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QR codes have almost infinite uses. Be it simply sharing a URL, a Wi-Fi password, acting as a web authenticator, or helping your pay for goods and services, these little black-and-white jumble squares have evolved into a truly ubiquitous part of our lives. But when you're not using an app or phone feature that specifically knows you want to scan a QR code, you may find yourself a bit puzzled, and that's led many people to just rush to the Play Store and download one of a million ad-filled scanner apps. The fact is, there are far better ways to scan QR codes on Android that don't involve installing a sketchy app, using everything from Google Lens, to your smartphone's own camera app, to a lightweight website that does the job without trackers and ads.
Chrome 69 was a massive update, as it brought a brand new interface to both desktop and mobile. Now that v69 is on stable, the beta channel has been updated to version 70. This isn't as big of an update as the previous release, but it still has a few important improvements - particularly for security.
It has been almost a month since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out to users, and as of yesterday, it is in wide release to everybody. A previous blog post by Google discussed the big new feature for developers would be the Nearby Messages API, but it turns out there are a couple of other additions worth checking out. In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced a new Mobile Vision API with the ability to detect the presence, orientation, and some details of faces when they are in frame on an active camera.
Heads up, Google Wallet fans: better support for loyalty cards is coming to a Play Store update near you. According to a Google+ update from the Wallet team earlier today, the app will soon be able to auto-populate information when scanning in loyalty cards, presumably including the name and merchant. The update should be coming later this week, at least for the first batch of users. There are also some user interface changes, including a modified slide-out menu.
For those brick-and-mortar stores that also support Google Wallet's deals and offers, the Wallet app will also alert you when you're physically near the store in question.
When we first discovered Slice, the app that scans your email for packages that you're waiting to be delivered, has updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features with it. For starters, if you use Hotmail, AOL, or iCloud as your primary email, you can now join in the fun. You can track outgoing packages by scanning tracking barcodes as well or entering the number manually, and filtering options have been improved.
The app also adds a new feature called "Thingerprint" which, aside from having a truly bizarre name, allows you to see how much money you've spent on what types of goods.
Everyone loves Amazon, and thankfully for Android owners, their app has always been pretty solid. Thanks to an update to version 1.6 that was pushed to the Play store last night, it's now even better:
What's in this version:
- Brand new ways to sort and filter your search results. - Faster, easier navigation with a Cart shortcut and drop-down menu of the most popular pages. - Launch barcode scanning directly from the home screen. - Add items to any of your existing wish lists. - Additional country support – shop Amazon across 8 countries, including Spain and Italy. - Bug fixes and performance improvements.
Update 2/9/11: Writing/transmitting via NFC is now possible thanks to the 2.3.3 update.
One thing that was very much anticipated in the Nexus S and Gingerbread in general was NFC (Near Field Communication) support, which is a feature we've never seen before on an Android device. In fact, the vast majority of us took it to mean that it will allow you to use your phone as a credit card, which would indeed be very exciting and insanely cool. Unfortunately, that's not the case here; rather, the technology will allow the Nexus S (and other NFC-capable Android phones) to act as a glorified barcode scanner of sorts.
You bought an Android phone because you’re into cool functionality, right? Don’t attempt to deny it, something that creates a database of your books, CDs, DVDs and video games is exactly the kind of thing you like.
Here we have Shelves. Putting to use your phone’s camera, Shelves scans the barcodes of your collections and automagically creates a virtual representation of them on your phone, for cataloguing, loaning, or just admiring.
Shelves purports to recognize a whole host of item types, seemingly nearly everything that isn’t food. All modes operate identically - you select 'Scan' from the pop-up menu, and point your phone’s camera at the barcode of your item.
I meant to post this in the morning but ran out of time, so this may be a little old news now. Apologies if you've already seen it.
Yesterday was day 0 of the Google I/O conference. During this day, presenting developers set up their demo stations, known here as sandboxes, register, check in, and last but not least - receive shwag, also known as "free crap".
This year, the official shwag included:
a Motorola Droid or a Nexus One
an official Google I/O t-shirt (displayed below)
2 little Android figurines (displayed below)
After playing around with the figurines and throwing a party for them on my laptop (good times), I turned my attention to the t-shirt.