As a former student of archaeology, Machu Picchu is a place that has always fascinated me. As someone direly afraid of heights, Machu Picchu is a place I will almost certainly never go, barring the invention of personal air transport. As such, today I was quite pleased to learn that Google's globetrotting street view team has mapped the ancient city-temple-palace-agrarian-center with a backpack of many, many cameras.
Machu Picchu sits nearly 8000 feet above sea level, and its real purpose still largely eludes archaeologists and ancient historians to this day. While it's clear it housed royalty and peasants alike, was used for religious purposes, commerce, and extensive agriculture, exactly why it made sense to the Inca to build what essentially amounted to a mountaintop city remains unclear.
Aralon: Sword and Shadow HD, is one of the most ambitious 3D mobile RPGs in memory. It also had nary an in-app purchase, something that has become sadly uncommon in this day and age of freemium. After two-and-a-half years, Crescent Moon Games has released the sequel. Meet Aralon: Forge and Flame.
Visuals look very substantially improved from the original, which is probably to be expected given how far mobile graphics have come since early 2013. The game promises a "massive" world to explore, three races and four classes to choose from, real-time shadows, first and third-person views, and dynamic day and night cycles.
This may come as a surprise, but some people really hate spending money on apps. They're willing to deal with banner ads, pop-ups, videos, and any number of intrusions before approaching a button in the Play Store with the letters b, u, or y. Amazon figures there's money to be made off these folks, and Amazon Underground is its effort to do so. Now the retailer is expanding the service to Italy, Spain, and fourteen other parts of Europe.
There's a surprisingly wide variety of content available for Google's dirt-cheap Cardboard VR system, but not many ways for end users to make use of it for their personal media. Enter Cardboard Camera, a new Google app that allows you to take a series of photos and automatically format them for the stereoscopic, 360-degree headset. (You don't need the headset to take the photos, but you'll need one to view the results in VR.) The app even records a little of the ambient sound in the area while you're taking all the necessary photos, so you can create a complete scene.
It really stinks when you've been saving up your Google Opinion Rewards money, but you're just a few cents short of buying something. Google has not thus far allowed you to apply that credit and pay the difference, but it looks like that's changing. We've gotten multiple tips from readers who have been offered just that option in the Play Store.
The Photos app saw a small bump to v1.10 yesterday (and a tiny bug fix today), but it seems most people will be hard pressed to find much in the way of changes. However, there seems to be one interesting feature popping up for a very small number of users. If the right circumstances are met, users will have an option to create a tiny floating shortcut to the Photos app over the screen of their camera apps. Yeah, it sounds pretty weird, but it would be useful for apps that don't offer a shortcut of their own.
Like many apps these days, Evernote has a beta program. An interesting new feature just popped up in the most recent beta version on this app. In v7.5 beta 2, there's a feature for making quick notes right from the notification shade. Evernote even pops up a splash screen to tell you about it after the new version is installed.
It's easy to laugh at Yahoo. Other tech brands like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have grown in prominence over the last ten years. But rather than improve, Yahoo has mostly just continued. It's still a giant presence. Millions of people use its services. It just doesn't grab headlines like the competition.
Well, Yahoo has now re-released one of its most widely known properties, Yahoo Messenger.
It was just a matter of time. Emojis are an intricate part of how we communicate nowadays and every OS is trying to catch up with the latest updates and additions to Unicode. iOS 9.1 added tons of emojis, Android is about to get them soon, WhatsApp followed Apple's trail on iOS and Web, and now it's ready to start rolling these emojis to its Android client.
Version 2.12.372 (followed by a likely bug fix in 2.12.373), which is released by the company for testing on its site before global rollout on the Play Store, reorganized the emojis into new categories and added dozens upon dozens of new ones, similar to what you must have seen if you use WhatsApp Web or the iPhone app.