Google

Google sells Android 5.0 Lollipop as one tough candy

All the sweetness and prettiness won't be enough to console you if your smartphone or tablet gets stolen, which is why Google has toughened up the latest Android 5.0 to meet the needs of the increasingly insecure mobile device world. Google now highlights the key achievements it made in coating Android Lollipop with a sheet of armor, but the question always is whether it's enough. As always, the answer depends on the user, but Google is at least pushing them in the right direction.

Material Design checklist helps developers get ready

Android 5.0 Lollipop is coming and developers better be ready. Actually, many have already updated their apps, even in their current pre-Lollipop incarnations, to that new Material Design look. But to make sure that developers have dotted their i's and crossed their t's, Google has given out a checklist for developers and designers to skim over, in case they don't have the time to pour through the actual design guidelines and previously released documents.

Google Fit lands on Play Store and the web

Google has finally and fully unleashed its own take on the intersection of health and mobile devices. Google Fit, which it announced at I/O 2014 back in June, is finally here and you can access it easily from any Android device via a dedicated app or, alternatively from any Web Browser. And, like with almost anything Android-related, Fit isn't exclusive to Google's sanction apps and devices alone and is open to other pre-existing, and perhaps more popular, fitness platforms already in the market.

Hangouts lets you call 25 countries free for first minute

Whether it's expanding the scope of its service or simply trying to advertise the existence of that option, Google is doing a promo for the voice call feature of Hangouts. Users can get their first minute of a call to any of 25 allowed countries for free. But before you jump the gun on this offering, carefully read the fine print first, as things aren't as rosy as they seem.

Google Maps update: Hindi language, improves notifications

As a special Diwali gift for millions of mobile Android users who speak the language, Hindi has been added as an official language in the latest Google Maps update. Another segment of digital users that will be happy with this update are the Android Wear users, as it brings improved notifications for wearables that are on Google's platform. These seem like minor improvements, but of course, for apps, any updates, minor or otherwise are always welcome.

Nexus 6 drops at the FCC, should be shipping soon

The Nexus 6 – Google’s new flagship phone for Android that was built by Motorola – has finally made an appearance at the FCC, pointing to shipping dates most likely just around the corner. The appearance seems right on time for the year’s biggest gadget sale rush at the end of October, and the device should most likely be available for consumers to purchase pretty soon.

Google Play Music gets Material Design, curated mood music

Material Design is all around us, and of course Google products have been slowly been updating its products in order to match the new look of the upcoming Android Lollipop. This week it's the turn of Google Play Music to get an overhaul, but it's not just the look that gets a major tweaking, but rather, the way you listen to music as well. They are now offering "radio stations" that have been tailor-fit to your current activity or mood, thanks to a recent acquisition that supposedly makes curating music easier.

Google Earth major update: 3D rendering, access to KML files

When was the last time you opened Google Earth on your Android device? Last week, two months ago, maybe never? Google is now giving you several reasons to open and use this often-neglected app as they are introducing 3D rendering technology and giving map-making users easier access to their KML files. While Google Maps is constantly updated with new features, it's been 10 years since there has been a major overhaul for their less-loved but supposedly more awesome-looking sibling.

Inbox by Gmail gives you another way to look at email

There are some that would have us believe that email is passé and is due an overhaul, if not a replacement, and perhaps to some extent they might be right. But for those who live in their virtual inboxes, that isn't even an option, Luckily for them, Google, whose business happens to be beholden to email, is a staunch ally. It has come up with a new app simply called Inbox that turns the age old email into something more dynamic, more personal, and even more productive.

Excited for Android TV? Try it unofficially on the OUYA

The promise of Android on TVs has been a long and almost unreachable dream but that journey may now be at an end with Google's formal Android TV push. But while we are still waiting for the Nexus Player, the first Android TV device that isn't actually a TV, to ship, many are excited, if not curious, what this new "lean back" living room experience offers on the table. If you have an OUYA gaming console, however, you might not need to wait that long, provided you're willing to jump through hoops to get to your destination.
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