Chrome 88 brought some quality of life improvements like better password protection and tab search, but more and more people are noticing an unfortunate regression on the desktop version. For ages, it's been possible to add custom search engines (under chrome://settings/searchEngines), which you can invoke with custom keywords followed by hitting the space bar or tab. You could set up "acom" or "tw" for searching Amazon or Twitter right from your address bar, for example. But now, reports are popping up left and right that the space bar shortcut isn't working anymore. People are forced to use tab, making them relearn a years-old habit.
Despite the name, Cosmic Watch isn't just some watch face app. It certainly does tell you the time, but it's much more than that. This app models the solar system and the night sky, helping you to explore the wonders of the cosmos. It just got a big v2.0 update that adds real-time sky views as well as various new display options and data on all the planets of the solar system.
Google's AR Stickers might have fictional spacecraft from Star Wars, but the more dedicated space enthusiasts will probably prefer the NASA-developed Spacecraft AR. As you might be able to deduce from the name, this app brings spacecraft to you via artificial reality, and it's actually pretty good at it.
Space exploration is a tricky business, especially when it comes to maintaining a strong signal to planet Earth. NASA maintains an array of communication facilities worldwide just to download data from deep-space probes. Future interplanetary missions involving multiple landers and rovers need a way to all talk to each other that doesn't involve radio, and that's where Vodafone and Nokia come in.
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.
You'd be forgiven for forgetting that Google used to have an app called Sky Maps on the Play Store. As the title points to, it was a nice digital planetarium that you could carry around your pocket back in the Froyo and Gingerbread days of Android. Like many similar apps, Sky Map used your location and the direction you were pointing your phone at to map the space elements around you, from stars to planets to constellations and more. In January 2012, Google open sourced Sky Map, but development had ceased a while before, in August of 2011.
It looks like someone at the Sky Map Devs team has found the lost github repository and decided to give the app a breath of life.
When you stare into the infinite void of space, salted with stars so vast and distant that they defy the human mind to imagine them, you can't help but wonder at the scope and majesty of the universe. Then you start to wonder how to make some money out of it.
Cosmonautica is the latest in a long line of space trading sims, the stellar ancestors of the old "pirate math" games from the 80s. And yes, buying and selling goods across star systems serves as the core of the game, with profits enabling you to upgrade and arm your ship, hire new crew, and expand your business.
Remember Rogue Squadron? Nintendo 64 and Gamecube owners, past or present, know what I'm talking about. This series of Star Wars games had players fully immersed in intergalactic battles that were stunning for the time. Alongside Star Fox, Nintendo consoles were the place to be for top-notch space shooters.
Edge of Oblivion: Alpha Squadron 2, the sequel to—you guessed it—Alpha Squadron, again unapologetically hearkens back to that era. Ship designs are similar enough to tempt a lawsuit, and the opening stage may have you feeling like you're speeding through the skies of Hoth (on one of its clearer days). The game contains two story-driven campaigns containing over 80 missions altogether, which involve blasting ships out of the sky and destroying key land-based targets.
The rumors of Google buying a stake in SpaceX started percolating a few days ago, and now it's official. Google and Fidelity have invested a total of $1 billion in the private space firm, which gives them about 10% share. SpaceX says the new funding will go toward the development of reusable rocket technology and satellite manufacturing.