Everyone knows someone who has made the switch from iPhone to Android. This latest convert will surprise you though. It’s GoogleBot – the all-important web crawler used by Google.
GoogleBot is a vital cog in the Google search engine. In its most simplified form, it works by going from website to website and sucking up as much information as it possibly can. The data is then passed to other Google algorithms, where it is processed, ranked, and transformed into search results.
In order for GoogleBot to get all perspectives of a website, it masquerades as different types of devices – a desktop browser, a feature-phone browser, and a smartphone browser. Read More
Along with a handful of new tablets, Amazon has officially announced Fire OS 4 (codenamed Sangria), which it says adds hundreds of new features to the "content-forward" operating system.
First and foremost, Amazon says the user interface in Fire OS has gotten a facelift. Amazon hasn't gone into detail in describing its UI changes, but visual tweaks are certainly welcome to an interface that can at times seem scattered.
Besides that, Amazon is touting new features like ASAP, Smart Suspend, and the addition of individual user profiles to make for easier sharing among families.
ASAP stands for "Advanced Streaming And Protection," a feature from Amazon's Fire TV that attempts to predict what you want to watch next and queue it up automatically for playback as soon as you get done with the current content. Read More
While Instagram is busy rolling out its own "beautiful" (also "gorgeous") video functionality, the folks at Vine are busy making good on the "rapid, significant updates" they promised for this summer, releasing version 1.1 of the service's Android app today.
Responding directly to users' feedback, Vine now includes a "clear cache" option inside the app's settings. Previously, users complained that the app's cache ate up staggering amounts of space.
Besides that, the update brings integration with Facebook, the ability to search for users and individual hashtags (another user request), improvements to capture and sync, and of course "other bug fixes and UI improvements." Vine co-founder and GM Dom Hoffman did after all promise the team would "continue to make changes to take advantage of Android's design principles and patterns."
If you're a Vine user and haven't already grabbed the update, just hit the widget below. Read More
To be perfectly honest, I'm not much of an e-mag guy. I tried Google Currents for a while, but never quite saw the utility of it, and so quickly transitioned back to my beloved Feedly and Google Reader. That's not to say I haven't realized the limitations of RSS many times, though, especially as certain websites I follow look to integrate more multimedia into articles. (Having to use Chrome to listen to audio or video in a weird custom player is really frustrating.) And concededly, apps like Currents look a thousand times better than feeds, which are traditionally text-heavy.
A major update to Flipboard, released today to Google Play, may just get me to reconsider magazine-style news apps. Read More
If you've been paying attention to TV Guide's official app, you know that it's needed some attention for a while. Its UI through version 2.x was an outdated pastiche of Gingerbread tabs and gradated iconography desperately in need of a redesign (and support for 4.0+). Today, TV Guide has fulfilled that need (for the most part), bringing to the Play Store TV Guide Mobile version 3.0. The update also brought "many cool new features" to the app, which we'll discuss momentarily. First though, check out the difference between the old and new interfaces.
After: yay! Read More
Amazon's AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a hugely important web service that is responsible for much of Amazon's functionality, and plenty of content you look at every day (remember that time Reddit, Flipboard, Netflix, and others simultaneously stuttered in part of the US?). Looking to keep AWS account holders connected to their services and abreast of service health while on the go, Amazon released its official AWS Console app to the Play Store today.
Amazon calls the console a "good companion" to the web interface, and it brings much of the key functionality AWS users will be looking for, from seeing a general overview of your EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing) instances and CloudWatch alarms to the ability to stop or reboot EC2 instances, to viewing AWS service health statuses. Read More
In its One X+ announcement, HTC also announced some changes to Sense. While none were groundbreaking (so don't expect a visual overhaul) and not a lot of details were revealed, the company did mention a few things were being upgraded.
Protip: the image on the left is gigantic when full-sized. Apparently HTC's target date was September 24.
The camera software seems to have received the bulk of the changes, starting with the front-facer, which now includes Self Portrait mode (previewed below, left). As you'd expect, it makes taking self-shots easier by "detecting the human face at various angles and applying subtle enhancements to skin and eyes" - in other words, it auto-'Shops you. Read More
Today it was learned, through a US Patent and Trademark Office filing, that Google has been granted a patent concerning the logging in of multiple users by facial recognition.
Typically, the granting of yet another tech patent wouldn't be extraordinarily interesting news. But given the fact that Google's latest patent relates to multiple user support, and the fact that code meant for multiple user support has been sitting right under our noses in AOSP for some time now, patent number 8,261,090 is definitely worth discussing.
Without quoting the entire 17,000 word filing, patent '090 essentially covers methods that allow a "computing device" to recognize one or more users' identities based on facial recognition, and then give them access to resources specifically assigned to them. Read More
It's not every day that I get excited when I look at a UI demo, largely because they tend to end up being vaporware. But it's hard to ignore a revolutionary UI when one comes along - and that's exactly what Chameleon is:
Still not sold? Check out this demo video from 2 months ago, when Chameleon was first announced:
It's certainly a stunning UI, and one that manages the rare feat of being equal parts beautiful and functional. But there's a catch: the company initially intended to sell Chameleon to OEMs, but it seems they couldn't find a buyer - so they're taking to Kickstarter. Read More
JRummy, the developer behind Root Browser, Ultimate Backup, BusyBox Installer, and a handful of other awesome apps, has put ROM Toolbox on sale in the Play Store for just $2.99 (a cool 50% off its usual price) and plans to donate half of all the sale's revenue to the Testicular Cancer Society.
For those not familiar, ROM Toolbox is a rooted user's dream app, combining the best parts of SetCPU, Root Browser, Font Installer, Terminal Emulator, ROM Manager, and a ton of other root tools into one 3.7MB package, providing a truly impressive array of features which allow users to control just about every aspect of their device from a single app. Read More