Alarm.com sounds like a website whose sole purpose is starting your day with a broken laptop. Turns out it's a home automation service. The site can manage your security alarm systems, locks, lights, thermostats, and garage doors. Using "scenes," it can manage multiples at once with a single button press.
With the latest update, this functionality has come to the Android app. Read More
There comes a moment when you're making a recording where you wish you could zoom in. Well, you can, and now Snapchat has made that something that only requires one hand. Read More
Many YouTube Red subscribers aren't making use of the dedicated YouTube Music app yet, but it remains one of the somewhat unique perks of the program. Since launch, the app hasn't seen all that many changes, but updates have been coming out pretty regularly with little tweaks and adjustments. Last week, an unexpected jump from v1.20 to v1.25 suggested some big changes were afoot. A teardown didn't reveal anything of substance – just some minor visual tweaks – but a new changelog has come out since the release of v1.26 this week, and gives us something a little more meaningful.
- New: Listen to your YouTube playlists in the YouTube Music app!
Google's Camera app isn't the most advanced tool for taking photos. It completely avoids manual controls and generally lags behind OEMs for most major features. Where it's lacking in advanced features, the Camera app tries to make up for with a simple interface and clever techniques to intelligently deliver better photos without putting the burden on users. This means it works pretty well for simple point-and-shoot purposes, but skilled and professional photographers aren't likely to give it a second look. A teardown of a recent Camera update shows that Google is testing an option to save both RAW and JPEG files with each picture, a popular feature on many dedicated cameras and high-end smartphones. Read More
Evernote is a place for storing notes, and not just the ones you've typed up. You're welcome to scan documents and upload them to the service. Alternatively, you can whip out your phone, open the app, and take a picture.
With the latest update, Evernote has enhanced the photo-capturing experience. Read More
Pocket began as a way to save a website and read it later. But like any company providing a free service, Pocket started using the information it gathered on users to make recommendations. Then it introduced a way to follow friends and interesting strangers in order to keep up with what they're reading and read their comments. What began as a useful web utility has turned into a social network. Read More
There are a few ways to enable 2-factor authentication. One common approach is to send a text message to your phone containing an authentication token. Another option is to have an app installed that will generate that string of numbers without making you wait.
There are a few apps out there that will do the job. Google Authenticator is one. Another is Authy, which was acquired by Twilio a year ago. The latest version of the latter adds support for six, seven, and eight digit authentication tokens. Not only that, it makes those digits significantly easier to read. Read More
The idea of contactless payments has turned out to be an unusually divisive topic. Some people are certain that we're only a couple of years away from abandoning physical credit cards in favor of using smartphones at the checkout line, while others see it as an obnoxious novelty that slows down everything and should be ignored. Whatever the case, it's interesting to watch the progress of mobile payment methods as they grow and evolve in an effort to capture consumer interest. The latest update to Android Pay v1.3 doesn't appear to bring any immediately available new features, but a teardown reveals that we will soon have the option to use certain types of cards without unlocking our phones. Read More
Many of Google's apps are in extremely active development, some are even on weekly update schedules, but there are others that seem practically abandoned until they get that one random update every 6 months or so. With an average of about once per year (so far), Authenticator is easily one of the best examples of the latter group. Given the infrequency of new versions, it's a little disheartening to see that there are no discernable new features in the latest release; but it's actually worse than that, one was even taken away. But don't let this get you down, it looks like this little app may be due for some new tricks soon as it may be entering wireless territory. Read More
Account management apps aren't the most exciting pieces of software. Reading about one is liable to be even less interesting when you can't even get the service in your area. I understand. Having to write about Google Fiber when I can't get it doesn't feel much better.
But those of you in Fiber cities deserve coverage too. Read More