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Android M To Introduce Granular Permission Control

Remember App Ops? Back in Jelly Bean 4.3, the feature could be accessed by resourceful users to switch on or off permissions for individual apps. By KitKat 4.4.2, the feature was completely hidden from users. Google's explanation was that App Ops was never meant for public consumption - it was devised for internal debugging only. But users had gotten a taste of granular app permission controls and wanted more.

After some rumblings earlier this month, we've seen information suggesting that - with Android M - that wish may be fulfilled after all.

Disclaimer: No matter the confidence level, there's always a chance product updates, features, and some or all details will be changed or cancelled altogether.
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Google Releases Spotlight Stories App With Support For Non-Motorola Devices And A New Story, Free For A Limited Time

Owners of Motorola's newer Android devices are probably familiar with Spotlight Stories. Those are the immersive animated shorts that are available via the built-in Spotlight Player app. Now Google has released a new Spotlight Stories app that has all three shorts from the Motorola experience, but adds a new live-action film called Help.

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Google's New Photos App Will Get More Transparent Settings For Photo Backup

We've already taken an extensive look at all the options and interface changes in the new and unreleased Google Photos app that should be decoupling from Google+ and hitting our devices sometime down the line, and now it's time to peek behind the scenes at the app's settings, specifically its backup options.

With the current Photos app, the first run asks you to enable or disable photo backup and asks whether you want to use cellular networks or not. The new Photos app adds another step in this process where it lets you set up high quality photo uploads (unlimited) or original full resolution ones (using whatever Google storage you have available), saving you from having to dig into settings to switch to your preferred upload size.

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Google Makes The Roboto Typeface Open Source

 

With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google introduced Roboto to the world. Since then, the family (designed by Googler Christian Robertson) has expanded to include a set of slab serif fonts, and has even seen a major revision introduced with Android 5.0 last year.

Today, Google has announced the next step in Roboto's history - making the entire family open source, and reorganizing its production toolchain around open source tools like ufo2fdk and FontTools.

According to Google, the effort to open source Roboto succeeded thanks to collaboration between material design, internationalization engineering, Google fonts, and Android teams.

For reference, the family now includes more than 40,000 total glyphs which span all Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek characters, making Roboto an immensely informative family to study.

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[Probably Not Ready Yet] Verizon Appears To Be Gearing Up To Activate Any Nexus 6 Through Normal Procedures, Not Just Ones Sold By The Carrier, And There's An OTA Going Out For It

As is well known by now, Verizon Wireless has, thus far, refused to activate any Nexus 6 that wasn't purchased from the carrier, at least through official procedures. Thankfully, it would appear that things are ready to change.

Nexus 6 owners on Verizon are now reporting that their non-VZW Nexus 6s are showing up on their accounts as "Nexus 6 Non VZW," rather than just a generic "Non-VZW Device" as it had in the past. This is huge for anyone who has wanted Verizon as an option for their device. With all that said, don't go running down to your Verizon store to activate service yet, as it might not be ready for prime time.

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[Rumor] Google Taking Renewed Focus On Battery And RAM In Android M, Dev Preview Expected Again This Year

Photo credit: Jamie Pearson (CC BY 2.0)

As we all know, Google I/O is right around the corner. So far this year, we haven't seen too many early clues as to what Google will cover in its keynote (though Ars Technica's I/O tracker is a great place to get some ideas) outside of its new Photos app, but we do expect that Google will be telling us about Android M (internally called macadamia nut cookie or MNC).

The specifics of what Android M will bring to the table are still a mystery, but we've heard a few things that could make this an exciting update.

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The New Google Photos App Will Automatically Group Your Images By Faces And Recognized Objects Like Cars, Skylines, And Food

Google's current Photos app uses some image processing smarts to piece together auto-awesome compilations and Stories, but the new Photos experience pushes the limits of computer vision. Not only does it pick out and identify faces, it recognizes objects like cars and food. It's not perfect, but it's sometimes creepily accurate.

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In The New Google Photos App, Autoawesome Becomes 'Assistant,' And Allows For More Manual Creations

We've already taken a brief look at Google's upcoming Photos app and discussed how it will be able to employ link sharing, but there are still other details worth looking at a little closer. One of those is "Assistant," a new screen in the Photos app that seems to replace "Autoawesome" from the app's current iteration. This screen is where users will find automatically-generated stories, animations, movies, and collages, but - happily - users will no longer have to wait and hope for those autoawesome goodies.

In the current Photos app, users can create movies, animations, and mixes (collages), but not stories or albums, two new options added in the upcoming app.

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The New Google Photos App Will Include Photo And Video Link Sharing With Privacy Controls

We gave you an overview of the new Google Photos app earlier today, but there's a lot more to see than can be covered in a single post. We're breaking some of the new features out so we can go over them in detail. First up, the new link sharing component of Google Photos. Not only can you share photos or videos in a snap, you can preserve some of your privacy while doing it.

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An Exclusive Early Look At The New Google Photos App

We've been hearing for a very long time - virtually ever since Vic Gundotra left Google+, with more rumors springing up recently - that Photos would be splitting off from Google's social/sign-in platform. We've heard vague rumblings, and even seen some baby steps toward this split, but now we have something a bit more substantial to go on - an exclusive early look at Google's new Photos app, separate from Google+ and improved in a number of ways.

We won't be treating this as a normal rumor post, because we are certain that what we have seen is the real deal.

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