By Aldo Panessidi
In addition to Android 4.1 (Jellybean), last week’s Google I/O introduced us to a Chrome Browser update, Google Play news and the Project Glass carnival ride. Here’s the lowdown:
The official version of Chrome Browser is now in the Google Play Store. You can download it for free. For those already using mobile Chrome, the new version provides much-needed stability and a few performance enhancements. Tablets got some UI adjustments - a good idea considering this will be the Chrome running with Nexus 7 tablet . There was no word on availability of this update for devices running older OS versions than Android 4.0.
Google Play got quite a bit of Google attention. Here its new angles:
Google Play Books:
Play Books was updated to support embedded streaming video and audio in books. This will have lots of useful applications, particularly in the educational environment. There’s a new UI feature where you can tap the upper-right corner of a page to bookmark it. New settings options allow for auto text-to-speech and the ability to lock downloads to WiFi only. The rest of the updates were improving support for various formats and other stability fixes.
Google Play Movies:
Now you can purchase Google Play Movies in addition to renting them. TV shows are also available in the Google Play Store as well. The more Google can offer in the Store, the better they will be able to compete with Apple. Next we’d like to see Google step up to the subscription plate and give the likes of Hulu, Netflix and Amazon some nice competition.
Google Play Remote Features:
Uninstalling and updating apps you bought from Google Play can now be managed from a web connection. Just like it’s easier to edit your address book online rather than from your phone, apps need the same kind of management tool. So, maybe it’s time to clean out your app junk pile.
Project Glass is Google’s R&D effort to create an augmented reality head-mounted display (HMD) they call Google Glass. Sergey Brin’s Google Glass presentation was fun. Some guys jumped out of an airplane and another ran down the side of a building. The audience got to see the little adventure play out on the big screen. The perspective was cool, but as a passive observer can’t we can get something very similar from video games and 3D movies? The final HMD won’t be ready for consumers until 2014, but attendees of the Google I/O were given the chance to pre-order a prototype pair of the glasses (to be delivered next year) for $1,500 a headset. Maybe we just don’t see the bigger picture for Google Glass yet…