The coronavirus pandemic has most of us staying at home, working or studying remotely. Depending on the age of your laptop and what exactly you need to get done, you might run into the limits of your computer. If you're fortunate enough to be able to get all of your work done inside a browser, you might benefit from turning your aging Windows or macOS machine into a much faster Chromebook. Google officially supports only a handful of devices that are custom-built to fit Chrome OS, but thanks to Neverware's CloudReady fork of Chromium OS, almost any x86 hardware can become a Chromebook. Read More
The Web as we know it today is powered by a technology called the 'Domain Name System,' also known as DNS. It acts like a phone book for the internet, linking web servers with their corresponding website domain names. DNS is what takes you to Google when you type in google.com, so as you can imagine, DNS is a critical part of the infrastructure of the internet.
While most people simply use the default DNS servers provided by their carrier or internet service provider, alternative servers do exist. Google Public DNS has been a popular option for years, and CloudFlare's 220.127.116.11 DNS is a newer service that is quickly gaining ground. 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. VPNs are 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
Most of us know the big streaming service names like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, but there are a lot of smaller services out there worth your attention. If you have a library card, there's one in particular that you should look into. It's called Kanopy, and it focuses on educational series, independent and award-winning titles, plus a solid dose of the classics. In short, if you're into film and not just "movies" (or if you'd like to be), then it's worth the price. Oh, did we mention that it's free? Read More
Sometimes, the lists on Netflix and Hulu just seem to get stale, and that's doubly the case these days with so many of us stuck at home. The humble book offers an alternative solution, and if you have a library card, it's entirely free. Check out Libby. It's a free service for supported libraries that lets you rent eBooks from home, and even send them over to your Kindle, if you'd like. Read More
Amazon's Fire tablets are incredibly popular, mostly because they're incredibly cheap. However, none of them come with access to the Google Play Store, which is how most Android devices download and install applications. Instead, Fire tablets come bundled with the Amazon Appstore, which has a much smaller library and lacks any Google-made apps and services. No YouTube, no Chrome, and so on.
The good news is that it's not incredibly difficult to install the Play Store on a Fire tablet, and the whole process can take as little time as 10 minutes. This complete guide for installing the Play Store on Fire tablets has detailed instructions for every model produced since 2014, with added troubleshooting steps if you run into issues. Read More
Smart speakers and smart displays are still relatively-new types of devices, and since many of them don't have a screen, it's not always obvious how to do certain tasks. That includes performing a factory reset, which involves different steps on Google's smart speakers/displays and third-party Assistant devices. Read More
Although everyone here at Android Police is passionate about Google's goodies, it is no secret how we feel about Wear OS — fundamentally flawed, embarrassing, and persistently lagging behind the competition. Not surprisingly, Wear OS makes up less than 12% of smartwatch sales in the US. One of the most glaring misses by Google is the distressingly low number of countries that support Google Pay on Wear OS watches — compared to Samsung's 24 and Apple's 57, Google Pay is only accepted in 11 countries. Thanks to an app called Permanent Proxy by XDA forum member Jolan Rensen, however, you can now activate and use Google Pay in an unlisted country. Read More
Google Photos is great for backing up your favorite memories, from pictures of a vacation to videos of your pets. Screenshots can be just as important as photos and videos, whether they be snapshots of a Minecraft world you built with a friend or a funny conversation in WhatsApp. Thankfully, it's incredibly easy to tell Google Photos to back up your screenshots folder, and we'll show you how. Read More
Carriers aren't looking to cut you a deal. Installment plans are just contracts by another name. Last year's phone is not "just as good" as this year's.
These are the three golden rules of Black Friday smartphone shopping. There are other important things to consider, sure, but those are the fundamentals that everyone needs to know and abide, because if you don't, you could end up with a phone you don't want that's stuck on a carrier you don't want to be with. And that sucks. Read More