Whether you're momentarily traveling to or have recently moved to a new country or city, you'll probably look at Google Maps or other travel and discovery apps to find places to visit nearby. The same can be true if you're just planning a trip, or if you've been living somewhere for a while but still want to discover new locations around you. Maps' Explore tab serves that purpose well, and has received a small update now to improve discovery of not just places, but also nearby areas or districts. Read More
Anytime you open Google Maps, you land on a nice overview of where you are and an Explore tab that helps you find nearby places and see restaurants, events, and attractions around you. Moving around the map and using that same tab is also helpful when trying to plan for a short day-trip, a weekend getaway, or a long vacation. But Google Maps is working on speeding up the discovery of surrounding places even more by offering additional search shortcuts. Read More
LineageOS is one of the most popular custom Android ROMs available, with over two million active installations. The project officially ended support for the 14.1 (Android 7.1) branch a few days ago, in preparation for LineageOS 16. The 16.0 branch is finally rolling out, and it's bringing Android 9 Pie to dozens of phones and tablets. Read More
LineageOS is the most popular custom Android ROM, with around two million active installations worldwide. The project recently dropped support for 30 unmaintained phones and tablets, but more devices have now been added in their place. Some of the latest additions and upgrades include the Mi Note 3, Xperia XA2 Ultra, LeEco Le 2, and Xperia Z. Read More
TWRP, short for TeamWin Recovery Project, is the custom recovery of choice for most in the Android modding community. With TWRP, users can do things like install custom ROMs, root their phone, and complete full backups — as long as their device is supported. Luckily, the list includes a broad range of phones and tablets, and it just keeps growing. Since our last roundup, TWRP came to devices including the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra, Moto G6, and Nokia 6.1. Read More
Travel and destination discovery apps are a dime a hundred (not even a dozen) on the Play Store, but there are still a few names I come back to again and again. Google's own Trips is one of them because it helps me organize everything as well as see popular places to visit, organize day trips, and get discounts on tours, but I have yet to find a nice app just for the discovery of new destinations. I usually resort to a simple Google search or check Atlas Obscura or Rough Guides, but this new app by Lonely Planet might dethrone those options. Read More
Yesterday, NASA announced that it (along with international partners) had discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single star. Even more importantly, three of them are located in the star's habitable zone, the range around a star where liquid water is possible. The solar system (named TRAPPIST-1) is unfortunately located 40 light-years away from Earth, so sending a probe or a person there isn't really possible for now.
Still, it's a very important discovery, and Google is commemorating the event with a Google Doodle. Read More
In addition to revised hardware for Chromecast and the new Chromcast Audio, Google also announced a new version of the Chromecast app at its San Francisco event. This updated app is more than just a connection tool, it's a content discovery portal, automatically detecting Chromecast and Chromecast Audio-compatible apps on your phone or tablet. It will show popular and personalized content suggestions to users, and recommend new Chromecast apps from the Play Store.
The new default screen is What's On, a sort of pick-and-mix of the Chromecast-compatible content on your phone right now. It's presented in a scrolling list of categories, not unlike the home page of the Play Store app. Read More
Google is certainly no stranger to testing new features slowly. Most recently, it released an update to YouTube's UI that's been in testing for at least four months. And for Google, this is a good thing. Testing new features with limited samples of users helps get data not only on their usefulness, but also on how they augment user experience and engagement.
That brings us to the Play Store, an app where nothing is more important than engagement. Google appears to be testing a new feature called "Related Interests," which lists off various categories with round chips similar to the chips used for artists on Google Play Music's web interface. Read More
Recently, we posted about a new feature Google was testing to help users better "explore" their surroundings, offering more fine-tuned exploration options for a user's immediate vicinity or their destination, with suggestions of what to do in the area based on time of day or conditions. The interface would apparently get its own button in Google Maps' primary view, but the button only appeared for a few users at the time. Today, Google officially announced the feature, which is continuing to roll out to more users.
In an entry to the official Google Maps blog, Google explains that the app's suggestions will indeed change based on time of day or weather conditions, and of course allows users to plan ahead by exploring "nearby" in other areas or neighborhoods. Read More