Google Tests a New Navigation Interface

Google tests a new navigation menu that’s more compact and includes fewer services. You need to click an icon that’s placed next to the “sign in” button and you can access popular services like Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar. For some reason, the menu includes a redundant icon for Google Search even when you’re using Google’s search engine.

The interface seems to be inspired by Chrome’s app launcher, uses less space, but it’s not very obvious. It’s like a new version of the hidden navigation menu that was launched back in 2011 and removed after a few weeks.

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Google Drive’s File Previews

Google Drive has a new feature that lets you preview files using an interface borrowed from Google+. This feature is not restricted to photos and videos, it also works for Google Docs documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms, drawings, Microsoft Office files, PDF, PostScript and XPS files and TrueType fonts.

“When previewing a file, it’s easy to flip through nearby files by clicking the arrows on the left and right sides of the preview window. This is a great way to scan through a group of photos you’ve stored in your Drive,” explains Google. You can also use the left and right arrow keys to navigate to the other files and up/down arrow keys to scroll up/down in documents. While the previews don’t let you edit documents, you can select text, zoom in or out, find text (Ctrl+F), print the documents or share them with other people.

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New Google Weather OneBox for Desktop

Google updated the weather OneBox from the desktop search interface to match the tablet interface. The new OneBox is huge, it includes more information and it’s more interactive. While the old OneBox only displayed the weather forecast for 4 days, the new one has an hourly and an 8-day forecast for temperature, precipitation and wind.

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Using Google Chrome OS File Manager

chromebook  Using Google Chrome OS File Manager

The file manager on your Chromebook or Chromebox is almost similar to the normal windows or OSX file explorer you are used to. However, there are certain features that makes it stand out. In this article, I will introduce you to the file manager, its major features, and how to use it.

more on this article…

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Chrome’s Giant Touch-Optimized Menu

Somewhere between Chrome 25 (beta) and Chrome 26 (dev), the browser’s menu got bigger. It’s now optimized for touch interfaces even if you’re using a non-touch computer. I’ve checked the height of the menu and it’s now 580 pixels, instead of 420 pixels. That’s a 38% increase and it makes the interface more difficult to use for mouse users.

For more on article…

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The Old Image Search, Still Available

The old Google Image Search interface is still available in the OneBox result that’s displayed for some Google searches like [tropical birds] or [europe map]. If you add “image”, “images”, “photo” or “photos” to your query, Google will show 4 times more image results. It’s like a simplified image search interface inside the regular Google Search.

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Yet Another Study Shows The Galaxy Brand Is Becoming Synonymous With Android

localytics

One of the biggest problems Google faces with Android is avoiding a situation where one manufacturer controls so much of the market that everything else falls by the wayside. As study after study shows, though, this is becoming an increasing risk as Samsung gobbles up more customers. To wit, this survey from Localytics—a company that provides analytics for mobile apps— showed that of the top ten Android devices its customers used, eight were made by Samsung, and seven had the Galaxy brand attached.

The trend is staggering, but not surprising. After all, between Samsung and Apple, the two companies account for somewhere between most and more than all the smartphone profits. However, even when you look at products that we assume are doing very well (because they are!) like the Nexus 7, Samsung is still taking the lead. You’ll notice in the chart above that the most used Android tablet that isn’t a Kindle is the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. That’s more than a little astounding.

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LEGO Bugdroid Reaches Review Status After Gaining 10,000 Supporters

LEGO Bugdroid Reaches Review Status After Gaining 10,000 Supporters

A while back, a great little project hit my radar. It was a LEGO Bugdroid made by a fella going by the name of GLHTurbo. Hoping to make his LEGO Bugdroid an official kit, he took to LEGO’s CUUSOO site (think Kickstarter for Lego projects).

In order for any CUUSOO project to be considered by the LEGO group, it must first garner 10,000 supporters. This is no easy feat for a LEGO project, but it’s a feat that GLHTurbo’s LEGO Bugdroid was able to accomplish.

That’s right, we’re happy to report that the LEGO Bugdroid has moved on to the “Review Stage” and will be looked over to determine whether or not it would be popular enough to warrant its availability in stores.

While there’s no guarantee we’ll see our favorite green mascot reach stores in LEGO form, it’s amazing to see the kind of support that comes out of the Android community.

Either way, the LEGO Bugdroid is a winner in my book. Congrats on reaching 10K and good luck!

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Samsung to Unveil the Galaxy S IV on March 15 [Rumor]

Samsung to Unveil the Galaxy S IV on March 15 [Rumor]

We already know that Samsung plans on unveiling the Galaxy S IV during a Samsung Unpacked event, only we have no idea when or where that will be. However, according to the latest rumor, we may now have an idea of when.

According to a “trusted insider” who spoke with SamMobile, Samsung is planning on holding their Unpacked event on March 15. While still no word of location, they do plan on unveiling the Galaxy S IV to the world.

As for availability, SamMobile’s source expects Europe and Asia to receive the Galaxy S IV before the end of April while America, Australia and Africa will have to wait until around May/June.

I’m sure we’ll see a ton of rumors and fake photos hit the web from now until then, but if March 15 is indeed the date, it won’t be long before we have official specs. Until then, here are the rumored specs of the Samsung Galaxy S IV:

  • an Exynos 5 Octa (8-Core) CPU
  • Mali-T658 (8-Core) GPU
  • 4.99″ Super AMOLED Full HD Resolution Display
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 13 Megapixel Rear facing Camera capable of shooting 1080p Full HD Videos at 30FPS
  • 2 Megapixel front facing camera capable of shooting 720p HD Videos
  • Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean

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Is Google Planning to Release a Unified Messaging Service?

Is Google Planning to Release a Unified Messaging Service?

In the early morning (here in the U.S.), François Beaufort treated Google+ to a look at rich notifications on Chrome OS. However, it was an icon pinned to the launcher tray that really caught everyone’s attention.

If you take a close look, the icon resembles four messaging icons stacked upon one another. This heavily hints at the possibility of Google rolling out a unified messaging service. François Beaufort was quick to state that he does not yet know what that app is, however, he adds a sly little wink at the end to keep us wondering.

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Leaked Qualcomm Roadmap all but Confirms Key Lime Pie for Q2 2013

Leaked Qualcomm Roadmap all but Confirms Key Lime Pie for Q2 2013

If for some reason you aren’t already convinced of the moniker Key Lime Pie for the next iteration of Android, we’ve got a bit more evidence for you to ponder over. A leaked Qualcomm roadmap obtained by Android Police all but confirms Key Lime Pie and suggests a Q2 2013 release.

Of course, the Q2 release fits in perfectly with the timing of Google I/O, and frankly, we wouldn’t expect it to be unveiled at any other time or place.

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Nexus 7 Successor to Feature full HD Display, Thinner Bezel, Same Great Nexus 7 Price [Rumor]

Nexus 7 Successor to Feature full HD Display, Thinner Bezel, Same Great Nexus 7 Price [Rumor]

Vanilla Android, top notch features, and an affordable price made the Nexus 7 one of the most successful Android tablets of all time. As we look to the future, it would only make sense for Google to embrace this winning combination and implement it in future models. Well, according to DigiTimes, that’s exactly what Google has planned for the Nexus 7 successor.

According to the Taiwanese outlet, Google is set to announce its second-generation Nexus 7 tablet in May. Like the first, it’s to be made in conjunction with ASUS, feature top notch hardware and software, and remain at the same amazing price point of $199-$249.

The new model is rumored to feature a full HD display, thinner bezel, and the latest version of Android (presumably Android 4.2).

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Chrome Beta for Android Updated to Include Support for chrome://flags

Chrome Beta for Android Updated to Include Support for chrome://flags

Chrome Beta for Android received quite an interesting update today. Users can now access all the experimental features within chrome://flags. Features and support for things such as WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering accelerated graphics, disabling deferred 2D canvas, adding an FPS counter, and more are now available for you to experiment with.

To access this new section, all you have to do is update Chrome Beta for Android and then typechrome://flags in the address bar of Chrome Beta.

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Google Files Application With FCC for Experimental Wireless Network

Google Files Application With FCC for Experimental Wireless Network

Google is once again toying with our emotions by reinvigorating our Google wireless network fantasies with an FCC filing. Google has submitted an application to the FFC, asking for a license to create an experimental radio service, or more specifically, an experimental campus-wide (2 mile radius) wireless network based off of an obscure set of frequencies: 2524 to 2625MHz.

So what does this mean? Your guess is as good as ours. It’s not unlike Google to experiment on campus — but they ought to know we’re all watching, and when you start hinting at a Google wireless network, we start salivating. It’s what we all want: Google to swoop in and save us from the old, tired, greedy wireless duopoly of AT&T and Verizon.

Thousands of us have already contemplated packing up and moving to Kansas City for Google’s Fiber services, can you image what would happen if Google coupled that with its own wireless network service for mobile devices? “Take my money!” is right.

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For the Fourth Time, Google Tops Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for – Apple… Nowhere to be Found

For the Fourth Time, Google Tops Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for – Apple… Nowhere to be Found

“Hey Apple,” I guess it’s true what they say: “money can’t buy employee happiness.” Okay, that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but you get my point. For the fourth time, Google has topped the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for while the Cupertino cash cow is nowhere to be found.

It’s really no surprise that El Google keeps topping the list, I mean, with perks such as subsidized massages, in-house slides and a seven-acre sports complex, who wouldn’t want to work there? Of course, there’s much more to working at Google than just the free haircuts, you do actually have to work… sometimes.

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The Race to a Billion: Android Predicted to Reach 1 Billion Users well Before iOS

The Race to a Billion: Android Predicted to Reach 1 Billion Users well Before iOS

With 2013 in full swing, Horace Dediu of Aysmco takes another look at which platforms are leading the pack in the race to a billion. While Horace includes a plethora of platforms, we’ll take a close look at the two we’re most concerned about: Android and iOS.

A quick glance at the Platform Adoption Ramps and you’ll notice Android has managed to surpass iOS in total user base and is on the path to reach 1 billion users well before iOS. These are compelling numbers when compared to the multitude of other platforms that have not only been around longer than Android, but have failed to even come close to the billion mark.

Facebook has already managed to cross the finish line, however, Horace points out that the slopes of both Android and iOS point towards an eventual overtake in overall ecosystem size.

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Samsung Roadmap Points to a 4.99-inch 1080p Device Coming Soon

Samsung Roadmap Points to a 4.99-inch 1080p Device Coming Soon

If you were lucky enough to visit the Samsung demo room at CES, you might have noticed a display roadmap hidden among the flexible display prototypes and media fluff. The roadmap mostly covered past or current Samsung device displays, however, at the far end of the map lies a yet announced 4.99-inch FHD display with 440ppi.

Could this be the display for the Samsung Galaxy S4? The display specs and Q1 release date would seem to point in that direction. It is interesting to see the Galaxy S line being bumped up to a Note-like size of just under 5-inches. I was extremely happy with the Galaxy S3 size and found it to be the perfect fit. I, however, do not care for the size of the Note, so I’ll be a bit disappointed if the S4 ends up being 4.99-inches.

We probably won’t hear much more about the S4 until Mobile World Congress next month, but you can be sure Samsung will have some sort of large device sporting an FHD display with 440ppi.

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Getting Started With Android: Choose Your Google Account Wisely

Getting Started With Android: Choose Your Google Account Wisely

I’d like to take this time to give new Android users some very sage advice: “choose your Google account wisely!” Creating a Google account is one of the very first steps you’ll take as a new Android user, and believe it or not, it’s the most important. Most of us are so excited when we get our first Android device that we don’t give much thought to our Google account username, but I’m going to tell you why you should think long and hard before typing inawesomesauce2012@gmail.com.

I’m betting there are hundreds of thousands of Android users out there (myself included) that wish they could go back in time and create a general account to use with their Android device. This is important for many reasons, but most of all for the content you will be purchasing from Google Play.

You see, while you can always change things like phone numbers, email addresses, etc., the one thing you can’t change, is the account your paid content is linked to. This is why I strongly recommend all new users create a general account to use for Google Play purchases and nothing else.

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Android 4.0+ tip: How to Easily View and Manage Data Usage

Android 4.0+ tip: How to Easily View and Manage Data Usage

As you all know, data has become a high commodity these days and every MB counts. That’s why Google decided to throw users a bone by including some great data management tools in Android 4.0. Today I’m going to show you how to use those tools to help stay in control of your data and keep your hard earned money out of the hands of the, well… you know.

To access the data management tools in Android 4.0+, you need to first go to Settings and then choose Data Usage.

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Android 101: How to Share a Photo

Android 101: How to Share a Photo

You’ve just picked up your first Android device (congratulations by the way) and managed to take the most amazing photo of a bear on a tricycle (maybe you were at the circus, I don’t know). This, of course, is something you have to share with friends and family, only problem is — you don’t know how! No problem, we’ve got you covered. I’m going to show you just how easy it is to share photos directly from your Android phone.

There are a couple different ways you can share your photos. I’m going to show you the most basic methods of doing it from both your Camera app and Gallery.

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Android 101: How to Add an Email Account

Android 101: How to Add an Email Account

One of the first things you’ll want to set up on your new Android device is your email. Whether you only use one email account or several, being able to receive your email while mobile is one of the most important features of a smartphone. Since not everyone is a smartphone veteran, we’re going to show you the basics and get you started. Now, depending on which version of Android you’re running, things may look a bit different, but the concept is the same.

When you first set up your Android device, you’ll be asked to either set up a new Google account or use an existing account login. Whatever Google account you end up using will be the default for your Gmail. On an Android device, your Gmail remains separate from all other email. We’re now going to show you how to add additional email accounts other than Gmail to your Android phone.

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