In its ongoing effort to make classrooms, well, more Googley, Google has a new batch of updates for its Classroom program today.
In a post to its for Education blog, Google has announced a handful of new features for Classroom, the most notable being collaboration. Now, educators can invite other educators to collaborate on a class, so other teachers can give students feedback, create assignments, make announcements, and participate in student discussions.
In fact, Google says, invited teachers can do almost everything the main teacher can do - "everything except delete the class." Read More
We've seen signs of Android 5.1.1 for the last couple of weeks in both the Android SDK Manager and Developer Portal, and it looks like it's finally ready to go live. The Nexus Player is the first device to be graced by the update, bringing the build number up to LMY47V. So far, there haven't been any reports of OTAs hitting the set-top box, but Google has posted the factory image and binaries. Read More
I'm sure you've already heard, but today there are changes coming of biblical proportions. Wait, you didn't hear about Mobilegeddon? This is indeed the term being applied to a Google search algorithm update being applied today that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in searches from phones. The big drama about this is that, well, Google is very powerful and changes to their ranking systems have a habit of being destructive to affected sites. Read More
When we buy gadgets, it's usually with the expectation that their useful lifetime will carry us at least until we're ready to replace them, and hopefully well beyond. Most people assume their smartphones should last at least two years, in part because contract customers in the US are accustomed to unreasonably high upgrade prices for mid-term upgrades, and also because most manufacturers have adopted yearly release cycles that fit well with this pace. Read More
According to a Yahoo Finance exclusive, Google Wallet is now a little bit safer. Yahoo Finance reports that Google Wallet balances are now FDIC-insured, and that Google is accomplishing this by storing Wallet balances in FDIC-insured banking institutions. For reference, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insures a depositor's funds for banking institutions up to $250,000.
As Yahoo Finance points out, services like Wallet, Paypal, or Venmo are considered "non-banking institutions," meaning that they aren't legally required to be federally insured, and indeed Paypal and Venmo currently aren't (though Paypal does offer its own account protection measures).
The report also notes that Google Wallet's current user agreement says balances are not FDIC-insured, but that "a Google spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Yahoo Finance that its current policy has changed." Read More
The latest update for Google+ brings changes you probably won't notice unless you head to a community, in which case you will really notice. The main focus of the v5.3 version is a revamped UI for communities, which certainly makes things really pop. Here's a quick before-and-after look:
Left: v5.2 Right: v5.3
Now, an individual community has its own distinct look that makes it clear that you're not browsing through your main Google+ stream. While the big picture and prominent title text are the more obvious features, I found the changed color in the status bar to be especially helpful, since it is the only remaining UI element that keeps you aware of where you are once you begin scrolling downward. Read More
Remember 5.1? Psh, old news. The new hotness is Android 5.1.1, which Google has yet to officially acknowledge. However, it's almost a certainty now that two builds of the software have popped up on Google's Android audio latency info page.
When Google searching on a small screen, the part of the result that shows you a page URL isn't always very helpful. Anything but the top-level domain will probably be truncated. Especially within familiar sites, the mixture of page title and shortened URL may leave you unclear what part of the website you will navigate to once you click. Google is making a subtle change to clear things up. Let's jump straight to the example images:
Left: old way, right: new way
If you're not seeing it, look at the green text below the large blue text. You're seeing both aspects of the change, which is that it displays both the name of the site rather than the URL and the breadcrumbs. Read More
With Cardboard, it seems that Google is in the middle of an effort to push VR along as quickly as possible by inviting everyone to participate.
Since launching the viewer with an open-sourced design, Google has gone on to promote Cardboard-compatible apps, provide viewer specifications, and publish SDKs, encouraging more developers and would-be Cardboard manufacturers to join the party. Ostensibly the philosophy is that VR will reach its potential faster if everyone works together.
Today, Google has announced a new "Works with Cardboard" program to equip developers and manufacturers with even more tools.
For manufacturers, Google will release a tool that configures any viewer to work with all apps. Read More
It's that time again when Chrome's beta channel updates to give those of us who can't wait for the fun stuff a chance to test things out in a pretty stable environment. The latest iteration, v43, isn't exactly groundbreaking but ships several meaningful changes.
The addition of an API for MIDI devices, like keyboards, probably doesn't affect too many people. Those who will benefit, though, will do so quite a bit. I'm not aware of any web apps that would function for a good working example, but the API added in v43 will allow connected MIDI devices to input as they would with a desktop program. Read More