Google Play Books has a new feature called "night light" that should make tearing through text in the app in the evenings a bit less stressful on your ocular organs. The toggle, found in the same part of the UI as all the other in-text visual adjustments, works by slowly removing the amount of blue light on the screen the later in the day it is. The visual effect is to give the background an amber color which is supposedly less likely to cause visual strain in low ambient light.
Google says the feature is rolling out now, but if you don't have the latest Play Books update available to you, you're in luck: we do! Read More
Google bundles Chrome with Android, but what about that other browser? Firefox has gotten pretty good these days, assuming you don't need deep integration with your Google stuff. The stable version of Firefox is getting an update today with the usual collection of tweaks and additions. Maybe it's time to give it another look.
Star Wars? Star Wars Star Wars. But, Star Wars. The new Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars, and Star Wars. Star Wars Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, original trilogy. Jar Jar Binks, ugh. Darth Vader. Empire Strikes Back best. <Mercilessly mock Hayden Christensen as an insufferable, mewling infant, featuring overt and excessive hand-gesturing.> Millennium Falcon! Remastered editions <audible hissing>.
Great. Do we all have it out of our systems? Nope? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, Google released a new Chrome experiment today (find it here) that utilizes your desktop Chrome browser and your smartphone's Chrome browser to turn your phone into a lightsaber, because Star Wars. Read More
Apple and Sonos aren't BFFs just yet, but they're working on it. Today is December 15th, and as promised, beta Apple Music support has arrived. The news is visible in black and white in the changelog that accompanies the latest app update. Read More
Part of the appeal of smartwatches is using them in place of a dedicated activity tracker. Pebble watches have had a number of third-party options available, but now Pebble is making a full effort of its own. The company has rolled out Pebble Health, watch software that tracks your steps and monitors your sleeping. Read More
Google faces many interesting challenges with Android Auto. It seems like a simple task to build an interface that is less messy and more enjoyable than existing in-car systems. Given the low bar set by most existing platforms, this doesn't sound very difficult. However, Google is taking advantage of more advanced technology and clever design so Auto isn't just another small iterative step forward. A teardown of the latest update shows some interesting progress on new input methods that don't require as much attention and a parking assistant feature that remembers where you left your vehicle.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Google Now On Tap is one of those features that sounded great when it was announced, but has failed to live up to the hype now that it's out. It's not going to remain in that state forever, though. Google is already adding new features to On Tap, including some we've already noticed. A blog post on the Inside Search blog lays it all out.
The Vimeo app is one of those famously bad apps that actually make a mediocre mobile website look good by comparison. After years of being behind the curve, Vimeo is finally stepping up its app game with a v2.0 update. There's a lot of good stuff here, but you'll have to wait a bit for all the pieces to be in place.
You start with a song. Ten seconds in, you decide that this one isn't your style. You give it a thumbs down, and the track goes away. Another song begins. You love it, and give it a thumbs up. You don't particularly like or dislike the next one, but you give a few of the songs after more approval. Then you create another station, and you start the process again. Read More
A mobile payment service is only useful if you can, you know, use it... which must be pretty disheartening for customers of smaller banks and credit unions. Each one of them needs to be certified with new payment systems before their customers can join in the "fun" of paying for stuff with their phones. Today Samsung Pay, the semi-proprietary system that's surprisingly interoperable thanks to some neat payment tech, adds a whopping 19 new Visa and MasterCard issuers to its list of compatible banks and similar companies. Read More