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We took a look at the Chromecast when it launched, but Google has pushed out an updated Chromecast application, with a redesigned look, and a few new features.
A pull-out drawer makes an appearance, finally, with a link to Chromecast-compatible apps hidden away in that pull-out drawer. In that same drawer, you'll find the settings menu, too. There's a new timezone selector, which shows the relative time to GMT, as well as your Chromecast's MAC address, if you need to do some tinkering around in the networking side of things.
Google Play will be introducing their new tablet section in the Google Play store today. Users will now see a "Designed for tablets" area for your apps. Other apps will be under the "Designed for phones" section, tablet users will still be able to download these.
Developers will be optimizing apps and games just for use on tablets so you can get a better overall experience. Tablet users can set up their tablets much better and not have blown-up phone apps. App developers will need to check and see if their apps work against a tablet optimization checklist and fix them accordingly.
Today reports have surfaced that indicate that the industry's largest mobile music streaming service, Spotify, has managed to secure $250 million in financing which raises the company's valuation to the $4 billion mark. That is up more than $1 billion in just one year.
Unfortunately, even with a valuation of $4 billion, Spotify can not seem to make money. The cause of its negative cash flow stems from what many consider an antiquated business model that many big-name record labels are holding onto quite tightly. Spotify has managed to increase its revenue in just one year to more than $600 million, but its losses also increased to $77 million. Unless Spotify figures things out in the next few years, we may have to bid adieu to the streaming service we so dearly love.
Today Google released an update for its Translate app for Android that brings forth a newly redesigned user interface as well as a few new features I am sure we all will appreciate. The new UI is much cleaner and more modern looking, and brings everything more inline with the current theme of other Google apps.
The app now also features support for Hebrew, Greek, Javanese, and Esperanto. Users can switch languages by simply tilting their device, and loading new screens by tapping the microphone. The app can also use your built-in camera to decipher text in Malay, and Ukrainian, as well as a wealth of other languages. Google has also fixed a few bugs and tweaked the app for better performance and after a quick test on my HTC One, I can say that the app does feel much faster now.
Today Microsoft has released a major update for SkyDrive on the iOS app users have the ability to automatically upload their camera photos into the SkyDrive cloud storage. Microsoft says they are "looking at" doing the same for Android users.
When you snap a photo using the iPhone's default camera app SkyDrive will back it up into the cloud service. The automatic cloud uploading is not on by default, when you update the app you will be able to go into the app and enable this feature. The automatic cloud backup isn't only for photos either it works with your videos as well. Your photos and videos will be backed up over Wi-Fi unless you enable it to do so over your mobile data.
SkyDrive gives you an option to automatically re-size your photos so they don't use up all your cloud storage. The interface has also been updated to better fit iOS 7 with a cleaner look and larger thumbnails. The update for SkyDrive on iOS is available now and can be downloaded through Apple's App Store.
Google has updated its Google translate app for Android. The update brings more supported languages, gesture, and better speech translation. The app has a "new sleek look" according to Google. Google says the app can now have good "fully translated back-and-forth conversations." The update's conversation translator has been improved greatly.
One of the new features the update brings is gesture support, you can turn your phone and it will switch between languages. Google has added Malay and Ukrainian to the apps camera translation, and Javanese, Hebrew, and Esperanto to the handwriting feature. The update is available to download through the Google Play Store, Google mentions the update is coming out today and tomorrow.
The Xbox One launches on Friday, with launch-day gamers getting to experience a full, proper, dedicated YouTube app. Microsoft and YouTube announced the news today.
Better yet, the Xbox One version of the YouTube app will include both voice, and gesture controls, which will let users watch and scroll through videos, as well as channel subscriptions. On top of the voice and gesture controls, Kinect-based voice commands will be at play, with users starting the voice control by saying "YouTube" and then "pause," "play" and "fast forward."
Slice has been out for iPhone and Android phones, but it is now available for download on Android tablets. Tracking packages can be annoying sometimes, with Slice you can just sign in to your email account and the app will find all your tracking numbers.
It keeps an organized record of all your online purchases, sort of like a receipt. Slice will help you track your packages and sends you notifications, for instance if your package has been sent or delivered. It will even tell you If the product you purchased gets a recall. Slice is out now on Android tablets and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
Google has released a credit/debit style card for Google Wallet. It does not include NFC, but you will be able to use your Google Wallet card at an ATM. It will also come in handy when you want to use your Google Wallet, but the retailer you're at doesn't have a NFC enabled paying system. Google Wallets can now allow users to transfer money to other users and access it quickly. The app will also notify you of your card activity.
Google has spent $300 million on making Google Wallets and it hasn't been extremely popular, maybe the ability to use an actual card might bring more users in. The card will have a $5,000 24-hour limit. The Google Wallet card is free to account holders and can be ordered through their Wallet account or on the release of the updated app. It is available to order now and should take 10-12 business days to ship. The Android app update will be available this week.
Where would the world be today if we did not have services that let us apply fun and artistic filters to our images? Ok so maybe we would be in the exact same place with the only difference being that I would not be writing this news post. Today Instagram announced that it has finally launched a version of its app for Windows Phones.
That's right boys and girls, now those who own Nokia Lumia devices as well as all other Windows Phone devices now have access to the same zany, and creative photo filters that Android and iOS users have had for a while now. While the app is there and appears to function, some features are missing such as photo tagging, viewing Geotaxis, and taking photos from within the app. Instagram says that they are not finished with the app yet, and will be updating it soon to add in new features, and make the Instagram experience on Windows phone as enjoyable as possible.