Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

06
Jun
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It looks like Hangouts on the web is learning a new trick. Some users are reporting that Hangouts can now sketch a message, drawing with a variety of brush widths and colors on a little scratchpad, which is sent to the user on the other end of the conversation as an image. To sketch, users need only hover over the camera icon, click on the pencil icon that appears, then draw away.

01
Jun
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Last Updated: June 2nd, 2014

A while ago, we posted about information we'd received indicating that sometime soon, Google's search functionality (and other actions) would be expanding beyond the Search app, moving into other apps for device-wide search interaction and - eventually - app-specific functionality.

It appears that isn't the only Search trick Google is working on, though. According to the information available to us, Google is working on functionality for now known as KITT (get it?) or "Android Eyes Free" internally.

30
May
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Google's reinvention of the Chrome bookmark system, called Google Stars, was first spotted by Florian Kiersch nearly a month ago. Today, it looks like the Chrome extension and web interface are already live for the public, preceding any official word from Google about the burgeoning bookmarking service. For now, it looks like Stars is still in a dogfooding or testing phase.

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Users who install the Chrome extension (linked at the bottom of the post) will be able to access the service's web interface, which will automatically "add the Google magic to your data," collecting a history of topics you're interested in or things you've bookmarked, arranged automatically by date.

29
May
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The Galaxy S5 Active, Samsung's much-leaked ruggedized version of its latest flagship, is now official, and available from AT&T in three colors - Camo Green, Ruby Red, and Titanium Gray.

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Just like the previous entry in the Active family, the S5 Active is water and dust resistant, and looks quite capable of taking some abuse. The S5 Active, as you may guess, is essentially the Galaxy S5 in a rougher, tougher chassis.

28
May
search

Several days ago, it was brought to our attention that Google's Search app finally allowed completely touchless reminders, whereby a user could set a reminder from start to finish without touching the device. Previously, reminders required a touch confirmation at the end of the process. Now, the "voice of Google" simply asks if the user would like the reminder to be set. Saying "yes" will complete the interaction.

It seems this isn't the only server-side switch Google is pulling, though.

24
May
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During CES this year, Google and NVIDIA announced partnership with GM, Honda, Audi, and Hyundai in forming the Open Automotive Alliance. The initial announcement was predictably sparse on details, noting only the initiative's core principles, and the goal of bringing Android to cars. After hearing approximately nothing about the effort since then, we now have information that gives us a first look at Google's vision for Android in the Car, referred to internally as Gearhead.

23
May
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Last Updated: May 24th, 2014

Yoel Kaseb, who last month posted a series of screenshots purporting to show a revamped Google+ interface (which ended up being proven mostly accurate in a recent update), is back again, this time posting photos of what is allegedly a new Gmail interface.

Before we discuss, let's look at the photos. For the sake of clarity, I've used the photos to quickly create a clearer, full-res mockup of the interface shown.

21
May
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Back in April, we posted a rumor that Google Now was on track to properly handle timer queries (like "set a timer for five minutes") using the clock app's built in timer functionality, rather than simply setting an alarm.

Nearly a month later, we saw mention of the functionality in a teardown of the Search app itself, and today it looks like that functionality has finally been switched on.

Users who say "Set a timer for [time]" will be greeted with a card letting them know the timer is about to commence, with the option to skip straight to starting the timer.

19
May
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Gmail just got an update to version 4.8, an update that brings with it some refreshing UI changes, and a few other features too. First, we'll take a look at the UI tweaks.

First up, the pull-to-refresh animation has been brought into line with the Google Search app - it now cycles through Google's red, yellow, blue, and green brand colors rather than using a simple blue animation. The length of swipe necessary to trigger a refresh has also been shortened.

17
May
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A few days ago, Google added a line of official snap cases to the Play Store for the Nexus 5. Some readers may be yearning for a closer inspection of Google's late-entry accessory, which - at first glance - looks a lot like the myriad cheaper options available online, so we're going to give it a quick look.

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To tell the truth, the selection of snap cases online isn't separated from the official case by much.

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