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
Google I/O this year was absolutely packed full of exciting announcements not just for Android, but all sorts of stuff. From Project Soli and Jacquard to less exciting but much more practically relevant things like new Cast APIs, along with an absolutely slew of Android M features, there was a ton going on at this year's show.
So, what at this year's show got you most excited? There really was a lot, so much that we're still digging through it at all (especially in regard to Android M), so think carefully, and check out our feature spotlight series if you're not sure you're remembering everything. Read More
Automatic is an interesting hardware-software combo that makes information from your vehicle accessible on your phone via an SDK and a series of apps. It's an interesting idea (even if the nondescript name makes it nearly impossible to Google for), and thanks to a standard OBD-Bluetooth setup and a relatively decentralized structure, it doesn't require any subscription fees. You do have to buy the adaptor, of course, and it's relatively pricey at $99.95. But right now you can grab a 20% discount.
Head over to the Automatic online store, which for the moment is only shipping to the US. Enter the code ATP2014 before you check out to take twenty bones off the price. Read More
Amazon's voice-controlled, web-connected life manager thing, the Echo, is about as close as you can get to a conceptual product while still asking people to pay for it. But to its credit, Amazon seems to be constantly improving Echo by expanding its functionality. The latest update makes Echo compatible with Google Calendar (one of the web services offered by Google that Amazon doesn't directly compete with) thanks to a selection of voice commands.
According to an email sent to Echo owners, you can now ask Echo (or Alexa, if you've allowed your semi-sentient monolith to retail a sense of identity) "What's on my calendar" to get a quick overview of your upcoming events. Read More