Yesterday brought the beginning of the rollout of a new and fresh Google+ website on both desktops and mobile browsers. The focus in Google's announcement was on the redesign, the bold colors, and the improved access to Collections and Communities, but there's a better story hiding there for everyone, especially me. (Excuse my selfishness.)
The previous Google+ page was a complete nightmare to load. I am bound by a stupid slow 512Kbps connection, and if you had ever tried to check Google+ on any connection slower than a few Mbps, you'd have a different outlook on life. While waiting for the home feed to load over the previous years, I've questioned the meaning of life, my annoying luck of being born in a country with such slow ADSL speeds, I've thanked my lucky stars for having access to an Internet connection to begin with, I've wanted to smash my computers and routers, I've laughed and teared up and played a bit of basketball and ate falafel and dispensed a few prescriptions to my patients, I've done some introspective thinking, watched half an episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine, and more... Read More
This isn't the first time we've reported about Google's deplorable policies for removing apps from the Play Store. One day you're the developer of an extremely popular app, distributing it to thousands of users, the next it's poof gone with no warning, no explanation, and no way to easily communicate with the team to understand what has gone wrong.
The latest victim is the famous and ridiculously powerful Tasker app. Tasker has been available on Android since time immemorial and has made many a user extremely happy with its extensive featureset. Want to turn on the popcorn machine when you yell "movie time!" at your phone? Read More
Google consists of at least one, maybe two, trillion departments, and they each adopt new visual styles at their own pace. Even then, interfaces can vary from one device to another. Google+ looks one way in the Android app and another way entirely when you sign on from a PC. Now this particular Google department is pushing out a more unified look across devices, starting with the web. Read More
Last month Google raised the maximum price of apps and in-app purchases on the Play Store in many markets, sometimes doubling the highest available price tier. Now they're going the other way, lowering the minimum price for a handful of countries that currently have access to paid apps on the Store. Oh, and this time they wrote a blog post, so your friendly neighborhood tech blogger doesn't have to track down each individual change and write them out. Thanks, Google!
Here's the list of changes by country:
- Brazil: R$ 0.99 (was R$2.00)
- Chile: CLP $200.00 (was CLP $500.00)
- Colombia: COP$ 800.00 (was COP$ 2000.00)
- Hungary: Ft 125.00 (was Ft 225.00)
- Indonesia: Rp 3,000.00 (was Rp 12,000.00)
- Malaysia: RM 1.00 (was RM 3.50)
- Mexico: MXN$ 5.00 (was MXN$ 9.90)
- Peru: S/.
Google gives you a choice when you back up your images to Google Photos: do you save them at their original size or do you let Google store a compressed "high quality" version? The former counts against your storage space, while the latter doesn't. Unfortunately when you choose one, you're kind of stuck with the decision. You can opt to change how you save future photos, but you can't go back to compress those shots you previously saved at their original quality.
This is about to change. Tomorrow, Google will introduce the option to downgrade those previously uploaded images. Read More
Living in Lebanon, I'm used to seeing limited app compatibility on the Play Store. Some apps are just not available in my country for a logical reason, others aren't because who-knows-why, and a few are limited to carriers or specific devices. I am, however, definitely not used to seeing "You don't have any devices" on every single app that I visit on the Play Store, which is what happened to me yesterday. I chalked it off as the Play Store being the Play Store, which is to say sometimes weird and slow to realize that I have at least 7 different Android devices that the app can be installed on, and moved on. Read More
You never needed to phrase a search as a question in order for Google to provide an answer, but that didn't stop many of us from doing so anyway. And this was before smartphones and tablets started prompting us to ask questions using our voice. Fortunately, the habit hasn't stopped Google from telling us what we want to know, and now the search engine is becoming smart enough to understand some of our more complicated questions. Read More
Soon after the announcements of Google's 2015 Nexus phones, it came to light that both of them would have band 12 on T-Mobile's network disabled at launch pending certification from the carrier. It now appears that the wait is over, at least for the Nexus 6P.
T-Mobile has now added Google's larger 2015 flagship to its list of devices compatible with band 12. What we don't know, however, is when owners will get the required software update to enable the functionality. Read More
After a series of shootings and explosions occurred in Paris Friday evening, Google has made calls to France via its Hangouts service temporarily free. Callers can use the Hangouts app on Android, iOS, and the web to place calls to the country without incurring the normal international charges. The Google+ post making the announcement did not specify any particular countries, so presumably free calls are available from any location where Hangouts can be used. It's not clear if Google Voice users are also being given free calls. Read More
Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Becoming a Local Guide is as easy as visiting this sign-up page. Read More