

Via: Makezine


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Google Keyboard Updated To v3.0 With Personalized Suggestions And Debug Menu Tweaks [APK Download]

kbGoogle’s official Android keyboard has just been updated in the Play Store without a new changelog, and you know what that means. Yes, time to go hunting. Although, the keyboard makes you painfully aware of at least one new feature when you first try to type something.

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What’s New

That popup you see above is opened after the update when you tap the notice about personalization Google has helpfully tucked into the suggestion bar.

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Google Keyboard Updated To v3.0 With Personalized Suggestions And Debug Menu Tweaks [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Google Play Gift Cards Launch In Hong Kong, Spain Availability Next On The List

PlayStore-ThumbGoogle Play gift cards are only available in a handful of countries around the world, but now they have made their way into Hong Kong. Here they are on Google Play in increments of 200, 500, and 1000 Hong Kong dollars.


The cards are available for purchase in local stores, though the only retailer currently listed appears to be 7-Eleven. One reader has shared with us an image of them out in the wild.

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Google Play Gift Cards Launch In Hong Kong, Spain Availability Next On The List was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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Android Wear: how notifications will work

With the announcement of the Android Wear platform for smart wearables, Google is also rolling out Developer guidelines for the new project. In checking out those reference notes, Google’s aim becomes a bit more clear. By virtue, we can start examining what our experience with the devices will be like.

With this article, we’re taking a look at notifications. Though Google is only officially accepting two face formats — square and round — the notifications should act the same with both interfaces. The key takeaway from Google is that the Android Wear device is meant for glancing at quick info, not staring at all day long. Google is encouraging Developers to eliminate the needless info, and pare down our experience for the small screen:

Omit needless text from your notifications. Design for glanceability, not reading. Use words and phrases, not sentences. Show, don’t tell: where possible use simple icons, glyphs, and visualizations to convey your message.

We’ll also get info in a card format, similar to Google Now. If information cannot be fit onto a single card (which means ‘single screen’ for a smartwatch), it will be split amongst two or more cards. We’ll get the ability to navigate multiple cards with swipe, with multiple cards noted to us in the form of blue dots at the bottom of the screen. Developers can also utilize a stack function, which you can see below, to notify us. Notifications are also shared between your smartwatch and other devices, just as if you had a tablet and phone.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 10.53.31 AM

Urgency is also paramount to Android Wear, as Google notes to Developers what should and shouldn’t be marked as important. In discussing the priority of a notification, Google asks that Developers only use the vibration “in cases that need the user’s urgent attention or action (e.g. a time-based reminder, a message from a friend).” For those that aren’t important, like “a transit times card, daily pedometer count, social network updates”, Google is asking that they be slipped quietly into our card stream.

It seems as thoughthe Android Wear device — whoever makes it — will be very Google Now-ish, which is just fine by us. It also sounds like vibration is a key component for hardware, so expect to see that on just about any device utilizing Android Wear. We can expect that an Android Wear device will push notifications to us (again, like Google Now does, just a bit more aggresively in this case), but utilize our smartphones for more robust features. Think of it like Google Now as it stands on your smartphone; you get a card telling you about travel time to a place, but it redirects to the Google Maps app when you want turn-by-turn directions. It should be just about the same with Android Wear.

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Google Play Services 4.3 begins rolling out with new game features, Drive APIs and more

Google Play Services

Yesterday, at the annual Game Developers’ Conference, Google told us a bit about the future of Google Play Games, with the company detailing a system of being able to gift in-game items to friends and family, as well as improved SDK tools for cross-platform multiplayer.

Those goods and more have been launched in Google Play Services 4.3, which is now rolling out to everyone across the globe. Aside from the new Google Play Games features already discussed, Google is bringing us a new suite of APIs for Google Drive. Here’s the full gamut of everything Google’s added in today’s update:

  • Pinning – You can now pin files that should be kept up to date locally, ensuring that it is available when the user is offline. This is great for users that need to use your app with limited or no connectivity
  • App Folders – An app often needs to create files which are not visible to the user, for example to store temporary files in a photo editor. This can now be done using App Folders, a feature is analogous to Application Data Folders in the Google Drive API
  • Change Notifications – You can now register a callback to receive notifications when a file or folder is changed. This mean you no longer need to query Drive continuously to check if the data has changed, just put a change notification on it

Google is also releasing a new address API that will allow apps to request access to address fields from contacts to automatically fill out an address form. It’s great that those address fields will finally be put to good use other than the need to remember someone’s address the next time you’re trying to find out how to get to their house on Google Maps.

Finally, developers will enjoy improved analytics, as well as a new Tag Manager. The Tag Manager gives developers the ability to dynamically change app elements — such as menu or text colors — on the fly without having to issue a full app update. This would be perfect for an app that wants to change its colors to reflect the Christmas season, for instance, and then quickly revert back to normal colors once the festivities pass.

As usual, there’s no telling when or if developers will implement these new features into your favorite apps, so the best you can do is write to them and request that they improve their apps with these new tools.

[via Google]

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Google Play Movies & TV Expands Into Chile, Sweden, Denmark, And 35 More Countries [Update]

mGoogle just pushed an update to the Play Movies & TV app with one big change – support for Play Movies in a ton of new countries. We count 37 in total, but the app’s changelog says there are over 40. Either way, that’s a lot of new places to get video from Google Play. That’s in addition to the big Music expansion today. [Update: We spotted Aruba as well. It's been added to the list.]


Here’s the full list of countries that have just gotten video support through the Play Store.

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Google Play Movies & TV Expands Into Chile, Sweden, Denmark, And 35 More Countries [Update] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.


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