Google Pixel exclusive features explored: A cut above the rest of Android?
Google’s phones have always been dependable for one thing: giving you the best of Android. With the launch of the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google has shifted the goalposts slightly, so that might not be the case anymore.
The Nexus devices aren’t Google phones, not in the same way that the Pixels are. The Pixels are designed by Google and made by Google (ish), and they launch with exclusive features that the rest of Android won’t get.
So are these must-have features, or can you live without these Pixel additions?
This is the starting point of any Android handset and in many ways it defines the daily experience. Pixel Launcher is exclusive to the Pixel, but as any Android fan knows, it’s already leaked and we’re sure it will leak again in newer forms for those who want to side load it.
- How to download Pixel and Pixel XL’s Launcher for Android
Pixel Launcher is an evolution of the Google Now Launcher; Google Now lives a swipe to the right as it did before, but there’s now a Google logo that looks like a pull-tab on the home screen and a new weather and time display.
Then you have the apps tray. This is a swipe from the bottom, rather than a tap on the icon. That also means – compared to many launchers – that you don’t need an “apps” button. That means there’s more space for apps and you can put something in the centre.
Accessing the apps tray isn’t a huge deal and removing the apps button doesn’t make a huge difference either. Devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 supported more shortcut or folder positions than stock Android launchers anyway, so it’s not hugely different.
Could we live without it? We’re pretty sure you’ll be able to sideload it, so it’s a moot point. We’re also sure someone will replicate the app tray and make it an option in other launchers too, and we’re betting that this exclusive feature eventually gets released on Google Play for everyone.
Google Assistant home button
Part of the launcher experience, however, is the new home button. This was once the access point for Now on Tap and now Google Assistant has taken its place. Google Assistant is an exclusive feature on the Pixel phone (for how long?), so it’s a persistent access point for Google’s new Assistant service.
This is also a feature that swings into other launchers too. If you move on from Pixel Launcher and use something else, you will find this feature there. That’s what Google means by having it baked to the core. We installed the BlackBerry launcher and found the Google Assistant home button stayed put.
Is that button essential to the experience? As an immediate access point to Assistant, it’s very useful; you can use “Ok Google” to open Google Assistant, but if you’re in a public place and don’t want to start talking to your phone, then this home button becomes an important part of things.
This is perhaps the biggest single feature that Google is pushing on the Pixels. Google Assistant is an evolution of Google Now and existing “Ok Google” voice control. It’s accessed the same way with voice, or through that home button we just discussed.
Google Assistant offers a wide range of features and functions. Some of those things already exist, like turning on the torch, opening apps, quizzing your calendar or asking it to play specific music on Spotify.
Google Assistant goes deeper, firstly by remaining contextually aware. For example, you can ask “what is Green Day’s latest album?” and once you have an answer, you can say “play it on Spotify”. So Google Assistant understands contextual pronoun use in this case, making conversational interaction more natural.
- What is Google Assistant, how does it work, and when can you use it?
- Google Assistant tips and tricks: Master your Android assistant
There are other things, like knowing the difference between a photo and a selfie and opening up the camera automatically and completing that action, or being able to play a specific programme from Netflix.
Google’s example is always finding a restaurant and booking a table, but that’s probably not a daily thing you need an Assistant for. But being able to ask Google when you’re flying somewhere, in addition to asking what flights you have is really clever – it understands different ways of asking questions, so it’s not formulaic.
Then there are clever things like Google Photos interaction and being able to ask to see photos of specific things from your album. Ask to see pictures of your mum and you’ll get mother and baby pictures as it knows what a mother is. Ask to see pictures of your cat, and you’ll get them.
Google Assistant might be an evolution of existing services, but we suspect with the upcoming launch of Google Home it will rapidly become much more talented.
So talented, in fact, that we can’t believe it will be a Pixel exclusive for very long. More than anything else, however, if you’re a big voice and Google Now user, Google Assistant will make a big change to the things you can do.
- What is Google Home, how does it work, and when can you buy it?
Unlimited Google Photos storage
This is an interesting play, as it offsets anxiety about lacking expandable storage, while also making it very easy for Google to be the natural home for all your photos and video. Unlimited storage in Google Drive for photos and video taken on your Pixel, at full resolution.
Currently you can opt to store as many reduced resolution images as you like from any Android phone with Google Photos, but full resolution images are limited by the capacity of your Drive. You can pay for more storage, it really depends how much you want to store from your device.
We’ll never say no to more storage and with Apple now selling expanded iCloud storage to a number of people, we can see the appeal.
Smart storage plays into the same territory as the photo storage above, dealing with anxieties that might arise surrounding space. This is obviously an issue for smartphone users as Nextbit created an entire phone to deal with this.
Smart storage lives in the Storage section of the settings menu and we haven’t seen it in action, because we’ve not filled our Pixel with data. What it will do, however, is make space by automatically deleting photo and video backups from the devices. As you’ll have them all synced to Google Photos at full resolution, it’s basically using that online storage to manage on-device storage.
You can specify time limits for this – over 30, 60 or 90 days – so if you want the last few months of photos ready to view and share instantly, you can opt to do so. Thanks to Google Photos giving you access to thumbnails all the time, not having them on the phone’s storage really isn’t a huge deal.
Smart storage is nice. It might be aimed at Pixel devices, but really Android should be better at handling what you need locally and what you don’t, like Nextbit does.
That calendar icon
As we’ve mentioned things that Android should be doing, let’s talk about the dynamic calendar icon.
Google Calendar is really good. It displays appointments in a clean fashion, with locations providing maps or images and some categories getting their own graphics too.
But one thing that Google Calendar has always done is show the date as 31. That was just the icon for the calendar. Have you ever noticed that Apple has the actual date on its calendar app icon? Google should have done this a long time ago: it’s like being able to see the sky, it’s should be a basic human right.
New setup and Apple transfer
So enthusiastic is Google about stealing iPhone owners, it’s bundling the hardware and software in the box to do so. We’ve given you a rundown of the process of setting up your iPhone from your Pixel and it’s very easy.
Sure, this is being pushed as a Pixel feature, wrapped in a new setup design, but Android users probably won’t worry too much, as you’ve already got an Android phone. Whether the universal transfer from Apple devices becomes part of the setup process generally, who knows. As it is, many manufacturers provide routes for transferring content anyway.
- Apple iPhone to Google Pixel: How to transfer contacts, messages, calendars and media
The new Pixel Camera
The Pixel offers a great camera and we’ve been very impressed with the performance from it. It has some limitations, like the white balance gets a little confused indoors at times, but generally, it’s very fast and gives some very good results.
There are also some exclusive features in the app. The Android camera app has always been a little basic, it doesn’t lavish features on like Samsung or Sony might. Some of the features that Google has pushed for some time – Photo Sphere, Lens Blur effect – still remain in the Pixel camera, which is basically the same in appearance as it was before.
There’s the addition of slow motion, offering 120 and 240fps options, which can easily be adjusted so only the action parts are in slow motion. There’s also the option for Smartburst that will capture continuously if you hold down the shutter button.
From this, Google will automatically create animations, but also offers you a view of all those photos, with the option to pick and save the best one, which is great for action scenes.
Both these elements play into the speed of the Pixel camera. It’s hugely fast, from capture to focusing to viewing previews.
Outside of those, a couple of elements have been added to the app viewfinder. There’s now instant access to a number of grids as well as white balance controls. When you tap to focus/meter, you also get an exposure compensation slider so you can tweak the exposure in your photo before you press capture, making it easier to capture the photo you want.
Finally, you can lock the exposure and focus with a long press (AE/AF lock). This means the camera will stay on those settings as things move in front, giving consistency. It can also be applied to video, so you can put it on a tripod, for example, and film on a desk for example, without the exposure of focus changing and pulsing.
From a software point of view, it’s not hugely different visually, but even if you did have the app on other Android devices, you won’t have the speed, which is really what makes this camera. Those “pro” features make the camera more fun, but again, it’s not as fully featured as many rival camera apps.
With Google now wanting to design phones, sell phones, do the software for phones and claim “Phone by Google”, it needs to add another string to its bow. Unlike Apple, you can’t just walk into a Google Store in a shopping mall when you have a problem.
The solution on the Pixel is 24/7 support in the form of a new tab in the settings menu. You simply click over to it and you can get phone or chat support, including the option to have Google take a look at your screen and sort out your problem.
Things that all Android 7.1 devices will get
Google claims that all of the above is exclusive to the Pixel.
However there are plenty of features that should arrive on your device when you get Android 7.1. If you’re a Nexus owner, that could be pretty soon.
- When is Android 7.1 Nougat coming to my phone?
Here’s a rundown of what you will get, and how great it is:
New wallpaper picker
Yes, within the Pixel Launcher you have a new wallpaper picker. Well, guess what. Google has already released this so that anyone can get to it. It’s an app called Wallpaper and it’s on Google Play now.
This gives you plenty of options for picking your wallpaper, with sections for different types and the option to have have it changing wallpaper daily, from a number of categories – earth, landscapes, cityscapes, life and textures.
What you don’t get is the Pixel’s live wallpapers that will give you a little bit of movement when you unlock your phone or return the the home screen, or the live data wallpapers.
Wallpaper won’t change the world, but it does put a little bit of Pixel on any Android phone.
Night light changes the colour temperature of your display. It’s something that’s widely offered – even the iPhone has it – and the idea is to reduce the blue light from your display, which has been shown to cause sleep problems.
It’s simple and can be enabled in the display settings in Android 7.1. There’s no option to change the intensity, but we’re happy with it as it is. There’s also the option to have it automatically switch on at sunset.
Android 7.1 contains a couple of gestures, which it bundles together in a menu section called Moves in the Pixel. The first is an old Android element from Marshmallow, and that’s a double press on the power button to instantly launch the camera.
The second is the swipe on the fingerprint sensor to view the notifications. This is something that works especially well for devices with a rear fingerprint scanner, like the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. It works so well, that Huawei has had it for some time in devices like the Huawei P9 or the Honor phones. We like it, but if you have a front fingerprint scanner (HTC, Samsung), it’s perhaps not going to work as well.
The final gesture is flip camera, which switches between the front and rear cameras with twist of the wrist. We’re not sure if it’s coming to other Android devices and to be honest, we can’t say we’re that bothered about it, as it involves waving your phone around, meaning you’ll probably drop it.
Round icons with app shortcuts
We’re bundling these together. The round icons are super cute, but you’ll notice that on the Pixel they’re only for a selection of Google apps. Chrome has always been round and there’s no shortage of those round icons, like Citymapper.
Android 7.1 will bring support for these circular icons according to Google, although we guess they could just be changed in Google Play.
What’s more important about app icons is the app shortcuts that Android 7.1 offers. This provides shortcuts to functions of that app without opening that app. For example, if you want to send a message, a long press on Messenger opens up options to start a new conversation or continue a recent conversation.
Similarly, a long press on Google Maps opens the option to navigate to home or to work. It’s a great feature and makes your home page a lot more useful, with less need to open apps to carry out basic functions.
There’s a lot that’s offered by Android 7.1 that adds polish to the good work already started by Android 7.0 Nougat. At the moment, the Pixel and Pixel XL enjoy a level of exclusivity that other devices don’t have, with a version of Android that’s not yet been made available to other devices.
But much refinement will be coming and for many day-to-day app tasks, the update to 7.1 will bring your typical Nexus device into touching distance of the Pixel. As they say, though, the Pixel is more than just the sum of its parts: it’s the whole experience, the speed and smoothness of Android that makes it great.
- Android 7.0 Nougat review: Subtle but super-sweet OS update
Google Assistant is the elephant in the room. It’s so closely related to the existing functions offered by Ok Google voice integration on Android devices that we can’t believe that Google will deny it to other devices for any great length of time.
Even over-ear headphones tailor sound to your hearing
The personalized audio of MeQ’s Even earbuds is sweet, but there’s an obvious catch involved: you have to be a fan of in-ears to use them. What if you prefer the feel of headphone cups? Don’t worry, you’re set. MeQ is launching the Even H1, a set of wired over-ears that bring that same customized sound to a potentially more comfortable (not to mention more stylish) form. As before, the centerpiece is EarPrint tech that guides you through tailoring the output. You theoretically get music that accommodates your specific ear shapes, hearing loss and other factors that affect the listening experience.
The headphones still don’t require a mobile app to work, and you’ll get “over ten hours” of EarPrint-assisted audio on a charge. You’ll pay considerably more for the H1 at $179 versus the earbuds’ $99. However that’s definitely low enough to consider an H1 set if you’re worried that you’re missing all the nuances of your favorite tunes.
How to watch the third (and final) US presidential debate
It’s been a long damn road, getting from there to here, but we’re finally at the third and final presidential debate. But for the good of democracy, and the country, we’re all going to tune in anyway to see what both candidates get up to. After all, the first debate was a good excuse for a stiff drink and the second gave us a 70-year-old man dry humping a chair, Ken Bone and so many karaoke tweets. Thankfully, no matter where you are and what device you’re rocking, there’s a way to watch the final showdown between Hillary and Donald. The show begins at 9pm ET / 6pm ET and will be broadcast live from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Same as the last two events, Facebook Live will leverage its deal with ABC News to broadcast the debate without commercials. As before, the social network will add in commentary from viewers as well as additional features not available to those watching on the TV. In addition, plenty of other outfits will use Facebook Live to stream their own versions of the debate, including Buzzfeed, CNBC and the New York Times.
As part of the company’s live video push, Twitter will, once again stream Bloomberg’s feed of the debate. You’ll also be able to enjoy the newswire’s on-air analysis paired with Twitter’s world-famous well-considered and thoughtful one-eyed invective.
When it comes to high profile events that need streaming video, YouTube’s uniquely-placed to throw its considerable weight around. The site will serve streams of the debate from NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, C-Span, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Univision and Telemundo. In addition, YouTube creators The Young Turks and Complex News will be offering a different sort of commentary experience live from their smartphones.
If you’re not yet wedded to the notion of cord cutting, that’s okay, because you’re gonna be looked after with the traditional broadcasters. The debate will be shown on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, C-Span, PBS, Telemundo, Univision and Fox News.
Image Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo (Facebook), Getty (Las Vegas), Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images (UNLV Sign) AP Photo/Julio Cortez (Candidates).
Eight hours of air traffic in one image
A couple years back, a composite image showing seven hours of takeoffs at LAX airport went viral. The man behind that image, Mike Kelley, has spent the time since working on expanding his initial idea.
The result is Airportraits, a photo series that repeats the trick . From Tokyo’s Haneda to London’s Heathrow, Kelley sat, stood and occasionally danced while shooting hundreds and thousands of photos of aircraft taking off. He then stitched the images together to create a composite image (a single image comprised of elements from multiple photos) that represents his time at each location.
Kelley leaned on his experience as an architectural photographer to build the images. He often uses light painting, blending natural and artificial light to create composite images that cast buildings and interiors in an almost magical light.
Happy to announce a new series, Airportraits. Two years, 75,000 miles traveled, way too much time in Photoshop. https://t.co/TWonED7F6V pic.twitter.com/hruSa250Pd
— Mike Kelley (@mpkelleydotcom) 17 October 2016
Where the Airportraits differ from the original viral image is in composition. While the LAX image was impressive, there was no sense of place; it could’ve been any airport, anywhere. For the new series, Kelley shot from a range of vantage points — a Sydney shot from a beach, Tokyo from a boat out on the bay, Amsterdam over a meandering river and so on. There are also people, animals, cars and other elements that sell each image as a scene, or a story, more than before.
Perhaps my favorite from the series is the image atop this article, taken near Zurich, Switzerland. It depicts eight hours of takeoffs from a pair of runways. Speaking to Resource Magazine, Kelley explained what makes this image so special: “Due to a complicated noise abatement scheme, Zurich Airport actually uses runways oriented in different directions depending on how light or heavy the winds are. This made for a very interesting photo when combined with the idyllic Swiss countryside that surrounds the airport,” he said.
You can view more of the series on Kelley’s site, read more about individual images at Resource Magazine or buy prints in various sizes from his store.
The Big Picture is a recurring feature highlighting beautiful images that tell big stories. We explore topics as large as our planet, or as small as a single life, as affected by or seen through the lens of technology.
Source: Mike Kelley, (Store)
Automakers are beating Silicon Valley at its own game
When Google unveiled its self-driving car and rumors surfaced that Apple was also working on a car, it looked like the future of driving belonged to Silicon Valley. Turns out, automakers were up to the challenge, and the “hobbies” of tech giants are going to be left behind.
While Apple reportedly scales back its EV/autonomous car project, called Titan, and Google continues to send out monthly updates about how many times other drivers run into their vehicles, companies like Ford, GM, Audi, Mercedes, Honda, BMW and Tesla (the closest thing to a tech company that makes cars) have already introduced vehicles with semi-autonomous features. Research is great, but shipping a product is the end goal. Automakers are shipping.
Not only are the automakers actually putting vehicles on the road; they’re iterating faster than they used to. The accepted timetable from design to showroom for a new car has traditionally been five years. GM’s upcoming long-range EV, the Bolt, will go from concept to retail within about three years.
Meanwhile, Google has noted that it wants to partner with an automaker, while Apple is reportedly hoping to do the same thing. The big question is: Do the car companies need them?
Most automakers have established Silicon Valley offices to recruit the talent needed to build their own autonomous system. Plus, while Google and Apple are mum on the future of their side projects, carmakers are making very public plans. Currently GM has a huge investment in Lyft, and the pair are already testing that company’s system on San Francisco streets. Recently Ford said it’ll have ride-sharing autonomous vehicles on the road in five years. And Tesla has one of the best semi-autonomous systems on the road. Even ride-sharing juggernaut Uber seems to have bested Google and Apple by putting customers in its autonomous cars in Pittsburgh.
It’s commendable that large companies like Apple and Google want to make the streets of the world safer with autonomous vehicles. In fact, their movements into the space might have forced automakers to move quicker. But the reality is that building an autonomous car — actually, any car — is more difficult than producing a phone, computer or operating system. Also, a company needs to be willing to spend the money. In 2015, Google’s Moonshot division — which the car is part of — spent $3.6 billion on R&D. That sounds impressive until you realize that VW spent $15.3 billion that same year.
Building a car can’t be a hobby or a side project. It needs to be the focus of an entire company if it’s going to become a reality. Just ask Tesla — it took nine years before it had a vehicle people actually wanted.
The next stage of driving (or not driving, as the case may be) is exciting. But right now and for the foreseeable future, it’s going to be automakers, not tech giants, pushing the technology forward.
Moov made a heart rate sensor you wear on your head
When representatives from the fitness tracking company Moov first told me they had made a heart rate sensor that you wear on your head, I thought the idea was ridiculous. But after I saw the Moov HR Sweat headband and swim caps (Moov HR Swim), it all made a bit more sense. The new device sits firmly on your forehead to get what Moov says is a more accurate pulse reading than from your wrist or chest. It then relays that information to a companion app that coaches you to work out better.
First off, putting the optical heart rate sensor on your forehead is supposed to be more accurate than conventional designs, according to the company, partly because there’s less skin in the way. Your forehead also moves a lot less than your arm does during a workout, and that motion makes it harder to get a precise read. Sweat and muscle constriction also get in the way of an exact measurement. Because the Moov sweatband absorbs moisture and stays pretty firmly in place, these interferences are kept to a minimum, in theory making for better results.
In a recent demo, this was indeed effective. I placed my hand on my jugular while trying on a Moov HR sweatband and looked at the visualization of my pulse on an interface the company made for demo purposes. A bouncing dot plunged each time I felt my heart beating. I also watched as my pulse increased when I stood up and walked about after a period of sitting down.
That information is then sent to your phone, where Moov’s voice-based AI coach will tell you what actions (burpee, jumping jack, etc.) to do and what cardio zone you’re in. This is why the precision of your heart rate data is so important to Moov: If your readout is off, you could be exercising in a completely different zone than you need to. I also appreciated the app telling me (and showing me, with visual aids) exactly what to do — kind of like following an aerobics video that knows what you’re doing.
In addition to being accurate, the new placement also made more sense than I initially thought. After all, a lot of people already wear swim caps or sweatbands when they work out. The headbands are available in black and teal at launch, and the one I tried felt secure and didn’t budge while I moved around a small room. It was, however, a bit of a hassle to get my bangs out of the way and make sure the heart rate sensor was sitting just above my eyebrows so it would work well.
The Moov HR Sweat and Swim are available for $60 each or $99 for both until Nov. 18th. After that, they’ll cost $99 each. That’s relatively affordable, considering most wrist-worn heart rate trackers, such as the Fitbit Charge 2, cost about $200. But those devices also do more than just monitor your pulse. Chest straps are cheaper, starting from $50 for one from Garmin, but they require a companion Garmin device, are unwieldy and move around a lot during a workout. The Moov HR specifically targets those who want super-accurate cardio info and don’t mind buying a dedicated gadget to do that, and its seemingly precise measurements (from my brief time with it, at least) could win those people over.
Tech giants outspend banks in US lobbying
It won’t shock you to hear that tech companies are trying to cozy up to politicians, but they may have more influence than you think. Bloomberg has determined that the five largest tech firms in the US (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft) spent more than twice as much on lobbying in 2015 as the five largest banks — $49 million versus $19.7 million. Facebook and Google argue that the money is necessary to both explain their operations and defend an open internet, but there are mounting concerns that they may have too much sway.
For instance, New America Foundation’s Barry Lynn warns that these companies are terrified of “competition policy” that could restrict their businesses, such as a repeat of the federal anti-monopoly case against Microsoft. Google may not have dismissed the FTC’s antitrust probe due to lobbying, but there is a concern that companies could have officials look the other way. And it’s safe to say that they’re not fond of measure that would force them to repatriate cash stored overseas and pay taxes.
At the same time, it may be difficult for the feds to completely reject tech industry overtures. The government needs to cooperate closely with these companies for everything from fighting terrorist propaganda to modernizing data. The future administration will likely have to walk a fine line between listening to what tech has to say and preventing it from dictating policies that hurt both your market choices and the country’s bottom line.
Lost Japan-only ‘Legend of Zelda’ game is available to play
Even the biggest Nintendo fan out there might not be familiar with Satellaview. It was a Japan-only peripheral for the Super Famicon (the country’s version of our Super NES) that broadcast games via satellite — one of which was a remixed version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Now, as reported by Kotaku, fans outside of Japan can give The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets a shot for the first time.
The game was originally only broadcast in Japanese, but you can now download language patches in English, French and German here and try the game out through an emulator for yourself. But getting a working version of the game together took more than just translation. Originally, The Legend of Zelda: Ancient Stone Tablets was broadcast in four one-hour chunks. That’s right, the game was broadcast at a specific time once a week for four weeks, and you could only access that particular part of the game at that time.
Making things even more tricky is the fact that each game’s broadcast was accompanied by streamed audio that contained voice acting and orchestrated music — getting that entire four-hour audio broadcast together and in sync was one of the biggest challenges in offering a complete version of this game. Semi-complete ROMS have been offered for a long time, but this seems like the closest we’ve gotten to a comprehensive vision of the game.
You can download the game now, and this site has way more details about this Nintendo oddity. Anyone who loved Link to the Past (and that’s a lot of people, given the game’s status as one of the best of the entire series) should give this a shot. For more on Satellaview and the Zelda games that were broadcast over it, check out the video below.
Source: Zelda Legends, Kotaku
Google Docs helps you figure out who’s responsible for tasks
It’s not always easy to determine who’s responsible for what in a given online project, but Google thinks it can sort out that mess. It’s introducing a slew of Google Docs updates (as part of a larger G Suite upgrade) that help you delegate tasks. On the desktop, typing phrases that assign tasks will automatically suggest action items — write “Andrea to schedule a weekly check-in” and you’ll foist that duty on your colleague. Both desktop and mobile users can also manually assign items by mentioning people in comments, so it should be easier to ask for an edit or status update. You’ll get a heads-up on any files with tasks assigned to you.
This refresh is also a big deal if you’re using Slack to chat with your coworkers. Thanks to a partnership, you can now hit the “+” button in Slack to share Google Docs files, or anything from Google Drive, within the app. You don’t have to interrupt your conversation just to bring up a spreadsheet. And if you’re fond of Docs’ voice typing, you should now have an easier time deleting words, adding links and changing text color without reaching for your mouse and keyboard. All told, Google is clearly bent on greasing the wheels at work… even when you’re not using one of its apps.
Source: Google G Suite
The Pixel’s wallpaper app is now available for all Android phones
If you’ve ever picked up a Chromebook, you’ve probably noticed that Google loads them up with dozens of gorgeous wallpapers. But for some reason, Google has only offered a paltry handful lately on its Android devices. That changed with the Pixel and Pixel XL, which came with a great Wallpapers app with the same variety and quality we’re used to seeing on Chromebooks, and now the app is available for all Android devices.
The Wallpapers app, which is now live in the Play Store, offers images in five different categories: Earth, landscapes, cityscapes, life and textures. Each category has more images than I wanted to count, and there’s an option that’ll cycle through a particular category with new options every day. Naturally, you can also access your device’s default wallpapers as well as your own photos in this app, as well.
If you want to see more from the photographer who took each shot, you can tap an “explore” button to see details on the artist and location — it’ll bring you to the shot on Google+ or the 500px photo-sharing community. And Google says it’ll keep adding more images over time. It’s not the kind of app that’s going to change how you use your phone, but it might just make it a little more pleasant to look at.
Via: Android Police
Source: Google Play Store