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4 days ago

How to add a custom description to pictures in Google Photos

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Google Photos is steadily adding subtle new features to its service through updates to its apps and website, and one of the lesser-known new features is the ability to add a custom description to an individual photo. It just takes a few taps or clicks to get it done, and when you come back to a photo months or years later it could help you remember just what was going on.

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1 week ago

Top 10 Chromebook tips and tricks

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ASUS Chromebook lid

If you love Chromebooks like we do you'll want to see these tips and tricks to make the most of them.

Millions of people are using Chromebooks, but despite their simple and "for everyone" nature not every powerful feature is easy to access. Every Chromebook (or Chromebox) is a powerful tool that's just waiting to be used to its full potential, and once you know a few tricks you'll feel like you're getting even more value out of your inexpensive computer.

We're rounded up the top ten tips and tricks for you to try on your own Chromebook so you can start making the most of your machine. Read along and learn a thing or two about the computer you're using.

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1 week ago

How to edit your pictures in Google Photos on Android and the web

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How to edit your pictures in Google Photos on Android and the web

Google Photos has turned into a wonderful repository for every photo you take, and also works as a nice stand-in gallery replacement app on many phones. A gallery app isn't just about holding photos though, it's also about editing pictures before sharing them out anywhere you want.

Astute Google Photos users will recognize its editing powers aren't as strong as those found in Google+ previously or in many favorite editing apps, but that doesn't mean there isn't value to be had from making quick edits in Photos. Let us show you how.

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1 week ago

How to use Trusted Devices in Android Lollipop

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There are times that we want our phone to be locked and times when we want to bypass our phone's security measures

With the introduction of the Smart Lock options in Android Lollipop, we have been given the choice of four easy to use security tools to help keep our devices both secured from intruders but also easy to unlock when a security check has been made. The easiest Smart Lock to setup and use is Trusted devices. This Smart Lock allows your Lollipop equipped phone or tablet to bypass your lock screen security just by being connected to a Bluetooth device or by tapping it against something that has NFC.

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2 weeks ago

This is how Project Fi billing works

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This is how Project Fi billing works

Project Fi is an interesting new carrier choice with some great features, like access to two mobile networks and Wifi calling, but perhaps its greatest draw is the way it bills you for service. It's not unlike many prepaid carriers in that it charges you up front for service that you use in the month, but the way Fi refunds you for unused data, doesn't charge extra for overages, and gives you a clear and concise bill is intriguing.

We've used Project Fi for over a month now, and finally have two full bills to look at and see just how easy the billing process is. This is how it goes down when its time to pay Google for phone service.

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2 weeks ago

Use the Google Settings app to turn photo backup on and off, even after Google Photos is uninstalled

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Google Settings

Backing up all of your photos somewhere online is a good idea. Phones get lost or broken, SD cards can go bad, and sometimes a picture is a priceless memory. We think you should be using any of the various services to keep everything stored in the cloud in case you ever need access to a remote backup.

Google Photos is one way to do just that. You can read all about the pros and cons of using it, but it's also important to know where the settings for the backup service are.

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2 weeks ago

How to set up the LG G4

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LG's way of doing things in software is not always the same as everyone else in Android land, and as a result things may seem a little different when you decide to make the jump and move in to a shiny new G4. This setup process is mostly harmless, but there's a few things you should know about ahead of time to make the experience as painless as possible.

Ready? Here we go.

READ MORE: How to set up the LG G4

Connecting your G4 to a network

The first thing your G4 is going to want to do is ensure you're connected to a mobile network. Assuming you've got a SIM card from your mobile provider in the device already, this step is mostly about confirming your connecting and establishing a connection. If you'd rather complete the setup process over Wifi, which would mean you're not using your mobile network to sync all of your data and install all of your apps, you can tap the Wifi toggle here and log in to your network of choice.

Once you have chosen how you want to connect for setup, you can move on to the next step.

Logging in to or creating a Google Account

Your Google Account is, for most folks, the center of your Android experience. If you have already owned an Android phone before and are already using a Google Account, you have the option here to use NFC to beam your account details from your old device to your new one. This process is quick, and saves you from having to log in to your accounts individually if you're using more than one for things like email. All you need to do is enable NFC on your old phone and tap it to the back of your G4. You'll hear a brief chirp and then be asked to provide passwords for your accounts on the G4, after which you'll be logged in to all of your accounts.

If you're unable to use NFC from your old phone, or you've never had a Google Account, tap Next and you'll be prompted to log in through the keyboard or create an account. Account creation is quick to start, and Google will walk you through choosing a Gmail address and supplying personal information, and once you're finished you can move on to the next step.

Personalizing your G4

This device belongs to you now, which means it's time to make that clear to the world. You G4 will now prompt you to add your name to the phone in case it is lost or stolen, and the next page invites you to secure the phone with a pattern or pin lock. This is a simple process, especially if you opt to lock your phone with a pattern. That extra bit of security can often be the difference between misplacing your phone for a few minutes and having your friend post obscenities to Facebook in your honor, not to mention keeping someone from easily entering your device and accessing things like bank accounts.

It's a good idea to set up now, and if you're unhappy with the results you can always change it in Settings later on.

Accepting terms

Before you are taken to your homescreen, Google and LG have a few checkboxes for you to look over. LG's information is about their End User License Agreement, which talks about how you use their apps and services that are provided on top of Android. Google's information, however, references the use of location services. You need location services for things like Google Maps and navigation, but whether you choose to have it on all the time is entirely up to you.

These boxes are checked by default with an ex plainer regarding Google's privacy policy, but you can opt out by unchecking those boxes here. If you decide later you'd like to use these things, they can be enabled in Settings. After you select I agree and Next in the LG EULA, you're all done and can start enjoying your new G4.

Setting up a Verizon G4

If you're on a Verizon Wireless version of the LG G4, there are a few more steps in the setup process. Before you get to sign in with a Google Account, Verizon would like to tell you about the Verizon Services you have available to you on this phone. This includes Verizon's Cloud services for storing things like contacts and photos, as well as a separate configuration screen for email accounts that don't belong to Google. Everything here can be skipped if you aren't interested in using these services, but if you are already a Verizon Cloud user or are interested in signing in to other accounts, this is the place to do it.

Once you've completed these Verizon-specific setup screens, you'll be taken to the Google Account sign in page, and follow the same steps as every other G4.

All about the LG G4

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2 weeks ago

What is Project Fi, how does it work and why do I want it?

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Before we get too deep into our coverage of Project Fi, we thought it'd be a good idea to hit some of the high-level points about this new carrier from Google. Namely just what the heck it is, how it works compared to other carriers and maybe a few reasons why you'd want to try it.

Check out the video above, and then follow some of the high points below to get acquainted with Project Fi.

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3 weeks ago

Use your 'eyeprints' to unlock the Alcatel Idol 3

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Eye-D

Using your eyes to unlock your phone works better than you think, and it makes you feel like a secret agent.

We've seen face unlock (now known as "Trusted Face") on Android for a while, and various vendors have used fingerprint scanners — some very successfully, some not so much. But the Alcatel Idol 3 comes with a new way to manage your lockscreen security, and it uses eye biometrics with software from EyeVerify.

It's a simple concept — use the uniqueness of your iris pattern (that's the colored part of your eyeball) to tell your phone that it's OK to unlock. We've seen similar things in James Bond movies, usually protecting underground nuclear missile silos or other things that need to be protected from super-villains, and I'll admit that having it on your phone is pretty freaking cool.

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3 weeks ago

Setting up a kid-friendly Android device

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New User

While handing your phone or tablet off to a child can offer a moment of peace while they are distracted by a game or video, there's a lot more to the experiences children can have in Android. Choosing the right device for them to enjoy is only part of the process, though. Android is primarily made for adults, so there's a little bit of setup necessary to make your average smartphone or tablet child-friendly.

Here's a quick tour through those steps, and some tips on keeping your child safe through Android.

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3 weeks ago

Android Auto tip: Disconnect your watch (at least on long trips)

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Here's an obscure tip that merges two niche Android products — but a tip that's important to those of us who dwell in these depths. If you have Android Auto in your car and wear an Android Wear watch on your wrist, you might find that the watch battery is being drained pretty significantly when you're driving.

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3 weeks ago

LG G4 quick tip: Extra menu items are just a long-press away

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For the most part, the old Android "menu" button has (thankfully) been consigned to history, with the vast majority of current phones and tablets. Most of the stuff that was hidden behind the menu key now lives in overflow menus — the three dots you'll often see in the top-right corner of an app. But you can still find remnants of the old "menu" functionality in the LG G4, and there's a simple trick that'll let you access some menus more easily as a result.

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3 weeks ago

How to disable the Flash plugin for Chrome

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Enough is enough. After years of dealing with Adobe Flash — be it performance issues or repeated security issues, with the latest zero-day fix dropping today in response to Sunday's "Hacking Team" revelation — it's time to disable Flash in Chrome. (Update: A third zero-day was announced on July 12.) You can kill it with fire and just disable it altogether, or set Flash to run only when you explicitly tell it to. But either way, it's time to take back the desktop browser.

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3 weeks ago

Handling the loss of Google Voice features in Project Fi, and how things change

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Google Project Fi number port

We've already established that moving from Google Voice to Project Fi isn't all that scary, but now that we're using Fi ourselves we can talk about exactly how it works once you make the switch. Thankfully most of the high-level features remain the same, but just pick up a simpler interface and a reliance on Hangouts.

And then when it comes to the more advanced features, you actually still have access to the old Google Voice interface if that's your sort of thing. Of course you don't keep everything you're used to in Voice, but the losses aren't that big of a deal. Let us walk you through the details.

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3 weeks ago

This is the process of registering for and starting Project Fi service

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Project Fi app

With Project Fi invites slowly trickling out to a select few, the sign-up process is still a relative unknown. We wanted to pull back the curtain and show you just how simple it is to sign up for the new service offering from Google, and give a few bits of information on the finer points of the process.

So, are you curious about what it's like to sign up for Project Fi? Read on.

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