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Android and its pre-installed software come virtually free of charge, but Google still earns a pretty penny thanks to targeted advertisements all over the web. Your phone helps the company tailor marketing campaigns to you specifically. If you don't like that and a switch to iOS isn't your jam, there are a few ways to make Google less intrusive on your handset by turning off some default tracking settings. You need to be aware that this will break a few features, though.
One of the most divisive (read: generally disliked) features in Android P is the new gesture navigation system, which brings all the convenience of unintuitive, non-descriptive interface elements together with precisely none of the visual space-savings you'd expect to gain from gestures. The latest Android DP4/Beta 3 tweaks the pill-based app switcher a bit, stretching the track for the slider to fill the full width of your screen and expanding app previews to be a lot bigger.
This flew right under our radar for a while before we noticed it. SideReel, the famed second-screen engagement app for iOS, made its way to Android at the end of March. That makes it over 6 years since the iOS version came out. If you've used the site to keep track of your favorite shows, having an app for Android will probably be useful.
Google Fit stands as one of Google's only flagship apps on Android Wear, and may be the only one of its apps that matters more on a watch than it does on a phone. There's a new version of the app available on the Play Store for both watches and phones, but this update is all about adding a big feature for Wear. There's a new mode for recording strength training and similar activities that involve counting reps.
This update is for Wear 2.0 only, so quite a few people will have to wait until the rollout is complete before testing this out, but it works on the last developer preview as well as any watch that already has the official 2.0 firmware.
Blue Spark Technologies has introduced a new wearable device at CES, but it's not a smart watch or a fitness band or even a VR headset. It's a single-use skin patch called TempTraq that connects to your Android (or iOS) phone to track body temperature.
Blue Spark pitches the patch to parents with sick progeny, though it could conceivably be used on or by anyone. The patch affixes to the body under the arm, and transmits temperature information over Bluetooth to its dedicated app.
WhoSampled - it's easy enough to guess what the service is about from its name. Touting the "world's largest and richest database of music DNA" and an apparent one million users, WhoSampled sends users on a "journey of musical discovery" starting from a single song that contains a sample from another song.
The service (which began as a website before launching on iOS) gives users detailed sample information, including where in a song a sample appears, what type of sample it is, and what part of the original song is being sampled. From there, users can hear the sampled song and continue the journey.
Google Now is constantly gaining new abilities that are generally awesome, if a little bit creepy. One such feature, brought to our attention today, is the ability to keep track of flight prices.
This is another automatic feature whereby Google infers your intention and presents useful info on that basis. In this case, if you are eyeing a flight or itinerary through Google Flights (it does not appear that this works with other travel booking sites right now), Google will make a note of that and drop a helpful card into your Google Now screen to let you know when the price of that flight changes.
Privacy and technology maintain a tenuous relationship, and the balance between convenient features and personal security is always one worth keeping in mind as users make the most of their devices' capabilities. To that end, Chainfire has released a new proof of concept app that aims to give users at least some peace of mind when it comes to the - for lack of a better term - trackability of their devices, specifically related to Wi-Fi.
As Chainfire explains in a post to Google+, our phones (and other devices) broadcast information about our location, movement, and habits that can be picked up on not just by well-intentioned business owners looking to offer a promotion, but by "crooks, the government, and other shady individuals" who may pair location or network information with other personal info for tracking purposes.