When Allo and Duo were announced at Google I/O, one of their pillar features was their requirement for a phone number to activate. And as most of you have noticed, this has been very controversial among users: some like the simplicity of the approach, others loathe its limitations: no multi-device support, no web/desktop clients, and a requirement for workarounds to install on tablets, especially WiFi-only ones.
With Duo's release this week, these limitations were put under the spotlight, and while some users like me were convinced by the no-fuss approach of a phone number as a means of identification, others are still moaning the lack of a tie to a Google account. Read More
When talking to a contact on Google's upcoming Allo messaging application, there are a few different types of attachments you can send. We've already discussed voice messages and stickers, but you can also share your current location, a photo or video taken instantly with your camera, and also media files taken from your camera roll. Unfortunately, sending other types of files like music or documents doesn't seem to be possible - at least not with the test preview version of the app that we're basing this information on. Read More
Google Now has a tendency to add voice commands without most people noticing. Besides the few listed in-app, Google hides most of its commands, perhaps the most useful ones. For example, Google's voice actions have been integrated and implemented within YouTube, so you can control video playback with your mi... wait, no that's the next update.
To get started, just start playing any video in the YouTube app. Then you can use any of these voice commands, triggered by the "OK Google" keyword, provided you have enabled its detection from any screen:
- "Pause" - Pauses the video.
- "Play" - Resumes the video.
Google Chrome has been undergoing a massive amount of changes recently. From massive optimizations, to the Android New Tab page showing Google Now cards, to Progressive Web Apps blurring the line between native and web apps.
But in another change, although not entirely shocking, Google will be phasing out Chrome apps on the Chrome Web Store. If you've never used the Chrome Web Store, most of the items listed are branded as applications, but are in fact simply links to websites or web applications.
These are called 'hosted apps', which are allowed in the Chrome Web Store alongside 'packaged apps.' Packaged apps are based on web apps, but are hosted locally and have more control over their windows and the host computer. Read More
With Google Duo already released and working well, and rumors of Nougat coming on August 22nd, it's only a matter of time before we have Google's Assistant and its messaging app Allo in our hands.
In the meantime, what we have here is an early look at one of Allo's features: sticker packs. From the screenshots, it looks like Allo will come with 3 packs installed by default and others can be added later.
There are 24 additional packs available in different styles and from different designers. As far as we can tell, there doesn't seem to be a way to add your own sticker packs from a URL or a Zip file, but that may or may not change in the future. Read More
In a move that strikes a balance between becoming more consistent with the mobile apps and giving desktop users the best experience possible, Google has made some tweaks to Play Music's playlist interface. While playlists are no longer on the top level of the left-side hamburger menu—to be more like the phone and tablet UI—web users can use a shortcut to access a new sliding menu from the right. Read More
Just two days after it first began to roll out, Google's Duo has already become the number one free app in the Play Store. The video chatting app, which received an icon redesign just before it went live, has proven to be extremely popular with Android users. In addition, it is now possible to use Duo in any country (well, any country that Google provides its services to). Read More
Google is making some much-needed improvements to Drive today, but not the app. We're talking about the web interface. Even if you're primarily using Drive on Android, you'll end up visiting in the browser on occasion. When you do, you'll see a refined UI and much better file downloads.
Here's what Google says is coming in the update.
- You can now compress and download Drive items into multiple 2GB zip files. Files have an improved name structure, for example: drive-download-20160516T125832Z.zip for the first file and drive-download-20160516T125832Z-2.zip for subsequent archives.
- Better Google Forms handling.
- Empty folders are now included in the zip.