Android Auto developers now have way to try out their apps without spending lots on an actual head unit or entire car. The Android Auto Desktop Unit (DHU) runs on your Windows, OS X or Linux desktop and works in conjunction with the companion app on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. Installing it is a bit of a rigmarole and you’ll need to connect your Android device via a USB cable, but you probably already know that if you’re a developer. Once you’ve compiled and installed your app, it’ll “behave as if it’s connected to a car,” according to Google.
Android Auto apps naturally need to be minimally distracting, so porting a regular app straight across is out of the question. Google provided some rough simulation through its SDK before, but more or less expected you to “work from your car,” according to its blog. However, using the emulator is now tantamount to using an actual Android Auto device. And since you can use it on a PC, why not test it with a road simulator (like the one below) to make sure it’s truly driver-friendly?
Tags: AndroidAuto, ConnectedCar, DesktopHeadUnit, Developers, DHU, Emulator, google
Japanese mobile game company DeNA has launched an app called Mirrativ that lets you livestream anything and everything that’s happening on your phone. Think of the app as a mix of Periscope and Twitch — yes, there are plenty of ways to stream your face and your games to the world, but with Mirrativ you’re not limited to just either-or. DeNA is also targeting a broader range of uses than just gaming. What else might you like to stream? Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, DeNA’s Junichi Akagawa says that users could perhaps browse online stores while seeking “shopping advice” from followers, or read news articles and share their thoughts on the topics.
The app is is currently in public beta, and DeNA is restricting streaming to a few hours a day while it works stuff out. Viewing streams is akin to other services — you can comment or show appreciation and it’ll show up on the streamer’s end live, just like in Periscope. Unfortunately, there’s no archive for streams just yet, so once an event’s over it’s over.
“I think this is the first app that allows users to broadcast everything happening on the their smartphone device through the Internet,” Akagawa tells the Journal. He’s not right, as Sony added Twitch and YouTube streaming to its recent Xperia devices last month, but Mirrativ works across a wide range of Android devices. DeNA is also working on a similar app for iOS, although given the closed feature set Apple provides developers with it’s tough to imagine the experiences being identical cross-platform.
If you’re wondering where you’ve heard the name DeNA before, wonder no longer. It’s a big deal in Japan, where it’s behind some huge mobile titles, and also runs an online gaming platform called Mobage, which is a rough equivalent of Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. It’s such a big deal that Nintendo has partnered with it to create mobile games and build its next-generation online services, taking a 10-percent stake in the company at the same time.
Mirrativ (Google Play)
Tags: dena, google, mirrativ, mobilepostcross, nintendo, streaming, twitch, youtube
Google has transformed Android search for apps and now displays the results in a pictorial, grid-like fashion. For instance, searching for “music apps” (either in Now or a browser) brings up the above grid, and clicking on a given app will take you straight to Google Play, as you’d expect. The feature, spotted by Android Police, appears to have rolled out over the last few days. Regular search results are still displayed below, but the grid images take up the entire first page, in much the same way as Google’s Knowledge Graph. It only works on Android, so far — doing a similar search on iOS yields a regular app list with the option to install.
Google has mixed feelings about Android app discovery, having recently published a study decrying full-page, “interstitial” app ads. However, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman criticized its methods, saying “Google’s Web search team has a conflict of interest… (when) you download the Yelp app, you’re less likely to do another search for a local business on Google.” As for the new app search grid, the results I checked showed a good mix of results, but if there’s a Google app in a given category, it does seem to come up first.
Google (Android devices only)
Tags: apps, google, GooglePlay, KnowledgeGraph, search
Google isn’t the only company looking to map out urban skylines ahead of the solar revolution. The folks at MapDwell create surveys similar to Sunroof using technologies developed at MIT, and for more cities to boot. The company has already mapped out New York City, as you can see above, as well as Boulder, Colorado(for growing solar-powered hydroponic kush, obvs), all of the confusingly-named Washington County, Oregon and now San Francisco. “We range irradiation (energy that falls onto the surface) for each city,” MapDwell wrote to Engadget. “From zero (dark brown) to maximum or ideal (bright yellow), we call this Solar Access Index or SAI.” As such, the southern tip of Manhattan probably isn’t the best place for a solar installation. And unfortunately, the service does not also extend to solar-powered food carts.
Tags: Brooklyn, energy, Engadget, google, GreenEnergy, Manhattan, mapdwell, maps, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NewYork, NewYorkCity, renewable, solar, sunroof, TheBigPicture
As the United States enters into hurricane season, Google has given us improvements in weather forecasts and public alerts in Google Search to track storms during this year’s hurricane season. Just 10 years ago Hurricane Katrina came and went leaving New Orleans in a state of National Emergency.
When you now search the web for information about specific storms or tornadoes, according to Google, you may see:
- A map showing your location in relation to the oncoming storm
- Visualizations of its forecasted track, wind severity and arrival time, courtesy of NOAA
- Concise instructions for preparing and staying safe, customized for the estimated intensity of the storm and its arrival time relative to your location, from FEMA and ready.gov
Google searches are becoming more relevant and tailored to each individual and their location. When you search a specific weather pattern, Google will tailor the results to the event and your context.
For example, if you search for a specific storm when it’s still several days away, you may see a map of the developing weather event and a recommendation to start preparing an emergency kit. If the storm is only hours away from your location, you might receive a reminder to start charging your phone in case power goes out. And if you search when the storm is nearby, you’ll get the most urgent information, like how to avoid injury from fast-moving water or flying debris.
Kudos to Google for helping us in areas where they don’t need to. Something of this nature is usually left to the government, but Google is helping to step-in so another Katrina like event doesn’t affect the health and lives of so many people.
The post Google launches improvements to weather forecasts to help keep you safe appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Google officially responded to charges levelled by the European Commission that it unfairly favored its own products over its competition and abused its market dominance to crowd out potential rivals. The EC began poking around back in 2010 so this isn’t the first time that Google has had to publicly defended its position. “Economic data spanning more than a decade, an array of documents and statements from complainants all confirm that product search is robustly competitive,” Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, wrote in the Google Europe blog.
Showing ads based on structured data provided by merchants demonstrably improves ad quality and makes it easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for. We show these ad groups where we’ve always shown ads — to the right and at the top of organic results — and we use specialized algorithms to maximize their relevance for users. Data from users and advertisers confirms they like these formats. That’s not “favoring” — that’s giving our customers and advertisers what they find most useful.
Walker also took exception with the EC’s proposed remedy, which would require Google show ads sourced from other companies in its own advertising spaces at the top and right of the natural search results. Google faces a maximum fine of €6 billion should the EC determine it has been operating a monopoly.
[Image Credit: Associated Press]
Google Policy Europe
Tags: antitrust, EuropeanCommission, europeanunion, google, lawsuiots, legal, search
The NVIDIA SHIELD set-top box has made its way to the Google Store. Starting today, users will be able to buy the new console for $199.
The NVIDIA SHIELD set-top box is a gaming console with Google’s Android TV software built right in. Users can stream their favorite content directly to their TV with no wires. In addition, users can cast the screen of their Android device to the TV for easier screen mirroring. The console comes with loads of entertainment and a selection of apps that is growing by the week. Since Google partnered with Nvidia to make this console, users get unlimited access to some of Google’s Play services such as Movies and TV, Play Music and YouTube. But that’s not all! It includes a built-in gaming console built for heavy gaming with high quality graphics. Users will get a remote control included in the set for seamless gaming and control.
The console supports 4K content and can be purchased via the Google Store for only $199. Shield will come with 16GB on memory, and if you need more, Shield Pro includes 500GB of storage. Users will need an HDMI output and a wireless internet connection to set up. Hurry before quantity runs out!
Source: Google Store
Come comment on this article: NVIDIA SHIELD set-top box is now available in the Google Store
Let’s face it: audio and video that automatically plays on a web page is pretty annoying. To help remedy the headache, a new feature in Google Chrome’s Dev Channel won’t play those items on tabs that you’re not looking at. If you click a link for the latest Hunger Games trailer and bounce back to your inbox while it loads, you won’t have to struggle to find the mute switch on the preceding ad. The content will still preload (if the developer opts to), but it won’t play until that particular tab is in the foreground. That should ease the panic of finding the sound or catching a glimpse of an item you’d really rather not see soon enough — in Chrome at least.
Tags: autoplay, browser, chrome, google, googlechrome, tab
Carriers are expensive, and they’re only getting worse. Two-year contracts are on their way out in favor of device payment plans, thanks to revolutionary initiatives from T-Mobile. These payment plans, however, are essentially the same thing as the two-year contract options, only more expensive.
It looks cheaper on surface level, but carriers are making up for those lower prices through additional charges, upgrade fees, and so on. That begs the question: how can you ditch your carrier and save thousands of dollars on your phone bill?
It’s common knowledge that we’re paying out thousands of dollars for our smartphones over the course of a two-year contract, but, unfortunately, it’s hard to break way from that since many off-contract phones just don’t offer a premium package similar to that of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ or LG G4.
While that may be true, there’re now some devices out there that do offer that same premium quality.
Google Nexus 6
Google’s Nexus 6 features a 6-inch 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 805 chipset, a 2.7GHz quad-core Krait 450 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel camera, and it comes in 32/64GB storage sizes. As with all Nexus devices, it’s running the latest version of Android Lollipop, and will receive quick and timely updates.
Starting at $499, it’s a steep price, but that’s the only price you’ll be paying for this premium package. No contracts, no device fees, and so on. It’s 100% yours and you can take it to any of the big four carriers in the United States to find yourself the cheapest data package.
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3
Alcatel OneTouch’s Idol 3 features a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD display, a Snapdragon 615 chipset, a quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 1GHz Cortex-A53 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and it comes in 16/32GB storage options with microSD support up to 128GB.
As far as performance goes, it’s definitely up there with the Google Nexus 6, especially with how clean Alcatel OneTouch left the software on this device. It’s also significantly cheaper at $249 while still offering a premium package.
Be sure to check out our review here.
Motorola Moto G
The Motorola Moto G (2015) features a 5-inch 1280 x 720 IPS LCD display, has a Snapdragon 410 chipset, a quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 processor, a 13-megapixel rear camera and comes in two options: 8GB of storage with 1GB of RAM or 16GB of storage with 2GB of RAM. The device also supports microSD cards up to 128GB.
Prices start at a meager $179.99 for this mid-range unlocked device, and while it may not have the sheer processing power of a higher-end phone, do you really need all that power for your basic smartphone tasks?
Be sure to check out our review here.
Making the leap
Making the leap to the off-contract life can be difficult, especially if you’re in the process of a two-year contract or device payment plan. Early termination fees or paying off the remainder of your balance can be expensive all in one chunk, especially if you want to purchase a new, unlocked smartphone immediately after.
You have two options: wait your contract out or bite the bullet and pay that lump sum. In doing the latter, you’ll save a lot of money on all sorts of fees, interest, and so on, but you won’t notice the affects of this saving for a few months down the road.
If contracts or device payment plans aren’t an issue for you, the obvious first step is to pick out and buy a smartphone.
Setting up your new smartphone
Setting up an unlocked device is extremely easy. In most cases, if you have a SIM card already, you can just pop your old one into your new smartphone, given that it’s the same size. On AT&T, I swapped the SIM out of my LG G3 and put it in the Idol 3–it worked right away, no setup involved.
If you don’t have the correct size SIM card, it’s as simple as heading to your chosen carrier’s website and ordering one of the correct size.
It may be a bit trickier to get it to work on a CDMA carrier like Verizon, however, the company has recently made it an easier process. Unfortunately, you still have to be cautious when bringing your own device to Verizon, as many phones don’t have all the necessary CDMA and LTE radios to work properly with the carrier. The same goes for Sprint.
The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012 that the average household spends $1226 annually on smartphone plans, and that’s no doubt increased in the past three years. I personally spend around $350/mo on my smartphone plan with AT&T, and by going off-contract, you could be spending as little as $30 per line, no matter what carrier you choose.
Prices do vary depending on how much data you need, but it still ends up being cheaper than a contract or device payment plan, as most prepaid plans for smartphones are without all of the added fees.
While it doesn’t look like much, over the next few years you could see thousands of dollars in savings. And for many of us, that couple thousand could go to things much more important.
Come comment on this article: Ditch carrier contracts with these smartphones
Google is well known for its love of puzzles and leaving little hidden secrets dotted around and it turns out that the company applies similar techniques while it is on the hunt for new employees too.
Max Rosett, a new Google employee, blogged about his recent recruitment experience at the tech giant on The Hustle, revealing an interesting use of its own search engine to hire him. The story begins with Rosett searching for a solution to a coding problem he was working on. Upon entering his query “python lambda function list comprehension” into Google, he was greeted with a response that read: “You’re speaking our language. Up for a challenge?”
From there Rosett was led to google.com/foobar, a programming test used by Google to find suitable candidates a number of times in the past. Here he was given a series of coding challenges to complete every couple of days, before being asked to get in contact with the company.
“For my interview, I spent a day at Google headquarters in Mountain View solving problems on a white board.”
After passing through the rest of Google’s recruitment process, he was offered a job three months later. Rosett thinks quite highly of the tactic, as it reached out to him without Google even having to contact him directly. It’s certainly an interesting way to find potential new employees and seems to target the right sort of candidates. Although the thought of Google coming back with extra responses to queries might leave some people feeling a little unnerved.
Interestingly, Google says that it wouldn’t describe foobar as a recruiting tool itself, rather it seems to be part of a larger process. Living up to its reputation, Google responded to the story with the following snippet:
u0050u0075u007au007au006cu0065u0073u0020 u0061u0072u0065u0020u0066u0075u006eu002e u0020u0053u0065u0061 u0072u0063u0068u0020u006fu006eu002e
Translated from hex, it reads “Puzzles are fun. Search on.” Time to break out the coding books.