Back in Chrome 54, Google replaced Chrome for Android's New Tab page with a new design that prominently featured suggested content - much like Google Now's feed. To quote Douglas Adams, "This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." Switching to the old design was possible by disabling a few Chrome flags, but the recent Chrome 58 update removes this ability.
If you're not a fan of Chrome's cluttered New Tab page, there are a few workarounds you can try to make it a bit more usable. You can even mix and match features to create a more personalized design. Read More
According to several frustrated posters on Google's product forums, the hands-free reply function built into Android Auto is broken. The feature enables users of various different messaging apps to reply to incoming messages while keeping their hands on the wheel. There is a bizarre workaround, though — make sure you have Hangouts enabled and up-to-date. Read More
Last month it was announced that Google Classroom would be opened up to anyone with a Google account — the collaboration tool for education was limited to those with a G Suite account, previously. That change meant that normal users could join classrooms, but now Google is expanding the functionality and allowing anyone to create and manage classrooms, too. Read More
It might not matter how high the DPI on a screen gets cranked by each new model if you have trouble seeing it. Thankfully we have Google's TalkBack, Android's accessibility service for the blind and disabled. It reads what's on your screen, but it also provides feedback for actions allowing users to fully interact with their device. Now the latest update has left beta after a few months of testing, bringing with it even more features, like verbosity (an adjustment for how much or little content it reads, based on your preferences), character counts for password fields, and a new Select to Speak service that allows you to tap content to hear it spoken, and more. Read More
When the Photos app launched in 2015, Google had already been working on computer vision for many years. It was no surprise that object recognition was a major draw for the app, and automatic sorting of pictures by person with the use of facial recognition became a must-have feature. Google is now looking to leverage this technology to make the Photos app a bit more social. A teardown of the latest Photos update reveals the service will soon offer additional features based around facial recognition, and even encourage users to share pictures with the people detected in them. Read More
Feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing the last one of these, but here we are halfway through the week. That means another round of apps that have gone free or on sale! Quite a few have popped up since then, though there is still a theme that centers around icon packs and games. Read More
Google renewed its commitment to running Android apps on Chromebooks earlier this year with the announcement of universal Android app support going forward. One of the first devices covered by this promise is the Samsung Chromebook Plus, and it's also (apparently) the first to get the latest version of Android. Nougat (7.1.1) has started rolling out, but you need to be on the bleeding edge to get it. Read More
The ability to quickly set a reminder on your phone is one many of us take for granted these days. Smartphones have seemingly always had this basic PDA functionality. Type ‘add reminder’ into the Google search box and you’ll be able to quickly set up a notification to jog your memory about something later on. You can even use the ‘OK Google’ voice command: “remind me to pick up the groceries at 6pm,” for example. Easy-peasy.
For most people, this function is used occasionally for something really important they simply mustn't forget. And for those people, it probably works just fine. Read More
Google has just pushed out a blog post that indirectly outlines a few changes to Google Trips. We reported last month that manually adding reservations and support for bus and train tickets had been implemented in the app. This latest post by Google shows off some additional features, like easy itinerary sharing and new reservation types like restaurants and car rentals. Read More