Google announced a new feature of Google Now at I/O this year called Now on Tap. It hasn't been available in any of the Android M developer previews, but it looks like one of the more exciting things to happen to Now since its introduction in 2012. Most of the original Google Now developers won't be around to see it, though. According to Re/code, many engineers that helped make Google Now a reality left in the months before I/O. Read More
One of the nice things about sending traditional SMS messages is the option not to type them. Using the Google app (or an Android Wear device), you can just say "OK Google, send a text to Mom: Look Ma, no hands!" You can do the same through Hangouts and email. The feature is a life saver while driving, when messages would otherwise go unanswered.
Now you're able to use third-party messengers as well. Google has announced support for WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram, and NextPlus. Just say "send a Viber message" or "send a Telegram message" in place of text or email. Read More
YouTube's Offline Playback feature was first introduced alongside Music Key back in November, finally giving people a way to store a (limited) selection of videos for trips into areas with poor connectivity, or just to avoid using up capped data plans. While it has remained mostly unchanged in the last 8 months, the latest update finally brings a few modifications. The interface is now a bit more informative and uniform, and there's a new low-quality option (which is actually a good thing). A teardown also revealed some big improvements to the voice command interface that has been in the works for a while. Read More
If you want to do absolutely everything from the "OK Google" voice prompt in Android... well, you can't. You can't, say, fire a rocket at the moon, or end world hunger, or have a dachshund puppy delivered to your doorstep. But developer João Dias is trying his darnedest to make all of that happen, and with the latest update to his AutoRemote app, it's getting closer and closer. You might even be able to make that rocket thing happen if you know someone at NASA.
Version 3.0.43 adds integration with the popular If This, Then That (IFTTT) web automation service, and by extension, all of the various web services and automated gadgets that IFTTT connects to. Read More
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan started yesterday evening, making today the first full day of fasting for over a billion people around the world. For roughly the next 30 days, Muslims will abstain from food and drink during daylight hours.
That means many of you are turning to your phones to look up sunrise and sunset times, along with other relevant information. As a result, Google has decided to put it all in one place by launching My Ramadan Companion.
My Ramadan Companion provides recipes and information on local shops, along with sources of entertainment such as funny videos and helpful tutorials available on YouTube. Read More
We've known that Microsoft has big plans for its Google Now-style Cortana service, and those extend beyond Windows on both the phone and desktop. The company has finally shared when it intends to make good on those plans. A blog post says that Cortana (named for the female AI in the Halo series of shooters) will be coming to Android as a beta sometime in July. Windows 10, which will include Cortana for desktops and laptops, is scheduled to be released on July 29th.
Microsoft says that the Android app will be "working as a companion to Cortana on your Windows 10 PC." Exactly what that means isn't clear, but it seems that Microsoft may limit Cortana on Android to Windows 10 users, at least initially. Read More
Among all the interesting tweaks to Android M, the new Google Now on Tap feature has the potential to be the most revolutionary. We won't know for sure until later, though. Google doesn't plan to make this feature fully functional until Android M is officially released.