So, the last couple of weeks have not been good ones for the Google Maps team. First some public-spirited Android fans decided to prove their pride with a bit of digital vandalism, using the Map Maker tool to show the Bugdroid mascot pissing on an Apple logo somewhere in Pakistan. That little mishap led Google to disable Map Maker submissions altogether. Then earlier this week, users found that searching for certain racist terms in Google Maps would lead to results for the White House, among other similar combinations. Read More
Some of Sony's older hardware (well, relatively speaking, anyway) is getting updated to Lollipop today. If you own an Xperia Z (LTE model), Xperia ZR (LTE model), Xperia ZL, or Xperia Tablet Z, all released in 2013, check your status bar for an over-the-air update. According to Xperia Blog and the always-reliable XDA, all four of these devices are being upgraded as of now. As usual, it may take a few days or even a week or two for the rollout to reach you. Read More
In the latest update on NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden, The Intercept is reporting on the surveillance establishment's efforts to use the Google Play Store to distribute spyware. Another fun fact from the data dump is that these agencies found and exploited a security hole in the ultra-popular UC Browser for years until an activist group informed its developers about it just about a month ago.
The information comes from a set of slides distributed to agency specialists in 2012 discussing plans for the use of mobile devices in surveillance. Read More
We've been following the development of Google's Hangouts Chrome app for quite some time. The project referred to as Ultraviolet in August later launched in October as a floating chatheads-style experience. It was okay, but at the beginning of this month we caught wind of a change in the works that completely redoes the experience. That change has now gone live.
The new interface looks quite a bit like the Android app. Read More
"F" is kind of an awkward name for a line of products. In the rankings of glamorous Latin letters which I just made up in my head, it sits somewhere between Q (just an O that's trying too hard) and P (even more lopsided, and it doesn't get the stability of the bipedal R). But whatever the reason, LG decided it was a really apt way to distinguish some one-off American carrier tablets from its regular G series. Read More
The 'Internet of Things' is a bit of a nebulous concept, but it boils down to adding smart, connected features to the objects and tools you use in everyday life. Things like wearables can loosely be put into this category, but it's usually applied to less conventional products like connected thermostats, home monitors, "smart" appliances, remote car tech, et cetera. It's a growing if somewhat unfocused segment, and according to a report on The Information, Google wants to get in on the ground floor. Read More
Interested in Android Wear, but don't want to drop the cash on a $350 Urbane? You can get a G Watch for $50 right now. The original LG G Watch is almost a year old, and there are much better watches out there, but this is a killer deal.
Like other manufacturers, HTC has made it a thing to publish its stock apps to Google Play, allowing for easier updates. The latest addition is HTC Mail. Read More