Google’s new Hands Free app will let you pay in stores without even reaching for your phone

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2015

If you thought paying with Apple Pay is ridiculously easy and frictionless, think again. No, I’m not referring to Android Pay, Google’s near exact replica of Apple Pay that was unveiled at Google I/O yesterday.

Quietly unveiled yesterday, Hands Free is a new Google mobile app currently unavailable to the general public that promises to let you make in-store purchases without ever reaching for that phone in your pocket.

Details are scarce at the moment but it seems that Hands Free requires you to just tell the cashier you’d like to pay with Google. It’s basically Android Pay without taking your phone. Read More

 

Poll: how does Google Photos compare to Apple’s Photos app + iCloud Photo Library combo?

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2015

Among a flurry of yesterday’s announcements at the Google I/O developer conference, the Internet giant launched Google Photos, its brand spanking new photography service available across iOSAndroid and on the web. It offers unlimited storage (with a  few caveats) and has many other compelling features that give Apple’s iCloud Photo Library a fairly good run for its money.

To name but a few: world-class facial recognition that understands aging, sleek design, fast performance, unmatched search and machine intelligence, the ability to create a movie, collage or animated GIF in seconds and more.

The question is, will you be turning to Google Photos as a backup solution for the media you’ve amassed on your iOS device? Or, perhaps you’ll be sticking with Apple’s iCloud Photo Library even though it offers a meager five gigabytes of free cloud storage? Planning on using Google Photos alongside iCloud Photo Library, are we? Not a big fan of either service, you say?

Tell us in today’s poll! Read More

 

Google-owned Snapseed brings back Grunge filter, adds a couple improvements

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2015

Following a major 2.0 refresh in April of this year, Google on Friday issued a minor update to Snapseed, its mobile photo editing app popular amongst iPhone photographers.

Available free of charge in the App Store, Snapseed 2.0.2 features half a dozen improvements, among them the popular Grunge filter which has made an unexpected comeback following its mysterious removal.

“After releasing Snapseed 2, we’ve heard a lot of excited voices, but also listened to your constructive feedback,” Sven Tiffe, Snapseed’s technical program manager wrote in a blog post. “You told us and we heard you, Grunge is back!” Read More

 

Google’s ‘Cardboard’ virtual reality app now available on iOS

By Cody Lee on May 28, 2015

In addition to Google Photos, Google announced at I/O today that it would be bringing another Android app over to iOS: Google Cardboard. The Mountain View tech giant says the software will “bring virtual reality to your iPhone.”

For those unfamiliar with Cardboard, it debuted at last year’s I/O conference with the promise of bringing affordable virtual reality to the masses. All it requires is a cardboard viewer that you can either make yourself or buy for $20. Read More

 

The fine print of Google Photos and why you shouldn’t ditch iCloud Photo Library just yet

By Christian Zibreg on May 28, 2015

I jumped with joy after reading Cody’s coverage of Google Photos. I mean, who wouldn’t want a sleek photo service across iOS, Android and the web that came with truly unlimited storage, right?

Here’s an iCloud Photo Library user who’s been paying Apple happily 99 cents month-to-month for the privilege of using a meager twenty gigabytes of iCloud storage.

But I have a confession to make: I need way more storage for all my photos and am reluctant to fork out five bucks a month in exchange for just 200 gigs of iCloud storage.

Having said that, before you ditch Apple’s iCloud Photo Library solution for Google Photos, here are a few facts Google didn’t emphasize enough that you should consider. Read More

 

Google opens Inbox app to everyone: updated with Undo Send, Trip Bundles, new gesture options and more

By Christian Zibreg on May 28, 2015

Inbox, a gesture driven email application from the Gmail team built on Google-acquired Sparrow technology, got refreshed with new features this morning starting with Undo Send. Now, Undo Send has been available for quite some time through Gmail’s web interface.

Now for the first time on your iPhone, Undo Send lets you take back an email right after sending in case you spotted a mistake, or have second thoughts. Also important, Inbox is now open to everyone so all Gmail fans can get in on the action right away. Read More

 

You’ll soon be able to open iOS app content straight from Google Search

By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2015

Google will soon start indexing iOS apps, allowing you to open content in your favorite apps straight from Google Search, the company announced Wednesday.

Google has been indexing content from Android apps for a while and now it’s about to help Apple fans discover relevant content from iPhone and iPad applications, right inside search.

“Starting today, we’re bringing App Indexing to iOS apps as well,” the company announced. “This means users on both Android and iOS will be able to open mobile app content straight from Google Search.” Read More

 

YouTube’s iOS player does not allow fullscreen on iPads anymore

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2015

Google seems to have quietly upgraded its embeddable media player for tablets. On iOS, however, it’s killed an essential feature: fullscreen mode on iPads, as first noted by German blog Apfelpage.de. The change does not affect Google’s native YouTube app for iOS, which still lets you play clips embedded in webpages in fullscreen on your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Read More

 

Google’s Android M to adopt Touch ID-style biometrics

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2015

To this date, only a few Android devices come outfitted with their own fingerprint scanner for authenticating purchases and password-protected apps, such as Huawei devices and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and S6.

Unfortunately, Google’s mobile operating system lacks system-wide support for fingerprint scanning, thereby hampering broader adoption of this useful feature, which Apple users have been enjoying for nearly two years now.

That’s about to change in Android M, the next major version of Android, which should adopt Touch ID-style biometrics, according to BuzzFeed News. Read More

 

How to use Google contacts on iPhone

By Sébastien Page on May 22, 2015

For the longest time, all my contacts and calendars were managed via Gmail and Google Calendars. It was just hard for me to mentally make the jump from everything Google to everything Apple. But with the advent of iCloud, I’ve completely broken up with Google to handle these two features and now entirely rely on Apple to handle both my calendars and contacts.

I realize not everybody can make that decision though, for both personal and professional reasons. Maybe you just don’t trust Apple with your contacts and calendars and want to rely exclusively on Google and Gmail for that. Or maybe your company uses Google Apps and it just makes more sense to make Google a more integrated part of your iPhone experience.

Whatever the reason might be, I’m going to show you how to import your Google contacts to your iPhone. Read More

 

In time for Memorial Day, Google Maps adds new traffic alerts and alternate routes

By Christian Zibreg on May 21, 2015

Memorial Day is one of the busiest driving days in the U.S. so little wonder that Google is now boosting traffic alerts on Google Maps to warn drivers of congestion on the route ahead, helping them avoid traffic jam.

“Now when you input your destination, you’ll get an explanation of upcoming traffic conditions that helps you identify the quickest route,” according to the Internet giant. Read More

 

Google and Twitter team up to provide Tweets in mobile search results

By Cody Lee on May 19, 2015

Google and Twitter announced on Tuesday that they are partnering up to bring Tweets to Google Search on mobile devices. The move means that now, anytime you perform a search using the Google app (iOS or Android) or mobile browser, you’ll see real-time content from Twitter in your results.

The search results are triggered by “Twitter” keyword searches, and include both hashtags and accounts. So you can either search for feedback on the new #TaylorSwift album or #MadMenFinale, or you can track down NASA’s Twitter account, and view their recent Tweets without leaving Google. Read More

 

Cool Google project automatically creates amazing time-lapse videos from public photos

By Christian Zibreg on May 18, 2015

Google researchers teamed up with scientists from the University of Washington on a unique project which taps into a rich poll of public photos on Yahoo’s Flickr, as well as on its own Picasa and Google+ services and other places, to automate the creation of amazing time-lapse videos of popular tourists landmarks, Engadget reported Monday.

Leveraging sophisticated algorithms, the project clusters a whopping 86 million photos and stitches them together into landmarks and popular viewpoints. Read More

 

YouTube testing iOS app redesign with small subset of users

By Christian Zibreg on May 14, 2015

Google has been testing a revamped version of its YouTube application for the iPhone and iPad with a small subset of users, Abdiel Ortiz and Sebastien Debaenst noted on Twitter. This isn’t necessarily new as some folks have been talking about YouTube’s iOS overhaul for over a month now.

What is new, however, is a detailed hands-on video put together by Tech Invasion which gives us a first look at the new software centered on Material Design, Google’s design language guiding software development across mobile, desktop and the web. Read More

 

How to add images to Google Docs and Slides documents on iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on May 14, 2015

Pictures play an important part in putting together a compelling business presentation, a detailed school report and what not. As much as I like Google’s DocsSlides and Sheets mobile productivity apps, their non-existent support for adding images to documents directly from an iOS device has been something of a deal breaker for me.

But not anymore. As announced on the official Google Docs blog, users of Google Docs and Slides application can now add images directly from their iPhone or iPad, here’s how. Read More

 

Google arrives on Apple Watch in update for News & Weather app

By Cody Lee on May 12, 2015

Google has updated its News & Weather app today, bringing the software to version 1.7. The update includes various performance and stability improvements, and more significant to us, support for the Apple Watch.

This is essentially the first appearance on Apple’s wearable for Google, who runs a competing wearable platform called Android Wear. The move, however, isn’t surprising, given the company’s sizable presence on iOS. Read More

 

Google confirms snapping up Timeful, iPhone-only time management and scheduling app

By Christian Zibreg on May 4, 2015

The Internet giant Google today announced via the official Gmail blog that it is buying Timeful, an iPhone-exclusive productivity application designed to help you get things scheduled so you can get them done.

The nicely designed application, positioned as your calendar and to-do list with intelligent assistance to make the most of your time, is available on the App Store for the time being but its functionality will be eventually folded into Google Apps, including Gmail, Calendar and more. Read More

 

Google ends YouTube support on older Apple TVs and pre-iOS 6 hardware due to API changes

By Christian Zibreg on May 4, 2015

Following up on its original plan to end support for older Apple TVs, iPhones, iPods and iPads due to API changes, YouTube is no longer accessible on second-generation Apple TVs and iOS devices manufactured in 2012 and earlier, as first reported 9to5Mac.

The app has simply disappeared from the Home screen on second-generation devices, with owners of these boxes reporting inability to access the Settings menu option to hide or show it along with other channels. Read More

 

Google unveils ‘Project Fi,’ an MVNO with plans starting at $20 per month

By Cody Lee on Apr 22, 2015

After years of rumors and speculation, Google is officially getting into the wireless business. The tech giant on Wednesday announced “Project Fi,” an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) set to shake up the wireless industry with plans starting at $20 per month.

Google has teamed up with Sprint and T-Mobile for the project, and it will piggyback on their networks. The service is designed to allow devices to dynamically switch between the carriers’ networks and nearby Wi-Fi networks, depending on which offers better service. Read More

 

Android Wear update takes aim at Apple Watch, adding Wi-Fi and gesture support

By Jake Smith on Apr 20, 2015

Google announced a sizable update to its Android Wear platform on Monday, days before the Apple Watch lands on the market to much fanfare. Google’s update to Android Wear is the platform’s largest yet, making it more usable, and even gets rid of the need to use it with a smartphone. Read More

 
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