News and notes from Android team
Introducing MODE: Snap-and-swap watch bands designed for Android Wear
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
, you can wear what you want with watches from 12 different brands and thousands of
interchangeable watch faces
. And while you can change your watch face with just a tap, it has not been as quick and easy to change your watch band. Starting today, updating your style is as easy as “snap-and-swap,” with new MODE watch bands in partnership with b&nd by Hadley Roma.
Change your look with one click
MODE snap-and-swap watch bands feature a simple slide button so you can attach and detach your band in one click.
MODE bands are versatile—they come in four widths, fit most Android Wear watches, and work on mechanical watches too. This first collection comes in a rainbow of colors, and is available in leather and silicone, so you can easily go from the office to the gym to a night out.
Join the bandwagon
This is just the beginning. We want Android Wear to give you as much choice as possible, so we’ll be sharing the MODE mechanism design and source with other brands to use to create their own snap-and-swap watch bands. To help brands get started, we’ve created a vendor playbook with instructions, requirements and brand guidelines. To find out more, email us at
MODE bands are now available online at the
Google Store (US)
. We’re excited to see all the ways you wear what you want.
Learn more about MODE at
Posted by Gina Reimann & Jen Lu, Design Lead & Product Manager, Google Accessories
Welcome to Google Play Music, the podcast episode
Monday, April 18, 2016
Hello, and welcome to the latest episode of Google Play Music. Today we’re going to talk about something near and dear to my heart: podcasts.
People love podcasts. In fact, these days, there are so many podcasts to choose from, it can be hard to pick which one to listen to at any given time. That’s where Google Play Music comes in. Google Play Music already gives you the right kind of music for the right moment—whether you want to
have fun at work
, prepare for a
, or just
need to focus
—and now, that includes podcasts.
Starting today on the web and rolling out on Android in the U.S. and Canada, we’ll connect you with podcasts based on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what you’re interested in. Similar to our contextual playlists for music, we want to make it easy to find the right podcast—whether you’re a podcast aficionado or listening for the first time.
Learning Something New
” to talk about at a dinner party and listen to our favorite episodes from
Stuff You Should Know
How To Do Everything
. Enjoy a Sunday afternoon by “
Getting Lost in a Story
” with episodes from
, or relax after a long day by “
Laughing Out Loud
” to Marc Maron’s
or Chris Hardwick’s
. If you find something you love, subscribe to download the last several episodes automatically on your device or choose to be notified every time a new episode comes out.
And to all you creators who want to make your podcast available in Google Play Music, check out the
for more details.
Thanks to our invaluable partners without whom the world would be a boring place. And to all you podcast lovers, keep listening!
This week’s episode is brought to you by
. With Google Play, you can get millions of apps, games, songs, movies & TV shows, books and news sources—all your favorites, all in one place.
Hosted by Ilia Malkovitch, Product Manager, Google Play Music
Introducing custom Live Cases to bring your Nexus phone to life
Thursday, April 14, 2016
These days there are few things more personal to you than your phone – with all your photos, messages and handpicked apps at your fingertips, it’s almost like a reflection of yourself. Starting today, we're giving you a new way to make your phone even more you.
My Live Case
lets people create their own snap case for Nexus 5X, 6, and 6P phones, by customizing it with a favorite photo or map.
Our design studio on the Google Store allows you to personalize your phone case with either your favorite photo or a special place on Google Maps. Then, with dozens of filters, you can make your design fit your style – be it vibrant and bright or polished and chic. Along with your signature case, you get a live wallpaper to bring your design to life on your home screen.
Photos Live Case, designed with your favorite photo
Showcase a shot of your family, dog, or any other fave photo. Just upload a pic to the site, choose a style, and you’re done. Snap on your case to see your home screen turn into a slideshow of poses that you handpicked from Google Photos. To add more shots to your wallpaper, simply tap the shortcut button on the back of your case to launch your camera.
Places Live Case, styled with your happy place
Fashion your phone with a stylized map of your favorite location from around the world – whether it’s your dream vacation destination or hometown. Your live wallpaper will show a map of your whereabouts as you go about your day. With a tap of the shortcut button, the app will show you what’s nearby on Google Maps.
Check out some cool cases that The Dogist, Dan Rubin, Marques Brownlee and others have made for Nexus phones.
Now, go forth and customize! Visit the
to make your own.
Posted by Kari Clark, Senior Manager, Live Cases
A new look for the Google Play family of apps
Monday, April 4, 2016
Whether you like watching
on Google Play Movies & TV, streaming “Sorry” on Play Music, battling your friend in Clash Royale on Play Games or reading John Grisham’s latest on Play Books, Google Play is your home for the best apps, games and digital entertainment. Since launching Google Play four years ago, we've always had dedicated apps in addition to the Google Play store. Today, all our icons are getting an update to provide a consistent look across the entire family of Play apps.
You’ll start to see the new Google Play icons across devices and online in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll continue enjoying the Play family of products—now with a new look.
Posted by Jonathan Chung, Visual Design Lead, Google Play
Tap. Pay. UK.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Android users in the UK are already enjoying many
great features of Android
from Google Photos to Google Play, and in the next few months Android smartphones will become even more useful with the launch of Android Pay. We’re bringing together payment networks, banks and retailers to help you pay simply and securely.
Android Pay will support MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards from many of the UK’s major financial institutions — including Bank of Scotland, First Direct, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, MBNA and Nationwide Building Society — with new banks being added all the time.
You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favorite places at which to shop and eat every day, such as Boots, Costa Coffee, Waitrose, and more. You can also tap and pay as you go across London on the Tube, buses and trains, using Android Pay with Transport for London (TfL).
Android Pay will help you speed through checkout within your favorite apps including JD Sports, Deliveroo, YPlan, and more. Say goodbye to entering your payment or address details every time you want to shop.
Making it easier for developers to include Android Pay in apps
We've teamed up with many leading payment platforms, processors, and technology providers in the UK and US to make it even easier to accept Android Pay in stores and apps. Visit the
Android Pay API developer site
to learn more.
More places to tap and pay in the US
Android Pay has been growing steadily in the US with 1.5 million new registrations happening each month. You can now tap and pay in millions of physical locations, including Best Buy, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Rubio’s in addition to using Android Pay in
like Eat24, Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster. And, we’ve teamed up with
to make it easier for you to earn loyalty points and redeem rewards through your Android phone at their participating retailers.
Stay tuned for more exciting details in the upcoming months!
Posted by Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management
From “Hi” to Fi to “Goodbye” to invites: 7 things we’ve learned about Project Fi
Monday, March 7, 2016
Roughly 10 months ago we
Project Fi - a program to explore new ideas in wireless connectivity. Similar to our Nexus hardware program, Project Fi works in partnership with leading carriers and hardware makers to push the boundaries of what's possible. By designing across hardware, software, and connectivity, we’re able to explore new ways for people to connect and communicate.
With Project Fi, we deliver fast wireless service with the flexibility to use it where you want (even internationally) and a monthly bill that’s simple and easy to understand. Over the past 10 months, we’ve learned a lot about how people use Project Fi and wanted to share a few of these insights with you!
1) Project Fi customers love to travel
With Project Fi, being away from home doesn’t mean that you have to be away from your cellular data. Since launch, more than 15% of our customers have used Project Fi abroad. From Mexico to Montenegro, customers have visited 110 of our
120+ supported countries
all while paying the same rate for data that they would in the U.S.
2) There’s lots of high quality public Wi-Fi
We believe that using Wi-Fi should be seamless which is why we created Wi-Fi Assistant - a tool that automatically connects to high-quality hotspots and helps secure your connection. Over 50% of Project Fi customers are connecting to public hotspots using Wi-Fi Assistant on a weekly basis.
3) People like data on their data
When it comes to data, people like to be in the know - especially when they get a refund for what they don’t use. So, we built tools into our app to help customers understand and track their usage throughout the month. Roughly 90% of people who visit the Project Fi app are coming to check out how much data they’ve used. How much data are they using? An average of 1.6 GB data per month.
4) Connectivity isn’t just for phones
We launched data-only SIMs in December to help Project Fi subscribers connect to data from devices other than their phones with no additional fees or restrictions. Since then, we’ve seen SIMs used everywhere from tablets to cars. While we’re just starting to experiment here, one thing is already clear: people want access to data on more devices.
5) Project Fi customers like getting support from a real person
We never want something to go wrong, but when it does, it should be easy to get in touch to fix the problem quickly. While Project Fi has 24/7 customer support through phone, chat, and email, we’ve found that phone calls are still the most popular way that customers like to get in touch with us. When Project Fi customers call in, they are speaking to a real live person in 20 seconds or less 95% of the time.
6) Project Fi customers are creative
Three creations from our Fi customers
To spread some holiday cheer last December, we sent out building blocks to Project Fi customers to help them organize their phones and cables. As you can see from the photos above, customers built creations ranging from the useful to the extravagant.
7) We all want to skip the line
We launched Project Fi as an invitation-only Early Access program to make sure we could deliver the best quality of service to our first customers. Today, we’re excited to be exiting our invitation-only mode and opening up Project Fi so that people across the U.S. can now sign up for service without having to wait in-line for an invite.
We’d like to say ‘thank you’ to all our Project Fi customers for providing insights and feedback over the past 10 months. While Project Fi is still in its early stages, we’re excited to welcome our next wave of customers and look forward to growing and improving together.
P.S. To help make saying “Hi” to Project Fi a little easier, we’ll be offering the Nexus 5X starting at $199 for the next month when you buy and activate through
Posted by Simon Arscott, Product Manager, Project Fi
Amazing BRITs performances you can hear only on Google Play Music
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
The BRITs is undoubtedly the biggest event on the UK music calendar. Some of the greatest British acts have launched their global careers on its stages, and each year features unforgettable performances from both homegrown acts and international talent. From Adele to Justin Bieber to Coldplay and more, this year’s show did not disappoint.
As the official audio and download parter of the
2016 BRIT Awards
, the Google Play Music team is thrilled to be part of this landmark event. Thanks to the support of artists, managers, labels, publishers and societies, we made
participating performances available as downloads and streams
available only on Google Play Music, with proceeds going to charity. Download or stream the performances for free until Wed, March 2 (we’re picking up the cost), after which all the content will be available on Play Music for purchase until March 24.
Every penny raised from both the downloads and streams on Google Play Music will go to
which provides music therapy services to adults and children, and
The BRIT Trust
which supports performing arts in the UK. Last year, the amount we raised went above all previous BRIT Award charitable records, and with your help we hope to do so again.
Streams and downloads of tracks by participating artists include: Adele, Justin Bieber, The David Bowie Band featuring Lorde (a tribute to David Bowie), Coldplay, The Weeknd, Little Mix, James Bay and Jess Glynne.* We hope you enjoy all of these
and help us make a difference in the lives of many by supporting two great causes.
Posted by Azi Eftekhari, Head of EMEA Music Partner Management, Google Play Music
*Please note that performance availability varies by country.
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