News and notes from Android team
You say you want a mobile revolution...
Thursday, May 28, 2015
(Cross posted on the
Official Google Blog
This morning, more than 6,000 developers descended on San Francisco’s Moscone Center to burn through 1,500 gallons of coffee and join millions of others via live stream for our 8th annual Google I/O—a time to fill people in on what we’ve been building recently, and how we’re tackling the future.
Android growth and momentum
In just a short number of years, mobile technology has completely changed the way we find information and entertainment, communicate with friends and family, and get things done. Having a supercomputer in our pocket is now second nature; today more searches on Google come from mobile than from desktop computers, and by
there are more mobile devices than there are people on the planet. For evidence of the mobile revolution, look no further than the growth of Android. There are now more than one billion Android users worldwide—a long way from when we launched the first Android phone back in 2008. And there are 4,000 unique Android devices on the market, from more than 400 manufacturers and over 500 carriers.
The devices themselves have changed a lot, too. In today’s multi-screen world, you can now use Android on your phone, your tablet, your wrist, in your car and in your living room, and move seamlessly between each. Many of these new form factors have arrived just in the last year. You can now choose from seven different Android Wear watches, not to mention bands, styles, and more than 1,500 watch faces built by developers.
By the end of this year, 35 car models will offer Android Auto, helping you access Search, Maps, music and other information through your car’s controls. And the first sets running Android TV have now arrived.
With all of these new places and devices for people to use Android, developers have even more opportunities to build the apps that people use for education and engagement and entertainment. So today we talked about the new tools and features we’re giving them to build more powerful experiences on the Android platform.
M is for more performance and an improved user experience
is the most powerful Android release yet, with
of improvements made to the platform. Among the highlights, we’ve improved battery life and streamlined permissions for apps to make it easier for you to decide what information the apps on your phone can use. We previewed
, which lets you pay for things with your phone, without even opening an app. And we’re making it much easier to find information in apps, as well as making some important updates to Google Now (more on that below!).
Organizing the world’s information, better
Your mobile phone packs a lot of information, but it’s not always easy to find that nugget of information when you need it—as you know if you’ve ever tried to navigate your email, organize hundreds of photos across devices, or search for restaurant reviews when you’re chatting about dinner plans with friends. Luckily, finding and organizing information is something Google is good at (some might even call it our
So as part of M release, we’re expanding
to give people on-demand assistance in the moment they need it—like seeing if there’s an open table at a new restaurant or when and where “Pitch Perfect 2” is playing—no matter where you are on your phone. We’re also making it much easier to
find new apps and in-app content
—which is good news for both users and developers.
We’ve also put our years of research into machine learning to work in other ways, making Search more useful and your
inbox more insightful
. And now it’s also helping you make sense of all your photos. Today we launched a
new Photos app
that gives you a single place for all your photos and videos, and helps you sort through them more quickly, bring them to life in cool new ways, and share them however you choose.
A new platform for the Internet of Things
We’re surrounded by devices, but they often exist independently of each other. Our day-to-day lives will be much simpler when these technologies can talk to each other—if our recipe app, for example, could communicate with our smart oven to turn the temperature to exactly the right setting. Or outside the home—from transportation systems that notify commuters of schedule changes, to farms where harvesters and irrigation systems are controlled from phones.
But many roadblocks remain—the user experience is inconsistent and confusing, manufacturers often redo their work for every device, devices don’t interoperate, and developers often have no way to create great experiences across devices.
, a new platform derived from Android that lets developers and manufacturers build connected devices. As part of Brillo, we’re introducing a communications protocol (Weave) developed in partnership with Nest, a set of developer APIs, a core set of schemas and a certification program to ensure device and app interoperability.
Although it will launch later this year, we previewed Brillo today because we’re committed to fostering a vibrant ecosystem in which we all work together to move the industry forward.
New mobile experiences
Mobile has evolved so much in the past few years, with connected screens for different experiences depending on your needs. But we are just at the start of what will prove to be a much more immersive mobile experience. At last year’s I/O we introduced
, which lets you turn your phone into a virtual reality experience. Now there are more than 500
for film, games, tours and learning, and more than 1 million Cardboard viewers have been shipped. Today we announced iOS support for developers and debuted
, which lets students take virtual trips with Cardboard to places like the moon and underwater. We also shared a preview of
, which lets you capture the world in video that you can step inside of.
The next billion users
The first billion users of the Internet came online through desktops. The next billion are taking a different path to computing—coming online through mobile and smartphones—and present a unique set of opportunities and challenges. We’re working hard on ensure these people have a great experience across our products.
In addition to making devices more affordable with
(now in seven countries), we’re making changes to ensure that our software works even where there aren’t great Internet connections. We’ve launched a
streamlined version of our Search results page
in 13 countries, and 73 million people now use
data saver mode
in Chrome to browse the web more efficiently. Finally, we previewed the new offline maps—that’s right, and it’s as simple as it sounds—maps that you can take offline, even with turn-by-turn directions.
Solving complex problems for a mobile world
From our earliest days in Search, our aim has always been to build products for everyone, applying unique technical insight to tackle big problems. That’s just as relevant in today’s mobile-centric world—from finding the information scattered across apps, to helping someone organize and share the photos of their kids; from taking people on a virtual trip to the Pyramids to helping the next billion people come online.
And by providing a platform on top of which any developer can innovate, we can reach people around the world and put the power of the Internet in their hands—no matter what device they use, where they live or who they are.
So here’s to the mobile revolution. We can’t wait to see what comes next.
Posted by Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Products
A new way for the whole family to play
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Whether you’re trying to entertain a toddler on a crowded plane, encourage your child’s newfound love of reading or simply find a movie for the whole family to enjoy, finding the right content should be just a tap or two away. Parents want the best for their kids, but when it comes to digital entertainment, it can be difficult to know what to look for.
Starting today, we’re making it easier to find great
family-friendly content on Google Play
. Parents can now find family destinations across the Play store, with new features for browsing by age and interests. We’re also providing more useful information about apps and content on Google Play and improved tools so you can decide what’s right for your family.
Follow the family star
Movies & TV
homepages, you can now tap the Family button
to browse our new family-friendly experiences. On the
homepage, tap the Children’s Books button. Since toddlers and tweens have different interests and abilities, these pages let you browse by age range to find content that’s the best fit for your family. Whether your child is still l
earning shapes and colors
, or is getting into
more scrapes than Judy Moody
, you’ll find inspiring ideas for every age. What’s more -- top charts, recommendations, and even searches from family homepages are filtered to our family-friendly catalog.
Play with your favorite characters
For many of us, childhood memories include at least one favorite character: a plucky personality from a book, the superhero from a movie or a beloved stuffed animal. Characters are just as relevant today, and Lego, Barbie and other kids and family brands are some of the most popular searches on Google Play. To help you browse Google Play content around a favorite character, we’ve created special pages featuring dozens of top characters from across the globe, like
. From the Play store app, take a tour through all of our popular characters to find apps, movies, books and more from your family’s favorites.
When it comes to finding content on Google Play, our goal is to empower parents by giving them practical information and better tools for making decisions. Our new family star badges convey the specific age range that an app, movie or book was designed for. On our app detail pages, you’ll now find a new label telling you when family apps are ad-supported and new locally relevant content maturity ratings. Finally, Google Play has updated parental controls, so you can restrict downloads, purchases or streaming of mature content.
We’re rolling out the new family discovery experience over the next couple weeks, and many of the best-known brands in family entertainment are celebrating along with us. Check out our
of new and exclusive content, including Legacy Games’
Thomas’s Musical Day for Percy
, The Jim Henson Company’s
Doozers-Play Along Stories
, and more -- just a tap or two away.
Posted by Eunice Kim, on behalf of the Google Play team
Pay your way with Android
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, cash, coins. Forget fumbling through your wallet next time you’re in a store
—what if you could pay with just a tap?
Introducing Android Pay, the simple and secure way to pay with your Android phone.
Things are more interesting when we create them together. So we’ve approached Android Pay the same way we approach every other part of the Android family -- partnering with the ecosystem -- bringing together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers to deliver you choice and flexibility. And offering developers an open platform to collectively push mobile payments forward.
Tap to pay in stores
With Android Pay, you can simply unlock your phone like you normally do, place it near a merchant’s contactless terminal, and you’re good to go. Android Pay does all the heavy lifting. You don’t even need to open an app—just tap and go. You’ll also see a payment confirmation and get transaction details right on your phone.
Also, with select retailers, your loyalty programs and special offers will be automatically applied at checkout. For example, when you tap to buy a Coke at a vending machine, your MyCokeRewards will be automatically applied. With Android Pay the contactless terminal not only receives your payment info, but also your loyalty programs and offers.
Tap to pay in apps
Making an online purchase? The days of entering your credit card and shipping address each time you make a purchase online will be a thing of the past. Just select “Buy with Android Pay” and leave the rest to us; checkout is as fast as a tap.
To make it easier for developers to add Android Pay to your favorite apps, we’ve designed our platform to work with any payment processor. And we’re partnering with top payments processors including Braintree, CyberSource, First Data, Stripe and Vantiv to make integration even easier.
The choice is yours
With Android Pay you will be able to pay with your credit or debit card, across multiple Android devices, and at thousands of stores and apps that you already know and love. And by enabling bank apps to integrate with our platform, you’ll be able to add your credit and debit cards directly from bank apps for use with Android Pay.
It's still early days, but we're very excited and think that this type of open platform will help drive adoption in mobile payments.
Security is at the center of Android Pay
We know how important it is for you to keep your personal and financial information secure. Therefore, we’re working with leading payment networks and financial institutions in the US to deliver industry standard security tokenization, to support Android Pay’s launch later this year.
So when you shop at a store, Android Pay won’t send your actual credit or debit card number with your payment. Instead we’ll use a virtual account number to represent your account information -- providing you with an extra layer of security. And if your phone is ever lost or stolen, simply use
Android Device Manager
to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password or even wipe it clean of your personal information.
Shop at your favorites
Android Pay will soon be accepted at over 700,000 store locations from your favorite brands across the US, and in over 1000 Android apps. And we’ll be adding more every day.
Android Pay in stores
Android Pay in apps
Android Pay will be available on Google Play for download soon. And when your bank integrates, you could also activate Android Pay directly from your bank app. We are also working with major US mobile carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) to help ensure that when you buy a new Android phone, you can walk out the door ready to use Android Pay.
Look forward to sharing more in the coming months.
Posted by Pali Bhat, Director, Product Management
Now live on Android TV: SportsCenter, HBO and more with Sling TV
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Android TV brings the best entertainment -- apps, games, movies, shows, music -- to the biggest screen in your home. Today, the Sling TV app adds your favorite dramas, live sports and more.
The NBA Playoffs and SportsCenter on ESPN
Sling TV offers
22 channels for $20 per month
so you can catch live sports like The NBA Playoffs on ESPN and highlights on SportsCenter. Best of all, the app is
available for phones, tablets and televisions
powered by Android. Whether you’re at home or stuck at the office, Android and Sling TV keep you connected to the teams you love.
Ballers℠ premieres on HBO®
Sling TV’s tailored add-on packs also bring more current-season shows and live premieres to Android TV. Add HBO® to your core package for $15 to watch premium content like Game of Thrones® and True Detective®. Ballers℠ premieres at 10pm on June 21 -- catch it live on Sling TV.
Get started with a 50% discount on Nexus Player
Starting today in the United States, you can get the Sling TV app in Google Play on Nexus Player. If you’ve been considering getting Android TV, Sling TV is also offering
Nexus Player at a 50% discount
when you pre-pay for 3 months of service.
Posted by Thomas Riedl, Android TV Partnerships
The limited-edition Skrillex Live Case: Built for fans. Made for Android.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
We spend a lot of time with our phones every day. They’re essential to how we communicate and for many users, an extension of our style. We think that means your phone — and its accessories — deserve to be as interesting as you are. So we decided to seek out some of the world’s top artists to make that happen.
Enter Editions, a series of creative collaborations to develop limited-edition cases for Android phones. We are kicking off the series with Grammy-winning producer, Skrillex, who has created three unique designs inspired by his lifelong fascination with space. The
Skrillex Live Case
connects to your phone to bring you VIP access to Skrillex content and a companion live wallpaper that extends its design onto the screen.
From Skrillex’s satellite to your screen
The companion live wallpaper updates over the course of the day showing stunning images of Earth shot from the stratosphere. At night, it changes to display constellations visible from your current location.
To capture the Earth images, Google and Skrillex launched a custom-designed balloon satellite named after Skrillex’s dog, Nanou. Once Nanou’s photographic mission is complete, a lucky fan will win the autographed satellite in an upcoming giveaway. Follow
on Twitter for more details.
In a short documentary about the project, we join Skrillex in Downtown LA to hear him talk for the first time about the origins of his fascination with space. We also travel deep into the Nevada desert to launch his satellite into the stratosphere.
VIP access to Skrillex content
Fans who get the Live Case will get early access to a free OWSLA album from Google Play and Skrillex updates sent directly to their phones. A shortcut button built-in on the Live Case gives you one-touch access to Skrillex’s music feed on YouTube. The button can also be customized to open your favorite apps, launch your phone camera or go to Skrillex’s website.
Exclusively on the Google Store
The limited-edition Skrillex Live Case is individually numbered and available for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Get yours at the
today through the end of June while supplies last. Stay tuned for the next collaboration. We can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Posted by Kari Clark, Senior Manager, Google Accessories
Google Fit: Make every step count
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
When you set fitness goals it’s important that you have the tools in place to check in on your progress. So to help you keep track of how far you’ve come, Google Fit now estimates distance and calories burned. Simply update your profile to include gender, height and weight and we’ll let you know how far you’ve gone and estimated calories you’ve burned off throughout the day and during your workouts.
Also, you’ll now have a new way to look back over your fitness history. As you scroll down your timeline you’ll be able to look at your activities grouped by days, weeks or months and get a sense of how your activities impact your fitness over time.
Finally, to help keep those fitness goals top-of-mind, we’re also releasing a Google Fit widget and an Android Wear watch face. Now with a quick glance at your phone or watch, you’ll be able to see how close you are to your goal and stay motivated.
So whether you want to run a half-marathon, work off that cupcake or simply move a bit more each week, these new additions to
will help you stay on track to reach your fitness goals.
Posted by Allyson Gale, Product manager and runner-in-chief for Google Fit.
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