If you want to quickly open Gmail’s address book, you can bookmark google.com/contacts or type the URL in the address bar. Another option is to add a shortcut to the standalone Google Contacts page in Google’s app launcher:
1. go to google.com/contacts and sign in
2. click the app launcher icon
3. click “add a shortcut” next to the Contacts icon
4. you can move the icon using drag and drop
You can add similar shortcuts for other Google services: Google Keep, Google Sites, Google Groups, Google Play Music, Webmaster Tools, Patent Search, Google Voice.
Google is also planning to launch an accompanying Google My Business app for Android and iOS. This will allow businesses to manage their information on the go, although the company wouldn’t say when to expect a launch other than “soon.” Update: Google tells us the Android app will be launching later today; you can grab it now from Google Play.
We do know, however, how it will look like on Android:
What is Chromoting?
It has been a while since we discussed Chromoting, so let me start with a brief intro for those who are reading about it for the first time:
Chrome Remote Desktop is a Chrome app that lets you remotely access other computers from Chrome. Administrators can control their users’ access to Chrome Remote Desktop in several ways.
There is a Chrome extension available already and Google is preparing an Android app for this, which I have already tested. Now, to the iOS app.
A couple of days after Google started inviting Glass Explorers to upgrade to the second generation model, Google employee Brian Matiash posted photos showing Glass mounted on a pair of prescription glasses – then later removed them. You’d have thought Google of all companies would know you can’t erase things from the Internet …
It appears that the modified Glass unit has a slot in the top into which the glasses are fitted. It looks from the photos like quite a few designs of prescription glasses and sunglasses would be compatible with the unit.
Roll-out of Glass Explorer program is very gradually expanding, with existing Explorers recently invited to buy Glass for a friend after previously being given three invitations to pass on back in September.
Second photo of the prescription glass model below …
Your Chromebooks will soon get the magical “OK Google” voice command, just like the Android brotherhood.
So saying something like “Ok Google, find a bakery near me” will list suggestions for “find a bakery near me” – in this case just a normal Google Search.
How to activate “OK Google” in a Chromebook
As mentioned above, be sure to be on the Chrome OS Dev channel.
Enable the experimental app launcher start page flag – chrome://flags/#enable-app-launcher-start-page.
Yes, Chromebooks (Chrome OS) now has the ability to initiate a search when you say “OK Google”.
Google has added a “voice recognizer plugin” to make this feature work offline too. So, even when you are offline, you can get things (that do not need a connection) done using this command.
François Beaufort, of Google mentions this should just be the beginning. Right now you can only search, but eventually Google should optimize voice actions to work system-wide (much like with Android). Ideally, this will turn into a Google Now variant for the Chromebook. It will probably be able to perform actions like “Open Gmail”, “Open Google Play Music” and more.
Possibilities are limitless François says. This feature is just in its early stages, so we will soon see pretty useful things coming our way.
You can imagine the potential with this type of feature.
With the Google website already supporting more complex voice searches and Google Now features slowly creeping into Chrome itself, it’s only a matter of time before “Ok Google” becomes the fastest – and best – way to search on your Chromebook.
Google Wallet users in the US can now get a physical card from Google. It’s free, but you need to verify your identity, which means you’ll have to provide more information to Google: the last four digits of Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and more.
“The Google Wallet Card is a physical prepaid debit card that allows you to access your Wallet Balance in the real world, at ATMs, banks, and wherever MasterCard® Debit is accepted. If you’re in the US, and you have already verified your identity, you can request a Wallet Card from the desktop site at wallet.google.com, or from the mobile app. Once you receive and activate it, you’ll be able to pay with the Wallet Card at online and physical stores that accept MasterCard® Debit, and make cash withdrawals at ATMs or banks.”
#google #googlewallet #googlewalletcard
Google today announced it’s adding a handy new feature to its Google Flight Search tool that allows users to find and book flights. Now, when viewing a flight on Google Flight Search on the web or your mobile device, you’ll be able to hit a small star icon that will save your flight to a “Save Flights” section. More on this article
#googleflightsearch #googlesearch #googlenow
Losing your Android device, either to theft or your own forgetfulness, is certainly no fun. But it’s a lot better than it used to be. Google has finally released their answer to Lost Android, Lookout, and Apple’s Find My iPhone: Android Device Manager. ADM should be hitting your device soon, if it hasn’t already, to help you locate or factory wipe your misplaced Android device. Here’s how to use it.
Android Device Manager will automatically hit your device without you having to do a thing. If you don’t have it yet, you will soon. But before you can take full advantage of ADM, you’re going to need to do a few things, like enable factory reset on your device. Setting it up is pretty simple. First, visit google.com/android/devicemanager.
Feel free to speculate. I’m guessing we’ll find out about Android 4.3 and a new Nexus 7.
Live Stream URL added.
New Nexus 7
H2G2 media streaming device
Chrome Dongle for TV (Chromecast?)
You might remember that a rumor made the rounds a few weeks back about a so called Chromekey, which was supposedly a dongle that would extend Chrome functionality to TVs and monitors. No other leaks followed until a few hours ago, when somebody spotted an entry on Google’s devices support page for a product named Chromecast. It’s not clear if Chromecast and Chromekey are the same thing, but the concepts seem similar.
The entry has been taken down after news broke about it, but according to Droid Life, a Google support representative told an inquisitive customer that Chromecast is a type of “TV service” that will only be available in certain areas and to users of certain devices.
Some further clarification comes from the analysis of an updated Play Music APK, which Google began to rollout ahead of the “breakfast with Sundar Pichai” event where the new Nexus 7, Android 4.3, and, very likely, Chromecast are going to be announced. According to the folks at Android Police, the new app contains numerous references to Chromecast, which will apparently be a service similar to Apple’s Airplay.
– For more on this article – http://www.androidauthority.com/google-chromecast-streaming-247826/
When Google introduced the new tabbed interface for Gmail, it also brought along some new ads under the Promotions tab.
The ads look a bit too much like legitimate emails, which is problematic for many users. However, they’re also limited to the Promotions tab, which makes it super easy to turn them off if you want to avoid confusion. Here’s how:
- Click the Settings icon in the top right corner of the Gmail tab.
- Select “Configure Inbox.”
- Deselect the “Promotions” tab and click Save.
Of course, if you want to keep the Promotions tab, there’s not much you can do. You can also disable the tabs entirely by unchecking everything except “Primary” on this same menu, if you prefer.
Google has announced that it will update its Chrome browser for iOS with voice search.
Over the coming days, we’re rolling out an update for iPhone and iPad as well. You can now speak your searches into the omnibox. Touch the microphone, say your search query aloud and see your results (in some cases spoken back to you), all without typing a single letter.
The update will also enable faster reloading of web pages by more efficient use of the cache.
As announced previously, Google notes that iOS apps can now give you the option to open links in Chrome and then return to the app with just one tap.
Earlier today, Google enabled conversational voice search for users on Chrome 27.
We’ll let you know as soon as the update is live in the App Store.
Google’s efforts to become the only online service you need continues with an update to Google Keep that adds more features. Google Keep, which is aimed at services like Evernote, is a note taking app which allows you to save your ideas, thoughts and reminders on your Android device and then access them from any of your Android devices and your Desktop via the built-in synchronization which works via Google Drive.
Since its release less than a month ago, the app has been downloaded millions of times, has received over 20,000 comments on Google Play and has been rated by its users with 4.5 stars. Impressive! Now the latest update adds new features including the ability to create lists with checkboxes.
The check box feature is quite neat in that you can create a note as a list (by tapping on the big tick sign) or you can convert existing text into a check list. On every note tapping the menu reveals an option to either show or hide the checkboxes. Any existing notes can be converted to a list by showing the checkboxes. When you do this each line of text will become a item in the check list. Hiding the checkboxes returns the note back to plain text! This is a neat feature for those who started to create lists manually on Keep. With the checkboxes enabled each item can be marked as completed and Keep will strike out the item on the list.
If there is a Chrome-related leak rolling around the internet, you can be almost sure popular developer François Beaufort is somehow related to it. The Chrome OS fan base has been blessed by his many contributions to the community. He has given us info on the Chromebook Pixel, the rumored Google “Babble” project and many more Chrome-related topics. But this may end soon, as the Google+ personality has gone under Google’s wing.
François Beaufort is now the new open-source Chromium Evangelist, and will be working closely with Google’s new and upcoming projects. We are proud of him and very glad he has found a spot where he seems to be happy, but we are also a bit sad about what may be coming.
Working with Google, Beaufort will not have the same freedom he has always had. He promises there is a lot more content to come, but we are sure he will have to answer to Mountain View if he leaks something he shouldn’t. At the very least, his leaks will be limited and come less frequently. I guess we will simply have to dig in deeper!
Enjoy your new gig, François Beaufort!
Google Keep has been launched: it’s Google’s latest attempt to create a service for taking notes. Unlike Google Notebook, Keep is a Google Drive app (the Drive integration is not yet ready for public release), it doesn’t have a rich-text editor and it’s optimized for mobile.
There’s an Android app and a desktop site. Both use the sticky notes metaphor and you can choose the color for each note, add text, images, lists and voice recordings that are automatically converted to text in the mobile app. Both interfaces let you choose between the grid view and the list view.
Google tests a new version of the advanced image search page that lets you restrict the results to transparent images and animated images. The most popular image file formats that support transparency are GIF and PNG, while most animated images are GIF files. Animated GIFs made a comeback and they’re popular again. “Just as the LP has enjoyed a second spin among retro-minded music fans, animated GIFs — the choppy, crude snippets of video loops that hearken back to dial-up modems — are enjoying an unlikely vogue as the digital accessory of the moment,” says the New York Times.
We already know that Google Now is coming to Chrome and Chrome OS. Code changes started showing up couple of months ago and then we saw the notifications center of Chrome OS and Chrome getting a redesign. Today there is one more thing to add to that list.
Google Now is now part of chrome://flags page which lists all the experimental features of Chrome and Chrome OS for testing. It has been added as a built in extension.
This is available in the latest Chromium builds.
We can enable the flag from chrome://flags but it is not functional yet because the Google Now URL is still a secret, says François Beaufort.
Have you ever been restricted from using a website because you use Chrome? Do you want to test to see what your mobile site looks like on your desktop? All is possible with the User-Agent Switcher Extension.
Even in 2013, many website still require you to use Internet Explorer to access them. However, most of these websites will still function correctly in Chrome. So how do you get past these restrictions?
Google has a site for “trusted testers“, but you need to be invited by a Google employee to test new Google services and new features before they’re publicly available. “The Trusted Tester Program gives trusted Google users, friends and family members of Google employees a chance to test and share feedback on Google products or features that have yet to be released,” explains Google.
It’s interesting to compare the answers from a FAQ leaked in 2006 with the answers from a similar FAQ, which is available in the source code of the Trusted Tester site. For example, Google replaced “betas” with “campaigns”.
Here’s a change in ChromeOS dev that many of you will find trivial but a few, myself included, will find beautiful: a dark wallpaper picker.
In terms of functionality the re-coloured wallpaper pick is almost identical to the stable channel’s version; you can choose from a range of pre-defined wallpapers, or set your own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
Google today announced on Google+ that it is introducing a new Chrome extension that will allow users to save content from on the web directly to their Google Drive account. Using the new Chrome extension, users will be able to select which part of a webpage they want to save, such as “an image of a page, the HTML source code, or a Web archive.” Once installed, users will also get an option to save images, links, or files directly to Drive when right clicking.
There hasn’t been much resistance to the belief that Key Lime Pie would be the name for the next major version of Android, but we may have just gotten confirmation for those who might still be iffy about it. A Google employee by the name of Manu Cornet took the time to draw out a a graphic showing the “evolution of Android,” of sorts. The graphic depicts the growth and evolution cycle of an Android robot that isn’t unlike the classic “monkey to man” depiction we see for the human race.
Obviously, the Android robot (whose name is The Bugdroid, in case you still haven’t heard) doesn’t change much in appearance over time. The most recent step in the evolution timeline has the little guy chomping on some delicious key lime pie, though. While this might not be hard confirmation it at least shows that the name is popular enough around the Mountain View offices to warrant time spent on this great illustration.