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Nest thermostat will be the central point for Google’s Internet of Things


Google bought Nest in 2014 with the plan for big things. The Nest thermostat is one of the most powerful WiFi connected thermostats in the word, but programming the temperature in your home is only the tip of the iceberg.

Google started a program called “Works With Nest” last year that allows Nest to communicate with various other home automation devices. The goal is to make Nest a central part of the home automation system, but not the full controller. For example, if you have Philips Hues lights, there are various apps to control those lights on a regular basis. However, the Nest thermostat can kick things up a notch by adding additional controls since it knows when someone is in or out of the house. If Nest detects that you just arrived at home, it might turn on certain lights, or if you have left the house, it could turn off lights that you forget.

With the announcement of Brillo and Weave at I/O 2015, Nest will be able to communicate with even more devices. Brillo is the operating system that is based on the “lower levels of Android”, while Weave is the communications layer that will allow connected devices to talk to one another. These two ingredients makeup Google’s attempt at the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is about connecting a slew of devices in order to automate and make your life that much easier.

Imagine that your drying clothes and leave the house. Nest senses no one is home so it can switch your dryer to a refresh mode when your cycle ends, keeping your clothes fresh and wrinkle-free. This is something that can already be done through the “Works With Nest” program with Whirlpool washers and dryers.

It is the Brillo OS and the Weave communications layer that will bring even more devices. The Brillo OS will bring new connected devices to market from appliances, door locks, etc. The Weave communications layer will assist in the interaction between Nest and these new devices. Google will release a developer preview version of Brillo during the 3rd quarter of this year, with the first products coming to market in early 2016.

With all this said, Google still has a big hurdle and that is programming. Consumers haven’t adopted home automation because it requires a lot of work to get the most out of it. That is something that I am sure Google is working on and will likely have an answer for by next year’s I/O.

Be sure to check out our complete Google I/O 2015 coverage.


Come comment on this article: Nest thermostat will be the central point for Google’s Internet of Things


Apple Offers Temporary Fix for iOS Text Bug, Says Update’s Coming Soon

A couple days after a new iOS bug was discovered, allowing a select string of characters sent in an iMessage or text to reset iPhones and crash the Messages app, Apple has created a new support document to address the problem. The Cupertino company acknowledges the problem and says that it’s working on a fix, offering temporary solutions in the mean time.


Apple is aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update. Until the update is available, you can use these steps to re-open the Messages app.

1. Ask Siri to “read unread messages.”

2. Use Siri to reply to the malicious message. After you reply, you’ll be able to open Messages again

3. In Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread. Or tap and hold the malicious message, tap More, and delete the message from the thread.

In addition to Apple’s suggestions, there are other possible fixes that have worked for MacRumors in other scenarios. For instance, if Messages was opened in conversation list view you can fix the issue by having someone send you a message or sending yourself a message via Siri or through the Share sheet in any app.


Google’s Project Jacquard wants to put a trackpad on your pants

The ATAP division of Google is known for some the most innovative ideas to come out of Silicon Valley. It’s the home of the Project Ara modular phone and Project Tango. So it’s no surprise to find that Project Jacquard has a large single piece of fabric with conductive yarn woven in that works like a trackpad. The Jacquard team said that more information about its technology would be revealed at tomorrow’s ATAP session, but it already looks promising.

The Jacquard loom can weave regular and conductive fabric into a single piece of textile. On the demo table at I/O, the conductive squares on the larger piece of fabric where used to turn lights on, control a media player, and power two touch-tracking setups that visualized the interaction. The conductive surface uses low-power Wi-Fi to communicate with devices. While the demo was on a flat surface, the additional electronics needed to power and connect the fabric to a device are not quite ready to be sewn into your pants. The team is still working on shrinking those components down to integrate with its loom. But once they do, you might be swiping your next jacket to control smartphone.

Filed under: Misc, Peripherals, Wearables, Wireless, Google


Source: Project Jacquard


Oh no: MIT’s Cheetah robot can jump over hurdles while running

MIT’s scientists spent years making the Cheetah robot a more efficient runner. Now that’s done, its creators probably thought it was time to give it a major upgrade: the metal quadruped can now autonomously jump over hurdles like a trained horse. Yes, it can automatically detect and leap over multiple objects while it runs — even without a tether. The scientists claim it’s the “first four-legged robot” to be able to do so, and we’ll bet they’ll train it further to leap over much higher walls, as well as give future machines the same ability. Now where can we hide?

Filed under: Robots


Via: Gizmodo

Source: MIT (YouTube)


Autoplay, queuing, second screen and multiplayer gaming comes to the Chromecast


While we didn’t get a revamped version of the Chromecast at Google I/O like many were expecting, the first generation media streamer is still quite powerful. And pretty soon, it’s going to become much more versatile than ever before.

Just like with individual applications like Netflix or Hulu that allow you to autoplay episodes of your favorite TV show, Chromecast will soon get this feature, only for all applications. Developers will be able to add functionality to their content that will let a second video buffer while the first one is still playing. Users will also be able to control their queues, which will let them re-order/add/subtract videos as needed. This feature will certainly be welcomed by Chromecast owners.

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Google doesn’t stop there, though. Google has also added in multiplayer gaming support, which allows folks to invite their friends to play Chromecast-enabled games in multiplayer mode. Games will require a slight tweaking in order to be compatible with this new feature, but Google is sure developers will adopt the new feature in no time. Google is doing this by means of a new Game Manager API, which makes it a lot easier for devs to create multiplayer experiences that span to both Android and iOS devices.

Google has also released a set of powerful tools for devs called Remote Display APIs. These new APIs, when implemented into individual apps, will let you duplicate your display, giving you a second screen. For instance, with the proper APIs integrated into a racing game, users can utilize their smartphones as a steering wheel, while watching the road on their TV.


Autodesk Pixlr has implemented an early version of these APIs already, as you can see above. This new functionality certainly starts to suggest ways in which Google plans to utilize all screens as best as it can. It may be a little while before we start seeing devs take advantage of these new APIs, but when they do, Chromecast will be much more functional than before.


Google showcases the 18 best apps with Material Design in the Play Store

Even though Google showcased Material Design back at Google I/O 2014, the entire concept is still largely being developed. Not only did the company roll out aesthetic changes, but Android 5.0 Lollipop was completely filled with functional changes as well. Eliminating menus, adding in multi-functional buttons, and focusing on the user experience was a huge focus in last year’s update, and today, Google reminds us that it’s still being mastered.

To give us a good example of Material Design, Google has just updated its Google Design webpage, which adds a slew of new Material enhancements. There’s also a lot of new functionality on the website, too.

A new video has been created by the Google Design team that tries to outline what exactly Material Design is. A number of lead designers are featured in the video, along with none other than the man himself, Google’s VP of Design, Matias Duarte. He talks about the fact that Material Design isn’t just a visual overhaul; it’s also a stepping stone to create all-around better design. Duarte explains:

I don’t want to be looking four years down the road or ten years down the road and saying, “Well with Material Design, all of those ideas all of those frameworks, they’re over.” The principles behind them, I think, should be timeless. Maybe we don’t have them right yet, but I believe we’ll get there.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 7.45.50 PM

In addition to the updated Google Design webpage, Google has also revealed a list of the best applications available right now with great Material Design implementation. A total of 18 apps are on the list, including well-known apps like Tumblr, Pocket Casts, Weather Timeline, and lesser-known apps like Telegram, SeriesGuide and wiMAN Free WiFi Unlocker. If you’d like to see the full list, be sure to head to the Play Store link below!

Get it on Google Play


Missed something at Google I/O 2015? Re-watch the full keynote here!

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While the first day of Google I/O 2015 is just coming to an end, there’s still another full day ahead of us. Google went through a lot of announcements today, and it can be really easy to miss out on some of the most important info. If you’d like to re-live the experience, the full keynote from I/O 2015 has just been posted on YouTube. The video is attached below, so be sure to take a look if you missed out on something!

Of course, you don’t need to watch the entire presentation again, because we’re here. Our very own Bogdan Petrovan created a wonderfully informative I/O keynote roundup, and our own Joshua Vergara made a great video on the Google I/O 2015 keynote, that explains the whole thing in just over eight minutes. A lot has been covered over the past few hours, so be sure to check out our keynote roundup, or watch the video below for more information.

What’s been your favorite announcement so far? Android M? Google Photos? Let us know your thoughts!


Enjoy your first taste of the new version of Android with this Android M wallpaper

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In case you didn’t know, Google I/O 2015 has kicked off today and there have been a whole number of announcements, not least of which has been the announcement of Android M, the next version of Android to be made available later this year. As part of their plan to give their loyal followers a taste of what’s to come, the Android M Developer Preview has been made available to a select number of Nexus devices (Nexus 5, 6 and 9 in particular). If you don’t currently own one of these devices, and still want to have your taste of Android M, you’re in luck because the very first Android M wallpaper has been dug up from the Developer Preview – you can check it out below (don’t forget to click through to the full resolution image):

Android M wallpaper

As you can probably tell, it’s a spruced up satellite photo that Google has no doubt captured while gathering Google Maps data, and we have to say it looks breathtaking. The resolution of the image is 2334×1920, which is kind of weird, but should still make it perfect for 1080p devices. Hopefully the rest of the Android M wallpapers are more of the same – we’ll let you know if and when more are made available.

What do you think about the first Android M wallpaper? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Droid-life

The post Enjoy your first taste of the new version of Android with this Android M wallpaper appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Google’s Now on Tap makes Android M smartphones so much smarter

In no particular order, Google’s invading our living rooms, our extremities, our skies, and – curiously – our Android phones. No, really! By announcing Google Now on Tap during today’s I/O keynote, the company’s going all-in on the idea that a Google smartphone isn’t complete without the full power of the Knowledge Graph baked into it. And you know what? I think they’re right. Even after just a few moments messing around with it, I don’t ever want to use an Android device that can’t do what Now on Tap can.

Before we go any further, know this: You’re not going to be able to use this feature just yet. Holding down the home button on a device running the Android M preview yields a sad little pop-up proclaiming these go-anywhere Now information cards aren’t in this software build. At first I thought it was because there weren’t any updated apps that knew to pass along data to Now when I asked for it, but Google product manager Paige Dunn-Rankin kindly set me straight. App developers don’t have to do anything at all; Now parses the information on-screen and tries to surface relevant information like locations, reviews and definitions all on its lonesome. And you know what the crazy part is? Even now, in its nascent, not-even-closed to finish state, it’s amazing.

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Yes, you can the bet the demos on stage — asking what Skrillex’s real name was without actually saying his nom de gibberish — were rehearsed like crazy. Dunn-Rankin’s examples were a little more off the cuff, though. While looking up a Miles Davis record on Ebay, she invoked Now with a long press to reveal biographical information and links to his jaunty tunes on Spotify. Pressing and holding the home button while looking at an Instagram photo brought up its Yelp and Foursquare listings, not to mention a read on how far away we were from it. It works great with voice inputs, too, and the ability to infer the context of a situation is seriously impressive — you can finally speak naturally to Now, and it’ll respond naturally with (almost) exactly what you were looking for. Google’s been blurring the line between regular Android phones and ones that sort of double as helpful assistants since the days of the 2014 Moto X, which would rouse itself from slumber when you called for it, so today’s news is a step we all probably could’ve foretold.

Naturally, not everyone’s as thrilled as I am. Earlier in the day, my colleague Nicole Lee mentioned that the feature would “creep you out even more than before.” I completely disagree. Fine, there might be something initially unnerving about a system that tries to anticipate what you want, but mechanically, it’s not even close to weird. Google Now just looks at the context of a given situation faster than you can, and provides some very logical jumping off points. It’s not scary, it’s just scary efficient… though some would agree only a fine line divides the two.trydocument.getElementById(“fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-238943″).style.display=”none”;catch(e)

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Filed under: Mobile



Google Photos cuts out Plus to make the app we really wanted

The most striking part of the just released (on the web, iOS and Android) Google Photos is how familiar it feels if you’ve already been using Photos in Google+, or before that, Picasa. The biggest change I noticed early on is that by separating Photos from its attempt to launch yet another social network, Google is starting focus on stuff that both benefits its users, and that it does well: cloud storage and using information to narrow down searches. Now, it’s a perfect fit for how most people use cameras everyday, from the ones in their phones to point-and-shoots (but maybe not your DSLR). With unlimited storage and machine learning that can link photos by the people in them or where they were taken it’s ready to make sense of your massive image library.

The tagline is “organized by what matters” and it refers to Photos ability to pull together geotagging information (if available) or just look at your pictures and figure out where they were taken by the landmarks in them. Most importantly, this information is private — Photos is a private library where you can curate and edit your pictures, and then share as needed. That said, it is creepily good at identifying people (you can turn that off in the settings), even if it doesn’t know who they really are. With my photos, it tracked pictures of my nieces as they grew over several years and still identified them accurately. According to the FAQ, it uses “face models” to group similar photos together. Its ability to ID objects wasn’t quite as good — apparently many of my shoes register as cars or buildings, but it was mostly on point.

One element I liked was its ability to create a sharable link to a picture, which you can then go back and kill later without deleting the photo, or just track which links have been created. Of course, it’s also ready to share pictures directly to services like Twitter and Facebook (or Google+) without a problem. A Google Now-like “Assistant” feature tips you off when the app is ready to build out a new collection or collage, and even has the familiar cards setup.

Many of the features that were introduced on Google+ are here too, like Auto Awesome that quickly tweaks images to look their best and highlight faces, create animations from a series of successive shots or automatically create Stories from a place or event. By pulling these features out of Google+, it makes them more logical to use even if the friends you’ll be sharing them to are on a different service. The usual light photo editing tools are also included, like cropping or adjusting levels.

Upon loading the new Photos app, users have an option to stick with using their Google Drive storage, or moving over to the new service and its promise of unlimited backups. By choosing the bottomless option, you’ll be limited to pictures at a maximum size of 16MP, and videos at 1080p, but that should be fine for most. It also implements some compression on your stored pictures, and while I didn’t notice any differences, it’s worth considering for those more serious about their pictures. If you want full-res backups that stay as RAW or TIFF files, you can use the Google Drive options for more space, like a 1TB service that costs $10 per month. On the other hand, if you’re just running out of space on your phone, the app can identify which photos you have backed up to the cloud and offer to delete them locally.

This is hardly the only way to back up your pictures. Apple has its revamped iCloud Photos setup for iOS and Mac, and Flickr recently added machine recognition to its unlimited storage picture service. Others like VSCO Cam are also options for photo editing and organizing. From what I’ve seen so far, Google has a better mix of tools that’s easy to use even for people who are casual about their pictures and works cross platform — I tried the app on an iPad and it was almost identical to the version on my Android phone. That’s not much help if your platform of choice is something else like Windows Phone, but hopefully Google fixes that — this gets better if it’s available in more places.

Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Streams, Photos and Sharing says the point is to make its abilities so transparent they sink into the background, and on that front it has succeeded. The new Google Photos isn’t just easy to use, it’s unobtrusive and most importantly private by default. In our (overly) public, complicated and multifaceted digital lives, that’s refreshing.

Filed under: Internet, Mobile, Google


Source: Google Blog, Google Photos


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