News and notes from Android team
Browse, skim, study your favorite nonfiction books more easily with Google Play
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Have you ever had breakfast for dinner? Or checked the score of the big game before you watched it? Traditional ebook reading is great when you want to read books from start to finish—but what if you want to skim through recipes; jump between questions and answers, researching a topic; or read chapters out of order? Today we’re launching a new version of the Google Play Books app for Android phones and tablets with a redesigned reading experience that’s optimized for nonfiction books. This new reader lets you easily skim an entire book, browse all your notes and highlights, and quickly jump back and forth between different spots. And it’s still great for fiction ebook reading, too.
Imagine you’re cooking two recipes from the same cookbook— roast chicken and bruschetta from
Around the Table
. No problem. Take a peek at the new table of contents view to skip straight to the “Bountiful Tuscan Feast” chapter. Once you’ve found your recipes, you can easily jump between them using new Quick Bookmarks.
When you’re planning your next trip, pick up a
Fodor’s travel guide
and use Skim Mode to browse the whole book and get a sense of which destinations you want to be sure to visit. Bookmark your favorite spots for easy finding later.
If you’re a student, you can highlight text and take notes while you’re reading, then refer back to them later with Skim Mode—the perfect study buddy.
Of course, all the things you loved about Google Play Books before are still here:
Tap on any location name in a book to get a Geo Card with links to access Google Maps, Wikipedia or Web Search
Tap and press on any word to look it up in the dictionary
Select text to highlight in four colors, take notes or translate from any language
Don’t lose your place! Your reading position is synchronized across all your devices: phone, tablet and web
Ebook reading has always been great for getting lost in a well-crafted story (in the dark using night mode is my favorite!), but now it’s a good fit for any type of book. Visit the Google Play store to have a look for yourself—just add any free sample to your library to start reading. Plan a trip, prepare a meal, research a topic or study for an exam—we’ve got you covered with the new reader app for Google Play Books.
Posted by Scott Dougall, director of product management for Google Play Books
Movie night made better with the new Google Play Movies & TV app
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
After a long day, you want to sit back, kick up your feet and watch a hot new release. With today’s updated Google Play Movies & TV app for Android, your dinner and a movie—at home—is about to get a lot better.
Now when you cast your favorite movie or show to your TV using Chromecast or the new Nexus Player, you’ll get actor or soundtrack cards on your phone or tablet while you are watching, with extra information about what’s playing on screen. Next time you’re burning to know where you’ve seen that actress before, or want to remember a song for later, you don’t have to hit pause or fumble with your controller. It’s at your fingertips—just like your popcorn. Look for the Info Cards badge on the Google Play store to find movies and TV shows that offer this feature.
Google Play Movies also has a new look and feel inspired by Google’s
with bigger images and smoother transitions. And the redesigned “Watch Now” tab makes the experience of finding a movie as pleasant as watching the movie itself. Now you’ll see more movie recommendations in Watch Now, and you’ll be able to watch a trailer directly in the app.
The new Android app will rollout to everyone over the next week. We hope this update helps make your living room closer to the at-home theater of your dreams. Cue the opening credits!
Posted by Ben Serridge, senior product manager for Google Play Movies & TV
Google Fit: An effortless, comprehensive view of your fitness.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
When it comes to improving our fitness, every little effort counts. That’s why we’ve created
– a fitness app that helps you to start tracking your activity effortlessly and become more active, aware and motivated.
Google Fit uses sensors already built in to your Android phone to automatically detect walking, biking and running. And you can set and monitor your fitness goals based on your activity levels. It’s a great tool to discover how active you are and check in on your progress as you work on your fitness goals. In fact, you can check in just about anywhere, including your
and Android Wear devices.
You can also connect your favorite fitness devices and apps like Strava, Withings, Runtastic, Runkeeper and Noom Coach to Google Fit and we’ll surface all of the relevant data in one spot, giving you a clear and complete view of your fitness. No need to check one app to see your weight and another to review a run – with Google Fit, that data will all be surfaced in one, simple place.
Just keep your Android phone with you and we’ll make sure your activity counts – whether you’re cycling up steep hills, going for a morning jog or walking the dog.
Google Fit is available starting today on
for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above.
Sabrina Ellis, Director, Product Management, Android
A sweet Lollipop, with a kevlar wrapping: New security features in Android 5.0.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
With each new release of Android, we try to stay two steps ahead of the bad guys. When it comes to security, Lollipop is the biggest update for Android to date. From the moment you turn on a device running Android 5.0, you’ll have a wealth of new security features protecting you, like encryption by default and a lock screen that’s easier and more powerful than ever.
The simplest way to stay safe is now even easier
What’s the simplest way to keep the data safe and secure on your mobile device?
Use a screen lock!
Lost and stolen devices are the number-one security issue affecting smartphone users. Still, a lot of people using mobile devices don’t use a pin or password because it takes too long to unlock, dozens of times per day. We’re making it easier than ever with Smart Lock, which lets you tell your phone to unlock using Bluetooth pairing, NFC, or simply your smile—faster than before. Plus, you can allow certain notifications to be accessible from the lock screen, helping you quickly get at the information you need while still keeping your device protected.
More secure, from the first time you turn it on
People use safes and combination locks to protect their physical goods. With digital information, encryption acts like a safe to protect your information from thieves and snoops. That’s why we’ve worked hard to provide this added security for our users, which will now be the default from the moment you power on a new device running Lollipop, keeping your data safer without needing you to fiddle around in the settings. Full device encryption occurs at first boot, using a unique key that never leaves the device. This is the safest way to encrypt your device, which is why it’s how we’ve built encryption on Android since it first launched three years ago.
SELinux, making Android secure enough for the most demanding customers
Android has had a strong application sandbox since the very beginning; Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) pushes enforcement of the Android security model further into the core of the OS and makes it easier to audit and monitor so there's less room for an attack. With Android 5.0, SELinux Enforcing mode is required for all applications on all devices. Multiple vulnerabilities have been prevented since we first introduced SELinux last year; by strengthening it even more, Android becomes a top choice for enterprise customers that have really strict security standards, such as the government. This is a feature that the broader security community helped us build, and is an example of
how Android’s open nature helps make your device more secure every day
There are a number of other
that were added to the platform to keep your devices secure. So, not only is Lollipop is the sweetest update of Android to date, we also built in a rigid (security) Lollipop stick for the core and and kevlar wrapping on the outside—to keep you safe from the bad guys, inside and out. Posted by: Adrian Ludwig, Lead Security Engineer, Android
In September, we announced that all new Android Lollipop devices would be encrypted by default. Due to performance issues on some Android partner devices, we are not yet at encryption by default on every new Lollipop device. That said, our new Nexus devices are encrypted by default and Android users (Jelly Bean and above) have the option to encrypt the data on their device in Settings ---> Security ---> Encryption. We remain firmly committed to encryption because it helps keep users safe and secure on the web.
Jogging and jamming with Android Wear and the Sony SmartWatch 3
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Going for a run is a great way to get some exercise and disconnect from the everyday grind. Today,
is giving you some extra motivation to get moving with a new update, new wearables, and a whole new range of apps.
GPS and music, with or without your phone
Whether you’re training for a marathon or you just ride your bike on weekends, Android Wear is great for tracking things like route, distance and speed. But before today, you had to keep your phone close at hand. Starting today Wear supports watches with GPS sensors, so you can enjoy these features regardless of where your phone’s at.
Likewise with music. You want to be able to turn up the volume on your favorite tunes, but the fewer devices the better when you’re jogging ‘round the bend. Now you can store music on your watch, listen to it via Bluetooth headphones, and leave your phone at home.
If you have a watch with GPS, you can try today's new features with apps like
. And if you want to rock out directly from your wrist, just grab the latest version of
Google Play Music.
New wearables for your workout
You can order the
Sony SmartWatch 3
. SmartWatch 3 is the first Android Wear watch to include a GPS sensor—perfect for enjoying today’s updates. It has a transflective display that improves battery life and is really easy to read in sunlight, so it’s a great fit for staying, well, fit.
Of course, Android Wear offers a range of shapes, styles and sensors to help you find the wearable that’s right for you. The
LG G Watch
Samsung Gear Live
, and the
will all be updated to include the new music functionality over the next few days. New Android wearables coming later this year on Google Play, the
LG G Watch R
, will also have the latest software.
Making it easier to explore more apps
Many of the Android apps you know and love already work well with Android Wear. In fact, tens of thousands of apps are now enhanced for Wear using things like voice controls—with more added to Google Play every week. To help you find apps that work for you, we’ve created eight new app collections in Google Play. So browse the
fitness and health collection
, or take a look at
, and let us know what you think in the new
Android Wear community forum
Posted by Kenny Stoltz, Product Manager, Android Wear
Updated November 10 to reflect availability of Sony SmartWatch 3 on Google Play.
It’s Tuesday morning, play music for a bright, sunshiny day
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
It’s Tuesday morning and you might be sitting in the office, in desperate need of a way to stay motivated for the week ahead. How about a playlist for staying focused at work? Starting today, it’s easier to find the right music for every mood with an updated
Google Play Music
app. This is our first integration with Songza, a company we
this summer that gives you expert curated music stations based on what you’re doing.
If you’re a Google Play Music subscriber, next time you open the app you’ll be prompted to play music for a time of day, mood or activity. Choose an activity to get options for several music stations to make whatever you’re doing even better—whether it’s a station for a morning workout, songs to relieve stress during traffic, or the right mix for cooking with friends. Each station has been handcrafted—song by song—by our team of music experts (dozens of DJs, musicians, music critics and ethnomusicologists) to give you the exact right song for the moment.
You can download these music stations to listen when you’re offline, see what song is up next, and add, remove or re-order them to suit your taste. Or you can start a new station based on any song in the mix. You can also search for a particular station you want or activity you want to find music for.
As part of this update, we’ve also redesigned the “Listen Now” page so you can more easily discover new music. Now you’ll see cards for all of your recently played music, new releases you might be interested in, and radio stations based on what you like to listen to. You’ll also notice that the new app uses Google’s
, with bigger images, bolder colors and slick transitions.
The new activity-based station recommendations are available today for subscribers in the U.S. and Canada (Android, iOS and the web). The redesigned “Listen Now” page is available in all 45 countries where Google Play Music is available (for Android, iOS and the web).
With more than 30 million songs to choose from on Google Play, it can be hard to figure out what to listen to. Sometimes you want to build your own mix to rock out with your friends, and sometimes you want to sit back, press play and hear something completely new. Whether you’re at work or on vacation, we’ll find you the best music station to make the experience better.
Posted by Brandon Bilinski and Elias Roman, Google Play Music product managers
Android: Be together. Not the same.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Good things happen when everybody’s invited. A few years ago, we had the thought that phones (and stuff that hadn’t even been invented yet like tablets and smart watches) would be way more interesting if everyone could build new things together. So we
Android as an open platform, and put it out there for everyone to imagine, invent, make, or buy whatever they wanted.
Since then, all kinds of people—from companies big and small to folks on Kickstarter, kids in schools, and crazy smart developers—have been innovating faster,
, more than we ever could alone. And the best part is that every time someone new joins in, things get more interesting, unexpected, and wonderful for all of us.
Getting everyone in on the party is the same spirit behind
—an effort recently launched in India (coming to other countries soon) to make great smartphones available to the billions of people around the world who aren’t yet online. It’s also why we’re excited about Lollipop, our newest software release, which is designed to meet the diverse needs of the billion-plus people who already use
Joining the party: Android 5.0 Lollipop
at Google I/O, Lollipop is our largest, most ambitious release on Android with over 5,000 new APIs for developers. Lollipop is designed to be flexible, to work on all your devices and to be customized for you the way you see fit. And just like Android has always been, it’s designed to be shared.
Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens—from phones and tablets to TVs. With more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work. With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.
As you switch from one screen to another, the experience should feel the same. So Lollipop has a consistent design across devices—an approach we call
. Now content responds to your touch, or even your voice, in more intuitive ways, and transitions between tasks are more fluid.
Lollipop also gives you more control over your device. You can now adjust your settings so that only certain people and notifications can get through, for example, when you’re out to dinner or in the middle of an important meeting. And when an important notification does come through, you can see it directly from the lockscreen.
And because we’re using our devices a lot more, there’s a new battery saver feature that extends the life of your device by up to 90 minutes—helpful if you’re far from a power outlet. We’ve enabled multiple user accounts and guest user mode for keeping your personal stuff private. And you can now secure your device with a PIN, password, pattern, or even by pairing your phone to a trusted device like your watch or car with Smart Lock. But this is just a small taste of Lollipop. Learn more on
Meet the Nexus family, now running Lollipop
Advances in computing are driven at the intersection of hardware and software. That's why we’ve always introduced
alongside our platform releases. Rather than creating software in the abstract, we work with hardware partners to build Nexus devices to help push the boundaries of what's possible. Nexus devices also serve as a reference for the ecosystem as they develop on our newest release. And for Lollipop, we have a few new
to share with you.
First, with Motorola, we developed the
. This new phone has a contoured aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD display and a 13 megapixel camera. The large screen is complemented by dual front-facing stereo speakers that deliver high-fidelity sound, making it as great for movies and gaming as it is for doing work. It also comes with a Turbo Charger, so you can get up to six hours of use with only 15 minutes of charge.
Next, a new tablet built in partnership with HTC.
, with brushed metal sides and 8.9-inch screen, is small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on. And since more and more people want to have the same simple experience they have on their tablets when they have to do real work, we designed a keyboard folio that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop.
Finally, we’re releasing the first device running Android TV:
, a collaboration with Asus, is a streaming media player for movies, music and videos. It's also a first-of-its-kind Android gaming device. With Nexus Player you can play Android games on your HDTV with a gamepad, then keep playing on your phone while you're on the road. Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready so you can cast your favorite entertainment from almost any Chromebook or Android or iOS phone or tablet to your TV.
Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will be available for pre-order on October 17. Nexus 9 will be in stores starting November 3. Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in late October and in stores in November—with options for an unlocked version through Play store, or a monthly contract or installment plan through carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Specific carrier rollout timing will vary. Check out
for more details on availability.
Android 5.0 Lollipop, which comes on Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player, will also be available on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.
The party’s just getting started
With this latest release of Android Lollipop, we're excited to continue working with our developer community, hardware partners, and all of you. More ideas and more creators is what gets us all to better ideas faster. And since everyone's invited to the party, we hope you'll join in the fun by
creating and sharing an Android character
that captures a little bit of who you are—one of a kind. Enjoy!
Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps
A new look for Google Play Newsstand
Thursday, October 2, 2014
It’s been a little less than a year since we
Google Play Newsstand, our news reading experience for Android and iOS devices, and we’ve already been serving billions of headlines to you every month. Today we’re updating the Play Newsstand app for Android devices with a new look and a fresh reading experience for magazines.
Play Newsstand brings together all of your favorite news sources in one reading experience, including everything from online newspapers, websites, blogs and your favorite print magazines. Today’s redesign brings a new magazine reading experience on your phone. In the past, print magazines have been hard to read on a small screen, zooming in and out to skim an article. But now you’ll see a list of articles from the magazine that you can toggle through and easily read with big images right on your phone.
The new Play Newsstand app for Android pulls from Google’s
with bigger images, more contextual headers and smoother transitions. You can swipe left and right between topics, and swipe up and down to dive more deeply into a particular topic. Play Newsstand puts the news you care about front and center with big images that jump off the screen.
We’ve also added deeper topic cards in the Explore section so you can start subscribing to topics you are passionate about - whether that be the Vegan or Paleo Diet, Game of Thrones, or Star Wars. Topics deliver a personalized and up to date reading experience on your passions and interests. And our new Android app is faster than ever.
With more than 2,000 free and paid, full length publications, you’re sure to find something to read in Play Newsstand. The new Android app is available in more than 40 countries and will rollout to all users over the next week, or you can
download the app on Google Play
today. Happy reading!
Posted by Mussie Shore, group product manager for Google Play Newsstand
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