Before there was Allo and Duo, before Hangouts was unveiled, there was Google Talk. In some ways, it was better than the Hangouts platform that replaced it. Talk had a real desktop app, and if you didn't like it, you could use any XMPP client to communicate. You could even send messages to users on other XMPP-powered services - a huge difference from today's proprietary messaging services. Read More
Multi-window was one of the biggest and most useful additions to Android 7.0 Nougat. It made its debut on Android with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 all the way back in 2012, but it took a full four years to make its way into stock Android. It's since become a staple for many people; the convenience of watching a YouTube video while simultaneously scrolling through a Twitter or Facebook feed just can't be beat. With the O Developer Preview, Google has improved multi-window by enabling users to maintain a view of the app they've minimized when they head into the launcher, as well as expand or maximize it. Read More
Once upon a time, I was able to get most of my communication done through Hangouts. Between its support for standard SMS, Google Voice, and normal Hangouts conversations, it was an incredibly useful tool. It could even merge SMS and Hangouts conversations into the same thread, much like iMessage on the iPhone.
Over the past year or so, Google has been separating all this functionality into standalone apps. Google started asking SMS users to switch to Messages, then removed merged conversations, and finally launched a new separate Google Voice app. The company has also been trying to move people off Hangouts itself, with its new Allo and Duo apps. Read More
Chrome 58 has graduated to beta status, moving one step closer to the stable channel. This time around, Google has been working on new features for Progressive Web Apps (and normal sites), improvements to Chrome Custom Tabs, and more. Read More
Oh Android... you have the most modern and complicated of features, yet every once in a while we're reminded of one basic, really really really really basic, feature that you're still missing. Did you know that you can't easily choose a custom ringtone in Android AOSP? I didn't. I have used LG and Samsung phones for years and it's been ages since I tried to change the default ringtone (my phone is always silent anyway), so all I knew was that I could choose a file manually on these phones. AOSP? Not so. Wh---at?!
See, on Android Nougat in AOSP, if you go to change the ringtone, alarm sound, or notification sound, you can pick one of the default options. Read More
One small change you will notice in Android O is the ability to manually type the date and time when selecting a time. When, several versions of Android ago, Google changed the date and time picker from text-based to a monthly calendar and rolling clock, things did indeed look better and more interactive. However, that made precise minute selection more tedious and annoyed people who prefer text entry to fancy graphics and animations.
In Android O, the time picker (in Calendar, Clock, etc) gets one small added icon at the bottom left: a keyboard. Tapping it switches to text-based entry where you can manually type in the exact time. Read More
The saga of the Play Store's layout changes continues. Have you been keeping track? I have been... trying to. I have to read and edit every single article that gets published on Android Police plus every tips email we get, so I should technically know all the little changes that have been showing up, but I am honestly lost. What change is in a server-side test? What's rolled out to everyone? What's still unreleased? How many changes can Google try out simultaneously? Will this ever end? Why am I spending my days looking at moving pixels and disappearing borders? Oh, we might have gone off-topic a lil'. Read More
Google has many ways to show your travel details starting with Google Now's feed, your Calendar, and the new Trips app. The latter launched last year after a long testing period and aimed to put together your travel reservations from Gmail along with Google's destinations and recommendations under one roof to simplify your trip planning. Now it's reaching version 1.0 and brining a couple more features into the mix.
First, there's now a way to manually add flight and hotel reservations, instead of relying on Gmail. Maybe you don't want the app to go through your inbox to find these emails or maybe, like me, you're planning a trip with someone else and you're not the one receiving all the emails. Read More
In light of all of the Android O news and highlights, let's take a step back and look at something new in the latest 7.1.2 beta build that landed a few days ago. The battery section of the Settings now includes a "Usage alerts" option in the overflow menu, which lists any apps that are consuming too much battery (if any). Read More
You may recall when Google released the first OnHub router, manufactured by TP-LINK, back in 2015. Then a year later, the Google Wifi was introduced, replacing the entire OnHub product line. Perhaps in an effort to clear warehouse space, Google has discounted the ASUS OnHub to $129 ($70 off) and $145 ($54 off). Read More