It's easy to take a gesture as intuitive as pull-to-refresh for granted. That simple downward pull to reload content really only came into being once smartphones started becoming a thing: it was only used for the first time by a Twitter app called Tweetie back in 2008. Before that, we were mostly reduced to tapping a little 'reload' button to refresh content. Yuck. Twitter eventually acquired the app and filed for a patent on the gesture, though it promised to only use the patent defensively. Anyway, that's a little history on the now-ubiquitous gesture, which I'm sure will come in handy at your next cocktail party. Read More
Google has grown increasingly fond of virtual and augmented reality, culminating in its release of the ARCore SDK last year. ARCore was meant to democratize AR, giving more phones the ability to do it without having to rely on extra hardware as in the case of project Tango (which is now dead). Now according to an exclusive report from Variety, Google is planning on pushing hard for AR at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including the release of v1.0 of ARCore on the Play Store. But the update appears to be rolling out a bit earlier than planned, and we've got our hands on it. Read More
It hasn't been 2 months since Google Assistant dominated half the conversation at CES (with Alexa taking the other half) and now it's back again with more announcements and new things for MWC. After Google's teaser that new Android One and Go phones are coming at MWC next week, now we have a new announcement from the Google Assistant team and it's a big one. Some would call it a worldwide one.
First is the news that Google Assistant will be spreading to more languages and locales. From the current 8 languages, it will reach 30 by the end of the year and thus cover 95% of all eligible Android phones worldwide. Read More
The launch of Android Go is almost upon us, and Google is continuing work on its various first-party apps for the platform. Files Go, a simple file manager, first arrived in November of last year as a beta app. It exited beta in December, and there have been a few updates since then. Read More
Sometimes it seems like YouTube is perpetually testing different interfaces for its Android app. Based on reports we've received recently, yet another set of modifications is being tested. The latest round of tweaks is on the subtle side: some are seeing the thumbnails for individual videos in the Home tab show view counts, with more space for video titles and the channel logo repositioned below. Read More
Near the end of last year, Google told developers that it was working to phase out apps in the Chrome Web Store, in favor of platform-independent Progressive Web Apps. While PWAs already fully work in Chrome and Chrome OS, Google has been trying to make them look and feel more like desktop programs. Kenneth Christiansen (a contributor to Chromium) has shared some screenshots of how the work is progressing, and it looks fantastic. Read More
If you open links in some Android apps, and you have Chrome enabled as your default web browser, the page might be opened in a 'Chrome Custom Tab.' Instead of starting up the whole app, only a minimal browser UI is shown, with a large close button that takes you right back to the previous app. This feature requires the app open links a certain way, and as such, there have always been some apps that don't support Custom Tabs. Read More
When it comes to security, Android devices are a mixed bag - to say the least. Few manufacturers make promises about long-term support, and timely security updates are rare. This is understandably a concern for large businesses, which often don't want to worry about security flaws or constantly deploy new devices. For many enterprise customers, the question of which Android phones should be used is difficult to answer.
Google's solution to this problem is the 'Android Enterprise Recommended' program, which defines which Android devices are ideal for business use. All phones in the program must be running Android 7.0 or higher, support zero-touch enrollment (only applies to Oreo devices), be sold carrier-unlocked, and comply with other requirements. Read More
Back at I/O 2017, we were promised visual responses from Google Home on a Chromecast and we've been waiting for months for them to show up. A few weeks ago, the first one started working: you could ask Google Home to show you the weather on your TV and instead of answering with the forecast, it would invoke your connected Chromecast and show the weather on the TV. Read More