Optical character recognition, also known as OCR, is really an amazing technology. If you aren't familiar, it takes images and reads the text on them. For PDFs, it can make the words it finds searchable, selectable, and whatever else you may want to do with them. The better implementations of OCR work well enough that they pretty much make CAPTCHAs pointless. And while Google Drive has offered this function in English for over a year now, it is now rolling it out to over 200 different languages. Read More
Magically uploading every photo you take on your phone isn't a new feature these days. The major cloud storage providers all prompt you to fill their servers with shots of your lunches, vacations, and nudes. Now you can add Flickr to the list with the release of version 4.0.
Except this isn't actually the first time Flickr has announced the new feature for Android. The feature originally known as Auto Sync is now named the Auto-Uploadr (those pesky e's). Read More
Let's be honest here: you really don't give a crap about Arbor Day. But if you forget to record the season finale of The Flash, you're going to be out three bucks for a Google Play episode purchase. To help alleviate this first-world problem, Microsoft subsidiary Sunrise Calendar has added hundreds of TV shows across dozens of networks to its "Interesting Calendars" feature, allowing for quick and easy TV scheduling on top of its usual handy interface. Read More
There's a nifty feature lurking in the latest Chrome Beta (and dev, for that matter) version on Android. If you download a file and there happens to be a file of the same name already in your downloads directory, Chrome asks if you want to replace it. That's a kindness even desktop Chrome doesn't provide.
Teardowns can bring both good and bad news. At times, I've been afraid to write about things buried in the dark corners of an apk because they would be misunderstood or make people angry. Then there are times that I see something and I can't wait to tell everybody about it. This is one of the good times. I know people want this, so here it is: Inbox is finally going to offer email signatures. Read More
In just 3 weeks, we expect Google to officially announce a new subscription option that will allow users to enjoy YouTube completely ad-free. In the lead-up to this, both the web service and its Android apps have received a swarm of updates and features. In just the last month, there has been a revised web player, search for 360-degree videos, and some improvements to YouTube Kids (with more to come). Read More
Besides a dogfood version of Play Games, update Wednesday brought us a new version of Play Books - 3.4.5. The changes in this update aren't major (or even immediately apparent), but they are worth taking a quick look at.
First up, there's a brand new translation interface. Rather than a toolbar and sheet overlay, the new translate interface lives on a card, just like the existing notes and dictionary interfaces. Here's a quick before and after.
Left: Play Books 3.3 Right: Play Books 3.4
Next up, new changes to notes. The ability to take notes in a book was present in 3.3, but users could not do that in a free sample of a book. Read More
Snapchat 9.7 is here, and it packs two new features. They don't fundamentally change the app. In fact, if you blink you might miss them.
The first item on the changelog deals with snaps highlighted in Discover. If you recall, this is the part of the app that shows content from the likes of CNN and National Geographic. You can now tap and hold on the center to share a clip with friends. Snapchat lets you add a caption, doodles, and filters before sending it off.
The second addition is the ability to zoom into video while you're recording. Read More
Toddlers deserve teardowns too! Ok, maybe teardowns are still for grownups, but let's do something for those little ones that haven't learned to read xml yet. The YouTube Kids app has only been available since late February, so it's fair to expect a lot of changes and new features in each release. Last week's update brought immersive mode and better voice search, but a look inside revealed that there are some extra toys in the future. To begin with, it looks like Chromecast support is right around the corner. However, the really cool addition appears to be a built-in recording mode to capture your little one singing along to The Wheels On The Bus. Read More
A relatively small Google Maps update to v9.8 began rolling out last week, adding batch photo uploads and a way to restrict bookings from showing up in location screens. It turns out there was another secret feature waiting to be shown off. In the latest version, a search for one of four key phrases will pop up results related to your personal bookings. Just try asking for my events, my flights, my hotels, or my reservations to see a short list of personalized results.
This functionality is new to Google Maps on Android (confirmed with v9.7.1), but it's not exactly fresh to Google. Read More