Over the past few weeks and months, it seems Google has been testing out a minor tweak to the search bar that appears on the home screen above your apps. Instead of simply showing Say "OK Google," some of our readers are seeing search recommendations such as "OK Google 15% of 80" and "OK Google... Movies nearby."
The former shows that you can use Google to do math. The latter nudges people to use Search to find what movie theaters are currently playing nearby. Many of us may already be accustomed to this functionality, but these recommendations serve as a way to subtly inform a broader audience of all the things Google Search can do. Read More
Back in Chrome v39, we got a look at a reader mode not unlike many other mobile browsers such as Firefox. However, it didn't even leave Chrome Beta before getting hidden in the flags menu. Features that were not originally in flags but later moved there tend not to come back. Well, the latest Chrome Dev, v45, features a revamped version of reader mode. Now, on pages the browser decides could benefit from it, it gives a prompt that says "make page mobile-friendly." Tapping on that brings the user to a slightly redesigned reader view, though it isn't described as such anywhere. Read More
If you're a user, accidentally clicking an ad on a mobile site or in the middle of a game is frustrating. If you're an advertiser, accidental clicks lead to lower conversion rates. Accidental clicks are just bad all the way around.
To that end, Google is introducing new mechanisms to prevent as many accidental clicks as possible.
First, Google is blocking clicks that happen close to the edge of the ad image.
Second, Google will block clicks on app icons for in-app interstitial ads, so you won't need high precision to hit the little X button and return to your game. Read More
Back in February, we caught sight of an interesting experiment Google was undertaking with the help of trusted local guides. The experiment was an app called Tablescape - a "community to make, share, and discover amazing foodographs." With a little digging, we found that the content shown in the screenshots (originally posted by El Androide Libre) lined up with a community called The Plate, which was likely serving as a Google+-based content funnel for the app.
After that initial glimpse though, we didn't see or hear anything official about the service.
Today we've heard something more, but it may not be what we had hoped - it looks like Google is officially closing down the Tablescape experiment before it had a chance to see the light of day. Read More
The standalone Photos app was released to the public during last month's Google I/O conference, finally completing the separation with Google+ as rumors (and facts) had long suggested. While the new Photos app was widely accepted as an improvement in many ways, it also lacked many of the enhanced editing features that had made the old version so useful. Unfortunately, installing the standalone Photos app effectively hid access to the version built into Google+. That was probably a pretty good sign about what was to come. With the latest update to Google+, users who have stuck to the old version will be warned that it is not long for this world. Read More
Last night, we received a tip that the Play Store listing for AirDroid, a popular app that allows users to see notifications, respond to messages, and manage content from their Android devices on a desktop, had been removed from the Play Store. The listing was directing to Google's infamous "Not Found" page.
We reached out to the AirDroid team who, at the time, were still trying to figure out what had happened. As it turns out, Google had removed the listing after a mass-complaint from Facebook. The sweeping set of complaints picked up tons of apps with "WhatsApp" in their names, but also apps - like AirDroid - that simply mentioned WhatsApp in the description. Read More