Google sometimes gives us a hint of what it's working on if you're willing to dig for it. Buried in the new Chrome Beta for Android update is something called contextual search. It's not completely functional right now, but you can take a peek at some aspects of it.
To enable contextual search in Chrome Beta, go to chrome://flags/#contextual-searchin the address bar.
Google wants manufacturers to use Android in their products, and the company has no problem with them theming the software up all they want, as long as they adhere to a few ground rules. Going forward, explicitly mentioning that their devices are powered by Android will be one of them. How? By explicitly placing the words "powered by Android" at the bottom of bootup screens.
As first reported by Geek.com, Google is enforcing this via the latest Google Mobile Services license that manufacturers must abide by in order to ship devices with access to the Play Store or Google's suite of first-party apps.
Text expansion saves time. It's really that simple. Rather than typing out a lengthy word over and over, like a regularly visited URL or an embarrassingly long middle name, save it as a text expansion so that pressing a few pre-determined characters will insert that word instead. Google's keyboard comes with this functionality available out of the box, as do some alternative third-party keyboards, but this requires commitment to one of these options.
Philips has been slowly adding various bulbs to its Hue lineup over the last several months, bringing even more smartphone-controlled lighting scenarios to users. The entire concept of Hue is freakin' awesome as it is – lights that can change to any color or, um, hue on the fly – so any addition to the family is really just the icing on the cake.
Today, the company is announcing three new products to its hue line: 3D-printed luminaries, lux, and tap.
It's time to point out a little-known feature in Chrome's omnibox that may save you a tap or two. If you're looking for something on the page you're currently viewing, rather than tapping on your overflow or menu button, going to "find in page" and typing your search string, you can do it via Chrome's omnibox as shown below. Take a look at the first option with the magnifying glass inside the box.
Certainly, third party keyboards are a real testament to how customizable Android can be out of the box. Since KitKat's rollout, however, people have noticed that the default input method reverts to the default keyboard when updating a paid keyboard app. Worse still, the keyboard you updated actually ends up disabled.
What's interesting about this bug is that it seems to only affect the paid flavor of these apps. Free versions should go unaffected.
One of the many, many wearables we saw at Mobile World Congress is now available for purchase, even if it is a little hard to find. Sony's Smartband SWR10, the company's answer to the Fitbit and similar devices, is now shipping from an Amazon reseller. We're not sure why one Amazon vendor seems to have it before everyone else, even before Sony's own store, but it's there if you want it.
If humanity dies out in the future, what are all the robots going to do? Fight, according to EPOCH 2. The first title was one of the prettiest games on Android when it launched a few years back, and the sequel promises to up the ante with more effects, more guns, and many more angry robots.
EPOCH 2 is a cover-based shooter set in a world populated by robots with nothing better to do than shoot at you.
The latest Captain America movie is polishing its shield, because its release is inbound. But before that can happen, movie goers first need a chance to experience the action firsthand in yet another Gameloft title. Most of these releases aren't anything to get excited about, but the cel-shaded graphics in this one have piqued our interest. Check them out.
How goes your crusade against the walking undead? No, not the vampires, the zombies. Taking on the shambling masses is getting a little sci-fi twist today with v2.1.1 of Plants vs. Zombies 2. The new far future world includes a ton of new content, and an old favorite feature from the original is making its triumphant return.
The new zone includes 24 levels, 8 new plants, and 10 new space-themed zombies.