Google Now Launcher now available on more Android devices

Google has great news for the fans of Google Now. The company has just made available their Google Now Launcher for all Android devices running 4.1 or later.

Google said:

The Google Now Launcher gives you a home screen that’s clean, simple and customizable. One swipe leads to Google Now cards, bringing you the right information at just the right time. Tapping the search box or saying “Ok Google” lets you ask a question or search the web. And of course, you can easily add your favorite apps, widgets and wallpaper.

More: Google Now Launcher – Android Apps on Google Play

More: Today we’re releasing the Google Now Launcher for all devices that run Android…

Features:

• Google Now on your home screen – it’s easier than ever to get just the right information at just the right time.
• Just say “OK, Google” – when you’re on your home screen, just say OK, Google to trigger voice input. Then say your search query. Or tell your phone what to do, like send a text message, get directions or play a song.
• Faster search – tap the search box and you can enter your query immediately.
• Easy access to your favourite Google products and services, like Gmail, YouTube and Maps.
• Larger viewing area – the status and navigation bars are now translucent, so your wallpaper pops from every pixel, and is even visible when you expand your apps drawer (when supported by device).
• Intuitive wallpaper picker – select any image that is stored on your device, or in the Cloud. Position and preview your wallpaper before you set it.

Google Maps Coordinate mobile app is now open to everyone!

Google this week opened their Google Maps Engine app to everyone with a Google account.

Previously, the app was restricted to businesses using their pro mapping tools. App features:

Google Maps Engine on Android enables you to view your custom maps anywhere, anytime.
View: enables you to view the beautiful maps that you or your organization have built on Google Maps Engine, easily toggling on and off relevant layers
Search: easily search through your Maps Engine maps
Share: coordinate with your teams in the field by sharing real-time location from Google Maps Coordinate all in the context of your Maps Engine maps
Create a map today at http://mapsengine.google.com/map and learn more about Google Maps Engine at http://maps.google.com/engine

More: Google Maps Engine – Android Apps on Google Play
More: We’re opening the #GoogleMaps Coordinate app to anyone with a Google account.…

Foursquare mobile app would now award expertise badges

Foursquare has moved the check-in functionality of their app into a separate app. That does not mean they are not going to award you for actively using their core app now.

The company today announced a brand new types of badges. These are awarded on the basis of tips you leave at restaurants.

Foursquare said:

Since the beginning of Foursquare, tips have been one of our most important and popular features. People have shared a lot of opinions – about off-menu items, the best view, free wifi codes… really about everything. It’s a great way to take your knowledge and pay it forward. Over 9 million people have left tips about their experiences around the world. So, when we started working on the new Foursquare (coming next week!), we wanted to celebrate people who share their expertise, and highlight the great tips they leave. The result of this is ‘expertise’ you can earn (think of them kind of like badges for leaving great tips). To earn them, you just have to show off your knowledge. When you leave great tips, you make progress. And, the more people like or save them, the faster you’ll earn expertise. You can earn expertise at a type of place (like ‘Dumplings’ or ‘Vintage Shops’) or a neighborhood or city (who doesn’t want to have expertise of Chinatown or SoHo?).

More: The Foursquare Blog — Coming soon in the all-new Foursquare: Expertise

Jetpack 3.1 for WordPress comes with support for custom content types

WordPress developers updated their Jetpack suit of plugins today. The latest update adds support for enabling custom content types in WordPress.

In addition, they have also launched a brand new logo of the platform today. The developers said:

Why do we need a new logo? Glad you asked! Jetpack is ever-evolving and is a major part of Automattic and WordPress. It’s grown a lot since its introduction in 2011, and its branding should grow too. Something better, faster, stronger.

More: Jetpack 3.1: Portfolio Custom Post Types, a New Logo, and Much More — Jetpack for WordPress

User interface has been improved based on user feedback after the mega change in the previous release.

There are some other goodies too for plugin and theme developers.

Twitter acquires Mitro development team

Mitro developers today announced that they are joining Twitter. The project is being open sourced and has been released on GitHub. The company added:

We’ve been working hard to build a secure, easy-to-use password manager for individuals and groups. We’ve made great progress and we believe that the community can help us accomplish even more. With that in mind, we’re excited to be receiving advice and assistance from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in transitioning Mitro to a sustainable, community-run project (see the EFF’s announcement). The service will continue to operate as-is for the foreseeable future.

More: Mitro Labs » Mitro is joining Twitter and is now open source

They are going to work on geo related projects at Twitter.

Blackberry Messenger Beta is now available for Windows Phone devices

Blackberry has launched their BBM app in beta for the WP devices. It is now available through the Windows Phone store for all users.

The company had previously released it through their own beta program which required users to join the platform to access it.

John Sims, President Global Enterprise Services at BlackBerry spoke about the launch today:

As the popularity of BBM continues to grow, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand its availability to the Windows Phone community. The BBM app for Windows Phone is an exciting new chapter for the BBM service, and we are excited to be working with Microsoft to deliver a new level of collaboration to the Windows Phone platform.

More: Download BBM Beta for Windows Phone – Conversations
More: BBM Beta | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United States)