feature Stories February 4, 2016

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Voxer is a relatively popular messaging app for Android and iOS, and has long been considered one of the best solutions available for those looking for a great PPT (push-to-talk) experience on mobile. It received a ton of funding a few years ago, and while it never really took off in the mainstream, it’s still being updated even today with new fixes and features for its dedicated group of users. It has somewhere between 10 and 50 million Play Store installs.

George Kola, a software engineer that was most recently Chief Technology Officer of the company for more than a year, has now joined Google according to his LinkedIn profile. While it’s of course possible that Kola could have joined Google on his engineering merit alone and could be working in just about any department within the Mountain View company, it’s still worth asking: Could Google possibly have its eyes on bringing some walkie talkie features to Hangouts?..

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feature Stories January 21, 2016

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Feature Request is a new regular 9to5Google series where authors offer their opinion on how to improve popular hardware or software products.

I think most of us who have used it are aware that Android Wear isn’t exactly a complete platform yet. It feels a little beta-ish. And that’s okay for now. One of the best things about Google’s software efforts is that we get to go along for the ride as it publicly experiments and launches new features. It’s not a case of waiting for months, or years, for it to secretly ‘perfect’ its product before telling us we’re ready for it.

Android Wear is still young enough that there’s plenty Google could change without upsetting the apple cart too much. One feature I think should be implemented soon (this year if possible) is a Force Touch-like technology. In other words: Android Wear should have a deeply engrained system to take advantage of pressure-sensitive touchscreen displays…

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feature Stories December 8, 2015

Instagram 3D Touch - YouTube 2015-12-08 10-16-24

Update: Just like the multiple account support that disappeared mere hours after it appeared, this awesome 3D Touch feature is now gone.

Instagram for iOS has had 3D Touch features for quite a while, but it looks like the Instagram team wanted to experiment with bringing some of these to Android as well. While the latest version for Android obviously doesn’t take advantage of force sensitive hardware (which doesn’t really exist of this side of the mobile space anyway), it does add a nifty new pop up for quickly liking, commenting, and sharing posts…

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feature Stories October 14, 2015

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Update: Never mind. Qualcomm says that this is no longer a thing. It looks like the software on the phones being demoed at the India launch event are running old software.

Both the Nexus 5X and 6P are getting some special camera features thanks to improved hardware, and now we’ve learned about one more. Thanks to the device’s launch in India (and one hands-on video in particular), we’re getting another look at the device’s Settings app, and within there’s something interesting: Nexus 6P (and the Nexus 5X) will support “Double twist for camera”… expand full story

‘Music gifts’ feature starts appearing in the Play Music app for some Australian users

A support page showed up yesterday hinting at a new “music gifts” feature coming to Google Play, and now it looks like the feature is launching in some locales. Specifically, Play Music users in Australia seem to be seeing a new option (via Ausdroid) in “Music settings” labeled “Send gift”. Tapping this icon seems to take users to a new page for gifting a Google Play Music subscription…

feature Stories September 29, 2015

PSA: Google Now on Tap is working again in Marshmallow Developer Preview 3

If you’ve been waiting on Google Now to Tap to be available to those running the Android M Developer Preview, the wait is over. Besides a few days when Developer Preview 3 first launched, those running the developer version of M have been left without access to the feature. Now, it seems that Google is finally opening the floodgates…

Google Now on Tap is the latest big feature to come to Google Now, allowing users to quickly find more information about just about anything on their screen. If you’re reading an article about Donald Trump, Now on Tap can give you more info about him and links to his social media profiles and website, for example.

At this point, I’d suggest waiting until October 5th for the official rollout of Android Marshmallow to Nexus devices. But if you’re super antsy and just want to try out Google Now on Tap right now, you can head over and read our guide on how to install the Developer Preview 3 factory image. It’s not too tough, if you have the time.

feature Stories September 17, 2015

youtube-gaming

The YouTube Gaming app launched on Android about a month ago, but now we’re already hearing about a significant update that’s on the way. As was first revealed in a teardown done by Android Police earlier this month, Google has now confirmed that it is preparing to introduce Android game broadcasting straight from the app itself… expand full story

feature Stories September 10, 2015

Marshmallow’s ‘Dark mode’ confirmed to be ditched, but it might make a comeback

One of the most exciting new features that popped up in the first Developer Preview of Android Marshmallow was a “Dark” system theme option. While it didn’t do much besides change the background colors of the Settings app, it seemed to be the beginnings of what could have been a system-wide dark theme. Then, the feature disappeared in Developer Preview 2, and its fate was left unclear — until now. For now, the dark mode in Android M is dead, but it might just make a comeback…

feature Stories June 23, 2015

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Undo Send was long a popular Google Labs feature, and was just recently added to ‘Inbox for Gmail’ for Android. Starting today, Google says that the feature, which lets users cancel the sending of an email within a pre-specified number of seconds after the email is sent, will be publicly available to all users of Gmail on the web. expand full story

feature Stories June 4, 2015

Android M is now available in developer preview, but only for those that own a modern Nexus device. Specifically, owners of the Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player can grab the latest developer build of Android M, and the dozens of new visual and functional features that the operating system brings.

But while Google spent a while at I/O going over the big-picture changes it hopes to bring with M (granular app permissions, fingerprint support, better battery life, and more), there are a lot of smaller changes coming to the OS as well that reimagine how some of the most basic user-facing functions of the OS work. In many cases, these changes are more than welcome.

Google said at I/O last week that they’re putting a “big focus on quality end-to-end” with Android M, so let’s find out what that means in terms of the general user experience… expand full story

feature Stories May 28, 2015

Wear_long_pressHidden among the other news announced at Google I/O today, Google has also added the ability for developers to use the Google Maps API directly on Android Wear. The feature, which comes as part of Play Services 7.5, aims to offer users a wearable-designed Google Maps experience and was detailed in a blog post.

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feature Stories May 21, 2015

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YouTube has had support for 60fps video for quite a while now, but now the Mountain View company says it is introducing 60fps video for live streaming in browsers that support HTML 5… expand full story

feature Stories May 11, 2015

After introducing Google+ Collections, Google sunsets YouTube Collections

While Google just recently introduced the Pinterest-like Google+ Collections feature, it appears that another “Collections,” feature, YouTube Collections, will be getting the axe later this month. YouTube Collections currently lets you organize and group your subscriptions into different folders to more easily find videos you want to watch, but Google says that it’s retiring the feature on May 20th to “focus on other efforts to make your subscriptions more enjoyable.”

“Easy come, easy go” is the usual with many of Google Services (and features therein), so it’s not exactly surprising when we find that Google is planning to ditch a feature in one of its products—no matter how useful it might be to any number of people. It’s possible that Google is soon introducing a new, better, way to peruse through your subscriptions, and they might even be retiring the feature partially to prevent confusion with the other “Collections” feature.

Our thoughts: As someone who isn’t exactly the most hard-core YouTube user, I didn’t even know this feature existed. Actually, now that I do, I kind of wish Google was leaving it so that I could start using it to organize my 50+ subscriptions.

feature Stories May 9, 2015

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As of sometime yesterday, apps in the Play Store can now be listed in search results as “Coming soon”, and clicking on them takes you to a standard listing page that offers the opportunity to “Pre-register”. The first app to take advantage of this functionality is the upcoming Terminator Genisys: Revolution game from Glu… expand full story

feature Stories May 4, 2015

Collections - Google+ 2015-05-04 10-22-04

Google+ Collections, a feature that has been widely rumored and speculated to be rolling out today, has started appearing on the Google+ web interface for some. Google has yet to officially announce the feature, but a new “Share” button has supposedly started appearing for some users that suggests that they “Use collections to group [their] posts.”  expand full story

feature Stories March 17, 2015

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We’ve received a couple of tips this morning that Android users are now suddenly able to send Hangouts messages via Google Voice Search (a feature which is often mistakingly referred to broadly as “Google Now”). It’s not clear when this long-awaited feature began to roll out, but it seems to be a change that Google is making on the server side…

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feature Stories December 8, 2014

 

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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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feature Stories October 23, 2014

Google brings extra functionality to Forms w/ Add-ons support

Google previously allowed developers to make add-ons that bring extra functionality to its Google Docs and Sheets web apps, and now Google is bringing the same feature to its Forms app. Google gives a few examples of add-ons that might be handy for Forms. Imagine, for example,“setting a survey end date, sending custom emails based on responses, storing lists of choices that you frequently add to questions, and more.”

Over the last few months, Forms has been getting a bunch of updates to help you make good looking surveys, like new theme choices and the ability to create your own personalized themes. To give you even more flexibility and options, we’re introducing add-ons for Forms—new tools, created by developer partners, that deliver even more features to your surveys (just like add-ons for Docs and Sheets).

Google highlighted a few add-ons that are already available:

  • formLimiter: Close your survey automatically, after a maximum number of responses is reached, or at a date and time of your choosing.
  • Ultradox Trigger: Create custom emails, reports, invoices, newsletters, etc., based on information that people enter into your form.
  • Form Values: Store and pull from lists that you use regularly in Forms, like a list of staff, students, rooms, resources or anything you want.

Add-ons for Forms are accessible from a new “Add-ons” menu in the app or this link. Developers interested in learning more about developing add-ons can do so here.

feature Stories April 28, 2014

A visitor is testing the new Google Glasses at the international fair for digital economy 'NEXT Berlin 2013' in Berlin, Germany, 24 April 2013.  NEXT Berlin 2013 is an international trade for which serves as a platform of digital innovations from the worl

In 2012, Google unveiled a teaser video for what would eventually become Google Glass. About two and a half minutes long, the short walkthrough highlighted a day in the life of a “Project Glass” owner. Aside from working the internet into a nerd-fueled frenzy video, the confirmed popular rumors that Google’s super secret X lab was laboring away on a new piece of wearable technology.

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feature Stories April 21, 2014

quick control panel

Android is all about options, and that means the freedom to completely rip off an iOS feature (albeit an iOS feature that was inspired by various other sources, including Android itself). Quick Control Panel presents your most-used apps, along with toggles for data, WiFi, Bluetooth, Speaker, and Orientation Lock. You can adjust the brightness of your device’s screen, and the volume of both calls and media. It even displays your music when playing, allowing you to skip or pause. expand full story

feature Stories May 2, 2013

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Google is beginning to roll out a new feature in Gmail today that will allow users to quickly and easily create or add an event to Google Calendar without ever leaving their inbox. Once the feature has been enabled, users will be able to click the date and time within emails to add or create an Google Calendar entry using the data from the email (as pictured above). The calendar entry  can be edited before added and will also automatically include a link back to the original email for reference:

When you click on one of these underlined dates, you’ll be able to preview your schedule for the day and change the title, date or time of the event. Clicking “Add to Calendar” will do exactly that — add the event to your calendar, and for extra convenience, the calendar event will include a link back to the original email.

Keep an eye out for the new feature rolling out to everyone using the English (US) language setting over the next week.

Instagram updates mobile apps with new ‘Photos of You’ feature

Instagram announced today that it is updating its iOS and Android app with a new feature dubbed ‘Photos of You’ making it easier to view and be notified of photos you care about most. The feature will make it easier for users uploading images to add mentions of people or things and also adds a new “Photos of You” section on your profile where tagged photos will gather:

When you upload a photo to Instagram, you’re now able to add the people and things in the photo as easily as you add a location and hashtags. When someone adds you to a photo, you’ll receive a notification and the photo will appear in your “Photos of You” – the new section on your profile where you can curate all of the photos you’ve been added to. Want to make sure you like the photo first? No problem: you can easily adjust your settings so nothing appears on your profile until you approve it.

The feature will be in a sort of beta mode until May 16th at which time the Photos of You section will become visible on users’ public profiles.

Version 3.5 of Instagram with the new Photos of You feature should be hitting Google Play any minute.

You can check out the feature via profiles of a few Instagram employees already using Photos of You:

http://instagram.com/kevin

http://instagram.com/mikeyk

http://instagram.com/Jeffreydgerson

http://instagram.com/Maxvoltar

http://instagram.com/Dantoffey

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