Zac Hall

@apollozac

Zac also contributes to 9to5Mac.

Email / AIM: zac@9to5mac.com | Blog: apollozac.com

July 30

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The rollout of Android Auto, Google’s smartphone-based infotainment system for the road, is in full swing as several automakers and developers are announcing specific cars and apps to support the feature. Audibooks.com is the latest to release an Android Auto-compatible app with the most recent update to their Audio Books app for Android. expand full story

July 29

While Apple’s iPad continues to lead the tablet market, according to new data from IDC, its marketshare has dropped a few points year-over-year, and the overall market for tablets saw negative growth, based on units shipped globally. That’s according to second quarter 2015 unit shipments and marketshare over the same quarter a year ago, as Apple shipped 10.9 million units versus 13.3 million units during the second quarter of 2014. While the iPad continues to lead in the tablet space, IDC’s data shows Apple’s market share dropping nearly 3 points from 27.7% to 24.5%.

Samsung, the number two player in the tablet space, similarly saw declines in both units shipped and market share from Q2 2014 to Q2 2015. The Korean company slipped by a million tablets during the quarter year-over-year, falling from 8.6 million units to 7.6 million units, while its market share dropped a point from 18% to 17% … expand full story

July 27

Google announced today that it is updating its AdSense user consent policy to comply with requests from European Union data protection authorities. The updated user consent policy strengthens the requirement that publishes with audiences in the EU obtain permission from readers before collecting usage data and accessing cookies. Google says the updated user consent policy follows its own approach to comply with privacy laws. The company outlines the updated user consent policy for website and app publishers with EU readers and users: expand full story

July 22

July 16

We shared last month that a number of changes were coming to Google’s Classroom service for educators and students, and now Google says that one of those changes is rolling out now: mobile alerts. Google says that the Classroom app for both Android and iOS will gain support for mobile notifications this week.

For instance, students will be alerted immediately when they receive new assignments or grades, notes from teachers, comments from fellow classmates, and more—allowing them to stay on top of their schoolwork even more easily.

To support the new notifications feature, Google released an updated version of its Classroom app for Android on the Play Store and iOS on the App Store this week. Google first announced the new alerts feature for Classroom, which it launched last year to help teachers and students manage classwork, alongside other upcoming changes coming to Classroom including a new developer API, a share button for sending work to other services, and the ability to re-use assignments.

July 15

Google confirmed at a conference in May that a “buy” button was planned for products in its search results, and today the company elaborated on those plans at a press event in NYC. The new feature called “Purchases on Google” will allow consumers to purchase products directly from ads in Google Search results. Featuring a buy button in ads when searching for products should make purchasing those products more seamless for consumers and boost the value of ads for merchants. expand full story

June 29

Google is steadily improving its Classroom feature introduced last year that lets teachers set up lesson plans and students use apps in education. Today Google unveiled a number of improvements coming to Classroom including a developer API, a new share button, mobile notifications, and more. expand full story

June 26

Google’s AdWords team has highlighted three important changes to how users can interact with mobile ads and in-app interstitial ads. The changes are part of an effort to reduce the chance that a user may accidentally click an ad when browsing the web or trying to dismiss the ad. expand full story

Halfbrick Studios announced today that it is teaming up with YouTube to produce a new series of animated shorts centered around the characters from their hit game Fruit Ninja. The studio already has a number of clips on the video channel including trailers and gameplay clips, but says the Fruit Ninja animated series will be aimed at children age 6-10 with the YouTube Kids app in mind… expand full story

June 25

T-Mobile is upgrading its Jump plan introduced two years ago to allow subscribers to move to new smartphones more frequently than before. The new Jump On Demand option lets you lease a smartphone for a small monthly fee, then trade it in for a new smartphone up to three times per year at no additional cost. expand full story

June 23

Google announced today that it is adding a free tier to its Google Play Music service. The new feature provides non-subscribers with what Google is describing as an ad-supported radio option with curated stations. Google Play Music’s radio option will be available for users in the United States at launch with availability on the web starting today and support on iOS and Android following soon. Similar to Apple’s approach with Apple Music, Google says it has “music experts” creating these “curated” playlists: expand full story

June 19

Through its Digital News Initiative launched last April, Google has selected three projects to honor with its Computational Journalism Research Award in Europe. Google says that each project it selected “create[s] innovative new tools and open source software that will support online journalism and benefit readers.” In addition to being highlighted by Google with an award, these recipients also receives cash funding as well as computing credit to support their projects: expand full story

June 17

Transportation service Uber has hired a longtime mapping expert from Google as the company focuses on boosting its own mapping expertise. As Recode reports, Brian McClendon has left his engineering VP role at Google to oversee Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center. McClendon previously led development for Google Earth and Google Maps and has worked for the company for 10+ years… expand full story

June 15

A new report today supposedly confirms that Ouya, the company behind the Android-based gaming console, has been bought by Razer, a San Diego-based company best known for its hardware and accessories aimed at serious gamers. We first learned that Ouya was looking to sell the company in late April when a report claimed the company was struggling to manage its debt after less than stellar hardware reviews for its product. expand full story

June 3

samsungpay

Samsung revealed a bit of setback today for Galaxy S6 owners hoping to get their hands on Samsung Pay this summer. As Bloomberg reports, the company announced on a call with investors today that it will miss its previous target of July for launching its mobile payment service. According to the Samsung executive, the company is now targeting sometime in September to roll out Samsung Pay in the United States and South Korea. expand full story

June 2

Virginia has okayed more than 70 miles of road space in the northern part of the state for testing self-driving cars, local media reports. This makes Virginia only one of a few states that allow autonomous automobile testing on public roads — California and Florida being the largest — giving Google and automakers more terrain to test their self-driving cars. expand full story

Android lawn statues

How many calories does all that Android have?

Google showed off its new photo storage service at I/O last week with features including unlimited backup and searching for images by keywords, but the company has another image-related technology in development. Google can already recognize images of food when you search your photo library, but its currently developing technology that goes a step further by actually counting the calories in your meal based on your food shots. This could make dieting and calorie counting much more convenient in the future if it works well enough… expand full story

June 1

May 29

As part of Google I/O week, the company is highlighting a number of Play Store apps that use Material Design in different ways. To do this, Google is launching the Material Design Showcase on the Play Store and issuing Material Design Awards to select apps for the first time. expand full story

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