Today we awake to two pieces of news that come directly from Google which you might be interested to read about. Unfortunately, this is probably not too exciting for end-users of Android services, but it does give us a sign of things to come which is, as we know, the next best thing (and it’s very Google).
Google Now for Android updates
Some of these new features are heavily US-only, and so while they may filter out to Australia, they equally may not.
The first feature — linking to an internet-connected TV. Google Now can now show you information about shows that you’re watching on your Internet-connected TV. In the US of A. Google hasn’t stated when this feature will be available worldwide. Furthermore, your Android device has to be connected to the same network as your TV, meaning you can’t access this information when you’re on the go.
However, when it works, it promises to be pretty cool. Google explains that we need need only tap “Listen for a TV show” in Google Now, and it will show you information, like where you’ve seen an actor in the cast before, or more information about the people mentioned in the show. So if you were watching Nik Wallenda cross the Grand Canyon this weekend, with Google Now, you could learn that the “King of the Wire” in fact holds seven Guinness World Records, including highest bike ride on a high-wire.
The second feature is reminder of nearby offers, which again seems like something that won’t be of much use to us here. Google Now offers reminders for your saved offers when you’re near the store. Google Now will pull up the offer so you can use it quickly and easily.
The last two features are, oddly enough, probably the most useful: voice control of Google Play Music, and a built in voice tips feature that lets Google Now remind you of all the things you can say to it, expanding the usefulness of the voice control feature quite a bit.
The update is on Google Play now, so head over to the Play Store to see if you can grab the update.
Google Apps Device Policy
A feature far more exciting for IT administrators than Android users, recent updates to Google Apps allow domain administrators to set up more useful device policies for Android users connected to their Google Apps domain. At this stage, the features are limited to paid users of Google Apps, like universities, schools, businesses and the like, but it gives a level of granular control that, until more recently, has been limited to other platforms.
In particular, Apps administrators can now:
- Set up Wi-Fi networks on your device
- Remove your corporate Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, and Docs without deleting your personal stuff
- Wipe your SD memory card (for example, if you lose your device)
Very cool news for back-end wonks, and probably of some interest to corporate users of Android as well. For those of us who aren’t corporate users of Apps like this, you can get similar features using apps like LookOut or Where’s My Droid.