Before Street View and PhotoSpheres and Local Guides programs with millions of user-submitted photos, there was Panoramio. The site launched in 2005 as a way for users to share geotagged photos around the world and was later acquired by Google in 2007. Its Google Earth and Maps layers boast nearly 100 million user-contributed images, with many locations around the globe offering more pictures than what's available from Maps user submissions.
However, back in 2014, Google had decided to shut down Panoramio and fold it into Maps. That decision was met with some push back from the community, and thus resulted in the delay of the final doom and Google working to implement more social features and contributions in Google Maps to make the Panoramio shutdown more tolerable. Read More
Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 188.8.131.52 or newer.
If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup. Read More
Even in a world with Chromecasts and other streaming devices, it's often just easier to plug your phone directly into your TV with an HDMI cable and an adapter. Some people depend on this functionality quite a bit, and for those of you that do, it might not please you to hear that Google's Pixel smartphones will not support the company's own USB Type-C to HDMI adapter. Read More
Google will be shipping the Pixel and Pixel XL in a few weeks, but you can download the system dumps from the phones right now. Developer and occasional leaker LlabTooFeR has posted the files online, but don't get excited thinking these dumps will let you install Android 7.1 on your device. This is still a chance to get a look at the Pixel's software a little early, though. Read More
The Play Store, like many other Google apps, is no stranger to server-side UI updates; however, it's pretty rare for Google to be testing multiple changes at once. Currently, Google is not only testing a renamed Entertainment section, but also a different look for the carousel, the removal of the search bar, and a new Google Play Store banner. Read More
Google has been working to bring more and more functionality directly into search results, without the user having to visit a seperate site. You can now find your IP address, run a speed test, convert units, and more all from Search. Following that trend, now Google has added an RGB to Hex converter.
If you're unfamiliar, RGB and Hex are both color spaces used to identify colors. For example, #000000 in Hex and (0,0,0) in RGB both refer to Black. Searching 'RGB to Hex' brings up a simple color picker that shows results in RGB and Hex. You can search any Hex or RGB value, and it will show the color in both formats. Read More
Social networks have started to embrace algorithmic timelines (that is, where posts are sorted based on how the service thinks you will like it), instead of showing each post in chronological order. First Facebook introduced the feature, then Twitter and Instagram, and now Google+ is enabling it for communities.
Google+ already sorts posts in the home feed based on relevance, and now Communities will do the same. Algorithmic timelines actually make sense for Communities, which are often loaded to the brim with spam. Presumably, content that users actually interact with will be pushed to the top, and the spam will be invisible for most users. Read More
Google Screen Search, formally known as Google Now on Tap, is a feature I don't use often - but it's incredibly helpful when I need it. If you're unfamiliar, it provides information to you based on the text on your screen, and works on any Android 6.0+ device with the Google app. For example, a few days ago I received a text message confirming an appointment, and Screen Search created a calendar event from the message contents. Read More
By now, you've seen dozens of demos of Google Home, but none, and I repeat absolutely none, is as adorable or as convincing as this 4-year-old boy talking to Google like she's his best buddy. I can't imagine the number of times his preschool teachers' eyes rolled when he talked about Google as if she was a close friend of his who answers all his questions and plays his favorite music.
But without getting ahead of ourselves, you'll Read More
see hear the boy turn on the living room lights at first, then launch into a series of "Okay Googeeelll" questions with the super precise enunciation that you expect of a 4-year-old (read: nah).