For Aviate users, 2014 has made for an uncertain year thus far. Yahoo announced its acquisition of the home screen replacement at this year's CES, and we haven't heard a peep since. Well, today the launcher has just received its first major update of the year, and this one includes a new space that activates whenever you plug in a pair of earphones.
Do you use your smartphone while watching TV? Yeah, put your hands down. We're all guilty here. Yahoo hoped to take advantage of this habit of ours with IntoNow, an app that could identify whatever show was on and provide extra information about it (think SoundHound for TV). Yeah, the end result was still distracting, but it could be less disruptive than performing a Google search. Regardless, it doesn't matter anymore.
The Play Store is brimming with alternative home screens, but Aviate was far and away one of the most impressive we saw last year. This beautifully designed launcher takes a completely different approach to organizing your apps and data. Apparently Yahoo was just as impressed as we were because the company just announced at CES that it has acquired Aviate.
In case you missed it, Aviate tracks your usage patterns and groups apps into categories that are presented to you based on the time of day and your location.
Earlier today, we published a first look at what we believed to be a Yahoo!-made competitor to voice assistants like Google Now and Siri. The video, sent to us by an anonymous tipster along with screenshots showed what looked to be a very impressive app with an implementation similar to Facebook's Chat Heads, whereby a Y! icon would constantly float on the home screen waiting to be activated.
This evening, TechCrunch learned through a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects" that the app wasn't real, implying the video was nothing more than a really nice concept demo.
Update 2: According to TechCrunch, and Co-Founder/CEO of natural language processing startup Robin Labs, the app is a real, functional product built on the startup's "white-label" voice assistant platform. While it was not commissioned by Yahoo!, it was created during ongoing discussions with the company. Read the full story here.
Update: According to TechCrunch, who has a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects," the video doesn't depict a real Yahoo!
Yahoo seems to be taking a page out of the NFL's playbook: the official Android app just jumped from version 1.1.4 all the way to 3.2. (It's probably been changed to match the iOS version.) But at least there's plenty of new content to justify the jump. In addition to a new Holo-style user interface sporting the revamped Yahoo logo (which still clings annoyingly to that vestigial "!"), the app has a ton of new options for content consumption.
The one and only Jean-Baptiste Queru (JBQ) has been much beloved by the Android community for his work on the Android Open Source Project at Google, where he was the technical lead. Following a dispute over missing open source drivers a few weeks ago, JBQ departed from Mountain View. Now he's announced his new position... at Yahoo.
Do you remember when Google and Yahoo! were similar brands? Both had search, mail, news, and instant messaging services. Sure, there were technical reasons to prefer one platform over the other, but it was all predominantly a matter of preference. Now, that difference could hardly be starker. One now manages not one but two operating systems, challenging the dominance of the likes of Microsoft and Apple, and has even planted the seeds for a gaming ecosystem that could someday challenge both handheld and tabletop consoles.
The built-in weather reports in Android are still a bit basic, Google Now notwithstanding. That's probably why the Yahoo! Weather app has more than five million downloads: a combination of solid weather stats, multiple cities, and a variety of widgets have won it plenty of fans. Today the app gets a significant update, adding a handful of new features and synergistically bringing Yahoo's Flickr property front and center.
Curated Flickr photos were available in the app before, but now they're the main attraction, expanding to fill the screen in just about every part of the interface.
It was just six weeks ago that we featured Rockmelt, an Android app with a bit of an identity crisis. It didn't know whether it wanted to be an RSS reader or a browser (but it did know it wanted to look like Pinterest). Well, the eponymous company that makes Rockmelt is the latest in a series of acquisitions by Yahoo. And they've killed the Android app deader than a dove at an NRA convention.