News and notes from Android team
Embrace your inner gaming hero with Gamer ID
Thursday, February 18, 2016
If you're like me or many other gamers out there, you love the feeling of escape that comes with playing games. Immersed in a gaming world without any distractions, I can simply focus on one thing: winning. In this alternate world, I’m not Ben, product manager at Google. I’m Caldorf, destroyer of enemy bases; slayer of zombies.
Over the next few weeks we’re rolling out Gamer IDs to Google Play Games. Gamer IDs give you the ability to create a gaming persona, so you too can embrace your inner gaming hero. You can customize a unique Gamer ID and select a Gamer Picture to create a whole new gaming identity.
For new users signing into your
Google Play Games integrated game, and for existing users signing into a
Play Games integrated game, you will create your Gamer ID and select one of 40+ avatars for your Gamer Picture. You can choose to make your game activity public or private, and decide if other gamers will be able to associate your Gamer ID with your email address or name. Gamer IDs are unique, and to claim yours right now you can go to the
Google Play Games
In addition, we’re making it easier and faster to start playing games. With auto sign-in, you’ll be prompted to sign-in once per account, rather than once per game, and you’ll automatically be signed in to most future games.
With your new gaming identity, you can battle monsters as the valiant gamer you truly are, and be duly recognized for your accomplishments across Play Games experiences such as leaderboards. And who knows, someday your Gamer ID could be as recognizable as Mystik, Mew2King, or PewDiePie.
To learn more about setting up your gamer ID please review the Play Games sign-in help center article
Posted by Benjamin Frenkel, Product Manager, Google Play Games
Safety First: Four easy Android security tips
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
With the amount that we do online, from working to learning, shopping to connecting, online security is a critical piece of our everyday life. That’s why we build multiple lines of defense in Android to make the internet safer for over a billions users. Even with these layers of protection, it still doesn’t hurt to take a couple of extra precautions to be super safe. In the spirit of Safer Internet Day, we want to share a few safety tips you can follow:
1. Use Google Play to find safe apps
We do a lot behind the scenes to review apps before they can be published on Google Play, so even before you install an app, Google uses a variety of methods to check that developers are complying with our policies. If an app violates those policies, it is blocked from Play and sometimes the developer is too. Apps that are considered to be potentially harmful are blocked and flagged for a manual review by members of the Android Security Team. To learn more about this review process and how Android continues to keep your device safe even after you download an app, read our
recently published whitepaper
The app review process before it can be added to Google Play
2. Set a screen lock and activate Android Device Manager
Anybody can lose their phone, so it’s important to
set a screen lock
so a stranger can’t access what’s on your device. And should you ever lose your device, you can remotely locate, lock, or even wipe it with Android Device Manager. This feature comes preinstalled on all Android devices with the Play store, so you just need to
3. Check that your device is encrypted
Encryption is important because it protects your data by storing it in an unreadable form, so if your device is lost or stolen your information remains protected. To ensure that your device is encrypted enter
, and tap
(or Encrypt tablet) under
. Newer Nexus devices, like the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, are encrypted by default.
4. Manage app permissions
Each Android app is housed in a virtual sandbox. That means, unless you’ve given it additional permissions, the only data an app can use is the data that’s in it. For example, apps that you install aren’t able to access information like photos or your location unless you give them permission. On devices running
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
, you can control a given app’s permissions by entering
and selecting an app from the list of installed apps surfaced. On the App info screen, you’ll see a
category that lists all the permissions that app has access to. When you click on this you’ll be able to toggle on and off individual permissions.
To learn more about how Android keeps you safe, check out the
Android Security website
. Happy Safer Internet Day!
Posted by Eric Davis, Senior Program Manager, Android Security
Android Wear: Designed for your wrist
Thursday, February 4, 2016
You're walking to meet a friend with coffee in hand. Or maybe it's really cold outside, so you're rocking a pair of mittens. Or maybe you're in the middle of making dinner. There are plenty of times when you’ve got your hands full but still need to stay on top of reminders, messages, and calls. That's why
includes things like voice actions and gestures. And today we’re expanding these hands-free options in a number of ways:
Navigate your watch with new gestures.
Scrolling up and down your card stream is as simple as flicking your wrist. Starting today you can also expand a card, bring up your apps, or return home to your watch face with a
push, lift or shake
. You'll be able to stay connected to what’s important, while keeping your phone (or other hand) in your pocket.
Send more messages with just your voice.
With Android Wear, you’ve always been able to get answers to spoken questions. Now you can also use your voice to send messages from apps like
. Running late for lunch? Just say “OK Google, Send a WhatsApp message to Nathan: I’ll be right there.”
Make calls and listen to messages with speaker support.
Screening calls from your wrist is a nice convenience that comes with Android Wear. Thanks to speaker support, you can now make and take calls over Bluetooth. And you can listen to audio/video messages with apps like
. All you need is a watch with a speaker, which today includes the
ASUS ZenWatch 2 (49mm)
These improvements are rolling out to all
Android Wear watches
over the next few weeks, including new watches like the
Casio Smart Outdoor Watch
Huawei Watch for Ladies
. In the meantime, you can follow
for timely updates and tips.
Posted by Krystal Higgins, User Experience Designer, Android Wear
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