A Google Podcasts App May Soon Be Launched

A dedicated app for podcasts may soon be available on the Google PlayStore.

According to the folks in 9to5Google, the search giant is planning to have its own Google Podcasts app.

In the last few months, Google has really been pushing for more presence in the podcast universe. And this move will definitely help them gain more traction. In 2009, it launched an app called Listen, which was its first attempt at a podcast player. However, it did not live long enough and was completely shutdown in three years later.

Currently, Google has been building out a podcast client within the standard Google app. However, it is not easy to access. The company is apparently trying to change that with an actual Android app.

9to5Google spotted a snipped of code in the latest Google app which shows an inactive prompt which asks users to “Get the Google Podcasts app.”

Currently the app is not live yet but the folks at 9to5Google thinks you will be able to access the app HERE once it does.

Besides the code, they also saw a logo for the Google Podcasts app made of the iconic Google colours.

Image Source: 9to5Google

Pretty cool eh?

 

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Google Lens Has Its Own App For Faster Launch

The Google Lens has made its way to the Playstore as a standalone app.

Google announced Lens last year as a way for users to identify objects, locations and other stuff from an image. It was first made available for Pixel owners and then later on expanded into the Photos app. And just recently, it was rolled out to most Android devices that supports Google Assistant.

For those who don’t use Google Assistant however, this will not be possible. That is unless you use the LG G7 ThinQ which has a hardware key specifically for Lens.

Now, Google has made it available for all Android users running Marshmallow or above.

The standalone icon is basically the shortcut to access the lens. It means users don’t have to go through the Google Assistant in order to launch Lens. However, bear in mind that it is still part of Google Assistant. The app is just a quick access tool.

What exactly can you with Google’s AI-capable viewfinder? When the app is opened, whatever your camera is pointed at, Google will give you information about it. It is also a useful way to translate, copy and search for texts. Pretty cool eh?

You can download the app here.

 

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Say Goodbye to Microsoft’s Groove Music iOS and Android apps

The Groove Music app will no longer be available on Android and iOS. Users’ personal files however, will still be available in OneDrive.

Last year, Microsoft shut down its Groove Music service. Now, the company has finally decided to retire its Android and iOS apps too.

It was in 2012 when the tech giant introduced the service as Xbox Music. Users were able to stream music through subscription or by purchasing through the Windows Store.

In 2017, the company discontinued the music subscription service. Users however, were still able to play music stored and synchronized on OneDrive. Microsoft also started encouraging users to transfer to Spotify as an alternative. Users were allowed to move their playlists and music collections to the popular streaming app.

Now, in a support page update, Microsoft explains that the Groove apps are going to be retired on December 1. “After that date, the apps won’t work and should be uninstalled.” It will also be no longer available for download.

So what will happen to the personal files?

Microsoft has assured users that they will still be available in OneDrive. “You can access OneDrive online or through the OneDrive app on any supported device.”

Additionally, music and playlists are still playable in Windows 10 Groove Music apps on PC, Xbox, or Windows Phone.

 

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Nokia: Back to My First (Phone) Love With #ChargedUp?

I confess – Nokia was my first love back in the day when cell phones were clunkier and sported rubber ducky antennas.  The iPhone was still a fetus in Steve Job’s mind and Samsung was more concerned about battling Canon and Sony for camera supremacy. Well, things changed and Nokia, with a fresh infusion $100M, is just getting its mojo back and I am waiting for the opportunity to snap one up after passing-up on this year’s earlier models.

With Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, Sony Experia, and Google aspiring to dethrone Apple’s iPhone and Samsung, does Nokia, the industry’s dinosaur have a fighting chance? After the more expensive Nokia 8 Scirocco flagship phone disappointed die-hard Samsung 9 users, will Nokia have better luck with the launch of its new on May 29? Though more durable with its stainless frame, the Scirocco did not have the latest Snapdragon 845 on board and its higher RAM did not deliver better performance. Users also missed the MicroSD slot and the headphone jack. Despite its Zeiss lens, other flagship phones still produced faster and better video.

But recent teasers from HMD is intriguing. Thus far, the U.S. market has been lukewarm to Nokia 6.1 despite its upgrade from Nokia 6. But apparently, Nokia is springing surprises in its May 29 launch in Moscow – and the expected long battery life is just one of them. HMD had already confirmed the introduction and sale of the Nokia X6 in China and other locations as well. For sure the 3(?) new models will go beyond its Oreo usability that features enhanced multitasking, better security features, faster speed, and long battery life.

 

 

It May Soon Be Possible To Watch YouTube Videos in Incognito Mode

YouTube spotted testing an Incognito mode on Android that doesn’t save your viewing history.

(Image credit: Android Police)

Users will soon be able to watch all that crazy, bizarre and weird stuff on YouTube in secret thanks to the app’s Incognito Mode.

The YouTube Android app has been spotted to have the Incognito mode for some of its users. This is the latest addition to the list of services online offering a dedicated mode for no-history browsing. This includes browsers and digital keyboards like Gboard, and Swiftkey.

Of course, if you aren’t signed in to you account in YouTube, there aren’t any history being recorded. But a lot of us have channels that we have subscribed to and being signed in helps to see them faster. Being in Incognito Mode allows you to still be signed in but with the benefit of incognito browsing.

Android Police first reported the testing on the YouTube app for Android devices. The new change appears to be rolling out for select users through a server-side update. This means there are no actions necessary for users to have this update.

Once you click on your avatar from the top-right corner of the YouTube app, a dedicated Turn on Incognito option can now be seen. This replaces the Sign out option which is now accessible through the Switch account option.

Currently, YouTube’s mobile apps already let users pause their viewing and search history by finding those toggles in the settings menu. This new mode is a quicker way to do just that. However, being incognito mode doesn’t make a user totally invisible. Activities will still be logged at the employer, institution, or the Internet service provider (ISP) end.

No word yet as to when this update will be available to all users, including the YouTube app for iOS. We’ll be keeping a lookout!

Top Features Coming To Android

 Top Features Coming To Android Unveiled By Google

Google unveils some cool top features for Android.  The company showed off a first look at its next mobile software on Tuesday.    Among the new innovations from Google are its Android P features, Google Assistant updates, and more.

Andriod P Features

Android P will debut later this year.  Users of Android P will will get access to gesture-based navigation, battery saving features, and an impressive new text selection tool that works on photos and the real world.

Google is known for naming its mobile software after candy, and in alphabetical order.  They are now up to letter “P”.  Although we do not know what its proper name is yet, the company announced a beta version.  This version is now available for some phones.

More Features Of The Power Packed Android P

Some Android P features address the problem of liking your phone too much.  The company developed a new dashboard which gives insight on how you spend time on your device.  It turns on its Do Not Disturb mode when you flip your phone over.

It also has a new app timer which serves as parental control for adults.  You will receive a notification and the screen will turn gray if you have been staring at a particular app for too long.

A new mode called Wind Down turns your screen black and white at a set time.  This will help you go to sleep.  Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the focus on “digital wellbeing” is an ongoing effort across Google Products.

Android P tries to stretch out battery life by prioritizing certain apps and adjusting brightness also.

Additional Update: Google’s New News Apps And Broader View

Google just got its biggest overhaul to date, after being around for fourteen years.  The company unveiled a new News app and web version that collects top news, opinion articles and checks facts on national and local stories.

The company said artificial intelligence will be used to analyze each story and make judgement calls about quality and its type.   A new view will show the same stories to everyone.  But it will get more personalized based on your location, favorite sources, and topic preferences.

 

 

 

 

 

Android Things For Appliances Launched By Google

Google Launches Android Things For Appliances

Android Things for appliances (and other machines) are launched by Google.  This could bring its Google Assistant virtual helper to refrigerators and robots and familiar designs to cash registers and vending machines.

“Android Things”

“Android Things” arrives as Google opens its annual conference for developers. These Android derivatives aim to provide users with a consistent interface across devices.  The company and its business partners will then benefit from a standard way to distribute their applications.

Other Uses Of The Android

The company does not charge hardware manufacturers for Android.  It expects to generate a return as consumers use new gadgets to use search, watch videos on YouTube and buy from its Play Store.

The Android operating system powers many of the world’s smartphones .  And it drives consumers to Google’s cash-minting apps.  The company has tried its best to extend Android’s dominance into other areas over the last four years, said technology and financial analysts.

Gone are the days when we used to have the opinion that Android is useless and irrelevant outside phones. The company has developed devices and gadgets using Android.  Now the company has “Android Things” which competes with Amazon.com Inc’s Greengrass System and Microsoft’s Windows IoT.

The company says it will guarantee three years of free security patches to hardware makers and paid extended options.  It is also considering automated security scans of device makers’ apps.

Android Things will also be used in health technology.  Byteflies, Android Things tester, said it viewed the system’s optional integration with Google’s cloud computing service and the large Android developer community as big advantages.

Startups and agencies are also using Android Things to prototype innovative ideas for  diverse set of use-cases, including monitoring gadgets and smart billboard screens.

Android automotive is gaining attention from Indian car makers and automakers from Brazil.

Other Gadgets Google Hope Android Things Will Run On

The company has worked closely with partners in the last few months.  This is to bring products built on Android Things to market.  These include Smart Speakers from LG, and iHome and Smart Displays from Lenovo, LG, and JBL.  They showcase powerful capabilities like Google Assistant and Google Cast.  These products will be out in the market between now and the end of summer.

 

 

 

Chrome OS: Google Is Working On Chrome Address bar, Revamped Bluetooth stack, Android app shortcuts

Avid users of Chrome OS should expect some changes on some of its product features like Bluetooth. This comes after tech giant Google is planning to make a revamp of Bluetooth functionality. The company is also planning to overhaul the Bluetooth stack.

 

Here’s what Google is working on for Chrome OS

 

Google said the changes in Bluetooth functionality in Chrome OS was attributed to the changes made by Android. The overhauled Bluetooth, as expected, may enhance and improve the security of Bluetooth communication on Chrome OS.

The updated Bluetooth functionality on Chrome OS is also expected to fix the previous flaws or defects that users experienced two years ago. A description sourced from XDA stated that Chrome OS users on the Developer Channel could track the changes made. Using the hashtag #newblue flag in Chrome://flags.

 

Also, Googler François Beaufort announced that the Chrome team is now experimenting a new updated address bar. The changes of the address bar work similarly with that of the mobile version wherein thumbnails and brief descriptions are included.

 

Also, XDA Developers announced that support for Android app shortcuts is coming. Application shortcuts would appear if you users would do a right-clicking (or holding down) on an app from the launcher, according to Gerrit. Chrome OS users said that the app shortcuts in Android is actually an interesting modification. They thought this support should have been applied as well in Chrome IS.

 

 

However, it was made clear that the support for the App shortcuts is still not available on the platform. Based on the new commit to the Chromium code-base hints that Google is doubling its efforts to apply such support for Chrome OS.

 

 

Moreover, it is also expected that the Chromium Code base would bring support for the feature to an upcoming version of the operating system.

Disappearing Email and Security Nets in the Gmail Early Adopter Program

Google, one of the Top 10 in Reuter Thomson’s Global Technology Leaders of 2018 is innovative and as expected, answered the call for better control over security issues post-Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. But is the much-hyped disappearing email really new? To be honest, this feature which some quarters hailed as millennial makeover is interesting but not original. Apart from being around in Outlook, Snapchat and Android for years, disappearing email was something that was possible in Google itself circa 2012. Google did a Houdini here since this DIY version is no longer possible with a past revamp of the “tool” in Google Docs. Currently, the script in “tools” is abbreviated and is not as easily changed as in the following video:

Currently, Gmail has around 1.4 Billion users and some of them could be enjoying the benefits of confidential mail if we are to believe Google’s announcement last April 25. This option prevents recipients from copying, forwarding, and downloading mail that has been sent – something that will eventually be circumvented by the unscrupulous but a welcome change nonetheless. It gives you leverage over how long you want the message to remain in the recipient’s Inbox before disappearing into thin air or becoming inaccessible. In addition, passwords (SMS and non-SMS)  can be enabled for individual mail.

The implications are alarming as it could be a two-way sword. If you are at the receiving end, there would be no proof to show and information can’t be readily referenced. A question of ethics arises because when mail is sent, who owns it – the sender or the receiver? At present, the confidential mode does not yet acknowledge this shared ownership, but in the future, can we expect Gmail to inform recipients that the message will disappear and ask their consent?

Google just gave Gmail a huge makeover — here is what’s new from CNBC.

The new Gmail also comes with two-factor authentication and better phishing safeguards. A most useful feature is the “Task Integration” feature which enables smoother workflow and better productivity (all to-dos in one place); something extremely utilitarian especially for business or enterprise clients who tend to use other apps like Trello, Asana or Basecamp for better project management.

Don’t get too excited about taking it for a spin as it’s not yet available for everyone. Google does promise a global rollout soon but Administrators of G-Suite for businesses or schools can already opt-in and activate the changes from the Admin Console.

“Instead of getting a notification every time a new email hits your inbox, you can now tell your Gmail app to ping you only for the most important 3 percent of your incoming messages.” — CNBC

The new Gmail is a boon for consumers worried about the sanctity of data and how their private information is being used. It will also work smarter, giving you the option to prioritize emails – plus getting Smart Replies on your desktop. On May 8, there will be a Google’s I/O developer conference  (as the heels of F8) so we can expect more interesting revelations. Though the changes are belated, the new Gmail has cool options worth trying out.

Android P: What Would Be Its Name?

Android P:  What Will It Be Called?

Android P is coming, and speculations for its name starts.  Let us focus on the eventual nickname for “P”.  This will be heading to a device you probably do not own yet from mid-2018.

Possible Nicknames For “P”

Petit Four is out of the question.  Android nerds would know that there already was an Android “Petit Four”.  Before Google settled for alphabetical desserts, the internal name of Android 1.1 was that.

What about Android 9.0 Pound Cake.  A Pound cake is a very simple dessert.  No intricate cake layers or attractive, colorful toppings.  So it may not best describe and represent Android P.

Another possible nickname for “P” would be Pastille.  Pastilles are hard, gum-like, chewy candies.  They are often dusted with sugar and are sometimes used for medicinal purposes.  Tiny Android sweets with different colors is easy to envision.  So pastille may be a decent outside bet.

More Possible Options For The Nickname

Android 9.0 Popsicle is the next suggestion.   This will be the next frozen dessert since 2011’s Ice Cream Sandwich.  This is a more likely candidate.  Most of the world is familiar with the colored sugar water, frozen into a mold and held with a stick.

Next on the list is Pancake.  Most people love pancakes.  Especially if they are topped with maple syrup, nutella, jelly, or what-have-yous.  The pancake is a significant achievement of human civilization.  It has the mainstream appeal to promote Google’s next OS to the masses.

What can you say about Profiterole?  This is a light pastry, consisting mostly of air.  The pastry is combined with whipped cream, and again, more air occupying much of the space.  Compared to the other desserts, profiteroles don’ really do anything.

Puff Pastry is another possible nickname for “P”.  Puff Pastry is not really a dessert though.  Since it is a sweet treat for the people, at least it’s got that going for it.

Here comes “P” for Pecan PIe, Pumpkin Pie, Anything else in a Pie. Internally, Lollipop was Lemon Meringue Pie.  Kitkat was Key Lime Pie internally.  Pecan and pumpkin may be the most popular choices.  But there is also peach pie and pirogue pie.

Which Will Be The Best Nickname For Android P

There is no decision yet as to what the choice for the name is.  Let us wait for now.  We will know what the result will be in just under a year.

 

 

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