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Google Now is one of the most innovative applications for Android ever published, and today that innovation has made its way to the desktop for both PC and Mac by way of the latest alpha release of Google Chrome. Google Now has been integrated into Google Chromes notification center, something we have been expecting to happen since mid 2013.
Google Now for the the desktop is not exactly identical to its mobile counterpart, and some cards are missing at the moment such as the Stock Market Information card. Additionally, the feature is not enabled by default and users must tick off a flag to enable Google Now. Users who wish to take the desktop version of the app for a spin will need to download the Alpha version of Chrome Canary from the source link below.
Today Google pushed its Google Play Movies app to iOS and allows iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners to playback movies and TV shows they purchased on Google Play. The app is yet another Google service the company has brought to iOS in the past year and directly competes with iTunes.
The design is almost identical to its Android counterpart, but Apple has heavily restricted what you can do from within the app itself. The most major restriction is that users can not purchase movies or TV shows from within the app and must do so from another device or the web version of Google Play. Additionally, Offline playback is missing, and users can only watch their purchases when connected to Wi-Fi.
In true Google form, its recently acquired Bump and Flock apps will be shutdown effective January 31st 2014. Google acquired Bump and Flock in September and only seemed interested in its talented employees, and not necessarily the apps themselves.
The shutdown announcement came late last night via the company's CEO and founder, David Lieb, who quietly broke the news via blog post last night. Google says that users can export their data by simply using the app and following the export instructions provided. This saddens me asbump is one of the apps that I used most often to trade contact info with colleagues and friends.
Today Microsoft updated its OneNote app for Android which brings forward several features long requested by users. OneNote users on Android can now share notes as they would with any other piece of content on Android, the integration of native sharing also allows users to instantly upload their OneNotes to Microsoft's cloud service.
Additionally, Microsoft has built-in a new OneNote widget that Android users can add to any of their home screens. The widget allows users to view most recent images, recordings and notes as well as pin shortcuts to the home screen. The UI also got a few tweaks to bring it more inline with the Windows 8.1 version of the app.
With over 250,000 downloads and well over 1000 positive ratings in the Apple Store and Google Play, Power-Grid is quickly becoming a huge success. Over the weekend ROCCAT released the first major update to its Power-Grid application, and two new major features were added.
Up first is a new Grid that turns your smartphone into a fully functional track pad and lets users control the mouse or a character in much the same way they would from a track pad on a laptop. Additionally, users can now control the LED back-lighting on the Ryos MK Pro. The lighting sequences that are possible when using Power-Grid are nothing less than spectacular, and honestly quite mind blowing.
Finally, the update brings in an entirely new SDK, which is something I am sure developers will love to hear. "Releasing the Ryos MK Pro Grid is the first step towards combining Power-Grid with ROCCAT hardware. You remember our Phobo keyboard concept? Well, we've been working on that and I can promise you a mind-blowing solution for 2014," says René Korte of ROCCAT.
Temple Run 2 has been one of the biggest mobile games of 2013, and has gained millions of downloads since its release about eight months ago. Today Temple Run 2 has finally made its way onto the Windows Phone platform for the low price of FREE!
While eight months may seem like a long wait, I would like to remind you that it took an entire 18 months before the original Temple Run made its way onto Windows Phone. One major feature the Windows Phone version of the game boast over its iOS and Android counterparts is the inclusion of Xbox Live Achievements. This is not something normally seen on free games on Windows Phone.
Online music service Spotify's decision to open up its service to Apple iPhone and Google Android users for free has paid off, with the company drastically growing its customer base.
After announcing its free app, Spotify app downloads increased by four times during the past week, though Spotify wouldn't release official download figures after its announcement. Instead of allowing music listeners to select what artists and songs play, Spotify relies on a 'shuffle mode' that gives listeners the chance to shuffle through personal - and random - playlists.
The music service now includes an ad-supported version of its service for mobile users - and should continue to pick up users at a rapid pace. Services such as Pandora offer a great service for mobile users, but the ad-supported version isn't as functional as the paid membership, with Spotify trying to fill the void. Expect a continued battle among music providers trying to attract casual users as the number of smartphone and tablet owners increases due to product availability and price.
Shutterbugs who are fond of both 500px and Windows Phone will be happy to hear that the two have merged in the form of a new app. The official 500px app for Windows Phone was released this morning, and allows you to check out friends snapshots using the Flow feature.
Additional features include the ability to search for interesting images, and import 500px images to live tiles and the phones lock screen. Unfortunately direct uploading of images to 500px is not supported at this time, and no mention was made of when this feature may be integrated.
A struggling BlackBerry is attempting to turn its BlackBerry Messenger Service into something that can help keep it afloat, and lately has been pushing it pretty hard. Today BlackBerry announced that it has entered into a deal with LG that will see BBM installed on all of the company's smartphones.
Along with this announcement comes several new features that are sure to make BBM users on iOS and Android quite happy. Heading up the list of new features is BBM Voice, a free calling feature that lets users voice chat instead of using cellular voice service. BBM also now features chat room with a handful of channels that vary based on interest, hobbies, and consumer brands.
Creating apps isn't easy, but it looks like Microsoft wants to make it easier to make Windows apps with the just-announced Project Siena. Project Siena is a Metro-style app that lets anyone create their own Windows 8.1 program.
All you'll need is Windows, obviously, as well as some knowledge in how to use PowerPoint and Excel. You can make apps directly from a touch-enabled slate, which is a nice touch, as you don't even need a mouse or keyboard to make an app, which is nice. You can get into it right here.