Google has been branching out into new areas recently with the acquisition of Nest and Dropcam, but now it has partnered with TP-Link to make something new—a WiFi router called the OnHub. I know, you've already got a router, but this one looks pretty great as far as routers go. It will automatically adjust channels and bandwidth to suit your usage, it remembers your devices, it's got a speaker/Bluetooth, and there's a mobile app to manage it all.
You've probably heard of Shazam. You fire up the app when a song is playing that you can't remember the name of. It will do a little magic trick, then come back with the answer and maybe even lyrics. Google's Sound Search widget does something similar, and following the update contained within the latest Android Marshmallow developer preview, it looks more up-to-date doing it.
The widget doesn't just come with a new style. The developers have also tweaked the functionality. Now the widget launches into the Google Search app's sound recognition interface rather than inside the widget itself. And there's a 1x1 widget option to choose from.
Between the Chrome extension, the Chrome app, Gmail, Inbox, and Google+, there are plenty of ways you can sign in to Hangouts while you're at a computer. But maybe you need one more. Today Google has launched hangouts.google.com. You're welcome.
Hangouts' dedicated website provides a single obvious way to access your contacts list and start chatting, as the URL is one you could probably guess. The site lets you open up multiple conversations at once just as you've been doing in Gmail since the dawn of time. You can also start group conversations, place a voice call, or fire up the webcam.
The news late last week for Google's modular smartphone initiative was not good. After promising a real world test of Project Ara would take place in 2015, Google finally had to pull back and cancel those plans. A series of tweets today at least provides some clues as to what's next for Ara. There are three tweets which conveniently answer the questions—when, where, and why?
All over the world, countries and the people who live in them are looking for ways to tap into renewable energy. Solar power seems like one of the more obvious ways to reduce our environmental impact and maybe even save money, but the process of getting started serves as a deal-breaker for many of us. How much does installation cost, and will it even be worth it?
Since this is 2015, Google is one of the first places we turn to with these questions. Seeing this, Google has announced an initiative that will consolidate this information in one place. It's calling this effort Project Sunroof.
It has been almost a month since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out to users, and as of yesterday, it is in wide release to everybody. A previous blog post by Google discussed the big new feature for developers would be the Nearby Messages API, but it turns out there are a couple of other additions worth checking out. In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced a new Mobile Vision API with the ability to detect the presence, orientation, and some details of faces when they are in frame on an active camera.
Google's Niantic Labs is perhaps best known as the developer of the popular augmented reality game Ingress (it also makes the exploration app Field Trip). In the wake of the Alphabet announcement, Niantic is leaving Google behind, but not in the way you think. Google is spinning off the developer completely, turning it into an independent company.
Android offers developers a great deal of freedom to experiment with apps and come up with (maybe) the next big thing. Now Google has launched a website where it plans to show off some of the most interesting projects on Android. It's called Android Experiments and there are already 20 apps and demos to check out.
After a controversial edit or two appeared in Map Maker alongside an uptick in spam, Google decided to halt user submissions while it figured out a way to deal with things. Now the company is starting to open Map Maker back up to users. It's doing so gradually. The first phase announced includes the countries of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, Philippines, and Ukraine.
Previously Google automatically approved most submissions. A Googler would then review edits manually, especially if community members brought something to the company's attention. The hope was that users would police themselves.
Rather than develop new systems or allocate more employees, Google is increasing its reliance on the community to solve the problem.