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Google rolls out custom voice actions to make talking to your apps much easier


Google today announced the ability to use custom voice actions with third party applications, allowing you to get things done much easier when using the Google search app. For now, custom voice actions are only compatible with a select number of partners, but the search giant plans to bring this functionality to more applications in the future.

With custom voice actions, you’ll be able to say things like “Ok Google, listen to NPR”, to start playing a new story through the NPR app on your device. Another example given is the ability to say “Ok Google, show attractions near me on TripAdvisor”, to bring up TripAdvisor results without having to launch the app the traditional way.


Custom voice actions are now live in Google search for Android, though you’ll have to wait for more developers to start implementing the code into their apps. While Google has yet to release a full list of applications that support this feature, it’s looking like early partners include NPR, TripAdvisor, TuneIn, Wink, Shazam, and a few others. Google also just posted a big list of “88 things you didn’t know you could ask Google“, which includes some of the new parters who are already using the custom voice actions feature.


Deal: Take $70 off a Moto 360, $300 off 2nd Gen. Moto X and Tracks Air headphones bundle

new moto x first look aa (1 of 21)

We still have more than a week until Mother’s Day, but it looks like Motorola is already beginning to offer some nice discounts that will make your mom’s special day much less expensive. From now until Tuesday, May 12th, you’ll be able to pick up a customized Moto 360 for $179.99 ($70 off) through Motorola’s website. While the Android Wear smartwatch has been available for that price in the Google Store for a few days now, purchasing it through Motorola will allow you to get a customized watch, not just the standard black or gray versions.

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Want to get your mom something a little more functional? From now until Tuesday, May 5th, you can pick up an off-contract Moto X (2nd Gen.) and a pair of Tracks Air by Sol Republic x Bluetooth headphones for $399.99. Normally this bundle would cost you nearly $700, but Motorola has slashed the price down significantly for this promotion.

If you’re on the fence about any of the products listed above, be sure to check out our Moto 360 and Moto X (2nd Gen.) reviews! Head to the deal link below to start shopping.

Buy now from Motorola


Google Announces New Partners for Custom Voice Actions on Android

OK Google

“OK Google” has changed the world as we know it, or at least the Android world as we know it. Either way, true fanboys believers know that Google’s voice recognition software is the most robust in the industry and the most capable of understanding regular, colloquial speech.

As voice search continues to evolve, its ability to integrate with apps has also improved. Today, Google announced a further step towards that integration. Third-party developers can now employ custom actions that integrate with voice search without the need to open the app first. Google has roped in a specific set of partners to develop this newfound synergy. And it’s all about synergy, folks. Who these partners are hasn’t been disclosed, but the gif below highlights both NPR and TripAdvisor, so let’s not assume that Google woke up today feeling magnanimous and in the mood to offer free ad space to both parties just for funsies.


Now if you’re like me, you might read this and say, “But, um, doesn’t ‘OK Google’ sort of work in this way already?” Indeed, “OK Google, listen to NPR” doesn’t seem all that revolutionary. Nor does, “OK Google, show attractions near me on TripAdvisor.” Frankly, I’ve been able to do both of those functions before today’s announcement. Just to double check, I performed a number of functions before writing this article and ensured my voice search app hasn’t updated today. I’m happy to be corrected if my hubris has gotten the best of me.

For example, if I tell Google to listen to Great Lake Swimmers, by default it opens the Google Music app and finds the band. But If I say, “OK Google, listen to Great Lake Swimmers on Spotify,” it still takes me into Spotify’s app. Either way, it does what I ask and does it pretty well.

Google Search Custom TuneIn

What we’ve gleaned from this announcement is that rather than rely upon Google’s own excellent voice recognition software to push us into the appropriate place, app developers now have the opportunity to designate organic commands of note and drive things from there. Think of it like the apps are now able to pull us into their ecosystem instead of Google needing to push us in. Plus, there appears to be the promise that while within an app, we can call out to Google, which is a step up from needing to find the little voice button.

Also – unrelated – what’s up with the gif? That’s clearly a Nexus 6, but what’s the device it’s sitting on? Any takers?

Source: Android Developers


Come comment on this article: Google Announces New Partners for Custom Voice Actions on Android


Plex Music is cranking it to 11 with major update to the Music section

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Plex is pushing out an update that is sure to please the music lovers who use the media server for all their other needs. Up to this point, the music side of the system was a bit odd, to put it nicely. It worked, it just didn’t seem to do what it could. The Plex team has been working on that for about 6 months now and they are finally ready to make your music options a little bit better. The update brings along improved scanning, management, multi-item editing and a whole lot more.

Plex Pass subscribers will benefit the most from the recent update and will give you access to watch ad-free music videos of your collection with Vevo. Plex Pass subscribers will also be able to create customized playlists based on descriptive information about a song such as genre, mood or tempo. On the backend scanning side of things they have integrated with Gracenote for all the metadata information pertaining to all your tracks.

Free Plex users are left out. You still get the ability to listen to your own music on every device, share your library with friends & Family, create and manage playlist, see your music beautifully organized, get the multi-item editing ability, the faster scanning to get your music listed and support for high-end formats like FLAC and ALAC.

Check out the video about how it all works out.

For current Plex Pass subscribers you will need to head over and create a Premium Music Library to get the ball rolling. You will also want to make sure your server is updated as well as your Plex apps on your devices. Be sure to check out the news on the Plex website for more in depth details.

Via Plex

The post Plex Music is cranking it to 11 with major update to the Music section appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Sprint and Boingo partner in Wi-Fi deal for airport internet access

Sprint has been doing a lot behind the scenes lately, as we’ve seen them purchase Radioshack store fronts, partner with Google in Project Fi, and more. Today comes the news that Sprint has now partnered with Boingo, the airport Wi-Fi company.

Sprint customers now have unlimited free access to Boingo Wi-Fi networks around the nation. Customers don’t need to pay anything extra, and Sprint says you can seamlessly switch from the Sprint network to Boingo Wi-Fi networks (sounds a lot like what Project Fi does). Furthermore, when you’re connected to Boingo Wi-Fi networks, you’re protected with WPA2 encryption, so others can’t just get into your phone while being on the same network.

Those who travel a lot will definitely benefit from this, but otherwise you won’t get much use from it. Still, its nice to see Sprint is trying its hardest to keep its head above the water as the other three big carriers continue to grow.

Source: Sprint Newsroom

The post Sprint and Boingo partner in Wi-Fi deal for airport internet access appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Google now allows custom app voice actions, starting with Shazam

Google’s searching capabilities have extended well beyond finding the right website. Between the Knowledge Graph and Google Now, Google provides more functionality than any other search engine. Today, Google is opening it up even more on its Android app, allowing app developers to place custom voice actions to perform an action with an app.

Shazam is the first to implement this functionality, allowing you to find out what a song is by saying “OK Google, Shazam this song”. If you have the app installed, it will open and identify the song for you.

A post was made on the Google Developers and Android Developers Google+ pages about this, saying to go to this web page to see about implementing a custom voice action for your app.

This certainly opens up a lot of new possibilities, and will only make accessing information that much easier. It’s also encouraging to see Android pushing developers to allow users to get more out of their apps.

The post Google now allows custom app voice actions, starting with Shazam appeared first on AndroidGuys.


A Few Apple Watch Users Experiencing Band Locking Issues [iOS Blog]

Apple Watch BandLess than a week after the release of the Apple Watch, a few issues with the wrist-worn device have been spotted by early adopters. The first issue involves full sleeve tattoos interfering with the Apple Watch’s heart rare sensor and skin contact registration, while MacRumors forum member Smickers has shared a new video that shows an Apple Watch with a nonfunctioning band locking mechanism.

“So, I took off my jacket Sunday and out of the sleeve comes my SS Apple Watch and drops on the floor and slides for a bit before stopping. Turns out the locking mechanism wasn’t locking the strap,” writes MacRumors forum member Smickers. “On closer inspection it requires a number of tries, pulling and pushing the strap to get it to lock. It’s just the top strap. One scratched casing, with the glass fine.”

The user claims that after he contacted Apple on Monday to have the Apple Watch replaced through AppleCare, the company requested that he ship the device to Ireland for inspection by an engineering team. Three days later, he allegedly received confirmation from Apple that the Apple Watch was indeed faulty, and the company will be expediting him a brand new device in sealed retail packaging within 24 hours.

Fortunately, this issue does not appear widespread and is only affecting a limited number of users. “I had this same problem when I first received my SS Apple Watch with Milanese Loop,” said MacRumors forum member Ryxmd. “I had it on my wrist and noticed that the top strap had some movement. I took off the watch and tried to get it to lock in. After 3-4 tries, it finally locked into place.”

It is largely unsurprising that the first-generation Apple Watch has a few isolated issues that Apple will inevitably fix, especially given that the wrist-worn device is Apple’s first new product category since 2010. Yesterday, it was reported that defective Taptic Engines from one of Apple’s suppliers has contributed to Apple Watch supply constraints, but fortunately no faulty devices were shipped to customers.


Uber’s panic button can let cops in India know where you are

India Uber Asia

Earlier this year, Uber launched an in-app panic button for people in India, which lets any user easily alert local police in case of an emergency. And now this safety feature is getting improved. The ride-sharing service announced today that the real-time SOS alert can start being accessed by law enforcement officials, allowing them to track the exact location of a passenger who may require assistance during a trip. Previously, the panic button would only connect Uber users with the cops over a phone call, so this is designed to save time for potential victims — and that could turn out to be life-saving.

Uber has been testing the new feature in the city of Kolkata, but the goal is to make it available in many places across India over the next few weeks. What’s more, the company says that it will be bringing more safety solutions to other countries “in the coming months.” Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

Filed under: Transportation, Internet, Software, Mobile


Source: Uber


Obama’s 2013 ‘BRAIN’ initiative results in remote-controlled mice

The first results to stem from President Barack Obama’s 2013 “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies” initiative are in, Reuters reports. As noted in the journal Neuron, scientists were able to manipulate the brain circuitry of lab mice, making them move, stay still, eat or leave their bowls of food behind. This was accomplished through the use of DREADDs, “designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs.” The DREADDs system uses genetically engineered brain neurons to create custom receptors that lock into manmade molecules, activating whichever neuron scientists target. The DREADD method is a noninvasive form of behavior control, first introduced about a decade ago as a way to turn neurons on or off — the newest DREADDs are the first to be able to do both.

Researchers hope to better understand the brain wiring behind certain behaviors, with the hope of eventually creating therapies to treat neurological conditions. This marks a shift away from seeing these illnesses as “chemical imbalances,” and more as cases of miswiring or misfiring neurons, Reuters reports. The BRAIN initiative as a whole hopes to uncover the sources of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, depression, PTSD and other still-mysterious brain disorders.

Filed under: Science


Source: Neuron, Reuters


Deal roundup: most popular AA deals of the month


The Android Authority Deals Store is constantly offering great ways to save on many different items and services, such as VPN subscriptions, battery packs, coding bundles, and much more. In case you missed any of the most recent promotions, we’ve rounded up the best deals the AA Store had to offer throughout this past month.

The majority of these items have been featured on our site in the past, but they are genuinely solid deals and offer real savings when compared to many other online retailers. Without any further ado, let’s take a look!

VPN Unlimited: Lifetime Subscription


Having access to a VPN service is extremely important in today’s age. If you’ve ever used public Wifi, gotten your bandwidth throttled, needed to work remotely, or simply just don’t trust your ISP provider, then a VPN service might be for you. VPN Unlimited allows you to keep your data hidden and encrypted while you’re connected to a public Wifi network. You also don’t need to worry about traffic bandwidth, because your data usage will never slow down due to high traffic volumes. And with VPN Unlimited 3.0, you’ll get a list of fully downloadable global servers, the ability to switch servers quickly, and receive hands-on statistics for both mobile and desktop devices. Also in VPN Unlimited 3.0, servers have been added to Romania, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ukraine, Japan and Texas.

Want to get your hands on a lifetime subscription to the service? Right now, the AA Deals Store is offering it for just $39 (70% off). Head to the link below for more information!

Get this deal now

Wireless Bluetooth Cloud Buds


The Wireless Bluetooth Cloud Buds are simple, lightweight and odds are, you’ll barely even notice you’re wearing them. They feature a 30-foot Bluetooth range, so if you’re exercising at a gym, you don’t even need to have your mobile device right next to you. The headphones also have a noise-canceling outer shell and a built-in microphone and remote. And if your current earbuds are constantly falling out, these also come with optional ear hooks to secure your ears, as well as multiple sizes of gelled ear buds.

They’re currently available in the AA Deals Store for just $29.99. Head to the link below for some more info.

Get this deal now

Supreme Android Coding & Design Bundle


Looking for an easy and cheap way to start coding for your favorite mobile operating system? We’d suggest you check out the Supreme Android Coding and Design Bundle, which is currently available for 89% off in the AA Deals Store. For just $39.99, you’ll learn how to develop apps for Lollipop and learn to code efficiently. There’s even a course that will teach you the basics of Java programming, so you can get a solid foundation to begin your Android development career.

Head to the link below for more information on this awesome bundle.

Get this deal now

Android Bot Collectible Bundle


Odds are if you’re reading this post, you’re already a fan of all things Android. So if you’d like to expand your love for everyone’s favorite OS and the Bugdroid mascot, we may have a good way for you to do so. Right now in the AA Deals Store, you can pick up the Android Bot Collectible Bundle for just $19.99. The Android Bot Collectible Bundle consists of three randomly chosen Android mascots, measuring three inches tall. Your options include standard Green, Business Man, Taxi Bot, Yeti, Pinkey, Bear Tag or Ruby Red. And to sweeten the deal, we’re throwing in a 6-inch Ganndroid plush toy along with the three plastic collectibles.

To take advantage of this sweet deal, follow the link below.

Get this deal now

ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20000mAh Battery


Looking for a battery pack that you can use outdoors? You might want to try the ZeroLemon SolarJuice 20000mAh Battery Pack. It has two outputs, enabling you to charge multiple devices at once. The outputs come in 2.1 and 1A variants, which is perfect for charging a tablet and a smartphone. It has four LED indicators to provide battery capacity information as well as an super bright LED flashlight. You’ll even receive a carrying hook and a pouch with your order to help carry it around more easily. Since you’ll be using this outside most of the time, it needs to be small otherwise it can be an inconvenience. Thankfully the pack only measures 155mm x 83mm x 25.6mm and weighs only 492g, so you don’t need to worry about carrying around a giant pack everywhere you go.

The AA Deals Store is offering this pack for $49.99, which is 50% off the normal retail price. If you’re interested, follow the link below for more information.

Get this deal now

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