As Googler Andy Bohm notes on G+, Google's Privacy team didn't appear on stage during the I/O keynote this year, but that doesn't mean the team didn't have anything awesome to talk about. Specifically, Google has launched a revitalized account management interface. The new My Account page injects privacy and security settings with simple navigation, easily understood explanations, and tons of awesome illustrations to walk users through checking, changing, and otherwise managing their account/privacy settings.
Chances are your Google account has a lot of information about you, and managing that information is important, so it's nice to see continued efforts from Google to make that process easier to understand and execute (Google's privacy checkup took me <60 seconds before finishing this post). Read More
Google just rolled out an update to Play Music, but not for the app. This time it's the web interface that is getting a fresh coat of paint—an interesting shade of Android app. Yes, the web interface looks almost exactly like the app now.
In every popular album there always seem to be one or two songs that get the vast majority of attention, no matter the relative quality of the other songs. Google, for whatever reason, has decided to give this phenomenon a bit of visual representation. Head on over to the Google Play Store and click "music" (not the Google Play Music player interface), then pick any of the various albums featured on the front page. You'll see a new column in the track listing, ranking each song in popularity, presumably in relation to the others on the same page.
Oddly, some albums seem to be excluded, multi-artist compilations and extended plays in particular. Read More
It seems like just yesterday when Google was testing a new layout for the search engine results page, with colorful underlines separating search results into individual cards.
That layout ended up sticking, and now it seems Google is at it again, testing some rather pleasing new tweaks for the SERP.
We can't be sure just yet who will see these changes or whether they'll become permanent, but check out the before and after shots provided by a tipster below.
left: current layout right: new layout
The new layout is undeniably more influenced by Google's material design. The only information missing in the new view is one search result and one line of text indicating that a user has visited a results page before (but that may be because the new layout appeared for our tipster only in incognito mode). Read More
Since its launch in 2010 (on iOS, natch), Flipboard has been strictly mobile-only. Even after it expanded to Android a couple of years ago, users could only ever view and manage their feeds via a phone or tablet. It made sense: the whole point of Flipboard is that the service reformats stories for easy mobile reading and wraps them in a touch-friendly interface. But all that changes today - you can now read your Flipboard stories and feeds on Flipboard.com. If you really must.
To be perfectly honest, there isn't much point to Flipboard on the web. It gives you a magazine-style homepage with formatting that looks like a lot of fancy news aggregators these days. Read More
If you're the type of person that closely follows networking protocols and web server optimizations, you've probably heard of SPDY. This is Google's re-imagining of the HTTP protocol, designed to reduce latency, streamline data flow, and generally speed up data transmission from a server to your browser. Well, you can forget about it. Google is about to kill SPDY, but for a good reason. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is getting close to finalizing a major revision to the HTTP protocol, dubbed HTTP/2. The new version, which Google made many significant contributions to, almost completely mirrors the feature set offered by SPDY, including things like multiplexing, header compression, prioritization, and protocol negotiation. Read More
Earlier this year, Google+ community managers gained the ability to pin posts to the top of a page, useful during those times when you want visitors to see something in particular the first time they arrive. The thing is, community pages aren't the only ones that could benefit from such a feature. So the capability is now rolling out for regular profiles and pages as well. General users can now pin posts using the web version Google+ from their PC.
To pin, click on the drop down menu at the top of a public post. The option should be the first one on the list. Read More
We've already covered the beta, but now AirDroid 3 is available as a completed release on the Play Store. The new app has an updated UI and a few new features, but the biggest change is the addition of stand-alone clients for Windows and OS X, besides the app's famous desktop browser management. You can grab the desktop apps from here.
The Windows and OS X versions of AirDroid let you do pretty much all of the things you could do in the browser, albeit without the "virtual desktop" interface: send and receive SMS, file transfers to your device, contact and call log access, and of course, notification mirroring for your laptop or desktop, including call alerts. Read More
If you're excited to try out YouTube's new music subscription service, you may not have long to wait. We've gotten several tips this morning from users who now have access to YouTube Music Key on the web, though that access doesn't seem to extend to the Android app just yet. Most users seem to be left out at the moment, so it's probably another one of Google's frustrating staged rollouts.
Having the latest version of the YouTube app (5.17) installed on your phone doesn't seem to help, though at least one reader with Music Key enabled said that there were now no ads being shown during music videos. Read More
The web browser version of Google Play Music isn't exactly full-featured - it pales in comparison even to built-in tools like Windows Media Player or iTunes. But now it has one more tool that's bringing it a little closer: a visualizer. A visualizer is an overlay that presets a visual accompaniment to a musical track. Some of them get pretty elaborate, some of them aren't much more than a graphic equalizer. Google Play Music's first visualizer is called "Particles."
To enable the visualizer, start a track or playlist on the web, then scroll your cursor over the album art on the bottom ribbon. Read More