Since time immemorial (1998) Google's bread, butter, and raison d'être has been search. Now Google's changing the way search works a bit, empowering users by adding new feedback tools and changing results from their search ranking to bring you more relevant and accurate information. With these changes users should see less in the way of so-called "fake news" and other non-factual content (excluding searches for that material), and more accurate and relevant information pertaining to their search. Read More
When you take that metaphorical first step onto your Android homescreen, the Google search bar is the first thing you see. It floats atop the screen like a banner, saying to the world: "Google made this, also tap on me because I do stuff."
As it turns out, Google is experimenting with making the search bar do more such stuff. In addition to search results, some users are seeing extra options in the dropdown that appears when they perform a search. Read More
It's Nexus Eve Day, and let's be honest, nobody is getting any work done because we're reading all of the exciting news about tomorrow's announcements. Your wish list may already be written and tucked beneath your pillow waiting for St. Matias to give it a look. While we await the big event, Google actually has some of its own official news to share today. As it turns out, Google is raising the maximum apk file size on the Play Store from 50 MB to 100 MB.
The change is largely a formality since the file size restriction is an artificial cap. Read More
We've already seen about a half-dozen Google apps leaked in a Nexus 6 system dump, but we haven't taken a look at Google Drive yet. The app does have some material design in store though - as with the others - it's still in testing, so anything could change. That said, it's worth taking a look. Google Drive has implemented many of the new material design paradigms that make the app cleaner, leaner, and easier to use.
Let's start with the first-run. Google has majorly improved its treatment of imagery in material design, opting for a textured, colorful, graphical style that isn't as flat as its predecessor yet maintains the fun, airy feel that Google imagery is famous for. Read More
SwiftKey's changing again, but don't expect anything drastic this time around. The team has altered the keyboard installation process to make it easier to follow. The new one has fewer steps, reducing how much the user is presented with out of the gate. Read More
As a developer, I absolutely love days like today. If the high-level "improves performance and stability and fixes bugs" changelog of Android 4.1.2 isn't good enough for you, how about we dive into the actual low-level source code commit logs Android engineers made into AOSP since 4.1.1_r1.1 (JRO03D) all the way through today's release 4.1.2_r1 (JZO54K). These commit logs are spread over probably 100+ repositories, so hunting for all of them manually would probably take you days. However, thanks to Al Sutton, you can check them out all in one place.
Be prepared for lots of code jargon and incomplete git commit messages, which probably won't mean much to most of you. Read More
The Amazon Appstore is a great alternative to the Android Market. It's not perfect, however, and today the Appstore fixes a few of the most nagging problems. Not the least of which is those blasted app installation notifications. For those unaware, if you install an app on one device with the Amazon Appstore installed, you'll get a notification that you have a new app waiting on any others with the Appstore installed on. Annoying.
Now, however, you can dive into the Appstore's settings and select which notifications you receive, if any. In addition, the update brings some improvements to messages about payment options and improved app compatibility checks. Read More
Tasker, an extremely versatile (and popular) app which allows users to schedule (and control) various automated tasks, received an update today, bringing the app to version 1.2.
The update brings a handful of important changes, perhaps the most notable being the addition of "Scenes." Using this new feature, Tasker allows users to design custom graphical interfaces, which appear as overlays, dialogs, or full activities.
Besides Scenes, Tasker's latest iteration also fixes compatibility issues with Ice Cream Sandwich, and includes a tweaked home screen, which conveniently divides Profiles, Tasks, and Scenes in an intuitive tabbed interface.
The update also brings the ability to group profiles, tasks, or scenes into "projects," a new Green Power Premium plugin, and a slew of bugfixes and other minor improvements. Read More
It looks like Sprint is changing the way things are done in order to keep up with the competition, which doesn't always translate into good news for the consumer. The early termination fee (ETF) is getting an overhaul that will go into effect on September 9th, which will bump the ETF on "advanced devices" (read: smartphones, tablets, netbooks, and notebooks) up to a maximum of $350, putting The Now Network's policy in line with that of VZW and AT&T. If you're in mid-contract and are thinking of jumping ship, just take the remaining amount of months left in your agreement and multiply by $20 to figure out your exact ETF -- if you have less than 4 months left, though, you'll be spending a minimum of $100. Read More
It looks a lot like Verizon is going to follow in the much-criticized footsteps of AT&T and their tiered data plans, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. Before you scream "travesty!", consider this: Nielson (the company that analyzes everything so others don't have to) has reported that 99% of the 60,000 phone bills they had looked at would benefit from a tiered pricing structure.
The average monthly consumption of mobile data has risen from last year's 90MB up to 298MB this year. This is, obviously, nowhere even close to 5GB that some "unlimited" plans include but also takes non-smartphone users into account. Read More