A committee created by the Federal Aviation Administration recommended earlier today that airline passengers be allowed to use specific types of consumer electronics during takeoff and landing. Under the panel’s advice, usage of devices like cell phones, tablets, and ebook readers would be allowed as long as those devices are switched to airplane mode, which disables internet and cellular connections to prevent calls and data transfers.
Today Google is celebrating its 15 birthday and to help celebrate it’s making the search experience on mobile devices even better with a redesign and new features. Google ran down a few of the new features that it showed off today at a small event on its Inside Search blog today. New improvements to search on mobile devices include cross platform notifications for search and Google Now, new search tools for filtering and comparisons, and a refreshed design that puts search results on Google Now-like cards.
On top of a refreshed look for Google Search and ads on smartphones and tablets pictured above, the first new improvement you’ll notice in Google search on mobile devices is new filter and comparison tools that can also be initiated with voice:
You can pull up your phone and say to Google: “Tell me about Impressionist artists.” You’ll see who the artists are, and you can dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works. If you want to switch to Abstract artists, you can do that really easily with our new filter tool… Or let’s say you want to compare two things: How much saturated fat is in butter versus olive oil? Now you can simply tell Google: “Compare butter with olive oil.” Our new comparison tool gives you new insights by letting you compose your own answer.
Google also announced that it will be rolling out a new Google Search app for iPhone and iPad in the coming weeks that will enable notifications for reminders & more across platforms: Read more
The GFXBench T-Rex tests are one of the most demanding tests of the graphics performance of a phone, and provide a particularly good guide to how well a handset is likely to fare when paying graphics-intensive games. The just-released iPhone currently tops the T-Rex scores, but one of the four tests appears to show that the Adreno 330 expected to be used in the Nexus 5 will at least equal that performance … Read more
With Apple’s new gold iPhone 5s getting a lot of attention since its launch earlier this month, it’s not that surprising that Samsung is moving to introduce gold models of its flagship smartphone. It previously announced its Galaxy Golden, $700 dual-screen flip-phone for the Korean market, and today it is teasing two gold variants of its flagship Galaxy S4 on SamsungMobileArabia Twitter account and Samsung Gulf Facebook page. The two new colors (pictured above), include Gold Brown and Gold Pink, although Samsung isn’t actually showing off much of the device’s gold plated backside. No word on pricing or availability, but we’re assuming these won’t be making it to the US market. Read more
Google has apologized for Gmail delivery delays experienced by some users yesterday. Google says that whilst most messages were not affected, 29% of messages were delayed by a couple of seconds, with only 1.5% of messages being critically delayed, by as much as two hours. The issue lasted for about 8 hours, starting at around 5:30 am PST.
Google today announced that its Ideas think tank is teaming up with the Comparative Constitutions Project to build a new online tool called “Constitute” that aims to digitize all the world’s constitutions and make them searchable to everyone online.
Constitute enables people to browse and search constitutions via curated and tagged topics, as well as by country and year. The Comparative Constitutions Project cataloged and tagged nearly 350 themes, so people can easily find and compare specific constitutional material. This ranges from the fairly general, such as “Citizenship” and “Foreign Policy,” to the very specific, such as “Suffrage and turnouts” and “Judicial Autonomy and Power.”
Google Ideas Product Manager Sara Sinclair Brody says the company hopes the new tool will help citizens learn more about their own constitutions, but also “arm drafters with a better tool for constitution design and writing.” Read more
We’ve enjoyed seeing the new iPhones get smashed to pieces in the inevitable drop tests that followed the launch of Apple’s two new smartphones this month, but what we really want to know is how it holds up against some of its Android competition. SquareTrade has just completed a durability test (via AllThingsD), and found that not only are the new iPhones not performing as well as last year’s models, the new 5s and plastic-backed 5c were both beat by Motorola’s new flagship Moto X:
“We were expecting that at least one of the new iPhone models would up its game but surprisingly, it was the Moto X that proved most forgiving of accidents,” SquareTrade marketing chief Ty Shay said in a statement. “This is the first time we’ve tested the breakability on a Motorola phone, the only phone we’ve ever tested that’s made in the USA. We were pleased to find that it withstood our drop, slide and dunk test with only the slightest dent. It looks like Google is giving Apple and Samsung a run for their money.”
The new iPhones did, however, beat out Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which was also included in the durability test. Read more
Update: Two more shots after the break.
The images above might be our first look at redesigned stock apps in Google’s upcoming Android 4.4 “KitKat” update. We’ve been reporting on a lot of Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 leaks since we first discovered an unannounced Nexus device in Google’s promotional video for the upcoming OS update. While images of the Nexus 5 have leaked several times– we posted exclusive photos and video of the device earlier this week— we have yet to get a good look at Android 4.4 KitKat. Today another reader reached out with the photos above claiming to show redesigns of the phone dialer and messaging apps on KitKat.
The images also appear to show a colored status bar that changes depending on the color scheme of the app.
We can’t see any new functionality, but the shots do show extremely streamlined redesigns for the phone app and messaging app on Android 4.4. Controls in the messaging app get bumped up to the top right hand corner, and the phone dialer gets a much cleaner, and flatter look with a new light blue color scheme. Read more
Following the launch of an all new Google Wallet app for Android that brought the service to all Android devices in the US and customers on Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, today Google has launched an official Google Wallet app for iOS devices.
Since in-store payments are still limited to a handful of Android devices in the U.S. with NFC, the new app, available on the App Store now, includes many of the new features that Google announced in its latest Android update. That includes the ability to send money to any friend in the US with an email address, support for adding loyalty cards, and integration with Google Offers for redeeming discounts based on location using the app. The app will let iOS users scan to add debit and credit cards for making purchases online and sending money. Read more
Last time we checked in with Kamcord, the free SDK that allows developers to easily implement in-game recording functionality in their iOS games, it had just hit 1B videos recorded, announced a brand new user community, and picked up an additional $1M in funding. At the time the company told us it was planning Android support, and today Kamcord becomes the first major platform to make in-game recording available free to Android developers.
Kamcord is today starting to accept signups for its new Android beta through http://kamcord.com/android, and in the coming weeks will make the SDK available to download for anyone.
We spoke with CEO Matt Zitzmann this week who told us all about the company’s plans to break into the Android world after having success on iOS. With next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles bringing new in-game recording features to the mainstream, Kamcord has the opportunity to be the go-to solution for similar functionality in mobile games, and Android is a big piece of that puzzle. Zitzmann tells us that the company hopes the new Android SDK will help “to more easily drive adoption within Asia” where Android is thriving.
Kamcord’s biggest rival, Everyplay, is yet to introduce Android support for its similar platform, and today’s release of the Kamcord beta for Android could give the company a big jump on its competitor.
CEO of Djinnworks Robert Szeleney, a publisher with over 140 million app downloads across iOS and Android, is excited to bring the Kamcord platform to its Android titles: Read more
Google today announced the launch of a new company called Calico. The company focuses on health and well-being matters, and Google CEO Larry Page describes it as a “moonshot” initiative that could help millions of people:
Announcing this new investment, Larry Page, Google CEO said: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It’s impossible to imagine anyone better than Art—one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation—to take this new venture forward.” Art said: “I’ve devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry’s focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I’m tremendously excited about what’s next.”
Notably, Arthur Levinson will be a founder and the CEO of Calico. Levinson used to be a Board Member at Google, and he is currently the Chairman of Apple’s Board of Directors and Genetech. Apple CEO Tim Cook has even commented in Google’s press release about the company:
Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, said: “For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results.”
TIME has published an extensive profile of the initiative.