A long time ago, Sony Electronics had a reputation for stubborn adherence to its own proprietary formats. Back when the iPod was just an MP3 player, Sony was still trying to promote its own ATRAC standard that was only available on its own hardware. ATRAC itself was a descendant of MiniDisc, another semi-proprietary format that tried to usurp the CD... not long after Sony had lost the BetaMax war. The company doesn't always lose - Blu-ray is a notable exception - but it doesn't learn very quickly, either. Read More
It's the first Monday of May, and that means there are some new factory images and OTAs for the Nexus line. As usual, these new firmware packages include the latest security patches from the preceding month, and possibly some bug fixes and optimizations, as well. While we'll be looking for changes in the AOSP changelog (coming soon), Google has posted the security bulletin to explain the major risks that that have been fixed in this release.
Google took special care to point out that the security bulletin has been renamed (from "Nexus" to "Android") to reflect its relationship to all devices running Android, not just those directly supported by Google. Read More
Google apparently has a Material Design UI overhaul in the works for YouTube and it looks pretty good. While it has not yet been pushed to the masses, it is apparently being tested on a small group of users while the developers look for bugs and Google braces for any negative feedback (people hate change, remember). Here's a look at the goods and a way to enable the new UI for yourself.
First, let's look at the homepage. Here's the current version:
And the new:
Not exactly a radical difference, but you do see the modern search bar that should be familiar from Google's Android apps and several web services as well. Read More
Google Now on Tap, the search engine's contextual tool for Android, hides some pretty neat tricks up its sleeve. But perhaps none is so handy to music lovers as this option, spotted by an Android Police reader: Now on Tap can serve up song lyrics directly from music apps with just a few on-screen taps. Google's Knowledge Graph system can already find lyrics fairly easily, but the way it's been integrated into the retrieval system for Android is fairly slick. Read More
I always felt like one of the big downers to web browsing on mobile was typing in passwords. Of course, the built-in password management for Chrome (and other mobile browsers) can sometimes take care of things for you. But I'm sure if you do a lot of signing in, you know there are some sites whose login system just doesn't work with the browser's password manager. With Chrome v51, now in beta, Google is taking some steps to help smooth things out.
W3C, the web standards group, has created an API to help homogenize the relevant aspects of signing into websites. Read More
About a month ago we spotted two new entries in the country availability listings for the new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio: Taiwan and India. Today both of those are coming true (though India is somewhat conditional - see below), and you can add Hong Kong into the mix. For both Hong Kong and Taiwan, the streaming gadgets are now available on their respective Google Stores. The Chromecast 2015 and Chromecast Audio are HK$349 (around $45 USD) in Hong Kong and NT$1445 ($44.75) in Taiwan.
In India, things are a little more complicated. The new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio aren't available directly from the Google Store. Read More
One of Google's services had a birthday yesterday. Translate, the company's tool for translating words from one language to another, first launched on April 28th, 2006. Read More
It's common knowledge that Google has been working on a travel application for some time now. Last week, Maps Explorers were emailed and asked to complete a short survey for a chance to test it before everyone else. Now we know what this app is called, and what it does. Meet Google Trips.
Details are a little thin on the ground. After all, it hasn't been officially announced by Google. But that still hasn't stopped screenshots finding their way into the awaiting arms of the tech press. So, what does it supposedly do?
Perhaps the biggest feature of Google Trips is that it scours Gmail for hotel reservations and flight bookings. Read More
Probably the biggest event on the Android calendar is Google I/O, and it's just around the corner, running from the 18th of May to the 20th. This year's event will be held at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, where the first Google I/O event took place in 2008, rather than the usual Moscone Center in San Francisco.
There has been much speculation as to what this will look like. This is, after all, relatively new territory for the company. But thanks to a custom map released by Google, and built using Google Maps' MyMaps feature, we now have an idea. Read More
Google released a second Android N developer preview two weeks ago for the Nexus 5X, 6P, 6, 9, 9 LTE, and Pixel C. That's quite the list, but there was one circular Nexus device that didn't make it.
That's the Nexus Player, and now Google's quirky little set-top box is having its turn to experience the love. This was the only device to be delayed. The build has gone out as version NPC91O. Read More