A year ago today Google announced Android Security Rewards, an expansion of its Vulnerability Rewards Program. Find a vulnerability, tell Google about it, help them fix the issue, and take home money. That's the concept, and it's a common one in the tech industry.
Google handed out over half a million bucks to 82 individuals over the past year. This averaged out to $2,200 per reward. Researchers averaged higher payouts, at $6,700. One, @heisecode, received $75,750 for 26 vulnerability reports. 15 researchers received $10,000 or more. Read More
Shazam is usually very good at identifying songs you encounter throughout the day, but you have to open the app and make it do that. Well, not anymore. In the most recent update, Shazam has gained support for auto mode on Android. Just start it up and go about your business while Shazam catalogs all the songs it hears. Read More
Google Now On Tap has been, to put it gently, less than totally useful to most people. While the high-minded concepts behind Now On Tap were quite impressive, Google has had a harder time than I think many of us thought it would actually making it into a consistently helpful and intuitive product. It appears that in the last couple of days Google has been rolling out an all-new set of features to Now On Tap that honestly make it a bit more of a virtual assistant than a contextual search engine.
What you see in the hero image above are two new card streams, one for nearby places, the other for common tasks you might ask of your phone. Read More
What photo manager doesn't let you show off images in a slideshow? Google Photos, it turns out. If this is news to you, then you're finding out right at the moment when the situation is changing. Google Photos has now added a slideshow option. Read More
Facebook announced an all-new layout for its Messenger app today (presumably for Android and iOS, though only iOS screenshots were provided). The new "home" area in Messenger is designed to make the app more than just a dumb message hub, and much more of a "Facebook people I care about" hub. Instead of simply being a list of chats, Messenger will now show you your favorite contacts, upcoming birthdays (because Facebook), and who's online now. Recent chats will still sit at the top of the "home" area in the app, there just won't be as many living there anymore. Read More
I love a good notification LED - really. When I had my Nexus One back in the day, I absolutely adored my multi-color trackball. I had it decked out with custom colors and pulse speeds using a third party app, and I could tell from across the room if the notification I'd just received was an SMS or a Facebook message just by glancing at the color of that pulsating little trackball. Read More
SwiftKey was snapped up by Microsoft recently, but the company isn't giving up on making its app better like so many other companies have post-acquisition. A new version of the SwiftKey Beta is out today with a much-requested feature—a clipboard manager. It temporarily saves everything you copy, lets you add new items manually, and more. Read More
Introduced just two short months ago in Android N Developer Preview 2, the calculator quick settings tile has been removed in the latest N beta release. N Developer Preview 4 has killed the nascent shortcut, though it's unclear if it will be coming back in time for N's final release. The tile itself was actually, well, kind of lame - instead of doing what you'd think it would do and opening some kind of mini or floating mode for the stock Android calculator, it just straight up opened the full calculator app. Read More
When Google announced its new chat app Allo, the first thing many people did was go to the Play Store and search for the term "Allo." To their surprise, perhaps, there was a shockingly on-point result: a chat app named Allo Group Voice Chat. This seemed... problematic for Google's new chat platform trademark, to say the least. We asked both Google and [not-Google-]Allo what was being done about this and we haven't heard anything since late May. Read More
Let me just start this article with the following caveats: one, Google makes it more than clear that not everything will work in a Developer Preview Android build, or in the new beta system in general. Two, Android Pay is hardly an essential service - suddenly losing access to it doesn't make your credit or debit cards stop working. Three, it's easy enough to get it back by flashing an older Developer Preview or stock build on any Nexus device that's likely to run into this particular problem. Read More