A feature that we first associated with the Pixel Launcher was the wallpaper picker. And since the Pixel Launcher is exclusive to Pixel phones, you might have thought the same would go for its wallpaper feature. Well, in that case, you would be wrong. Google has broken it off into an app called Wallpapers and it is now in the Play Store, available for download on all manner of non-Pixel, non-Nexus devices. Read More
Google now has two launcher apps in the Play Store, but you probably can't install the new one. The Pixel Launcher is one of the selling points of the Pixel phones, and remains technically exclusive to them. But of course, we have the APK available for download. Read More
According to the Google Play developer content policy, Google wants to build "the world's most trusted store for apps and games." With this in mind, the company has updated the developer policy with examples of things that will get your app removed from the store, such as sexually explicit material, excessive graphic violence, or use of drugs, plus some 'metadata' app listing items which are now not allowed.
The listing is an important part of how an app is promoted to customers. With this update, Google presumably wants to try and take away some of the more 'clickbait' listings that it deems unsuitable, or in the case of wholly inappropriate content, which we've copied and pasted below, remove completely. Read More
The Android Pay landing site (android.com/pay) has just been revamped with some more eye-catching elements. I haven't heard anybody complain that Android Pay's landing site is too drab, but this new site definitely looks quite a bit nicer. (You can check out the old one here.)
When you get to the site, you're hit with a splash of color, some "tap. pay. xxxxx." text, and a Nexus 6P or 5X demonstrating these actions (oddly, they didn't go with the Pixel or Pixel XL for this). Some of the 5Xes have curiously small bottom bezels. Read More
Google started offering live cases back in the Nexus 6 era, but the product was more fleshed out earlier this year with support for the Nexus 6, 5X, and 6P. Now, you can order Live Cases for the Pixel in addition to the last-gen Nexus phones, including the stunning Artwork Live Cases. Read More
The Pixel's review embargo just lifted earlier today, and reviewers have been very impressed with both the speed of the phone's 12.3MP shooter and the quality that its images capture. In his review of the Pixel, David said it has "the best smartphone camera on the market." Marc Levoy, the lead of a computational photography team at Google Research, discussed with The Verge just how much the software assists in making the Pixel's camera so damn good. Read More
Google Chrome has traditionally been available in four 'channels' - Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. Beta and Dev are progressively buggier and unfinished than Stable, and Canary is the definition of bleeding-edge. Canary builds are released automatically every day, with no manual testing, and are prone to more bugs than all the other channels.
Until now, the Canary channel has only been available for Windows and Mac (not even desktop Linux). Google has just published Chrome Canary onto the Play Store, starting with build 56.0.2891.8. There aren't any noticeable changes here as opposed to Dev, but in the future, this should be the first place to spot new features. Read More
Google is pushing Assistant in a number of products, including the Pixel, Allo, and Google Home. Ars Technica stumbled upon a bit of an Easter Egg in the Pixel's implementation of Assistant, and it's pretty bonkers. If you tell the phone "I'm feeling lucky," it goes into full game show host mode. Read More
Email can be overwhelming, so it's useful to get someone else to manage it for you. Failing that, a computer should be able to take over the task. Google's Inbox has been doing this for a while now, with cool features like bundles, smart replies, digests and snoozing until later. A new feature, Templates, has just appeared in the web version of Inbox, which makes email even easier.
Templates are basically preset text snippets that can be inserted into emails. The user manages these and can create or delete a template. For example, if you want a custom signature, or some blurb about confidentiality when emailing an attachment, you could use a template for either. Read More
Google's new smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are a watershed moment for the company. They're Google's attempt to define itself as a hardware manufacturer worthy of comparison not just to Apple's iPhone, but the very products its Android operating system has allowed to flourish over the past eight years. Or, as the refrain goes: Google is finally going to compete with other smartphone manufacturers.
This narrative can get in the way of discussing the Pixel for what it is (a smartphone), so I'll try to avoid confusing what this phone means to Google as a company and what it means to you as a consumer. Read More