Google officially announces Android Wear update w/ offline music & GPS support, Sony SmartWatch 3 availability

android wear

Last month, Google announced its future plans for Android Wear, including an update with offline music support and GPS functionality. Earlier this week, an update started rolling out to select Android Wear devices, bringing the beginnings of those features, but now Google has officially announced the update in a post on the official Android blog.

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Google announces AppCompat version 21, allows for Material Design on pre-Lollipop devices

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Continuing the pre-Android 5.0 Lollipop update extravaganza, Google this evening announced that it has updated the public AppCompat library to version 21. For those unfamiliar, this essentially means that it will allow for a more Material Design look and feel in apps on devices running pre-Lollipop versions of Android. This concept is exactly what we’ve been seeing in recent Google app updates, giving us the look of Material Design without running Android 5.0.

AppCompat (aka ActionBarCompat) started out as a backport of the Android 4.0 ActionBar API for devices running on Gingerbread, providing a common API layer on top of the backported implementation and the framework implementation. AppCompat v21 delivers an API and feature-set that is up-to-date with Android 5.0

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Sketchy suggestion of “different direction” for Google Glass as company invests in virtual reality startup

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Chardan Capital Markets analyst Jay Srivatsa believes that a combination of two Google investment decisions could signal that the company is planning to take “a different direction” with Google Glass, reports StreetInsider.

Srivatsa noted that Google had decided against further investment in Himax, a company specialising in controllers for conventional head-mounted micro-displays, at the same time as investing in virtual reality startup Magic Leap …  Read more

Google Play Music updated with Songza-style curated music stations

Play Music Songza Update

Google announced as part of its acquisition of Songza in July that it would bring some of the music streaming service’s features that users love to Google Play Music. Three months later, the company has followed through with those plans by integrating Songza’s “Concierge” feature with Play Music, enabling users to create contextual expert-curated playlists for an improved listening experience across all platforms. Read more

Lollipop will see big update to Gmail app, will handle non-Gmail accounts too

If you were wondering why Google hasn’t yet introduced an updated version of the Gmail app on Android to match its Material Design guidelines, the answer appears to be that it has something big in store. Gmail 5.0, which will be introduced as part of Android 5.0 Lollipop, will for the first time allow you to access all your email accounts within the same app, Gmail and non-Gmail alike …  Read more

Google’s latest moves to fight pirate sites “will visibly affect rankings of most notorious sites”

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Google has updated its How Google Fights Piracy report with details of its latest moves to remove pirate sites from its search results. A key element is improved automated demotion of sites that have received high numbers of DMCA takedown notices.

In August 2012 we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA notices. We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites. This update will roll out globally starting [this week].

The “most notorious sites” are likely to include rapidgator.net, filestube.com and dilandau.eu, each of which has, notes Gizmodo, received at least 11 million individual takedown requests …  Read more

Nexus Player listing on Play Store changed to ‘out of inventory’ due to FCC certification holdup

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Shoppers hoping to get one of Google’s recently-unveiled Nexus Players may need to wait a little longer. A change to the product listing on the Play Store (via Android Police) now lists the device as being out of stock. A notice hidden in the fine print on the Player website points out that the Android TV box has not yet been approved for sale by the FCC.

Until the FCC gives Google the greenlight, the device won’t be able to be sold in the United States, though international markets will have different criteria that may or may not already be met. Understandably, Google hasn’t been able to give a time frame for when this approval might come, as the entire process operates on the FCC’s schedule.

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Motorola to drop affiliation with speaker/headphone maker Sol Republic

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Sol Republic, makers of a wide variety of speakers and headphones, announced in August 2013—alongside the announcement of the Moto X—that it would be partnering with Motorola “to redefine the music experience,” and “change the way music fans experience and share music.” 9to5Google has learned, however, this partnership may not have worked out so well. According to people familiar with the partnership, Motorola will soon be dropping its affiliation and contract with Sol Republic.

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Chrome and Android get just that much closer with management shakeup

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Sergey Brin has said in the past that Chrome and Android were likely to one day conjoin, but that it was likely going to be a slow process that occurred over time. According to a report this afternoon from The Wall Street Journal, Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s VP of engineering for Android, has now been put in charge of overseeing the Chrome engineering team as well.

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Nexus 7 and 10 reportedly set to get Android 5.0 Lollipop on Nov. 3, Nexus 4 and 5 to follow

Lollipop Forest

Following this morning’s report that Android Wear 2.0 would drop on November 3rd, Android Police now reports that Google is planning to release Android 5.0 Lollipop to a trio of Nexus devices on that same day. The report claims that Lollipop will hit the 2012 WiFi-only Nexus 7, the 2013 WiFi-only Nexus 7, and the Nexus 10 on November 3rd.

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Google Fiber launching in Austin this December, 3 months behind schedule

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Google Fiber is about ready to launch in its third city, according to The Wall Street Journal. The service is apparently about 3 months behind original schedule, and sign ups will be launched this December focusing on the south and southeastern parts of the city. The company’s original announcement touted “mid-2014″ for launch, but it looks like laying groundwork for a fiber internet service isn’t exactly an easy task.

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