beta Stories June 10, 2016

WhApp Quote BetaMessaging apps are among the most important — and indeed most used — by millions and millions of users every day, so it is only logical for them to implement new features as they evolve.

WhatsApp, despite being used by over a billion users, has remained a fairly simplistic chat app over the years, but things seem to be changing…

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beta Stories May 19, 2016

google-play-io16 (1)

The Play Store is adding a few features for both developers and users. Betas are now easier to find and join from the Play Store with Google even highlighting beta apps in a new Early Access section. The store also has new smart collections for tasks that require a combination of apps.

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beta Stories April 11, 2016

voice access

After first planning to launch the app during Google I/O 2015 and changing its mind at the last minute, Google has finally launched Voice Access in beta, a new accessibility app that allows users to control their phone using their voice. With Voice Access, you can use a wide variety of voice commands like “open Chrome” to bring up the browser or “go home” to go to the home screen…

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beta Stories April 4, 2016

Latest Nova Launcher beta introduces ‘Night Mode’, more search bar choices

Nova Launcher is easily one of the best launchers available for Android right now. That’s mostly thanks to the fact that you can change virtually any part of the Android user interface. Whether you want to download custom icon packs, change their size, change the home screen, folder or app drawer layout, it can do virtually anything. And the latest beta version adds a couple of new, welcome additions.

beta Stories March 28, 2016

New-Adwords-Mar-2016

Google is today showing off redesigned apps for its AdWords advertising service that it says bring a completely reimagined experience based on user feedback.

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beta Stories March 24, 2016

First look at gameplay from the upcoming Pokémon Go Android game

After announcing a deal in September to produce a Pokémon Go games with Nintendo and Alphabet-owned Niantic, the Pokémon people are today showing a little more about how gameplay will work and giving us a first look at the title coming to both Android and iOS devices.

The game uses augmented reality features to blend real world objects and locations with the gameplay, and the company today gave the run down and a look at how exactly that will work:

beta Stories March 14, 2016

android-n-screen-dimming

Update: f.lux is now available in the Play Store.

There are many apps that change the color temperature of a screen throughout the day. Many of these apps claim to help users sleep by limiting exposure to blue light at night that can distort the natural circadian rhythm. One of the first and most well-known entrants to this market is f.lux. They have finally released a beta for Android and it is available for testing.

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beta Stories March 9, 2016

android-n-lead

The first Android N dev preview just dropped earlier today, and to say that Google’s launch timing surprised us is something of an understatement. Still, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get it installed on our devices and see what’s what in the next version of Android.

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android n

Today marked the release of the first Android N developer preview, and factory images are now available if you want to install the update on your device. If you’re anything like me, though, you would rather not completely wipe your daily driver (Nexus 6P, in my case), just to get some hands-on time with some buggy software. That’s why we’ve compiled this huge list of new features and a gallery of Android N screenshots for your perusal…

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beta Stories February 22, 2016

remix-os-mac

Update: The beta version of Remix OS 2.0 is now available to download from their site.

Remix OS 2.0 is a full desktop operating system that runs Android apps and is easy to install on Macs and PCs. Remix OS will be graduating into beta on March 1st and with it adds support for older computers with 32-bit processors, dual-booting, and OTA updates.

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beta Stories January 21, 2016

Chrome 48 released to stable channel, better performance coming in future updates

Chrome on Mac, Window, and Linux is being updated this week to version 48. The latest update contains the usual bug fixes and improvements for the desktop browser, but mobile devices will see the bulk of the improvements. Future updates to Chrome, we’ve learned, will bring a new compression algorithm that will help the browser load faster pages and use less power on all platforms.

beta Stories November 10, 2015

PSA: Android Studio 1.5 is now available in beta

If you’re a developer and you use Android Studio in any capacity, you might be happy to hear that Google has today launched Android Studio 1.5 in beta. Google says that the beta release isn’t that much different than Preview 2 (except a few bug fixes, of course), and it’s worth mentioning that Preview 2 wasn’t all that different than Preview 1.

You can update your current 1.4 installation to 1.5 beta by using the built-in patch mechanism, Google says, but you may not want to do that as it will completely replace your stable installation with a potentially less-reliable beta version. If you download from the Preview 2 page, you can keep 1.4 and 1.5 installed side by side — which might be best option regardless.

beta Stories October 22, 2015

Chrome 47 beta brings splash screens for Android web apps, notification management for desktop, more

Google is releasing the beta of Chrome 47 today that introduces as number of new features across platforms including new splash screens for Android web apps, improved management for push notifications on the desktop, enhanced multitasking and more.

For the new splash screens, developers will be able to take advantage of splash screens when their web apps are launched from an icon saved on the homescreen. Google points out that  “apps can take a few seconds to load” and presenting a nice looking splash screen will “allow apps to show something meaningful to users as the app loads, improving perceived performance” for users.

In addition, Chrome 47 beta brings an improved push notification experience for desktop users on Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and Windows by introducing auto dismissing notifications:

“Sites such as social media or email can generate a large number of push notifications that take up screen space and aren’t particularly relevant unless viewed soon after posting. The new version of Chrome now allows developers to configure automatic dismissal of desktop notifications, improving the experience for these kinds of notifications. Sites can set NotificationOptions.requireInteraction to indicate the notification should remain onscreen until the user dismisses it.”

And lastly, the 47 beta release brings what Google refers to as “Cooperative multitasking with requestIdleCallback()”, something developers can take advantage of to improve performance by allowing apps to run during “idle time” when resources aren’t being used by other tasks.

Google has more info on the release here.

beta Stories September 16, 2015

In case you’re uninitiated in third party launchers (which you shouldn’t be, considering Cam’s recent deep dive), Nova Launcher is definitely one of the most popular. The latest version of Nova Launcher beta is now available, and of the many new features that this version brings, the most notable is a new tweak allowing the normalization of icon sizes… expand full story

beta Stories August 3, 2015

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android_m_custom_chrome_tab

Chrome Beta version 45 for Android is rolling out today (Play Store link) and includes some nice interface tweaks as well as one addition that was previously announced at Google’s I/O developer conference back in May. Chrome Beta is a build of the Chrome browser which includes features and changes that are almost, but not quite, ready for use by the masses. Showing up in the Beta build of the browser is a good indicator that a feature or adjustment will soon reach those masses, so it’s always interesting to see what’s been added.

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beta Stories July 30, 2015

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BETA

Up until today, testing out an Android app that’s in beta has required going through a non-intuitive process that includes joining a group on Google+ (or Google Groups) and then clicking a special Play Store link which typically doesn’t even work until a few minutes after you join the associated group (which can lead people to thinking that something isn’t working). It’s weird and inelegant, so Google has just announced two new (easier) ways through which developers can grant users access to their betas.

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beta Stories July 20, 2015

Sony wants Xperia Z3 users to trial Android concept software

Sony has invited Xperia Z3 owners in Sweden to test a new Android concept software. The company plans to run the group testing between July 27th and September 13th, but doesn’t reveal any specifics about the particular software, what it’s going to look like or whether or not it’ll eventually become publicly available.

It would seem Sony is working on a fresh, new look for its own bespoke Android UI, and wants to get real-life feedback and usage/crash statistics from real people. Those signing up are warned that the process will require a complete wipe of their phones’ personal settings, data and content. The trial itself is limited. Only Xperia Z3 owners with Windows PCs in Sweden can sign up. No other device will work, and customers from other countries won’t be able to join in either.

“‘Sony’s Android™ concept’ is a new initiative for Sony users that have a passion for innovation and the latest technology. As a Sony user you have the opportunity to trial a new concept Android™ software build for Xperia Z3. The initiative is all about letting you – our users – evaluate the software, so we can acquire feedback to improve the experience based on what you like and what you don’t.”

If you fit all the criteria, you can apply to join the program here.

beta Stories July 17, 2015

VLC beta updated to 1.5.0 w/ better Material looks, USB auto-detection, more

VLC pushed a major cross-platform release in February, and at that point the company’s Android app finally left beta for the first time. VLC for Android has definitely been getting a lot of attention since then, though, and version 1.5 — which packs some notable improvements — was released today.

beta Stories July 10, 2015

Android M Nexus 6

With Google having released the second version of its developer preview for Android M, we thought it would be useful to take you through a visual tour of some of the changes …

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beta Stories June 19, 2015

Spotify 3.1 beta for Android arrives with new Running feature, audio/video shows, and more

After first announcing a handful of new features and redesigned apps last month for iOS users, today most of those features are arriving for the Spotify beta for Android ahead of a public release. The highlight changes include Spotify’s new Running feature that automatically detects an ideal tempo to creates playlist based on your running pace, more content, and a redesigned Now start page.

The update, version 3.1, also brings audio and video shows that were first introduced to web and iOS users last month in addition to other new content and UI tweaks throughout the app. The new content includes videos and podcasts from ABC, BBC, Comedy Central, Condé Nast Entertainment, ESPN, Fusion, Maker Studios, NBC, TED, Vice News, and more.

The new features are currently only available to users in the US, UK, Sweden and Germany, and will likely roll out to all users beyond Spotify’s beta channel in the near future.

(via AndroidPolice)

beta Stories June 4, 2015

Chrome-Adobe-plug-in-pause

Google has been working with Adobe to improve battery life drain caused by Flash and today flipped the switch on a new Chrome feature that does exactly that. The new feature aims to detect Flash on a webpage that is actually important to the main content and “intelligently pause content” that isn’t as important. The result is to hopefully make the web experience with Flash more power efficient to improve battery life on your laptop. Here’s how it works: expand full story

beta Stories June 2, 2015

beta Stories May 14, 2015

image

We told you back in March when the first Material-redesigned beta of Nova Launcher came out, but now Kevin Barry, the app launcher’s creator, has officially released the new Nova Launcher on its stable channel… expand full story

beta Stories April 29, 2015

Chrome-Dev

Today Google released a new Chrome Dev app, a way for developers to access the latest Chrome builds and experimental features before they’re ready for beta and public releases.

Google has always had a developer release channel for Chrome, allowing devs to get access to the latest builds and features even before regular users are encouraged to start testing through its beta and public release channels. Previously the dev channel was only for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS, but today the company is bringing it to Android.

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beta Stories April 23, 2015

SwiftKey is one of the most popular third-party keyboards across both iOS and Android, and the company today released the latest beta version of its Android app. The app’s main functionality hasn’t changed, but this update brings a completely redesigned options menu—and I think it suits the keyboard pretty well… expand full story

beta Stories March 17, 2015

Chrome OS beta update brings Material Design to Files app, other new features

Google today released the latest Beta channel release for Chrome OS users and with it comes a few new features that should arrive for all soon.

First up, the beta release brings Material Design to the Files app, the ability to pin apps to the shelf, and support for password-protected zip files.

The update also includes an updated calculator app, according to Google highlight of features on its Chrome Releases blog, and “bug fixes, security updates and feature enhancements”

The new Chrome OS beta, version 42.0.2311.41, is rolling out for all Chrome OS devices in the coming days except the following: “Pixel, Acer Chromebox CXI, LG Chromebase, Asus Chromebox, Dell Chromebox, HP Chromebox, HP Chromebook 14, Toshiba Chromebook, Acer C720, Dell Chromebook 11.”

beta Stories February 13, 2015

Google launches Android WebView beta channel for developers

Google today announced that it’s launching a beta channel or Android WebView, the API many apps use to display webpages. Google noted that with Android 5.0 Lollipop, it now “has the ability to update WebView independently.” It will begin to allow developers to use the new beta channel for testing the latest updates to WebView starting today:

WebView updates bring numerous bug fixes, new web platform APIs and updates from Chromium. If you’re making use of the WebView in your app, becoming a beta channel tester will give you an early start with new APIs as well as the chance to test your app before the WebView rolls out to your users.

Developers interested in becoming beta testers can join the community here in order to sign up for the program and install the WebView beta from Google Play.

beta Stories January 20, 2015

Instagram inviting Android users to beta testing program

Instagram users on Android could soon be using pre-release versions of the photo sharing app before updates hit the Google Play Store.

Instagram is currently inviting testers on Android to take pre-release versions of its social app for a spin through its beta program for users. The social network shared a Google Group found here where potential testers can apply to test and give feedback for versions of Instagram currently being developed.

beta Stories January 13, 2015

Google Domains public beta now available in United States

Following an invite-only rollout last June, Google Domains on Tuesday became available as a public beta in the United States. Google Domains is a domain name service, similar to GoDaddy or NameCheap, that enables users to search for, register and manage domain names. Alongside the public beta, Google has announced a number of new features to the service.

beta Stories December 9, 2014

Wikipedia for Android Beta gets Material UI overhaul, support for Android Lollipop

Update 1/15/15: The non-Beta version of the app was updated today with the same features that came to the beta version last month.

Wikipedia is definitely one the more used Android apps, and today the app’s beta channel has been updated with a plethora of new features. Most notable of them is the fact that today’s release packs a Material design revamp (including a new drawer and overflow menu), and support for Android 5.0 Lollipop. Other features, like the return of the search bar and other layout improvements, are just a couple of the more than a dozen changes made in this version.

The new version also features improvements to search order, Wikidata descriptions under page’s titles in search, and  swipe to refresh on pages and on the “Nearby” tab. You’ll also notice, at the bottom of an article you’re reading, that this new version adds a new section called “Read more” where you’ll find various related articles. Finally, rounding out the more obvious changes, there’s now an option in the “More” section for disabling image loading (helpful if you are strapped for data).

As noted on the app’s Play Store listing, here’s the complete list of changes:

– Material design icons and 5.0 support
– Search bar is back
– Search order improvements
– Wikidata descriptions in search results, similar pages, under pages titles
– Swipe to refresh on pages and for Nearby
– Collapsed infoboxes
– Better tablets layouts
– Read more section
– Allow disabling images
– Basic syntax highlighting of templates while editing
– Hide IPA
– ToC drawer always on
– Similar pages, page issues, reference info display changes
– Display MathML images
– Remove pinch-zoom
You can get Wikipedia Beta for free on the Play Store.

beta Stories December 8, 2014

Version 1.0 of VLC for Android exits beta, fixes lots of Lollipop bugs

VLC (Video LAN Client) has long been one of the choice media players for Android users, but—while every release has been basically stable—the company hasn’t been in any rush to push the app out of beta and on to version 1.0. Today, that finally happened, and the update packs a bunch of other goodies including fixes for ARM V8 processors and Android 5.0 Lollipop.

According to the app’s Play Store listing, version 1.0 includes the following:

This release fixes ARMv8 processors, Android 5.0 crashes and minor improvements. The 0.9.x series is major release with hardware decoding and a new interface available in dark or white colors. It integrates DVD iso and menu support, an equalizer, playlist management, Widi screens support and updated SD cards detection. Hardware acceleration is now enabled by default on 4.3+ and has better subtitles support. Software decoding has been accelerated too.
As mentioned by Android Police, it doesn’t appear that the 1.0 release includes previously announced Chromecast support. The app, which has always been known for how many video and audio formats it can play, is basically the Android go-to solution if you have some kind of media that you aren’t sure how to get working. It’s available on the Play Store right now for free.

 

samsung-chromebook-deal-refurb

A new feature called Smart Lock has now made its way to Chromebooks, allowing users to keep their Chrome OS-running laptops unlocked by simply keeping their Lollipop Android phone in relative vicinity. The feature was first introduced earlier this year at Google I/O 2014, and has been part of Lollipop since the OS started rolling out last month. But only just now, about 6 months after it was shown off, is the feature rolling out to Chromebooks (via ComputerWorld) running the Dev Channel of Chrome OS.

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beta Stories October 6, 2014

Along with a number of announcements landing today during Adobe’s MAX conference, the company has quietly released an Adobe Creative Cloud app for Android in preview mode. The app, which works with the free 2GB Creative Cloud membership in addition to paid subscriptions, allows users to manage their Creative Cloud accounts by browsing and previewing files stored in the cloud service. The app was previously available for iOS users and sports a similar design. expand full story

beta Stories August 12, 2014

Latest builds of Google Chrome let you load cached web pages with the press of a button

In the latest builds of Google’s Canary release channel of Chrome, there’s an interesting new feature popping up: the ability to press a single button to load a saved copy of a webpage you’ve previously visited. The feature surfaced less than a week after Google silently launched 64-bit versions of the Canary and Dev channels for Mac OS X.

This handy new feature can come in handy if you just need to quickly view a webpage and you’re finding yourself without a connection. But of course, you’ll only be able to view cached versions of webpages that are actually cached—you’ll need to have visited the page at some point prior. To try out the feature, you’ll need the Canary build of Chrome which can be downloaded here.

beta Stories August 4, 2014

whatsapp

A beta update for the ridiculously popular WhatsApp messenger for Android has been released with official support for Android Wear, extending its wrist capabilities beyond just viewing and clearing notifications. Among the additions that are included in the update are stacked notifications, complete preview of received messages and, most importantly, the ability to reply to messages with voice.

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beta Stories August 1, 2014

Google Maps navigation beta now available in El Salvador, Libya, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Tunisia

A beta for Google Maps navigation is now available in El Salvador, Libya, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Tunisia. While some countries may take this feature for granted, other territories don’t widely have access to this type of free software. For example, residents of North Korea have combined their efforts to produce a community developed version of Google Maps.

beta Stories July 30, 2014

Google launches Chrome 64-bit Beta channel for Windows 7 and 8 users

After adding 64-bit support for Chrome to its Canary and Developer channels for Windows users early last month, today Google gets one step closer to making the feature live for all as it adds support for Beta channel users. Features that hit Google beta release of Chrome are usually next promoted to the public, stable release of the browser.

The support comes for both Windows 7 and 8 users and will require the 64-bit installer on the Beta download page to install:

The Chrome Team is excited to announce the addition of the Chrome 64-bit Beta Channel for Windows 7 and 8 users.  To try it out, download the 64-bit installer from our Beta download pages. The new version replaces the existing version while preserving all your settings and bookmarks, so there’s no need to uninstall a current installation of Chrome.       

beta Stories July 24, 2014

Chrome 37 beta launches on Android with material design

Google this morning announced the beta release of Chrome 37 on Android.

According to Google’s blog post about the new version, Chrome 37 will feature the new material design language shown off at Google I/O and most recently found on the updated Play Store that rolled out this week.

beta Stories July 17, 2014

Google seeds Chrome 37 beta with DirectWrite support on Windows

Google announced on Thursday afternoon that it has released Chrome 37 beta with a number of new developer features, making it easier to create richer and faster web content and apps. The beta release includes support for the DirectWrite API on Windows for high-quality text rendering, even on high DPI displays.

The release also adds an HTML element called <dialog> as one of its headline features, allowing for styled boxes that can be controlled with JavaScript. More than a half-dozen other improvements were also made.

The full changelog from the Chromium blog:

Other updates in this release

  • The Web Cryptography JavaScript API is enabled by default starting in Chrome 37, allowing developers to perform cryptographic operations such as hashing, signature generation/verification, and encryption.
  • Subpixel font scaling is now supported, which enables smooth animations of text between font sizes.
  • TouchEvents are now longs instead of integers, enabling higher-fidelity touch interactions on high-DPI displays.
  • CSS cursor values “zoom-in” and “zoom-out” are now unprefixed.
  • The number of cores on a physical machine can now be accessed bynavigator.hardwareConcurrency.
  • The user’s preferred languages are now accessible by navigator.languages, and the languagechange event is fired when this is updated.
  • The CSS Shapes Module allows developers to define non-rectangular text wrapping boundaries around floated elements.
  • NPAPI deprecation continues according to our previously-announced plan with a harder-to-bypass blocking UI.
  • The default monospace font on Windows is now Consolas instead of Courier New.

beta Stories July 10, 2014

Fleksy keyboard for Android beta updated with support for 15 new languages

The popular replacement Android keyboard Fleksy received an update to its publicly available beta version today that enabled support for 15 new languages. According to a press release announcing the update, the new languages and variants on existing languages include English (UK), Latin American Spanish, Hebrew, Romanian, French, Canadian, and more.

The beta now supports 37 languages total, and the company says it expects the update to exit beta this fall with support for over 40. An update was also released today for the Fleksy Messenger app for Gear smarwatches. The update introduces a few bug fixes and other enhancements, but also adds support for first-gen devices running Samsung’s Tizen operating system.

You can grab the Fleksy Android update from the beta website and the Gear update from the watch’s app store.

beta Stories July 8, 2014

Chrome Remote Desktop

Google has officially introduced Linux support for Chrome Remote Desktop and provided step-by-step instructions to setup the beta through its Help Center. Linux already supported remote assistance login via PIN passwords, but now it gains long-awaited full remote desktop capabilities. Chrome Remote Desktop is also available for Windows, OS X, Chrome OS, Android and iOS devices.  expand full story

beta Stories June 25, 2014

Google introduces new API beta that makes it easier for apps to integrate Gmail features

Yet another announcement from Google I/O today comes in the form of a new Gmail API beta that will make it easier for developers to integrate Gmail features into their apps:

While IMAP is great at what it was designed for (connecting email clients to email servers in a standard way), it wasn’t really designed to do all of the cool things that you have been working on, which is why this week at Google I/O, we’re launching the beta of the new Gmail API.

Designed to let you easily deliver Gmail-enabled features, this new API is a standard Google API, which gives RESTful access to a user’s mailbox under OAuth 2.0 authorization. It supports CRUD operations on true Gmail datatypes such as messages, threads, labels and drafts.

So what’s the benefit over IMAP or other solutions that developers have already been using to integrate Gmail features? Google says the new API, unlike IMAP, “gives fine-grained control to a user’s mailbox.” That means that an app, for example, “only needs to send mail on behalf of a user and does not need to read mail, you can limit your permission request to send-only.” There are also other benefits like speed:

To keep in sync, the API allows you to query the inbox change history, thereby avoiding the need to do “archaeology” to figure out what changed. Finally, a huge benefit is speed. While there’s still some tuning to be done (“beta” – remember?), results from our tests and feedback from pre-release developers suggest that the new Gmail API is delivering dramatic performance improvements over IMAP for web application use cases.

Google has more on the new API here. 

beta Stories April 11, 2014

Chrome Beta 35 for Android brings Undo Tab Close, Chromecast video support, & more

Following yesterday’s release of Chrome Beta 35 for the desktop, the Android beta started rolling out last night with a few notable new features that will soon be making their way to all users. In the beta, you can now “Undo Tab Close,” which means if you accidentally close a tab you’ll now be able to restore it. There are also improvements for multi-window devices, which we assume means tablets that support apps running side by side, as well as “fullscreen video with subtitles and HTML5 controls.”

Perhaps the most notable feature is initial support for Chromecasting videos. Google is making it easier to cast videos from Chrome for Android to the TV through its $35 Chromecast HDMI stick, but for now it’s not sharing a lot of details on what videos you can expect to work. It does note that “YouTube support for casting videos is not complete.”

You can expect these features to be rolling out for all users in the near future. Until then, you can try out the new features in the updated beta release

beta Stories April 3, 2014

Google-Chromecast-JW-Player

Chromecast, Google’s $35 HDMI streaming stick, is about to support streaming of a lot more video content online as JW Player prepares to introduce support. Gigaom reports that the popular HTML5 and Flash video player that is used on millions of websites to host video content will announce today that it’s launching a beta of Chromecast support.

The company is also working on some interesting new features with its Chromecast implementation:  expand full story

beta Stories April 2, 2014

chrome-remote-desktop-play

Google has long had its cross-platform Chrome Remote Desktop extension that allows users to remotely access desktops on the network through the Chrome browser. We also already knew that it’s been working on solutions to bring the feature to Android and even iOS devices, but today we get what appears to be our first look Chrome Remote Desktop running on an Android device.

Droid-Life posted the screenshots below showing that it says is an invite only beta of the app that was released in the last few days. The app is apparently being developed for both smartphones and tablets, allowing users to remotely access desktop computers with the Chrome Remote Desktop client installed from the Chrome web store.  expand full story

beta Stories February 27, 2014

Google has just promoted Chrome 34 to the beta channel, bringing with it a few new features and a lot of new apps/extension APIs for developers. Perhaps the most notable new feature for users on Mac, Windows, and Linux is hands-free Google Voice Search, allowing users to initiate a voice search on Google using the “Ok Google” command without the need of an extension:

  • Responsive Images and Unprefixed Web Audio
  • Hands-free Google Voice Search in Chrome
  • Import supervised users onto new computers
  • A number of new apps/extension APIs
  • Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance

While users have been able to download a browser extension for Chrome since November that allows them to activate a voice search with the “Ok Google” voice command (just like on Android), it the native feature without the need of the extension will land for all Chrome users soon. Here’s how to enable it: expand full story

beta Stories February 21, 2014

Google releases public beta version of Google Cast Chrome extension

After making the Google Cast SDK public and launching a dedicated forum for Chromecast, Google has announced a public beta version of the Google Cast extension available in the Chrome Web Store.

The Google Cast extension allows users to beam content from a Chrome tab on their desktop to a Chromecast or other devices that support he Google Cast standard. Like Google’s beta versions of Chrome and other apps, the public beta release will provide devs and anyone else that downloads it to the latest features and APIs.

More info on the new beta is available from Google Developer Advocate Shawn Shen on Google+.

beta Stories February 19, 2014

Google brings the new Maps out of preview, rolling out to desktops worldwide in coming weeks

Google first introduced us to the new Google Maps back in May during Google I/O and since then users have been able to opt-in to a preview of the redesigned desktop Maps experience. Today, Google announced on its Maps blog that its officially bringing the redesigned app out of beta and making it available to all worldwide. Google said the new app will roll out over the coming weeks for all users.

Apart from a redesigned, streamlined UI, Google notes that the new Maps web app for desktop users includes smarter results for points of interest, improved directions with time and distance, real-time traffic reports, Street View previews, and a new “carousel” view for browsing 3D and Street View imagery.

If you had not previously opted into the Google Maps preview, you should start to see the new experiencover the coming weeks.

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