Latest Chrome beta for Android improves Chromecast support
Google has announced that it has begun rolling out a Chrome 35 beta for Android users today. Featuring improved Chromecast support, users can now send some video clips from the browser to a Chromecast-equipped TV. Additionally, Chrome now offers full-screen videos and improved support for multi-window devices. The update is available through Google Play.
Play Movies and TV reaches 39 more countries on Android, 32 on iOS
Google has expanded the reach of two of its Google Play services, allowing more users access to its content. Google Play Music and Music All Access has been enabled in four more countries, while the Google Play Movies and TV apps gain increased language support and a service expansion into up to 39 new markets on Android, 32 new countries on iOS.
Password can be requested for all in-app, store purchases
Google is starting to roll out an update to the Google Play Store app, changing the way it deals with purchases. Version 4.6.16 of the store now allows users to request for the account password to be entered for every single purchase from within apps and from the store itself, rather than allowing for a 30 minute password-free window after the password's entry.
Europe asks for safeguards to prevent accidental purchases
Apple and Google will soon be meeting with the European Commission to talk about problems with in-app purchases, according to a press release from the political body. The two companies will be asked to provide measures to protect customers, primarily parents, from accidental in-app purchases. A number of game developers publishing to the iOS App Store or Google Play have been accused of marketing "free" games that lure and/or deceive kids into buying digital items and currency; Apple and Google have sometimes been blamed as lax about putting up barriers to those purchases.
iTunes and Google Play putting a stop to more flappy clones
Applications trying capitalize on the success of Flappy Bird in order to jump to the top of the charts on iTunes and Google Play will have to take another approach today, as both Apple and Google has started to reject applications that contain the word "flappy" in the title and descriptions. In the wake of the original game being pulled by developer Dong Nguyen, both services have been flooded with clone applications trying to fill the void left by the game's departure.
Copied the look of iOS 7, icons too closely; return delayed
A customization app for Android called Themer, which featured a number of themed "looks" for modifying Android smartphones including an iOS 7-like theme, has been removed from the Google Play store with no indication of when it will return. Google pulled the app on February 2 after Apple complained that the iOS 7-esque theme used icons that infringed on Apple's patents. The developer says it has since addressed Apple's concerns, but Google has not yet restored the app.
Game hinders users ability to rate lower than five stars
Information has surfaced about the new free-to-play Dungeon Keeper game that has lead to a public outcry against Electronic Arts by gamers and fans of the series. In information reported by Gamasutra, the game uses questionable means in order to secure five star ratings on the Google Play.
Red Nexus 5 joins white, black versions, sold at same price
Google has released a third color option for its popular Nexus 5 smartphone, with the rumored device fitting alongside its existing black and white-colored offerings. The red version of the LG-produced device has gone on sale through Google Play, with the smartphone sharing the same specification, storage options, and price as its more stand-colored stablemates.
Chrome apps offers early developer preview of Apache Cordova-based toolchain
Outage affected Gmail, Google+, Hangouts, Google Play
Google suffered an outage on its e-mail service that affected all users of Gmail, as well as affecting Google+, Hangouts, and Google Play. Starting at approximately 2pm Eastern Time today, the outage prevented Gmail users from accessing the service at all, instead presenting "Temporary Error (500)" message, though after 20 minutes, a number of users started to regain access to various affected services.
Supports Chromecast, but currently acts as little more than a catalog
In an odd move, Google has release an iOS app for its Google Play movies and TV offerings, but limited it to streaming already-purchased movies and TV shows. The application also supports the company's Chromecast TV device, finally bringing a way for iPhone users to stream purchased content from the phone to the device -- but does not allow users to purchase or rent content from within the app.
Google adds Moto G to Google Play lineup
Google on Tuesday revealed a new version of its budget-oriented Moto G handset, a version that sports a plain vanilla version of Android 4.4 KitKat. The Moto G Google Play edition showed up on Google's Play Store on Tuesday in two configurations: one an 8GB model and the other a 16GB model. The low-cost Motorola handset is the latest addition to the Google Play edition lineup, a lineup that does not yet include the Moto G's higher-end sibling, the Moto X.
Developers can create Android games with asynchronous multiplayer
The latest update to Google Play Services has started rolling out to users, including a number of small changes to the software platform. Changes to the way the mobile operating system works with Google Drive, in-app advertising, and mobile games are included in the update, along with a claimed improvement to battery life through alterations in Google Location Reporting.
Wider Apple product range could be factor
App revenue from the iOS App Store grew 18 percent month-over-month in December, according to new data from analytics firm Distimo. Revenue from Google Play apps was up a comparable 17 percent. Significantly, however, Google Play has usually been outpacing the App Store for the past two years, which could mean that Play sales are flattening out, if December's figures aren't an anomaly.
Google Play Music All Access users get Glass Access
In the run-up to a wider release of its Google Glass wearable computing device, Google is giving users of its Google Play Music All Access service the chance to join the Glass Explorer Program. The program allows the willing to purchase the head-mounted computer for $1,500, thus joining the other Explorers who have had the device for some time. This is but the latest in a series of widenings of the program, as Google is continually expanding access to the device before it launches perhaps some time later this year.
Kanye, Chvrches free, others discounted for limited time on Google Play
Google's Play Music Store is currently offering Kanye West's Yeezus and Chvrches' The Bones of What You Believe for free as part of its year-end music sale. The Play Store team named the two as their Album of the Year and Breakout Artist of the Year, respectively, and users can pick the two offerings up for free at the Google Play Store. Alongside those two works, Google is giving away a number of other editors' picks as their top tracks, including works from Anoushka Shankar, M.I.A., The Arcade Fire, and The Dillinger Escape Plan.
Google platform dominates in Korea, Japan
Apple's App Store has reportedly held its leading position this year in terms of revenue, though Google Play has maintained a stronger growth rate, according to data published by app analytics firm Distimo. Between January and November, Apple's revenue share had fallen from 70 to 63 percent while Google's share jumped from 30 to 37 percent.
Game revenue driven by five publishers
Japan has reportedly taken the lead position in mobile app revenue for both iOS and Android platforms, according to data collected by analyst firm App Annie. The US previously held the top spot, however Japan's four-fold jump in revenue from mobile game sales has helped the country maintain a stronger growth rate over the past year.
BBC adds five free HD channels to high-definition lineup
The BBC will be adding five new channels to its lineup in the United Kingdom tomorrow for Freesat, Freeview, Sky, and Virgin Media users. The broadcaster will be adding HD versions of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, CBBC, and CBeebies to its existing high-definition channel lineup, with the BBC advising that this brings the total subscription-free HD channel range from the corporation to seven. Earlier this year, the BBC revealed it would be shutting down its dedicated 3D channel, due to a lack of viewers.
Google Play Music update allows music caching to memory card
Google has updated its Google Play Music app for Android, introducing a wide array of track sharing options. The update also includes the ability to choose the storage location for cached or downloaded music, with Droid-Life noting that storing to the external SD card will free up the device's main storage, and a number of subtle user interface tweaks.
Possible Play Store rule violations could have forced CyanogenMod exit
CyanogenMod has been kicked out of the Google Play Store, potentially for violating the store's rules. The app, which allows users to install the CyanogenMod version of Android, is now no longer listed in the Android app store after Google Play support contacted the development team and asked for its removal, otherwise they would remove it themselves.
Android KitKat heads to Google Play editions of Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One
Updates for Android KitKat are heading to the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. The two devices, running on stock Android instead of the Sense or TouchWiz versions provided by HTC and Samsung respectively, will start receiving over-the-air updates from today onwards, upgrading the devices to Android version 4.4.
Google adds Designed for Tablets section to Play Store
The Google Play Store has been updated to showcase apps "Designed for tablets," something Google announced it would do last month. Tablet users will see the tablet-aimed apps as the default view in Google Play, according to an Android Developers Google+ post, with apps that do not meet specific criteria to be "Designed for tablets" to be marked as "Designed for phones" instead.
Initial launch limited to Android devices
Google has launched a new Android app, Google Play Newsstand, that provides access to more than 1,900 free and paid publications. Users can pick from various magazines, newspapers, blogs and news websites, and the app will automatically format and optimize the content for viewing on a tablet or smartphone.
No planned support for Google Play on BlackBerry devices
The Google Play store will not be available to BlackBerry users in the future, the phone producer has confirmed. A spokesperson for BlackBerry has outright denied a rumor that the Android app store would be heading to the platform, a rumor started by relatively convincing photographs of Google Play shown running on a BlackBerry Z10.
Encrypted private messaging platform officially launches after successful beta
CoverMe - a secure private texting, document sharing and phone call app -- has officially launched. During its beta period, over 500,000 users signed up for its service, exchanging 500 million messages with military-grade encryption. CoverMe protects personal contacts, call logs, messages, documents, and more, and provides the ability to recall or remotely wipe sent messages from a device. Its private 'vault' allows users to store photos, videos, documents and communication histories so that a lost device does not lead to a privacy breach. Users are immediately notified when a recipient has read a sent message, and the app provides an option to embed messages with a 'self-destruct' option. Available on iTunes and Google Play, CoverMe is free to download (with in-app purchases available).
8MP camera, 2560x1600 display touted in upcoming Google tablet
New specifications for what is believed to be the Nexus 10 have allegedly leaked, with details apparently appearing on the Google Play store before being removed again, just as it did for the Nexus 5. The display of the Nexus 10 will apparently have a resolution of 2560x1600, giving it a pixel density of 300ppi, and protected by Gorilla Glass 3.
iOS bug, fake Google Play reviews mar BBM app launch
BlackBerry's second attempt at launching its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app for Android and iOS has run into issues again, after a promising start. Suspicious reviews on Google Play are suggesting some form of review shilling is taking place, and the phone manufacturer is also looking towards fixing an issue found in the iOS version of its messaging client.
AT&T's U-verse expands its live TV streaming service to include Android devices
AT&T's live TV streaming service, U-verse, has expanded its availability to include Android devices and web access on Uverse.com. Earlier this month, the company announced more than 100 live TV channels had been added to the U-verse app. AT&T has also launched the U-verse App on Android tablets, making live TV channels available on more than 30 devices. Offering users On Demand TV shows and movies, the U-verse app additionally features remote DVR management, and advanced content search functionality.
Event for press to 'better acquaint themselves with Google Play'
While a new Google event at the end of the week is public knowledge, what is being discussed is not. Electronista has learned that there will be no new hardware debuting at the get-together, with a Google representative telling us that the mixer is intended for consumer press to familiarize themselves with Google Play.
Sources claim no hardware, software announcements at Google Play event
Google has started to send invitations to an event on the 24th of October, one which could feature a number of software and hardware announcements. The event, asking attendees to "Join us for a night out with Google Play," could potentially be the launch of Android 4.4, KitKat, as well as the expected official reveal of the Nexus 5 smartphone.
Tablet apps automatically shown for larger devices
Google has announced its latest plans to improve visibility of tablet-optimized apps in the Play Store. Starting next month, the "Designed for tablets" view will appear by default when someone visits the store from a tablet and views the top listings, such as Top Free or Trending.
Game of Thrones, True Blood downloads appear on Google Play
HBO has started to offer some of its popular television shows as downloads, via Google Play. The cable channel has added its programming to Google's online store in a similar way to its offering on iTunes, something it has done so for a considerable amount of time, though it appears that only those in the United States will be able to purchase episodes.
Google Talk bug sends messages to multiple Hangouts users
Users of Google Hangouts are finding that messages are being routed to the wrong recipients. Messages sent from Google Talk clients to Hangouts users are reportedly being received by other Hangouts contacts than the intended message target, writes TechCrunch. Google has since released a statement, advising that it is "investigating reports of an issue with Google Talk" and asks users to check the App Status Dashboard for future updates.
Audiobook streaming service updated for iOS and Android
Audiobooks.com announced the release of its updated iOS and Android streaming apps today. Like Netflix and Pandora, Audiobooks.com's app can be used to stream content on demand, choosing from thousands of audio book titles. The latest version features a new user interface, home screen widget and audio player tray. The app can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes, and requires a $15 per month subscription.
Larger 16GB Nexus 4 sells out two weeks after 8GB model in US
Google has run out of stock of the 16GB model of its Nexus 4 smartphone on Google Play in the United States, and is unlikely to make a return. The sell-out of discounted mobile devices, coming two weeks after the 8GB version did the same, is said to be a stock clearance before Google starts selling its expected Nexus 5 smartphone.
iOS app update rolls out textbooks
As per Google's announcement in July regarding its plan to release textbooks to Google Play Books, listings are now available via an update to the iOS app.The textbooks are currently available to purchase outright, though some titles will be offering a six month lower-cost "rental" option. Free samples of textbooks are provided. Presently only available to US customers, the Google Play Books app is available for Android, iOS, and on the web.
Google Play music service now rolling out across Europe
The Google Play Music service has reached Europe after first debuting in the US three months ago. The service is also already live in Australia, where it has been live for a month. The Play Music is now also live in Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and the UK, giving those users the opportunity to enjoy unlimited, ad-free music. For early adopters the price is €7.99 if they sign up before September 15 after which it will revert to €9.99.
Apple wields copyright against free software
Google has pulled the original version of an Android app called Control Center from Google Play, following a copyright claim by Apple. The app is a free download, and mimics the style of its namesake feature in iOS 7. A message from Google, forwarded by developer Hi Tools Studio, explains that "Apple owns the copyright in its iOS software and each of the features thereof. The aforementioned application infringes Apple Inc.’s ('Apple') copyright rights in the iOS 7 software."
Release date of quad-core tablet previously expected July 30
Unexpectedly, Google's newest Nexus 7 tablet has appeared on the Google Play store, starting at $229. Beginning today, orders for the 16 and 32GB versions are available, instead of the previously-announced July 30 release date. Google is likely matching efforts from Amazon, Best Buy, Gamestop, and Walmart's online stores, who all started pre-sales of the device either the night before it was released, or the day of.
Google responds to Game Center
Google has released a new Android app, Google Play Games, that serves as a central portal for social gaming features and content discovery. Originally announced at the company's I/O conference, the hub shows a list of installed games alongside earned achievements, multiplayer engagements, frequent opponents and public leaderboards.
Google Play Music All Access expands to Australia, New Zealand
Google has launched its streaming music subscription service in Australia and New Zealand. The two countries are the first outside of the United States to gain access to Google Play Music All Access, with initial users getting a free trial and a $10 monthly fee if they sign up before the end of August, when it rises to a higher $12 per month.
Web version of Google Play store receives UI refresh
Google has updated the web version of the Google Play store, which now seemingly embraces the card-style interface seen in the Android version and other Google properties. The redesigned site now offers a menu sidebar to switch between the various sections, while individual app pages offer larger app screenshots and images, and bigger app icons.
Google, Amazon app stores also under scrutiny
The French government's investigation of the iOS App Store is part of a broader probe into customers' inability to easily switch platforms, a spokesperson says. L’autorité de la concurrence -- France's competition regulation agency -- is targeting not just the App Store, but also other storefronts like Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.
Jelly Bean reaches 33-percent penetration, Ice Cream Sandwich still popular
Gingerbread is still the most-used version of Android, according to recent figures from the Android Developer Dashboard. The latest update, covering the last two weeks, shows a total of 36.5-percent of users access the Google Play store through Android versions 2.3 to 2.3.7, beating both Ice Cream Sandwich and the current Android iteration, Jelly Bean.
Exec mum on talk of 'holding pattern' at App Store
An official Google Play Music app with All Access support will be coming to iOS in the next few weeks, Google Android head Sundar Pichai has confirmed at the ongoing D11 conference. All Access is currently only accessible via Android and the web, as well as third-party iOS apps like gMusic. A Google iOS app has been rumored for about a week, but was supposedly in a "holding pattern" at the App Store while Google and Apple tried to come to an agreement about acceptable features. Pichai hasn't commented on that matter.
Apps claimed to be compromised, Sky advises apps safe
British broadcaster Sky is the latest victim of hacking by the Syrian Electronic Army. Just as in previous attacks, one of its Twitter accounts was taken over by the hackers, but in an unusual maneuver, SEA also managed to gain access to the corporation's Android app listings, replacing the app descriptions on Google Play with "Syrian Electronic Army was here."
Third-party app fills void
Google wants to submit an All Access app for iOS, but is still working to find something Apple will accept at the App Store, say 9to5Mac sources. What disputes the companies might have are unmentioned, but they could conceivably involve things like the revenue split from in-app purchases, and/or features that may violate App Store guidelines.
White version of Google smartphone identical in specification to original
A white version of the Google Nexus 4 smartphone could be released in the next month. A rumor suggests the white mobile device will become available through Google Play on the 10th of June, and will be accompanied by the release of the next iteration of the Android mobile operating system, version 4.3.
Agency preps developers for changes to important act
The US Federal Trade Commission has started sending out two letters to app developers, preparing them for changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act taking effect July 1st, according to an announcement. The letters warn developers that restrictions on the collection of personal data from kids under 13 have been expanded, and now cover things like audio or video bearing a child's likeness. Previously, rules only covered the gathering of names, addresses, and phone numbers.