Google's speech recognition technology is insanely good - perhaps the best in the industry. But did you know Google stores all your voice searches? Every time you say "Ok Google" or "Hey Google," a snippet of audio containing the command is sent to the company's servers, where it is deciphered. These audio snippets are stored indefinitely (to improve accuracy), unless you delete them and opt out of future collection. Read More
It's not a huge stretch to say that without the domain name system, the internet as we know it would be practically unusable. With domain names being as important as they are, the servers we use to look them up form a critical part of our internet experience. For users who would like a little more control over how their phones resolve domain names, we're here to talk about what you can do to configure Android to work with the domain name server of your choice. Read More
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are a popular way to stay safe online. When you connect to a VPN, all outgoing network traffic is funneled through an external server. Your internet service provider can't tell what sites you visit (only that you're using a VPN) or inject content into webpages. They're also commonly used to bypass blocked websites and to stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks.
Unfortunately, using certain VPN providers can be just as dangerous as going without a VPN in the first place. Many popular providers will log connection details of users, which can then be sold to third parties. Read More
Google recently launched a new feature that suggests various streaming services when you're looking at TV shows and movies to watch. The latest update doesn't appear to do any more than ensure that feature is available, assuming it hadn't already rolled out to you. However, it looks like there's still a little more to come. It looks like we'll also get the option to configure those streaming services and cable subscriptions to get better suggestions. 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
One of Android Oreo's best features is Picture-in-Picture mode for phones and tablets. When you press the home button while playing media (on an app that supports PiP), the video collapses to a floating window that you can move around the screen. YouTube is one of the few apps that support this feature already, but it's only enabled if you pay for YouTube Red. Thankfully, there is a way to force PiP mode for any app that supports it, including YouTube and Google Maps. Read More
Changing the animation speed is a little-known trick with Android, and can often make your device feel faster. But if you want to make animations faster than normal, you are left with two options - 0.5x the normal speed, or completely turned off.
What if you want something like 75% normal speed? Well, it turns out you can easily set a custom animation speed. Reddit user quantumsuicide wrote a fantastic guide, which I have made a bit easier for ADB newbies here. Read More
Perhaps the most interesting feature exclusive to Google Pixel, at least officially, is Google Assistant. We have a review of Assistant's current functionality, but in a nutshell, it's essentially a conversation-based version of the former Google Now. XDA user brianelv has posted a short guide on enabling Assistant, and it should work on any Android 7.0 (or higher) device with the Google app 188.8.131.52 or newer.
If you have those prerequisites, the actual guide is fairly short. All you need to do is change your build.prop file, reboot, and clear Google app cache. Either root (to manually edit the build.prop) or a custom recovery (if you want to flash the zip) is required. In our own testing on a Nexus 6P, switching to the Google Now Launcher might be required to trigger the Assistant setup. Read More
Multi-window is, without a doubt, one of Android 7.0 Nougat's biggest feature additions. Samsung pioneered the idea a few years back, but it's finally on Google's version of Android. Just like with numerous other OEMs' implementations, many apps, such as Pokémon GO, are restricted from launching into Nougat's multi-window; however, Google has added an option to enable any app to do so in Developer Options, which can be found in the Settings menu. Read More