Google Photos' decoupling from Google+ dates back to May, which means five months have now passed since. In this time, Google Photos has received several updates and gained essential features like Chromecast support and albums for adding and reordering images. Now the Photos team is ready to reflect on these five months and share with us a few stats about the app and service's use.
Photos now counts 100 Million active monthly users, but how that number is tallied I couldn't tell you. Does a single search or view count, or did they require uploads for users to be marked as active? I'm not sure. 15 Million animations and collages have been created, either manually or through Assistant. Read More
Xiaomi devices don't have a big footprint outside of Asia, but there are a ton of these phones in the world, and they all ship with the MIUI build of Android. Now, the final build of the new MIUI 7 is set to roll out on October 27th via OTA on supported devices. This version of Android brings a ton of improvements, but it's weirdly still based on KitKat for some devices and Lollipop on others. Read More
Ever since I tried the Misfit Flash a few months ago, I keep recommending it and its more expensive brother, Shine, to people around me as the best "good enough" activity tracker and platform. The long battery life, the seamless sleep and activity logging, the simple app, and the waterproofing up to 50m, all make it a great solution for those who want to start tracking their health but don't want something that is too involved, too complicated, or too demanding.
Now the company is ready to introduce Shine 2, its second generation tracker which solves a few of the issues of the first one. Read More
Google started testing a new way to display star ratings in the Play Store client a few weeks ago, and now it looks like the change is rolling out to everyone. Open your Play Store app, and you might notice app rating stars are displayed numerically throughout the store. Read More
If you didn't already know, photographer Carl Kleiner is the mind behind the enchanting "material" wallpapers that came with Android Lollipop, and with more recent versions of Chrome and the Google app on iOS.
With the release of Marshmallow, Kleiner is back with even more creations and two bonus wallpapers to celebrate the release. But besides all that, Google Design has posted an interesting peek into the process behind the creations, called paperscapes, to its blog.
The new paperscapes go beyond the scope of the original pieces, integrating more complex geometry, greater color and textural contrast, and new materials like colored water and powdered ink to create compelling pieces that - at first glance - don't look like they could possibly be photographs. Read More
The New York Times is nicknamed "The Grey Lady" of the traditional news media. That being the case, they might not be your first guess if you were told to predict which newspaper would dive headfirst into virtual reality. But that appears to be the case: the Times announced today that it's launching a new series of short investigative films intended to be viewed on the new crop of VR headsets that use phones as viewers, like Google Cardboard and Samsung VR. The first entry, "The Displaced," follows refugee children from the Sudan, Ukraine, and Syria. Three films will be published this year with more expected in 2016. Read More
Okay, MapQuest still exists. I know, now that I've completely blown your mind, I can also tell you the MapQuest Android app has been updated to v3.0, and there are some substantial improvements. Will wonders never cease?
The Microsoft Garage team has graced the Play Store with more than a few interesting apps recently, some of which are actually useful. The latest project from the Garage is a note taking app called Parchi. It's designed to be quick and easily searchable, but odds are it's not available in your country yet. Read More
I'll be blunt—it's been a long time since I've cared about the availability of CyanogenMod nightlies. It's not that I have anything against flashing custom ROMs. It's just in the past several years, stock Android has been pretty good. Even the skinned versions like HTC Sense have reached a point where I feel fine leaving them alone.
But then I got a Moto E, and only a month later, Motorola announced that it didn't have any plans to upgrade the phone to Marshmallow. Sure, it's a cheap little handset, but it's one I like very much. It's small enough to fit nicely in my pockets, it's comfortable to hold, the battery life is great, and non-Verizon models come with virtually no branding. Read More