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Posts tagged ‘Google’

21
Apr

Google wants you to download your web search history


Google sign

Wondering what you were searching for online a few years ago? You now have a (relatively) easy way to find out. Google has quietly trotted out an option to download your entire search history. So long as you searched using your Google account, you’ll have a permanent record. Of course, this is something of a mixed blessing given how pervasive Google is at this stage. While the archive may help you dig up a keyword you’re struggling to remember, something tells us that it’d be all too easy to dredge up embarrassing memories — we hope you didn’t Google your classroom crush.

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Via: Google Operating System, CNET

Source: Google Web history

20
Apr

Chrome’s push notifications reach your Android phone


Push notifications on Chrome for Android

Chrome’s website push notifications are no longer confined to your desktop — they now surface on your phone, too. Grab Chrome 42 for Android and you can opt into alerts from websites that show up no matter what you’re doing. You won’t have to worry about missing out on breaking news, even if your favorite sites don’t have dedicated apps. You’ll also have an easier time adding home screen shortcuts for those sites if you always want them close at hand. It’ll be a while before many of the sites you frequent can deliver notifications (eBay, Facebook and Pinterest are some of the early adopters), but it’s worth upgrading now to get ready.

Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Internet, Mobile, Google

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Source: Chromium Blog, Google Play

20
Apr

Chrome team discusses latest Chrome 42 update for Android


google_chrome_add_homescreen_icon

Last week Google released an update to Chrome for Android taking it up to version 42. At the time it was noted that a couple new features were added, including support for push notifications and quick home screen icon creation. The Chrome developers have followed up on that release with some more information about how and why they see these additions as a step forward for the browser.

One of the main goals the Chrome team is pursuing is to increase engagement between users and the companies or individuals behind the sites they visit. The Chrome developers recognized this created a balancing situation for developers who had to decide between the reach of mobile web site and the engagement provided by a native app. The addition of push notification support is meant to augment that second criteria by saving users the effort of manually checking a site for updates. Instead, the site can function more like a native app.

According to the Chrome team, users can expect to see some early adopters like Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News start to roll out support for push notifications over the next few weeks.

As mentioned when version 42 was released, the Chrome team also added some new capabilities so that users can quickly and easily setup an icon on their homescreen to launch the browser directly to a site. The browser developers felt this would be an easy way for users to get back into their favorite sites, especially when they are just passing time while commuting or waiting in line. The Chrome developers do indicate that sites have to be “modern, mobile-optimized” sites, like Flipboard or Medium, to have this option available for users. If present, the browser will provide the user with a one tap button that will create an icon on their device homescreen.

google_chrome_push_notifications

source: Chromium Blog

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20
Apr

Google Search history now downloadable


google_history_download_email

Last year Google started testing an option for users to download their search history instead of just viewing it in their browser. Google appears to have now rolled out this feature to all users. If you surf to your history, accessible at history.google.com, you can click on the settings icon in the upper right corner and you should see an option to Download. According to a statement from Google,

“You can download all of your saved search history to see a list of the terms you’ve searched for. This gives you access to your data when and where you want. When you download your past searches, a copy of your history will be saved securely to the Takeout folder in Google Drive. You can download the files to your computer if you want a copy on your computer.”

When Google finishes processing an account’s history, an email will be sent notifying the user the file is ready for download. Since search histories can include some sensitive information, Google advises users to use 2-step verification on their accounts and to be sure they will not be forced to leave the file behind on a computer they no longer have access to, like a work computer.

The file that Google delivers is a zip file that contains JSON files. Based on a sample, it appears Google packs three months worth of data into each JSON file.

google_history_download_button

source: Google Operating System Blog

Come comment on this article: Google Search history now downloadable

20
Apr

Android Wear getting big update with Wi-Fi, always-on apps, and more


lg watch urbane aa 9

Google is expanding the feature set of Android Wear with Wi-Fi support, always-on applications, support for drawing emoji, and changes to the way you access apps and contacts.

Here are the features and changes listed in a post on Google’s Android blog:

Always-on apps

You could always set a watch face to be always-on, so the screen doesn’t turn off when you’re not looking at it, and now Google is extending the same functionality to all apps. This means you will be able to set an app (e.g. Google Maps or Keep) to keep the screen on in a special black-and-white dim mode, designed to save battery life. Now you won’t have to turn the display on each time you want to glance at, say, your groceries list.

android wear update (4)

Wi-Fi support

Android Wear now supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi and the good part is the watch doesn’t need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the smartphone. That means that, for instance, you can leave your phone on the charger on your desk and go out and about, and still get notifications from it, as long as both devices are connected to the internet.

New gesture for apps and contacts

Previously, accessing the apps on your device required several swipes and taps, which made it feel a bit cumbersome. Now getting to the app screen is as easy as tapping on the time, while accessing contacts is done by swiping to the left. Voice commands are accessible through another swipe.

android wear update (1)

Emoji drawings

You know that neat handwriting app that Google just launched in the Play Store last week? It lets you convert your scribbling into emoji, not just letters, and now the same features is available on Android Wear. So, for instance, you can doodle a heart or a smiley face to quickly answer to a message with the respective emoji. Sweet.

android wear update (3)

New way to flick through cards

For those times when you can’t use two hands, but you still need to go through your Google Now cards, a new wrist twist gesture lets you do just that.

android wear update (2)

Google says these new features will be hitting all seven current Android Wear smartwatches, “over the next few weeks,” with the swanky LG Watch Urbane being first in line. Stay tuned for a hands-on as soon as the update hits one of our devices.

Let us know your thoughts on these new features!



20
Apr

Android Wear gets major update with Wi-Fi support, always-on apps, emojis and more


LG_G_Watch_R_Green_Lantern_OK_Google_TA

All Android Wear watches will be receiving a major update over the next few weeks, and there are a lot of goodies.

The first one, which was already expected is the support for Wi-Fi. There are often times when you might forget your phone at home or you walk too far away from it within your own house. Now with Wi-Fi support, your watch will always have a connection so you don’t have to worry about missing any notifications.

With many watches offering an always-on display for watch faces, Google is adding support for always-on apps as well. There might be times in which you need to see an app for a longer period of time and that’s exactly where this new feature will come in handy. You even get full color. I am not sure exactly what Google is adding to the code because there are already apps that stay on all the time until I close it. Examples of such apps include Wear Codes and Coffee Time.

Android_Wear_Always_on_Apps

Next up seems Apple-watch like with the ability to draw emojis that you can send via message or text.

Android_Wear_Draw_Emojis_01

One of the biggest complaints with Android Wear has been the process in starting an app without voice. Google has added an adjustment in that when you tap on the watch face, you will get a list of apps that you can open right away. Swipe to the left and you will see favorite contacts, and swipe one more time, and you will see the familiar “Speak Now” screen that you get now.

Android_Wear_Run_Apps_New_Screen_01

All in all, this looks like a pretty good update. As I mentioned already, the update will roll out to all seven watches in the next few weeks. The LG Watch Urbane will be the first to get the update though.

source: Google

Come comment on this article: Android Wear gets major update with Wi-Fi support, always-on apps, emojis and more

20
Apr

Your Android Wear devices will work even when your phone’s at home


There’s a new kid on the smartwatch block, which means that Google needs to make sure that its own gear is ready for the challenge. That’s why the company is pushing out new features to its Android Wear devices in the coming weeks. The biggest addition is probably WiFi support that’ll let you connect to your smartphone even if it isn’t in your pocket. Should you, for instance, head out to the coffee shop and leave your phone at home, then you’ll still receive notifications as long as both are connected to the internet.

As you can see in the GIF above, another big addition is the ability to cycle through cards without getting fingerprint marks on the screen. Simply flick your wrist away from your body to move forward and do the opposite to take a step back should you miss anything. Google has also enabled apps to take advantage of the always-on display and you can respond to messages with emoji straight from your wrist. The rollout will begin with LG’s Watch Urbane and will spread across the rest of the range in the next few weeks.

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Source: Google

20
Apr

Elon Musk nearly sold Tesla to Google in 2013


Tesla Model S in the sunset

Tesla frequently comes across as a fiercely independent automaker, but that wasn’t always the case… at least, if you ask Bloomberg. Its sources claim that Elon Musk almost secured a deal for Google to buy Tesla in early 2013, when vehicle sales were tanking so badly that Tesla closed its factory. Reportedly, the deal would have kept Musk in charge of his company for eight years, or until Tesla’s mainstream electric car (the Model 3) was on the road. It fell apart simply because Tesla became successful — a last-ditch effort to close Model S sales paid off during the negotiation period, eliminating that need for a lifeline.

Spokespeople from either side aren’t willing to comment on the rumor. Google chief Larry Page, who supposedly shook hands with Musk on the tentative agreement, even goes so far as to claim that a car maker is “far from what Google knows.” That’s an ironic statement given Google’s heavy investment in self-driving electric cars, though, so we wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss talk of a failed buyout.

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Source: Bloomberg

20
Apr

Quick look: Google Nexus 9 vs Apple iPad Mini 3


Nexus 9 iPad Mini 3 back angle

TabTimes logo

Editor’s note: this comparison originally appeared on our sister site TabTimes, your resource for tablets and convertibles running all operating systems. 


We’ve spent some time recently looking at the Nexus 7, Nexus 9, iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3. As we’ve been putting these tablets side-by-side to help you determine which is best for your computing needs, it is time we pit the 8-inch iPad Mini 3 against Google’s 9-inch Nexus 9.

Welcome to the Apple iPad Mini 3 vs Google Nexus 9 shootout.

Overview

Nexus 9 iPad Mini 3 back top

The overall approach to these two tablets is perhaps similar in that they attempt to offer an excellent overall user experience, and package it up in a fairly mobile device. Neither the iPad Mini 3, nor the Nexus 9 rock the best of specs available, but they are still well equipped and ready to rock.

When we talked about the iPad Mini 3 and the Nexus 7 last week, we presented them as pocket-sized tablets – using that as a reference, I will say that the Nexus 9 is just a little too large for most pockets.

Design

Nexus 9 iPad Mini 3 back standing

In the basic sense of a modern tablet device, the Nexus 9 and the iPad Mini 3 share similarities in being 4:3 aspect ratio devices with beyond HD displays, house a single power/data port, and have been carefully crafted in shape and materials. Both devices feel solid to the touch, with the minor exception of the Nexus 9’s little back cover loose spot.

When we take a closer look, however, the differences are many. From the top down, the Nexus 9 houses its power button on the right hand edge of the device, where the iPad Mini 3 has a power button that lives up top. Volume rockers are in about the same position on the right edge and are very easy to find by touch on the iPad Mini 3, this is not true of the Nexus 9, as the side has a slight beveling to it that protects the buttons from protruding, eliminating many accidental presses.

Nexus 9 iPad Mini 3 bottom

Audio is another design difference, while the iPad Mini 3 has speakers on the bottom edge of the device, the Nexus 9 has dual speakers, one at the very top of the device and one at the very bottom, both facing the user. iPad Mini 3 users for whom audio is of the utmost importance may want to check out our iPad speaker docks piece for ideas.

Rear facing cameras live on the back side of each of these tablets, in the top left corner. Front facing cameras are centered above the display on the front. Front bezels are fairly minimal on the sides of the display for both the Nexus 9 and the iPad Mini 3. The top and bottom bezels are a little larger, especially with the Home button in the iPad.

iPad Mini 3 Home button clock

That charging/data port lives on the bottom edge of both of these devices, with the Nexus 9 employing a micro USB port and the iPad with Apple’s new Lightning port.

The back casing of the iPad Mini 3 is of solid metal construction. The Nexus 9, on the other hand, is a full plastic non-removable back cover with a decent soft non-stick finish to it. The full outside edge of the Nexus 9 is where you’ll find metal in HTC’s design.

Display

Nexus 9 front brick

When Google and HTC put the plans together for the Nexus 9, they decided on a display with resolution of 2048 x 1536. We keep calling it a 9-inch display, but it actually measures in at 8.9-inches, constructed of Gorilla Glass 3.

Viewing angles and brightness are more than adequate for your everyday needs, including when you head into a dark room or head out to enjoy some sunshine. Auto brightness settings are fairly accurate, but you may occasionally need to manually adjust for optimal viewing.

Apple iPad Air 2 iPad Mini 3 front

As it turns out, the iPad Mini 3 also rocks 2048 x 1536 on its 4:3 aspect ratio 7.9-inch IPS display.

Auto brightness settings on the iPad Mini 3 will bring you from a dim enough display when viewed at night, to a bright enough display to also see in the sunlight. I find that the auto settings err on the side of darkness, as I’ve only ever had to manually override to turn brightness up.

Performance

Nexus 9 iPad Mini 3 bottom straight

As mentioned earlier, the Nexus 9 and the iPad Mini 3 each offer specs that are not exactly what you would call the latest and greatest. This is not to suggest that performance suffers on these devices, on the contrary, each plow through the basics without a stutter and only really show signs of weakness in the heaviest of operations.

The Nexus 9 is one of the first 64-bit Android tablets to hit the market, powered by the Nvidia Tegra K1 Denver, which is a well appointed dual core SoC. With some of the benefits of Google’s latest version of Android, version numbers 5 and up Android Lollipop, the tablet does well with memory management from ART. Admitting that there are some issues with Lollipop right now, we won’t talk too in-depth about the operating system performance on the Nexus 9 ta this time.

Overall, the Nexus 9 performs well, we even ran an AnTuTu benchmark on it once, it scored about 58000.

Nexus 9 back Nexus

The iPad Mini 3 is a very snappy performing tablet. The operating system is fast and smooth, which speaks both to the hardware and to the rather simplistic approach to iOS on the home screens. Although only equipped with ‘last year’s’ A7 chipset, it is a well performing 64-bit SoC itself. Most applications load in a snap, while you may notice a slow down with some of the larger and more strenuous of applications and processes.

Recently updated to iOS 8.3, the iPad Mini 3 also performs very well. It has been possible to notice a speed difference between it and the larger, faster iPad Air 2, but you really have to go looking for the differences to notice.

The same goes when opening similar apps on the Nexus 9 and iPad Mini 3 side-by-side, overall performance is fairly similar.

Hardware

Nexus 9 back camera

In terms of your user experience, the major differences between the iPad Mini 3 and the Nexus 9, aside from the 1-inch of screen size, is that the iPad has a fingerprint sensor and the Nexus 9 has big, loud speakers powered by HTC’s BoomSound.

Certainly, having a physical Home button, as the iPad Mini 3 does, to many is a huge advantage, as the Nexus 9 sacrifices a touch of the display for navigation buttons. That said, there are some, myself included, that now prefer the on-screen controls to a physical button, but that is a personal preference.

The ability to double tap the screen to wake the Nexus 9 is extremely handy, as is the dedicated instant mute switch above the volume rocker on the iPad Mini 3.

Nexus 9 back brick2

Up on top of the Nexus 9 is a standard headphone jack, and out the bottom is that micro USB port. On the inside you’ll find that 64-bit Nvidia Tegra K1 processor with 2GB of RAM and a 192-core Kepler GPU. Sensors on board include an accellerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass and ambient light sensor. In addition, this tablet is NFC capable.

Measuring 8.99-inches tall and 6.05-inches across, the Nexus 9 is a fair thickness at 7.95mm (0.31-inches) in depth. Despite having a plastic back cover, with a bit of a loose spot that bothers many users, the Nexus 9 is also a very solid feeling tablet. Once again, it feels very sturdy and shows no signs of compromise when applying a real world use twist or bending pressure.

Battery life is advertised at 9.5 hours of basic web browsing, music or video playback out of the 6700mAh battery. As most advertised tests go, our results differed, providing roughly half the advertised life. Exact numbers are coming soon, stay tuned.

iPad Mini 3 back bottom

The iPad Mini 3 houses a standard headphone jack and Apple’s Lightning connector port. Hidden under the Home button is a fingerprint scanner that allows for biometric authenticated access into your tablet. Audio output is by the bottom facing speakers, sound is crisp and more than loud enough for most situations.

The iPad Mini 3 measures 7.87-inches tall, 5.3-inches across and is 7.2mm (0.28-inch) thick. The full metal shell of the iPad provides the utmost in strength. It takes a fair amount of pressure to make it bend, but forgive us for not pushing it too far.

Looking inside, we see other sensors, including a gyro, accelerometer, and ambient light sensor. Keeping everything running on the Mini 3 is a 6350mAh battery. Apple says it will provide upwards of 10 hours of web surfing, music or video playback. In our time with the device, it did not last quite as long as advertised, but you’ll have to stay tuned for our full battery life test to see the results.

Camera

Nexus 9 iPad Mini 3 back

While tablet photography is a taboo subject for many, you’ll still be able to capture fairly nice photos with these devices. The Nexus 9 houses the larger sensor of the two, clocking in at 8MP.

The iPad Mini 3 has a smaller 5MP sensor, but they are both f/2.4 with auto-focus. Video recording is at full HD and the Nexus 9 has an LED flash. Both tablets offer a panoramic capture, with the Nexus 9 also offering Google’s Photosphere.

The front side of these tablets offer up 1.2mp camera sensors, for all of your FaceTime, Skype or Hangouts needs. 720p video capture is not a premium these days, but is more than adequate for a little video conference.

As I’ve said before, there really is no better way to explain the value of the cameras than to simply put them to work. Here are a few camera samples with the Nexus 9 going first and the iPad Mini 3 following in varying good and low light situations.

Software

Google Nexus 9 boot Android

Android is one of the most common operating systems found on many devices around the globe today. The latest iteration is Android 5+ Lollipop, which is found on the Nexus 9 as we have it. In fact, the Nexus line is Google’s flagship device approach at showing their vision of Android and Android devices, making the Nexus 9 more than just another tablet offering.

Overall, the software performance is solid, smooth and fast. One might complain about battery life before they complain about a poor experience otherwise. There is a good selection of apps installed by default, with many more apps ready to install from the Google Play Store.

The versatility of Android is well represented on the Nexus 9, allowing you to install third party Launchers, add tweaks as might be found in our Android customization series and so much more. The general approach is to keep the device wireless in all operations, allowing you to perform almost any task without wires. Until you need to charge the battery of course.

Apple iPad Air 2 iPad Mini 3 software car

iOS on the iPad Mini 3 is a solid and very fluid experience. The tablet benefits wholly from the vast number of apps available that are dedicated to the iPad screen sizes. Straight out of the box, one can enjoy basic web surfing and navigation with just the default apps pre-installed on the device. As you might expect, you’ll need to have an Apple ID if you want to download and install more apps from the App Store.

As with your other iOS powered devices, there is no pressing need to connect your iPad to your PC and sync data through iTunes. Although, that connection may prove the best when it comes to transferring files, such as your pictures or music.

Pricing and final thoughts

Although there are more powerful tablets on the market today, the Nexus 9 and the iPad Mini 3 represent two of the most versatile tablets you’ll find, especially if you are looking for something that is easy to hold and take with you on the go.

Nexus 9 back brick

Google Nexus 9, by HTC Apple iPad Mini 3
  • 16GB – $399
  • 32GB – $479
  • 32GB LTE – $599
  • 16GB – $399
  • 32GB – $499
  • 128GB – $599
  • Add $130 for cellular capability

It is always important to mention that the better choice of these two tablets, for you and your needs, is possibly the one that is most compatible with your other computing devices and accessories. If you have a large iTunes library and have purchased many iOS apps, then the iPad Mini 3 certainly has an advantage for you. Just as a large Google Play library and Android app inventory make the Nexus 9 a strong consideration for your needs.

Also, be sure to watch out for deals on the Nexus 9, you can often save a couple dollars during common deals at your favorite electronics retailers.

There is no question that the larger display of the Nexus 9 lends itself to media consumption, but the pocketability of the iPad Mini 3 makes it a treat to slip into a back pocket and head out the door.

If you have had the pleasure of laying hands on both the Google Nexus 9 and the Apple iPad Mini 3, please tell us which tablet you prefer?



19
Apr

Google Wallet balances to get FDIC protection


Google Wallet

If you use Google Wallet and keep a balance of funds available in your account, Google is taking steps to help make things a little bit safer for you. Google is now moving funds stored in Google Wallet accounts into FDIC-insured bank accounts. Hopefully this extra insurance would never be something users have to take advantage of, but if they do they now have insurance up to $250,000 on the funds on deposit.

Normally users would not keep a balance in Google Wallet, using the service merely as a pass-through mechanisms. This is similar to how other services like PayPal operate. However, it is possible for users to end up with balances in their account. Sometimes this may be intentional as the user wants funds to be available in the account. Other times it may be because the user has assumed funds would be moved automatically.

Google Wallet competitors like PayPal and Venmo currently do not offer to put user funds in FDIC-insured institutions. However, PayPal does offer zero liability protection against fraud which would cover most typical situations where a user’s funds might be at risk.

Does the addition of this extra layer of protection make you more likely to use Google Wallet?

source: Yahoo! Finance

Come comment on this article: Google Wallet balances to get FDIC protection

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