Speed Heat is an infinite runner game where you collect cars, unlock tracks, and keep racing until you’re ready ready to stop. It includes Facebook leaderboards, plenty of awesome cars to unlock, and simple controls that anyone can learn quickly. It’s inoffensive nature makes it great for kids or adults and its simple premise and quick game play make it a great time waster when you need to kill a few minutes. We’d like to thank Speed Heat for supporting the Android Apps Weekly show.
Welcome back to Android Apps Weekly! Here are your top headlines this week:
- Rumor around the water cooler is that Gmail and Inbox will soon let you pay bills directly from your email. Reports are that the service will start around Q4 of 2015 and will let you share bills with other people.
- Amazon is tinkering with an idea of starting a service called Amazon Unlocked which will give users paid apps, including in-app purchases, for free. Tech Crunch described it as the Amazon Prime but for apps and it may just help give Amazon that bump its app store sorely needs.
- This week Google announced the Safe Browsing API which will give developers access to the same malware blocking technology that Google uses in Google Chrome. You can likely expect apps with built-in web browsers to incorporate this technology eventually.
- Facebook has debuted its new Messenger Platform that allows third party applications to be integrated directly with Facebook Messenger. This will open up the chat platform to third party apps and allow for more functionality such as built-in support for Imgur or Giphy.
- Google is working on a platform called YouTube Live which will be a live streaming service for games and e-sports. The idea is to give Twitch some competition. Reportedly, Google has hired 50 engineers to help make this happen and they’ll have to do some awesome stuff to compete with Twitch.
For more Android apps news, updates, and releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s Android Apps Weekly newsletter. We’ll have a full list of the news, updates, and releases that took Android by storm over the course of the previous week. If you want, you can even subscribe using your email address and we’ll shoot it directly to your inbox every Friday.
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[Price: $4.99 each with in app purchases]
Telltale Games has been busy this last week as they have released new episodes for purchase for both Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones. Tales from the Borderlands is getting the long awaited episode 2 entitled Atlas Mugged as an in-app purchase that’ll set you back $4.99. Game of Thrones is getting episode 3 of its game, also for $4.99. Both games are great action-adventure games that bring new depth to their respective properties and Telltale Games fans have likely already purchased the new content.
Google Keep received a substantial update this last week that includes recurring reminders and label support. This means you can set up a note that will appear on a recurring schedule to include daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly and there are custom reminders available. At this point, Google might as well make this a task management app because it’s halfway there already. Label support helps users to organize their notes more efficiently. The update is rolling out right now so if you don’t have it yet, patience because it’s coming.
Fotonica is a unique endless runner game where you run through abstract levels at wicked high speeds. It’s definitely a different kind of take on the infinite runner genre and includes eight levels, three endless levels, local multiplayer, online rankings, and best of all, no in-app purchases or advertising. It’s on sale for $0.99 so you can pick it up for cheap right now. It’s an excellent time waster with a fun design and it’s definitely worth checking out.
[Price: Free with in app purchases]
TomTom GPS Navigation is a new navigation and maps app from TomTom, the well known mapping and navigation company. It features offline map storage, 3D views, speed camera warnings, real-time traffic updates, and more. You can use it for free for 50 miles each month or upgrade to a premium subscription which runs for about $20 per year. It has some release day bugs but nothing overly serious yet.
[Price: Free with in app purchases]
The long awaited Final Fantasy mashup game between Square Enix and DeNA launched this week. It features characters from a number of Final Fantasy games as they duke it out in epic moments from prior titles in the series. Think of it like a greatest hits compilation. The game uses 8-bit recreations of all the characters and according to user reviews, the in-app purchase strategy isn’t all that bad but that is, of course, up to individual interpretation. It’s currently free and Final Fantasy fans have already left to go download it.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news this week, tell us about it in the comments!
Owners of Chromebooks running the Chrome OS should expect to see a feature from the Android platform make its way over to their devices before much longer. Google has added support for Google search, including Google Now cards, to the next version of their Chrome Launcher 2.0. Testing of the new launcher is rolling out within the next week for users who are on the Chrome OS Beta Channel.
The Chrome Launcher on Chrome OS probably plays a bigger role for users than it might on other platforms, so the team working on the next update to the launcher wanted to make sure it would be “the best way to start new activities on Chrome OS, like performing a Google search or launching apps.”
Users who receive the updated launcher will see that it is much roomier so that more features could be packed into it, like the presence of Google Now cards. Google says the new format will also provide a better platform for managing apps. Enhanced search results and improved voice search integration are also being added to the new launcher.
While it may be a few more days before the Chrome Launcher 2.0 update starts to appear in beta testers’ Chrome OS, there are some other new Beta Channel features that are available now. One of these is the introduction of Material Design to the File Manager. Users will also find the system now supports unpacking password-protected ZIP archives and the system will now use the detected location of a Chrome OS powered device to automatically update the timezone.
Come comment on this article: Google Now cards on their way to Chrome Launcher 2.0
For about a year now, Google has given users the option to reduce the amount of data Chrome uses on Android and iOS devices. Now the company is extending that ability to desktop Chrome users with a new extension called Data Saver. Available in the Chrome Web Store, Data Saver aims to provide the same results that mobile users can take advantage of, by compressing the data on Google’s servers first before sending it through to be downloaded. Judging by the screenshots listed in the Web Store, the extension will potentially even be able to reduce certain web page sizes by almost 50%. Keep in mind that this extension is still in beta, so results might not be completely accurate for the time being.
Additionally, Google employee François Beaufort points out that you can see what’s happening with the extension behind the scenes if you head to chrome:net-internals#bandwidth. This will allow you to see Data Reduction Proxy settings such as primary and secondary URLs and recent events so you can do some manual debugging if need be.
In the description on the extension page, Google notes that SSL and incognito pages are incompatible with Data Saver, so be sure to keep that in mind. Data Saver will certainly be less useful on the desktop than it is on mobile because most folks on a computer normally don’t need to worry about saving on data. But if you’re connected to a hotspot or are on a tethered connection of some sort, now you’ll be able to save on some precious bandwidth.
Google’s mysterious facility, Google X, is churning out next level technologies — a self-driving car, delivery drones and Internet balloons. Its Life Sciences division is now teaming up with Ethicon, one of Johnson & Johnson’s medical device companies, to develop robotic-assisted surgeries. “Through this collaboration, we are looking to provide surgeons with a technologically advanced system that would help them make the best, most informed decisions,” Gary Pruden, Worldwide Chairman, Global Surgery Group at Johnson & Johnson told Engadget. “The surgeon remains the ultimate decision maker, but they will have even more support with precision movements and data-enhanced decision making tools.”
A robotic-assisted surgery is like a high-tech laparoscopy. It’s a minimally invasive procedure, where instead of a surgeon, robotic arms insert surgical tools into the patient. But the arms are not autonomous; a surgeon pilots them. The device eliminates the slightest human tremor and it requires smaller incisions for access, which invariably reduces blood loss. Barring complications that can arise in any medical procedure, the surgeon-robot combination makes a patient’s recovery a whole lot easier and quicker.
Robotics in surgery isn’t a new concept, though, it’s been around since the ’90s. But according to Pruden, “today’s robotic options for surgeons are limited, requiring substantial financial outlay and infrastructure investment.” When the collaboration between the two companies goes through — pending approval from the HSR Act (an antitrust law) — their combined capabilities could potentially build an advanced robotic platform that is more accessible than its current counterparts. “We think it will be smarter and will provide more information for surgeons doing critical tasks,” he says. “It will be more cost-effective.”
Via: Business Insider
The hopeful promise that Samsung was doing away with their bloatware applications for the Galaxy S6 is unfortunately an empty one, with no less than 56 pre-installed applications on the device.
According to Gizmodo, the Galaxy S6 has six more apps pre-installed than last years Note 4, which now include Microsoft’s suite of apps. That is combined with Google’s, Samsung’s, the carriers, and even social apps like Whatsapp and Instagram.
For a comparison, the ‘near-stock’ build of the Moto G comes with 33 pre-installed applications.
This means that of the 32GB of available storage on the basic model of the Galaxy S6, only 24GB is available to the user. In addition, the mention of being able to uninstall pre-installed applications is only true for a very slim sub-set of the selection, with most only able to be disabled.
Best get that 64GB model after all.
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Back in February 2012, the Wall Street Journal revealed how Google was able to quietly bypass privacy settings in Safari and track the sites people were browsing. The company eventually paid a $22.5 million penalty to the FTC, and now a group of Brits is seeking similar compensation. Google has been trying to appeal a High Court decision that means their case can be heard in the UK, but today the bid was effectively thrown out.
As the BBC reports, a three-judge panel dismissed Google’s arguments and said the privacy claims “raise serious issues that merit a trial.” The method unearthed by the Journal relied upon a piece of code that tricked Safari into thinking users were submitting an invisible form. The code would then install a cookie, which Google could use to track users and, the fear was, deliver targeted ads. At the time, the search giant said the cookies enabled features for signed-in Google users on Safari. At least some of those users weren’t happy though, which has led to the long, drawn out legal battle still ongoing today.
Of course, this isn’t the end of the road either. Google can now be sued by the group, called “Safari Users Against Google’s Secret Tracking,” in the regular UK courts. Should the claimants go ahead — we assume they will, after so much campaigning — we’ll have to endure yet another tussle in the courtroom before any final judgment is made.
Here we have the release of the Cloud Console app from Google that will allow you, the developer, to manage your solution running on the Google Cloud Platform via your Android smartphone or tablet. The app is in beta status and Google says it plans on shipping new features regularly.
The Cloud Console app appears to be the result of Google acquiring the cloud database company called Firebase back in October 2014.
- Check the status of your Google App Engine or Compute Engine resources
- Create your own custom dashboard to get a glanceable overview of your solution
- Take quick actions directly from your device such as stopping a virtual machine
- View and manage Incidents tracked in Google Cloud monitoring
Early adopters have asked for features such as API call graphs and quota details as well as asking for a Google Play Developer console app. The Cloud Console app promises to give developers on-the-go control of their virtual machines. Remembering that the app is in beta status, you can download Google’s Cloud Console app by clicking the link below or scanning the QR code with your smart device.
Come comment on this article: Google publishes Cloud Console Beta app for managing Cloud Platform services
The US Congress, Senate and White House may be torn on what to do with a key Patriot Act spying clause, set to expire on June 1st. But Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech companies in the Reform Government Surveillance coalition know exactly what they want: no more bulk data collection. Together with numerous privacy groups including the ACLU and EFF, they presented a letter to the President and both houses with two key demands. The groups asked for “a clear, strong and effective end of bulk collection practices under the Patriot Act,” along with “transparency and accountability mechanisms for both government and company reporting.”
The group sees no reason why Congress can’t “protect both national security and privacy” at the same time to “restore trust in the internet.” Companies like Google and Facebook bore a large part of the public’s wrath when it was suggested that they funneled data directly to the NSA, albeit unwillingly or unknowingly. With greater transparency, the group no doubt feels it could at least justify any user data collection it does on behalf of the government.
Companies like Google and Facebook bore a large part of the public’s wrath when it was suggested that they funneled data directly to the NSA.
The Patriot Act’s infamous clause 215 authorizing bulk spying via the “roving wiretap” provision has already been extended several times. However, the upcoming debates in Congress and Senate will be the first post-Snowden, and figure to be contentious. The heads of both Republican-controlled chambers are dead-set against any major changes, and blocked a bill that proposed minor reforms last year. However, other Republicans and Democrats, along with President Obama, favor significant changes. The letter from the tech coalition is obviously designed to give any representatives who may be on the fence a tiny nudge.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Source: Reform Government Surveillance
Roaming the world are seven million people that play Ingress, an augmented reality multiplayer game developed by Niantic Labs. The game, who’s developer was birthed by Google, directs players to go to locations and control portals on behalf of its two factions. Now, the quietly popular game is heading to a new medium: television.
Google has partnered with production company Sean Daniel to develop the Ingress television series. The two parties have yet to select a showrunner but, according to The Information, there are talks being held with candidates.
The show also has not been pitched to any networks for a pickup; however, there are some potential networks based on a few things. The futuristic, connected elements of Ingress would fit SyFy, AMC, or the rebranded Spike. SyFy may be the favorable landing for the show because Sean Daniel Company has a series airing on the network later this year.
Come comment on this article: Google taking Niantic Labs’ Ingress to television
It looks like a new version of Android 5.1 (LMY47I) is going out as Google posted factory images for both the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 yesterday. We don’t know what has been changed, but we expect it to be minor bug squashing, which is never a bad thing.
We also know that you guys don’t like waiting around for updates so flashing the image might be your best bet to get it now. There is no reason to be afraid of flashing. You don’t even have to lose your data if your bootloader is unlocked. We have the most complete and easy to follow instructions anywhere, so if you want to have the latest and greatest update up and running in less than a few minutes, make sure you follow this link.
source: Google Developers
Come comment on this article: New factory image of Android 5.1 LMY47I for Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 now available to flash