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1 week ago

Google Camera: What's new, and a guide to the latest features

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Google Camera

The only complaint you can make is that Google didn't release these features sooner.

Google has dropped a pretty notable update to its stock camera app, given it a proper name and at the same time opened it up to non-Nexus devices running KitKat in the Play Store. While the interface still isn't mind-blowing, it has changed pretty dramatically from what you'd be used to if you used a Nexus 5 just yesterday. Google has overhauled the picture-taking interface for regular shots, panoramas and Photo Spheres, while also adding a brand new feature called "Lens Blur."

We've taken some time to walk through the new interface, and you can color us impressed with the changes that have been made. While we know most of you will be able to get your hands on the app right away and give it a try for yourself, we're going to take a run through all of the latest features of the Google Camera app and give you a few tips for getting the best shots possible.

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1 week ago

YouTube for Android updated to support casting live videos to Chromecast

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Head into the Google Play Store and you'll see YouTube sitting at version 5.5.27. The last time we covered an update for YouTube on Android was in late November when the app improved search results and channel pages. The changelog listed is old, but there are reports that there is now support for casting live videos to Chromecast.

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1 week ago

Battle of the Blur: Defocus camera showdown

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Defocus all the things

New camera options bring a little extra to your pictures, but who does it the best?

The new rage in smartphone cameras these days is selective focus. Think of a really nice portrait you've seen of a friend or family member, where they were in focus and there was a lovely background that was slightly out of focus. It really makes the subject "pop" and photographers — both professional and amatuer — love the look. It's only natural that this made it's way onto our phones. It's not really something new, as there have been apps that do the same thing for a while now. But seeing the folks who make our phones get into the game means more adoption, and hopefully, better results.

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1 week ago

Chrome Remote Desktop app exits beta, controls your computer on any ICS and above device

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Chrome Remote Desktop

Just a couple of weeks after a full-fledged Chrome Remote Desktop app entered closed beta testing it has been opened up for all to use through the Play Store. The completely free app will let your Android device — assuming it's running Android 4.0 or above — connect to and control any computer you have the Chrome Remote Desktop software installed on.

The client is simple, but mimics closely what you find doing computer-to-computer remote access with its existing Chrome and desktop clients. You can see all computers listed by the Google account they're associated with, connect by entering a PIN and control your computer from anywhere. You simply swipe around on the screen to move the cursor, tap to click and tap and hold to drag for selections or to move windows. The app offers a full on-screen keyboard for text input and a one-tap ctrl-alt-del button for those controlling Windows machines.

The app has worked pretty smoothly on our Nexus 7, but it's clear that you won't be getting any super heavy work done on a small screen controlling a full desktop operating system. For those who need remote desktop in pinch though, Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the simplest ways to go now.

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1 week ago

Get a head start on Mother's Day shopping with Play Store sale

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Even though it's not for another month, Google is holding a Mother's Day sale on the Google Play Store, offering major discounts on certain books, as well as magazine subscriptions.

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1 week ago

Google Camera gets an overhaul, released into Play Store for KitKat devices

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Google Camera

Google’s official camera app has received an update today with a few new things. We’ve got a new background blur effect that has become all the rage with SLR wannabes like the HTC One M8 and a new UI with extra-big capture button. It's also worth noting that the aspect ratio of the shot is properly reflected in the preview now, a longtime issue with the old stock Camera app. And the much maligned radial menu for controlling shooting modes has been dumped too, replaced with an overflow menu near the shutter key, which gives access to guidelines, HDR, flash and the front camera.

The new version has a lot in common with recent leaks purporting to show future Gmail and Calendar apps. It’ll be great to see what else gets updated in the near future, as Google appears to be exploring a new visual direction for its Android apps.

Photospheres have been updated as well and now support resolutions of up to 50 megapixels.

The update is available for phones and tablets on Android 4.4 and up, so you don't need a Nexus or GPe device to take it for a spin. Download it now and let us know what you think.

More: +EvanRapoport

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1 week ago

New SDK lets developers take advantage of HTC One M8's dual cameras

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HTC has released the preview SDK for its Dual Lens API. The HTC One M8 Dual Lens system with a 4-megapixel "Ultrapixel" sensor, working in tandem with a smaller camera that senses depth to capture information about distance, allowing users to do things like defocus parts of an image. Developers will be able to use the APIs in the SDK to build new effects for the camera and use the dual-sensor set-up in their apps.

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1 week ago

Frontback comes to Android, lets you take photos with both sides of your phone

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A popular photography app called Frontback just found its way from iOS to Android today. Though it’s fundamentally another photo-sharing app, it’s got the resonably fun gimmick of shooting from both the front and back camera at the same time. Both images are posted, one on top of the other, leading to some interesting pairings.

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1 week ago

Speed through Rome in the latest Subway Surfers update

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One of the more popular endless running games out there, Subway Surfers, has had a big update in time for Easter. Players can now run through the subways of Rome, and access a new local racer, Roberto. There are also weekly egg hunts with unique rewards, plus a new unlockable costume for Zoe and a new Kick-off board to earn. To top things off, there’s a fresh series of Spray Can Awards for rising to particularly tricky challenges.

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1 week ago

How to view the 'Most Recent' feed in the new Facebook app

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Facebook app

There's no way to set it as the default, but if you just have to see the Most Recent posts first, you have an option.

It seems as though Facebook's interface is ever-changing, but the latest UI overhaul hitting devices is pretty dramatic. It's mostly for the best, bringing a cleaner look and surfacing more features rather than hiding them behind obscure menus. A few things have become harder to find, however — one of which is the "Most Recent" News Feed view.

The newly-redesigned Facebook app now only shows the "Top Stories" view for your News Feed, which surfaces content that it thinks is most relevant to you, rather than what's been posted or interacted with most recently. In the old app you could simply change the setting from the default to show Most Recent in the main view, but now you'll have to do a little digging.

To view the Most Recent feed, tap or swipe over to the far right tab (three horizontal lines, titled "More") of the Facebook app, and scroll down to the "Feeds" section, right under "Apps." Here, you'll see any different feeds you've created with friend or family groups, but you'll also see "Most Recent" as an option. Tap that entry and you'll be shown a completely interactive view of your News Feed based on time rather than some other algorithm. You can go back to the settings page by hitting the back button or tapping the "News Feed" button in the top left corner of the app.

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