Google Photos is constantly improving and quickly becoming one of my favorite Google services. From shared albums to automatic labeling of people and things, to an exhaustive search function, it's so easy to just upload thousands of photos and let Google take care of managing and organizing them for me. The big annoyance that I kept facing was that plenty of my old photos were tagged with the wrong date and time because they were taken with a standalone camera on which I'd never bothered to adjust the time settings. This resulted in hundreds of photos showing up in the years 1969 (this is not a pun, I swear) and 1980 for some random reason, even though I wasn't even born then. Read More
The Nexus Player was Google's first take on Android TV, and it wasn't very good. It's gone from the Google Store now, so good riddance? Well, there isn't exactly a replacement yet. Read More
The Raspberry Pi 3 appears to be on track to receive official AOSP support from Google. At least, that is the most obvious conclusion based on the fact that Google has created a code repository for it within the same directory that also includes the Nexus devices and generic source code.
The Raspberry Pi 3, the latest iteration of the cheap, simple, and small computer, is marketed as a device to promote more engagement with computer science and programming. It has also gained a great deal of support from DIY types, who have rigged them up for all manner of uses. Read More
The problem of having files stored in the cloud is that they're not accessible when you're offline. For a while now, Google has been attempting to change this by making files on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides available to download for offline viewing or editing.
With the latest update to the three apps, any file that has recently been opened will be downloaded to your device. (Note: Slides has not rolled out yet, but we'll let you know when it does.) If you lose your internet connection, this file will be available offline. The changes you make will then be synced back once you've got an internet connection. Read More
The camera might be, overall, the most complained-about feature in stock Android. While other flagship devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7, the iPhone 6S, and the HTC 10 have gratuitous features provided in their camera apps, the Nexus devices have none. No white balance adjustments, shutter speed corrections, or different filters. Maybe the most obvious option that has been missing is exposure settings, which just about every other device worth its salt has.
However, if dev preview 2 and 3 are of any indication, an option to make changes to exposure may be coming back. In Dev Preview 2, the Pixel C had a Manual Exposure toggle under 'Advanced' in Settings. Read More
The saga of "full importance" notification levels in Android N continues. The feature was introduced in the first developer preview as a more granular control method for notification settings, then it was further modified in the second developer preview with some shuffling and renaming of the different levels and the addition of a sixth one, and now in the third developer preview, we're seeing one more option: Automatic importance. Read More
It's alright if you've already forgotten about Project Soli - with all of the crazy futuristic stuff that the Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team works on, it's easy to get confused. Essentially, Soli is a system that adapts radar-style techniques into tiny hardware in order to enable the tracking of hands and fingers (or anything else, really) which in turn allows software to recognize hand gestures with precision and accuracy that beats anything on the consumer market today. It's pretty cool - watch this video from last year's Google I/O for a crash course. Read More
Fans of the burgeoning art of 360-degree short-form storytelling have probably been enamored by Google's Spotlight Stories, a series of videos designed to highlight the narrative potential of the VR format. The latest one is Pearl, a sort of extended animated music video about a man, his daughter, and the beat-up hatchback car that they share over about 20 years. The short is directed by Patrick Osbourne, and the original song "No Wrong Way Home" was written by Alexis Harte and JJ Weisler and performed by Nicki Bluhm and Kelley Stoltz. Read More
Project Ara was supposed to go into public testing last year, but that didn't happen. Google has been quiet about the state of its modular smartphone since then, but now there's a new demo video. It shows off some weird modules, but what about a release date? Well, there's nothing for regular people, but a developer edition will be available this fall. Read More