All Nexus, Google Play Edition devices can download new launcher
Google has added the Google Now Launcher to the Play Store, allowing the software that first appeared on the Nexus 5 to be used on other devices. The free launcher, formerly known as the Google Experience Launcher, adds a number of features not offered in the original Android 4.4 launcher, including a dedicated Home Screen page for Google now, as well as performing hands-free voice searches by uttering "OK Google" before the search query.
HTC smart watch will be shown privately at Mobile World Congress
HTC will be showing part of a collection of smart watches behind closed doors at Mobile World Congress next week, according to a report. Bloomberg claims the company will use the trade show to demonstrate two prototype watches, one of which is apparently based on the Qualcomm Toq offering the same low-powered Mirasol display, Bluetooth connectivity, and music playback functionality.
Range of cards from mobile Google Now shown in beta version of Chrome
Google has rolled out Google Now to the beta version of the Chrome browser, just weeks after the Chrome Canary experimental browser received it. Available for OS X, Windows, and Chrome OS, the update to Chrome Beta adds the card-based notifications, previously seen on iOS and Android mobile devices, to the desktop browser.
Currently tied to mobile devices
The newest build of Chrome Canary -- Google's experimental browser -- adds preliminary Google Now support. Once the option is on, Canary will push notifications to the taskbar in Windows, or the menu bar in OS X. There are some caveats, however -- users must run Google Now on a mobile device first, and location-based cards are tied to that device, rather than the computer Canary is on.
British Airways allows passengers to use electronics throughout flight
British Airways has become the first European airline to allow the use of smartphones and tablets throughout a flight. The change in policy at the airline after the European Aviation Safety Agency's (EASA) rule alterations mirrors that of American counterparts after the FAA made a similar decision. While passengers will be able to use mobile devices from terminal to terminal, Reuters reports that devices are still required to go into "Flight Mode" for the journey itself.
Yahoo developing natural language digital assistant
Yahoo is working on its own voice-controlled digital assistant to rival that of Google Now and Apple's Siri, according to a new report. Android Police revealed on Wednesday a video that appears to show a Yahoo-branded personal assistant app running on an Android device. Sources familiar with Yahoo's plans say that the web giant will leverage its massive existing user base and various services to push out a service comparable to Apple and Google's offerings.
Read-out PIN can unlock Moto X, Droid Ultra, Mini, Maxx
Motorola has updated its Touchless Control app with more voice commands, amid other changes. The app, available as an update through Google Play for compatible Motorola devices running Android KitKat, introduces the potentially-insecure option of verbally providing your security PIN to the smartphone in order to unlock it.
Google wins on 'most improved,' Siri gains upper hand on OS commands
An annual shootout between Google's Google Now and Apple's Siri voice-assisted virtual assitants conducted by Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray has resulted in a virtual tie, with both services receiving the same overall grade. Siri barely edged out Google Now by virtual of its better integration with OS commands -- an advantage that comes with the program's deep OS integration -- but both programs got the same overall grade (C+) and percentage of questions correct (79 percent).
TheQ 5MP compact camera includes social sharing focus, 3G connection
Stockholm-based Q Lifestyle has revealed a new compact camera with a social focus. The $199 TheQ has a 5-megapixel sensor with a 24mm wide-angle lens and a F2.4 aperture, with a manual focus lens, a built-in ring flash, 2GB of storage, and a 2.7-inch display. Waterproof to three feet, it has a built-in 3G connection that its one-button upload can use to share to social networks, as well as sending to the theQ LAB personal photo archive. Available in a range of nine colors, TheQ is available to pre-order with shipping expected to take place in mid-September.
Five patents claimed infringed, two covering Google Now
Apple has filed its amendment to its ongoing courtroom battle with Samsung, adding the Galaxy S4 to its list of infringing devices, just as it told the US District Court in California last week. The filing specifically names five patents said to be infringed by the Galaxy S4 itself, two of which are apparently infringed by Google Now.
Reminder cards, suggestions for media part of Google Now additions
Google Now, the predictive information service, has received a number of updates, in how it works and what it shows. The Google I/O attendees saw Google Now showing options for new cards, including ones for dedicated reminders, as well as activating voice recognition without pressing a button, and adding it to the Chrome browser.
Should pave way for Google Now on OS X
The Chrome OS notification center -- already in the Windows releases of Chromium and Chrome Canary -- is in the process of being ported to the Mac version of Chromium, says Google's François Beaufort. The Chromium evangelist points to a logged Chromium issue titled "[Mac][MC] Implement notification updates and relayouts." He comments that the Mac version of the notification center is still "under heavy development," but that it can already be toggled on by running Chrome with an "--enable-rich-notifications" switch.
Says always-on Location Services didn't show issues during testing
Google has issued a written denial of claims that its new-to-iOS "Google Now" feature, which relies heavily on Location Services, is causing unusual battery drains for iPhone users. The company recently added the feature -- which attempts to predict what the user will ask based on location, direction and other factors and presents some useful information without user input -- to its Google search app already available for iOS devices. In the statement, Google says both that reports of battery drain are "incorrect" but then asks for users to contact them if they are having a battery problem.
Lacks native OS intergration of Android version
Google has added Google Now to iOS in the form of an updated Search app. Now is the company's predictive results technology, until today available only to Android users. The feature pushes "cards" to a person based on their location and other personal information tracked by Google, such as local weather and traffic, flight statuses, and important news stories.
Google Now adds real-time package tracking, improved settings menu
An update to the Google Search app on Android has added package tracking to Google Now. New cards will show updates to shipped online orders from retailers in real-time, including an estimated arrival date, according to Droid-Life. Individual cards also have an info button, providing quick settings for the card's contents, while the overall settings menu for Google Now has been reorganized with each section having their own toggle options, and a separate "My Stuff" section for quicker alterations to sports teams and stock choices.
May contradict statement by Google chairman
A Google Now app has yet to be submitted to the App Store, Apple says in a new statement. At this week's Big Tent Summit, Google chairman Eric Schmidt hinted that an app might just be waiting for approval. "You'll need to discuss that with Apple," he remarked. "Apple has a policy of approving or disapproving apps that are submitted into its store, and some of the apps we make they approve, and some of them they don't."
Apple has mixed record on approving Google apps, exec says
An iOS version of Google Now has already been submitted to the App Store, Google chairman Eric Schmidt has hinted at the company's Big Tent Summit. He was asked when Now might appear on iOS during an interview. "You'll need to discuss that with Apple," he said. "Apple has a policy of approving or disapproving apps that are submitted into its store, and some of the apps we make they approve, and some of them they don't."
YouTube video may be a leak or fake, was removed quickly
A low-resolution video promoting the forthcoming addition of "Google Now" services to the iOS Google search app briefly appeared on YouTube on Tuesday but was quickly taken down (not before being captured, however). The ad, which emulates the style of genuine Google videos promoting new products, shows off the "predictive information display" that offers features such as pulling up traffic maps while users are driving or flight status updates when they are headed to the airport.
Addition of flags suggest close to browser-based Google Now release
Google appears to be edging closer to including Google Now into Chrome itself. Flags associated with the service have been spotted in chrome://flags in the latest Chromium build, suggesting that the search giant may bring Google Now to Chrome OS computers and desktops carrying the Chrome browser in the near future.
Widget brings miniature Google Now cards to home screen
Google could be adding a widget dedicated to Google Now to Android in the future, in an effort to improve the user experience. The widget would in theory display the most important information that the user would require from the home screen instead of through notifications or requiring to open up the Google Now app itself.
Google Now notification integration into Chrome now closer
Google may be adding Google Now integration into its Chrome browser in the near future. A notification center has been added to the company's latest build of Windows Chromium, giving developers a chance to add Chrome notifications to their applications, as well as being an ideal platform for the Google Now cards that were hinted at in December.
Code posting shows Google Now coming to Chrome
Google is preparing to bring its Google Now predictive search service from the Android platform to its Chrome browser. This according to a posting on the Chromium developer site. The Google Now code is currently non-functional, but its addition indicates that Google is looking to expand the reach of its digital assistant-like service beyond mobile devices.
Google Now gets boarding passes, new actions
Google released an update to the Google Now feature built into Android 4.1 today, giving the dynamically-updated search function improved capabilities. Google Now now has the ability to display nearby events, suggest content for help in research, display boarding passes from Gmail, and to search by camera when at museums and shops. It also shows weather forecasts for upcoming travel destinations, upcoming birthdays, and an approximate monthly summary of walking and biking activity.