There was a time, several years ago, when SMS notifications were very handy. Twitter, Google Calendar, and many other services, used the 160 characters to let you know of any changes to your schedule, new mentions and direct messages, and surfaced other useful information to you. But in today's age, where smartphones are so ubiquitous and you could get one for less than $100, SMS is taking a step back to regular notifications from installed apps. Read More
If you have an LG G Watch R, you're probably aware of the Wi-Fi drama following Android Wear 5.1.1's release for the watch. While Google had announced Wi-Fi support for the platform's update in general, it turned out that the G Watch R didn't have the certifications necessary to boast that function, although technically the hardware was very capable of it. LG then let us know that it's working on a patch to enable Wi-Fi (and presumably on getting all the right certifications) but that it wouldn't be released before July. Read More
Even with a major infusion of horsepower with devices like the NVIDIA SHIELD and Razer Forge TV, the biggest thing holding back the Android TV platform is a scarcity of apps compared to more mature alternatives like Roku. It looks like Google is quickly trying to close the gap: in addition to the announcement of HBO Now (currently exclusive to Apple hardware) at Google I/O, a handful of high-profile and formerly unavailable apps are also making their way to Android TV in the near future. Read More
A couple weeks back, we reported on a widespread problem with OK Google "From any screen" (AKA "OK Google Everywhere") on the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Namely, it was gone. While the hotword still worked from the Google Now Launcher and other third party launchers with such functionality hacked in, most S6 and S6 Edge owners were unable to use the "from any screen" functionality because the option simply disappeared. Read More
Smart Lock Passwords is Google's recent and ambitious attempt at simplifying logins everywhere, be it apps on Android or websites on Chrome. The functionality first showed up on the Android M Developer Preview then quickly went live for older versions of Android and got its own web interface.
Because the idea behind Smart Lock is that you only have to be logged into your Google account, and sign into your various apps / sites once for the credentials to be associated with your account and used automatically going forward, Google had a very interesting code name for the option that Artem picked up at I/O from one of the company's engineers: YOLO. Read More
The folders in Google's stock Google Now Launcher are currently restricted to just 16 entries (four rows of four). That's going to change very soon. The version of GNL that ships with the Android M preview has folders that automatically paginate when you add more than 16 apps. How many pages can you have? I'm not sure as I have yet to hit the limit.
As Googler Andy Bohm notes on G+, Google's Privacy team didn't appear on stage during the I/O keynote this year, but that doesn't mean the team didn't have anything awesome to talk about. Specifically, Google has launched a revitalized account management interface. The new My Account page injects privacy and security settings with simple navigation, easily understood explanations, and tons of awesome illustrations to walk users through checking, changing, and otherwise managing their account/privacy settings.
Chances are your Google account has a lot of information about you, and managing that information is important, so it's nice to see continued efforts from Google to make that process easier to understand and execute (Google's privacy checkup took me <60 seconds before finishing this post). Read More