Google Now for Android updated with new cards, improved traffic, and more

Google announced via its Android Google+ page today that the Google Now service has been updated with three new card types: news, website updates, and TV and movie recommendations.

The news topics card shows recent articles from news sites across the web on select topics. The website updates card can monitor your favorite sites and let you know when new content is available on those sites (like a new post on your favorite Google news site). The last of the new cards is the “what to watch” card, which can recommend movies and TV shows you might enjoy.

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HBO Go appears on Chromecast support page, streaming support likely coming soon

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Just a few weeks ago, Pandora became the latest app to receive support for streaming via the Chromecast, as did Hulu Plus just before that. This left a couple of key holdouts, one of which being HBO Go. HBO Go has been rumored as coming to the Chromecast since the device’s launch, with HBO confirming earlier this summer that it was in talks to support the Chromecast in the “future.” It now looks as if the launch is not very far off.

As first noted by Droid Life, Google’s “Now Casting” support page has been updated to include HBO Go. It’s touted as a “new” app, along with Pandora and Hulu Plus. Oddly, however, there is no HBO icon and the description simply reads “none.” This makes it seem like Google’s support page was updated a bit prematurely, although it does signal that a launch is imminent and that the two are still in talks to work together. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear an official announcement from Google and HBO relatively soon.

At $35, the Chromecast is becoming even more enticing of an offer as Google continues to beef up the streaming selection to compete with the Apple TV and Roku.

Google+ for Android updated with Android Beam and DayDream support

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This afternoon, Google has updated its Google+ app for Android with a couple of new features and enhancements (via Droid Life). First off, the app now supports Android Beam. This feature will allow for users to share photos from within the Google+ app to other devices via NFC. The app also now supports DayDream. This is feature, which has been available in some third-party apps for a while, is essentially a screensaver for devices while they are being charged or placed in a dock. Now that the Google+ app supports this feature, it will work with pictures stored within the app.

What’s New:

  • Photos now supports Android Beam, so you can share photos via NFC
  • Photos also supports Daydream, so you can view your pics in screensaver mode when charging or docking your device
  • Individual photo details are now available in the drop-down menu
  • Opening “Locations” will automatically refresh your friends’ locations on the map

This update is a staged rollout, which means it may take a little while for it to rollout to every device. Keep an eye on the Play Store to see if your device has received the update.

In addition to updating its Android app, Google has also enhanced cover photos on the web version of Google+. Now, cover photos will show the entire image, as opposed to just a select portion. Photos are still the same size, so you don’t need to change anything in order to enhance your profile. 

Google Play for Education officially launches to all K-12 educators & students in the US

After announcing a new Google Play for Education store back at Google I/O in May and opening up a pilot program and app submissions in June, Google announced today Google Play for Education has now officially launched for all. In the video below, Google’s Shazia Makhdumi gives an in-depth walkthrough of the new service and notes that Google Play for Education will be the company’s mobile strategy for the 25M students/faculty currently on Google Apps, 3000+ schools using Chromebooks, and over 700,000+ YouTube EDU users.

Google-Play-For-EducationThe Google Play Education store will at first be only available on three tablets: Nexus 7 (a 7” tablet) available today, and the ASUS Transformer Pad (a 10” tablet) or the HP Slate 8 Pro (an 8” tablet), both available early next year. It will allow schools to search for content by subject matter and grade level and provide content that has been recommended by other educators. Instead of using credit cards, teachers will be able to purchase bulk quantities of apps and charge licenses against a balance from the school’s purchase order. The Google Play for Education service will also allow school’s that use Google Apps to instantly distribute an app to multiple devices in a school by setting up a Google Group. Read more

Sprint announces the arrival of the One Max this Friday, November 15th

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 11.29.29 AM Sprint just hit the airwaves with a short press release confirming the arrival of the HTC One Max for this Friday, November 15th. The device will hit Sprint shelves for $249.99 with new line or eligible upgrade and two-year service agreement or $25.00 per month with Sprint’s One Up early upgrade plan. The One Max features a 5.9″ 1080p display, 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, LTE, Android 4.3 with HTC Sense, 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal memory. Read more

(Updated) Best Buy internal memo informs stores to stop HP Chromebook 11 sales

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Update: HP has attributed the stopped sales of the Chromebook 11 to overheating chargers and has provided a brief statement on the matter available at the end of the post.

Whoa, some big news on the Chromebook front this morning as Best Buy has halted all sales of the HP Chromebook 11. According to The Verge, Best Buy retail stores are receiving internal memos alerting managers to “Stop selling the HP Chromebook 11 effective immediately…partner with sales support to pull the product off the sales floor to a secure location in the warehouse.”

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Motorola’s first Moto G commercial hits YouTube

The Moto G news train continues this morning with the very first commercial already hitting YouTube showing off the customizable backs, display, processor, and Android 4.3 with “guaranteed upgrade.” In total, the sixty-second spot doesn’t show us a whole lot we don’t already know and only mentions “exceptional price” without mentioning the actual dollar amount.

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Motorola recaps Moto G software, “guarantees” KitKat update by January

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Motorola’s Moto G announcement just ended as the company truly introduced something very aggressive and perhaps exactly what the smartphone market has needed for a very long time. There’s little question that a lot of customers are turned off by the high price of today’s smartphones and that’s exactly the mindset Motorola is aiming to change. The company hopes to convince customers that aggressive pricing featured with specs that match “high-end” smartphones don’t require a $500+ price tag.

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Motorola announces KitKat update for Moto X, arriving in “matter of weeks”

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Motorola’s live-stream announcement of the Moto G is taking place as I type these very words, but a special announcement for Moto X users was just announced. Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola since its acquisition by Google in May of 2012 just told the world his company will be updating all Moto X devices to Android 4.4 KitKat in a “matter of weeks.”

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Twitter Tipster @evleaks “confirms” LG G Flex for three national carriers

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We’ve already had a fairly decent look at LG’s upcoming G Flex curved display smartphone thanks to a brief hands-on video and there’s no question the form factor is wild. Now, the device and it’s 6″ curved display is being teased for arrival on Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T thanks to Twitter tipster @evleaks.

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