Would you look at that: the country's two biggest cellular carriers released an update to their respective Android customer apps on the same day. Between the two of them, Verizon's app definitely gets the more interesting additions: My Verizon now lets you pay your bill by scanning it via the camera. Well, the update text says it does - I can't actually find an option to scan my bill anywhere in the (frustratingly disorganized) app.
Mankind loves to obsess over numbers, statistics, and data. Ok, maybe not everybody is stuck on tracking every last thing that happens; but if you're reading this site, there's a good chance you're already checking your monthly activity reports each time Google fires off an email reminder. That addiction to numbers is about to get much more interesting. Google is merging the monthly activity report with Dashboard to produce a super-sized page full of facts and stats about how you're using Google's services.
No one app is going to make an Android device immediately safe from any and all threats, but some can make it easier to remain ever vigilant. viaProtect may one day be such a app. This piece of software gives you a basic idea where the apps installed on your phone or tablet are sending your information. It doesn't go into specifics, but it will at least show you how much of your traffic is encrypted and some other security-related information.
At this point in my life, a solid 70% of everything I've ever said resides on Google's servers somewhere. If the company were to ever close its doors, those words would be lost to history. But that's about to change. Google's rolling out the ability to easily download a copy of your Gmail and Calendar data, so you can migrate it to another service when the unthinkable - or the inevitable - happens.
One more KitKat feature spotlight for the evening. This time, it's Wi-Fi TDLS. Added in Android 4.4, Wi-Fi TDLS, as Google describes it, is "a seamless way to stream media and other data faster between devices already on the same Wi-Fi network." TDLS, for those that don't know, stands for Tunneled Direct Link Setup.
Essentially, Wi-Fi TDLS allows two devices on the same Wi-Fi network to link directly to one another and share data without burdening the network/router/other devices in the process.
If you're the sort who already worries Google has too much of your personal information, this is not for you. For everyone else, Google is reportedly developing a new opt-in data collection service that will reward users for passing additional mobile usage data back to Mountain View. The so-called Mobile Meter app is expected to come to both Android and iOS.
Android already provides Google with various bits of data like location and search activity.
We've all heard the horror stories of overseas data charges where overages can quickly run into the thousands of dollars. If a picture posted (of all places) on a Shakira Facebook fan page is accurate, T-Mobile is set to do away with overseas roaming (at least partially) in more than 100 countries as part of Uncarrier Phase 3. The announcement is coming today at 8:15PM eastern. Note: Check the update below.
Update: Verizon has responded to our inquiry about the Nexus 7 LTE registration issues. A company representative said that the Nexus 7 LTE would be certified for the Verizon network at some point.
That isn't much to go on, but it's certainly promising - it implies that Verizon is at least aware of the problem and taking steps towards upgrading the company's infrastructure to compensate. Of course, it could take any amount of time for Verizon to certify a new, unlocked device for their network (and Verizon isn't exactly known for speedy response when it comes to devices and software).
Everyone held out hope that when carriers started offering shared data allowances, it would actually be a good deal. Oh, how naïve we were. The plans on AT&T proved to be a little pricey, especially for those who only needed a little data. Well, Ma Bell is trying to make it right with some more low-end plans at 300MB and 2GB.
These new plans slot in on either side of the 1GB plan, which used to be the low end.
While the Explorer Editions of Google Glass are making their way out to the lucky early adopters (with extra cash), the rest of the world is wondering when it can get its eyeballs on the product. According Eric Schmidt speaking to Radio 4, the answer is roughly a year from now.
He also believes that the technology behind Google Glass goes beyond just this one product: