Google has integrated a few new messaging apps into its voice commands in the Android app, so now you’ll be able to quickly send messages in your favorite clients without ever having to touch your phone.
The process works just like sending a text message, but instead of dictating to send a text, you can tell Google to send a WhatsApp message to someone. Afterwards, Google will prompt for what you’d like to send. The process works with several of the most popular messaging services, including WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram, and NextPlus.
This is just one of the many steps Google is taking to roll as much functionality into their core Google Play services as possible, making Android a very, very compelling platform. Currently, sending these messages is only available in English, but like always Google is working on rolling that out to other languages soon.
Come comment on this article: You can now send messages through WhatsApp and Viber using voice commands through Google
Cyanogen’s certainly set on loading its Android version with Google app replacements. Earlier this year, it announced that it will make Boxer’s Gmail-like email app the stock option for Cyanogen OS 12. Now it has revealed that the new calendar made by the same firm will also become a stock app in future versions of the platform. As Boxer is known for making Google app substitutes for those fond of them but who’d rather not tie their details to an account, its new calendar’s pretty much like GCal, with events indicated by color-coded blocks. It’s integrated with the company’s email app, which means you’d instantly know if you’re available when you receive an invite in your inbox. Boxer’s calendar will come preloaded on Cyanogen OS devices to be released in the next few months, but you can download it right now from Google Play or iTunes.
The Google Play Store has just received a version bump, bringing it to version 5.8.8 and few minor changes. You can probably guess by the small increase in version number that this one is a tiny update but is quite visually pleasing so is alone enough to warrant updating to the new version.
– Hamburger-Arrow morphing animation
Of course, there could be more undisclosed under the hood performance enhancements not immediately noticeable.
Why download it?
If like me you like to be on the cutting edge of developments, you can go ahead and grab the latest Google Play Store 5.8.8 APK from here. Running the latest version of the Google Play Store always ensures you have the latest features and experience the changes first-hand into new developments within the APK. Often small incremental updates will lay the ground work for future, more substantial, changes and running the latest APK enables you to see these clues for yourself and experience the fixes Google are delivering to the Google Play Store app.
Notice anything else different in the newest version of the Google Play Store? Drop us a comment below.
The post New hamburger animation rolls out: Download and install the latest Google Play Store 5.8.8 APK appeared first on AndroidGuys.
As an avid user of Google Now, I am forever welcoming added additions to the service that make it more useful and especially those that add voice functions. What’s great about this latest update to Google Now is that I have been wanting this functionality for a very long time – you can send a Hangouts message with voice commands so why not WhatsApp, or any other social messaging client? Well, now you can.
Today, that Google Now functionality has expanded to messaging apps, including WhatsApp, WeChat, NextPlus, Telegram, and Viber. If you say, “Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message to John,” you’ll get a prompt asking you to dictate your message. Or, you can just say: “Ok Google, send a Viber message to Ted: What are you up to?”
Google continues to enhance their Google Now service having only recently allowed cards from third-party apps to appear in the dashboard. Expect to see further apps added to the supported list, as well as further functionality undoubtedly be introduced over the coming months as we approach Android M.
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Google has just kicked off a great new deal in which it’s offering a $15 discount to anyone who purchases two Chromecast units before Friday, July 31. One Chromecast will set you $35 back, but you can grab two for just $55 with this promotion.
If you like the sound of this deal and want to take advantage of it — hit the source link below.
Come comment on this article: [Deal] Google kicks off new Chromecast promotion
Google’s Project Loon is ready to provide the entire country of Sri Lanka with high-speed internet access after two years of testing and improving its technology. As you know, the X Labs creation uses stratospheric balloons that transmit signals to the ground to provide internet coverage even in rural locations. That’s why Sri Lanka’s government news portal is proudly proclaiming that the nation is “on its way to becoming the first country in the world to have universal internet coverage.”
According to Physorg, Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera said Google plans to start releasing balloons in the coming months until March 2016. Each one can stay aloft for 100 days, and local internet providers can tap into their connections to lower their operational costs. In turn, they’re expected to offer cheaper services to locals. Sri Lanka is a tiny island nation ten times smaller than Texas, but it still has 2.8 million mobile internet and 606,000 fixed-line users. It’s a good starting point for Loon’s experimental technology, which will likely be deployed in bigger countries if this venture turns out to be a success.
Filed under: Google
Google on ‘Stagefright” exploit: not all Android bugs are this bad, thanks to Google’s security measures
Bugs may be endless, but that doesn’t mean they are harmful… at least not all them are. Lead engineer Adrian Ludwig made sure to touch on this subject after the whole ‘Stagefright’ exploit was discovered by the media. This vulnerability is said to leave about 95% of Android users exposed to hackers, who could gain access of your handset by simply sending you an MMS message with a malicious file.
As expected, this was a major cause of distress for the industry and all Android users, but Ludwig took it to Google+ to tell us we shouldn’t worry too much, as they are working on this issue and not all bugs are like this one. In fact, it’s amazingly rare to find similar exploits, as Google takes several precautionary measures to make sure your device is protected. Let’s go through some of the most important ones.
ASLR – Address Space Layout Randomization
ASLR is a security technique that shuffles code location, making it harder for hackers to predict it. The system hides memory addresses and these values then have to be guessed.
“For the layperson — ASLR makes writing an exploit like trying to get across a foreign city without access to Google Maps, any previous knowledge of the city, any knowledge of local landmarks, or even the local language. Depending on what city you are in and where you’re trying to go, it might be possible but it’s certainly much more difficult” -Adrian Ludwig, Android security lead engineer
non-PIE linker support removal
ASLR and PIE (position-independent executables) work together, allowing for memory location-based protection. Since Android 5.0, non-PIE content is no longer supported. This makes it harder for any attacker to make its way through the code and find what he needs in order to build an exploit.
NX – No eXecute
Google introduced NX with Android 2.3. Essentially, this is a technology used in CPUs, which seclude memory areas and limit the way code is executed. In Android, it mostly protects the stack and heap.
Fortify Source is a security method that allows the system to recognize when too many bytes are being copied from a source to its destination. Hackers are known to copy more bytes than usual when they want to overflow a buffer. If such an event were to occur, the system can stop the process. In Android, all code is compiled with these protections.
RELRO – Read-Only-Relocations
Read-Only-Relocations protect internal data sections from being overwritten, in case of a bss or data overflow. It gains control over software execution flows, making attackers harmless in many ways.
Google has been working hard to keep Android secure. Even if some vulnerabilities come up here and there, Google is confident most people will be fine. More issues start arising when you unlock certain root capabilities and manage to get attacked, but not as many people ever tinker with their smartphones in that way.
Those who want to learn more about security enhancements in Android can always go ahead and take a look at Google’s official security page.
But are you really safe?
We would be lying if we told you there isn’t some risk of being hacked, despite all these security measures. The truth is, Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world. When an operating system becomes so popular, hackers start working, and we aren’t seeing an exception here.
According to Eset, Android Malware increased by 63% in 2013, compared to 2012. So did the malware families for Android. The numbers are more modest when we compare 2014 to 2013, but a 25% increase in infections (according to Alcatel-Lucent) is still a significant rise.
This is why we urge you to be smart with your devices. Try not to have MMS auto-download activated, don’t install apps from unreliable sources and make sure not to dig into weird websites. Meanwhile, Google does continue to try and improve security matters by asking for help from the developer community, which has always been the foundation of this glorious operating system.
Android Security Rewards – help Google find exploits and earn good cash
In an effort to discover possible exploits, Google is willing to offer a monetary reward to those of you who discover a vulnerability. The cash amount will depend on the severity of the hack, but Ludwig does state the Search Giant will pay up to $30,000 to anyone who provides a working remote exploit against the Nexus 6 or Nexus 9.
Adrian Ludwig goes on to mention there have been no attempt to claim the Android Security Rewards, which is a bit reassuring for users. It might also be a challenge to our beloved developers. If you are up for the challenge, just visit the Android Security Rewards page and learn all about the program.
Following the FAA’s recent relaxation of commercial drone flight regulations, Amazon is forging ahead with plans to employ the machines for deliveries. But first, the company has proposed some ground rules to keep the fledgling industry flying safely and out of the way of manned aircraft. Currently the FAA only allows drones to climb to 400 feet and they must remain within the pilot’s line of sight. They also cannot be operated within five miles of an airport. Amazon’s proposal builds off these initial restrictions with faster, long-range drones flying between 200 and 400 feet up. Slower and short-range drones would operate below 200 feet.
The biggest challenge is making sure that these machines don’t run into obstacles, airplanes, helicopters or each other. As such Amazon wants every drone to file the UAV equivalent of a flight plan prior to takeoff, just like manned aircraft already do. The drones would also need to maintain an internet connection in case they need to receive emergency instructions (i.e. “Thunderstorm ahead. Land now.”) as well as obstacle avoidance and sensing systems to keep them from crashing into trees, birds, utility poles or just sideswiping one another.
It’s basically a mirror of the current (and exceedingly safe) system employed by the FAA for commercial airliners. What’s more, Amazon wants to create a neutral central computer system to handle all of these flight plans and location data that any participating company could freely access. This access would extend from hobbyists flying homebrew quadcopters to tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook along a tiered flightpath scheme. “It’s completely doable,” Gur Kimchi, Amazon’s VP of drone delivery, told Bloomberg News. “We think it’s something feasible that everyone can rally around.”
[Image Credit: Amazon/Associated Press]
Sure, the Google search box in Android lets you dictate regular text messages, but what if your conversations live in a non-standard chat app? You can relax as of today. Google now supports using your voice to send messages in English through a handful of third-party services, including WhatsApp, Viber, NextPlus, Telegram and WeChat. All you have to do is name the service when you’re issuing the command — “send a WhatsApp message to Bob” will make sure that your friend gets your missive where he’s expecting it. More apps and languages are in the cards, so don’t despair if your favorite mode of communication isn’t compatible right away.
On top of this, Google search has also added a handy wait time graph for places where crowding and queues can be problems. You may find out that the coffee shop will be more bearable if you wait an hour, or that the grocery store won’t be quite so packed if you shop on Wednesday. This is only as helpful as your schedule is flexible, but it could save you from waiting in lengthy lines just to get a bite during your lunch break.
Android Auto is useful and fun, but no one can deny it has much maturing to do (we figured out as much during our Hyundai Sonata review). It’s not exactly a complete replacement for vehicle infotainment and security systems currently available in the market, but Google does seem to have some pretty big plans for Android Auto to grow into.
The guys at Ars Technica took it upon themselves to do more than a consumer-based review. They flipped the developer switch on and decided to delve deeper into the operating system. Buried inside thousands of lines of code and legal information, they found some evidence of what could be future projects for the driving-optimized platform.
Disclaimer: Even though all this data and information comes straight from Google’s Android Auto system, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will all be hitting the market. This is still unannounced content, so treat it as such. Regardless, it seems unlikely that some people at Google worked hard to build each of these elements into the operating system just to see them die later.
With that out of the way, let’s touch upon these new discoveries.
Most users will find the “Car” screen is pretty basic. All you get is a button to exit Android Auto, but Google may have bigger plans for this page. Turning on developer mode will result in the appearance of four new options: “Vehicle Check”, “Service History”, “Roadside Assistance” and “More Car Apps”.
These are all pretty self-explanatory. “Vehicle Check” will allow you to see your car’s current status. It’s in charge of checking for tire pressure, oil status, windshield fluid and more. On the other hand, “Service History” will keep a record on your vehicle’s maintenance track record. Lastly, “Roadside Assistance” helps get you out of unpleasant situations by aiding you when you face major issues.
In addition to adding these sections, Google made sure to create non-functional mock-ups of the interfaces within these apps. They are simply images, but it took someone’s work and time, meaning this is likely more than just something on the back burner.
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After digging in deeper, it was discovered that many of the sensors listed within the Android Auto code are not in use, and could suggest some very interesting features to come.
Let’s take a look at the list:
- In Distance
- In Percentile
- Low Warning
- Current Temperature
- Target Temperature
- Gears “First” through “Tenth”
- Fully Restricted
- Limit Message
- No Keyboard
- No Video
- No Voice input
These are all sensors and situations the operating system is keeping tags on, or “listening to”. Things like the fuel level, odometer, RPM and gear data have no reason to be there… at least so far. Reading the temperature could help automate the AC, for example.
There’s also some wording in the legal writing that states the system will know if there is a passenger in the vehicle, effectively making it possible to unlock some features that would otherwise be locked while driving (for safety reasons).
All this information, put together, gives us hope that Android Auto will become more than just a glorified GPS and media system. The UI is great, voice actions are unbelievable and it’s a breeze to use. We just need some polishing, and making the system more thorough like these hidden gems suggest would be the perfect start.
What do you guys think of these new hidden features and characteristics? Are there any other creative uses you could find for them? Let us know in the comments below!