Love it or hate it, Bluetooth is in almost every gadget we own and use. It's one of the most universal means of communication between devices and thanks to the Low Energy protocol of Bluetooth 4.0 (and 4.1 and 4.2 subsequently), it has been propagating to various accessories, gadgets, wearables, and Internet of Things devices. Right now, I can count 13 things within 2 feet of me that use Bluetooth, and they're not all phones: I also have a speaker, a wireless trackpad, 2 smartwatches, a Fitbit, and so on.
But Bluetooth is slated for even more expansion as beacons start showing up everywhere, multiple items around you and even on you get smart, and your house/office appliances and various things start learning to communicate wirelessly. Read More
Almost every update of Google Docs and Sheets brings us closer to feature parity between the web and mobile versions of the service. The most recent update to version 1.6.232 of both apps falls in that category and although it might seem like it's just two trivial changes, it will be great for those who had to deal with these annoyances in the past.
First, Google Docs will now let you edit a document while you're checking it in the Print layout view. You can easily tap the edit pencil to make your changes. That should simplify the process of fixing alignments and page breaks and so on if you're preparing a document to be printed. Read More
Have a Chromebook Flip? Get it on the developer channel ASAP - the Play Store update is rolling out now. I've had very little chance to mess with it, but the apps I have used (Hangouts, Maps, Search, the Play Store) all seem to run pretty well. Funnily, the Play Store still allowed to install Google Now Launcher... but you can't change the launcher, since the launcher is the windowed app mode.
I haven't tried any games yet, and a number of apps you might want - like Google+ or Talon for Twitter - are marked incompatible at this time. The developers will likely need to account for the hardware capabilities of the Flip and other Chromebooks (specifically, the things it lacks) and be sure to tailor their apps to devices without certain features down the road. Read More
Back when I had my Nexus One, my favorite launcher hands down was ADW. I loved it. I loved the animations, the speed, the configurability - ADW was my jam. But as time went on, ADW and I grew apart, support for the app waned (apart from the release of ADW EX), and Android's stock launcher began to mature and gain features. But I never lost my soft spot for ADW. Read More
A year ago today Google announced Android Security Rewards, an expansion of its Vulnerability Rewards Program. Find a vulnerability, tell Google about it, help them fix the issue, and take home money. That's the concept, and it's a common one in the tech industry.
Google handed out over half a million bucks to 82 individuals over the past year. This averaged out to $2,200 per reward. Researchers averaged higher payouts, at $6,700. One, @heisecode, received $75,750 for 26 vulnerability reports. 15 researchers received $10,000 or more. Read More
Shazam is usually very good at identifying songs you encounter throughout the day, but you have to open the app and make it do that. Well, not anymore. In the most recent update, Shazam has gained support for auto mode on Android. Just start it up and go about your business while Shazam catalogs all the songs it hears. Read More
Google Now On Tap has been, to put it gently, less than totally useful to most people. While the high-minded concepts behind Now On Tap were quite impressive, Google has had a harder time than I think many of us thought it would actually making it into a consistently helpful and intuitive product. It appears that in the last couple of days Google has been rolling out an all-new set of features to Now On Tap that honestly make it a bit more of a virtual assistant than a contextual search engine.
What you see in the hero image above are two new card streams, one for nearby places, the other for common tasks you might ask of your phone. Read More
What photo manager doesn't let you show off images in a slideshow? Google Photos, it turns out. If this is news to you, then you're finding out right at the moment when the situation is changing. Google Photos has now added a slideshow option. Read More
Facebook announced an all-new layout for its Messenger app today (presumably for Android and iOS, though only iOS screenshots were provided). The new "home" area in Messenger is designed to make the app more than just a dumb message hub, and much more of a "Facebook people I care about" hub. Instead of simply being a list of chats, Messenger will now show you your favorite contacts, upcoming birthdays (because Facebook), and who's online now. Recent chats will still sit at the top of the "home" area in the app, there just won't be as many living there anymore. Read More
I love a good notification LED - really. When I had my Nexus One back in the day, I absolutely adored my multi-color trackball. I had it decked out with custom colors and pulse speeds using a third party app, and I could tell from across the room if the notification I'd just received was an SMS or a Facebook message just by glancing at the color of that pulsating little trackball. Read More