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 126.96.36.199 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
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
A couple of months ago, Google announced an integration with WhatsApp that'd allow you to start an audio or video call on the app via Assistant. We've been waiting for the ability to go live for weeks, but as it's wont to do, Google got things a little wrong. The original command it said would work doesn't, but a few others do. Here is what you need to say to get Assistant to make a WhatsApp call. Read More
Google Photos users are probably familiar with the app's many hidden gestures. You can pinch two fingers together in the main library to see smaller and more numerous thumbnails, or expand those fingers to enlarge the thumbnails. When viewing a photo, pinching or swiping down will minimize it and return you to the previous screen, while swiping up will reveal its info. Artem recently discovered a Motion Photo-related gesture, and despite it being quite old, we'd never seen it mentioned before and didn't know about it, so here it is. Read More
Google Play Pass is rolling out in the United States and everyone's getting a 10-day trial to figure out what sort of apps and games they'd like to install — perhaps even keep around — and which of the tonnage of free, unlockable extra features they'll make use of. But if you're outside our shores and curious as to how you'll go about it when Play Pass comes to your region or are just a bit puzzled and need a little crash course on what's going on, we've got it for you right here. Read More
A couple of weeks ago, Google announced a new and very useful Assistant feature: the ability to set reminders and assign them to someone else in your family or household. The option is now live for some users in English (US, UK, Australia) and works just as expected. You can assign a time or location reminder to someone, change it or delete it, check on their progress, and more. So let's take a look at how this works. Read More
With the introduction of Doze in Marshmallow, app developers and users had to find the perfect balance between battery life and background activity. Granular options for battery optimization exist on most Android devices, allowing you to single out apps you'd like to give free rein to. This can be crucial for backup apps (Google Photos), companion apps for wearables (Fitbit, Wear), and smart home security apps that require your location to arm or disarm (Nest, SmartThings).
However, some phones like the ones from OnePlus limit your access to battery optimization settings for system apps, specifically, meaning you can't give Google Photos the freedom to run whenever it needs to, which usually results in stalled backups. Read More
One of the most exciting new features in Chrome OS is the ability to run applications designed for Linux. Most software that can run on Ubuntu, Debian, or other Linux distributions will work. This is the first time it has been possible to (officially) run traditional desktop software on Chromebooks, and the possibilities are endless.
Unfortunately, the feature is a bit tricky to figure out if you don't already have experience with Linux. In this guide, we'll show you how to set up the Linux container on your Chromebook and how to install applications. Read More
I love Google Photos and I keep recommending it left and right to anyone I know. But Photos isn't perfect and there's still a lot that the service could do to improve the user experience. For example, the ability to order photos in different ways is missing — you get reverse chronological and that's it. If you're only backing up recent images as you take them, that's not an issue, but if you're uploading older photos, it becomes near impossible to find those images and edit, share, or make albums of them. You might scroll and scroll, try to search for the date if you remember it, and sometimes nothing works. Read More