Supposed Google+ app redesign shown off in leaked screenshots

We’ve seen a lot of leaks regarding Google apps recently, including supposed new icons for Android, new features for Google Now, and a new Gmail interface. This time around, Google+ user Yoel Kaseb has allegedly obtained screenshots of a completely redesigned Google+ app for Android.

Kaseb says the app is unstable and still an early test build, but the design appears to follow the same trends as other recently leaked Google interfaces. Kaseb has also been locked out of the APK by Google and can no longer use the interface, which does lend some credibility to the validity of the images.

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Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop Android app now available to all

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After arriving in beta earlier this month, Google today released the Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android to all users through the Play Store. Google has long had its Chrome Remote Desktop app for desktop users to access a laptop or computer remotely for free, and the new Android app brings that same experience to mobile devices starting with Android.

If you haven’t used Chrome Remote Desktop in the past, you can get started by enabling your Windows or Mac machine for remote access through the Chrome Web Store app. Next, simply launch the Android app on your phone or tablet, tap on the computer’s name and start using your remote machine as if you were sitting right in front of it.

The Chrome Remote Desktop app is available for all to download from Google Play starting today and Google notes that an iOS version of the app is on the way sometime in 2014.  Read more

Google’s new Android Camera app arrives on Google Play Store

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Following a report at the beginning of this month that Google was about to release a new, standalone Android camera app, today the app has officially made an appearance on the Google Play Store. Google announced the camera app today and in a separate blog post explained the technology behind the new lens blur features:

That all changes with Lens Blur, a new mode in the Google Camera app. It lets you take a photo with a shallow depth of field using just your Android phone or tablet. Unlike a regular photo, Lens Blur lets you change the point or level of focus after the photo is taken. You can choose to make any object come into focus simply by tapping on it in the image. By changing the depth-of-field slider, you can simulate different aperture sizes, to achieve bokeh effects ranging from subtle to surreal (e.g., tilt-shift). The new image is rendered instantly, allowing you to see your changes in real time. Here’s how we do it. First, we pick out visual features in the scene and track them over time, across the series of images. Using computer vision algorithms known as Structure-from-Motion (SfM) and bundle adjustment, we compute the camera’s 3D position and orientation and the 3D positions of all those image features throughout the series.

Some of the features that were reported previously are present, including the lens Blur option, a 100% viewfinder, and a high-resolution panorama mode. We also get a good look at the completely redesigned UI in the gallery below. Here’s the full list of features from Google: Read more

Take a look inside Google’s extremely clever 3D mapping phone

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Google let iFixit open up one of its 200 prototypes of the Project Tango phone, an Android phone that uses highly-sensitive 3D motion-tracking and measurement to create automatic maps of interior locations.

The device is a really neat piece of kit, and Google believes that developers will find plenty of uses for it. For example, use the phone to scan the interior of your home before you go furniture shopping, and it will create an accurate 3D model of your home complete with measurements. Take the phone to the store with you to see exactly how furniture might fit …  Read more

Google, Android manufacturers agree to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

 

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Google has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Google introduced the Android Device Manager application last year, allowing users to locate or wipe lost or stolen devices. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Google patches Android icon security flaw

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Cyber security vendor FireEye recently announced that Google has patched a software flaw that left Android users open to phishing attacks. The firm says that it identified a malicious app that could modify the icons of other Android software applications. The strategy behind this attack, would be to trick an unknowing Android user into clicking a false app icon that would direct them to a phishing website.

These bogus sites would then try to steal their personal information. Some of the permissions attacked by the malware include  “com.android.launcher.permission.READ_SETTINGS” and “com.android.launcher.permission.WRITE_SETTINGS.” These permissions allow an application to reconfigure an Android device’s launcher, including its software icons.

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Head of Android design Matias Duarte talks future of mobile, wearables

Matias Duarte — the man behind the design of every version of Android since Ice Cream Sandwich — recently took the stage with Joshua Topolsky of The Verge at the Accel Design Conference in San Francisco to participate in a fireside chat on topics ranging from Android, the future of mobile, design methodology, and wearables.

The video is available on Vimeo (via AndroidPolice), and includes 37 minutes of talk between the two. The beginning covers Duarte’s thoughts on design methodology, and he stresses that good design is always a middle ground between appearance, emotional appeal, and usability — perhaps a shot at iOS 7’s stark interface. Read more

Leaked LG isai FL press photos show ultra thin bezels, possible G3 design

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This slim-bezel smartphone we have here, is said to be the LG isai FL headed to Japan at some point in the future. The press shots surfaced on Twitter via @evleaks and may hint at LG’s design philosophy for 2014.

This could indicate a possible design format for the Nexus 6 or LG G3. The isai FL features the same backside volume rocker design that was first introduced on the LG G2, but has a body style similar to the Nexus 5. Either way, there’s no way to ignore those beautiful slim bezels.

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New patent reveals another Samsung Google Glass clone

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According to a new patent application filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (via Galaxy Club), it looks like Samsung may be planning to take Google Glass head-on. While this isn’t the first time Samsung has filed a Glass-like patent, the application reveals what appears to be a cross between Google Glass and a Bluetooth headset. As odd as that may sound, there could be some practicality behind this idea.

As mentioned in the patent application, Samsung calls this device “Earphone,” but other rumors have suggested that this device could be called Gear Glass or Galaxy Glass. The patent doesn’t describe exactly what this device would be used for, but it looks like Google Glass may have some tough competition in the future.

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Watch Google’s Project Ara Developer Conference livestreaming now

The first Project Ara developer conference kicks off at 8:30 AM Pacific Time this morning, and will take place today and tomorrow. While Project Ara was originally developed inside of Motorola, the project is still owned and operated by Google. While Google’s sale of Motorola to Lenovo will soon be completed, the Advanced Technology And Products (ATAP) team behind Project Ara is one part of the company that Google is holding on toProject Ara’s goal is to create a smartphone with interchangeable components and the developer conference will also see the release of the Ara Module Developers’ kit: Read more

Report: Amazon phone to feature four IR cameras for 3D interface, 13 megapixel camera, 4.7 inch display, 2GB RAM

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Boy Genius Report has posted its knowledge of Amazon’s next smartphone. Although it technically hasn’t been confirmed to be an Android device, it is almost certain that it will be powered by Android at some level, given Amazon’s existing Android ecosystem. BGR claims to have the first pictures of the phone, shown above.

According to the report, the phone will feature a 3D interface. This feature is enabled through a set of four front-facing Infrared cameras that track the position and orientation of the user’s face. The user interface can then update in response to facial movements. Apparently, the four sensors are located in each corner of the front face. The Wall Street Journal reported that the product would feature a 3D interface last week and is set for a June launch.

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