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5 months ago

How to run a poll on Google+

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Polls are a nice, easy ways to gauge opinions.

Politicians are always using polls to assess voter — and donor — opinions. Google Opinion Rewards pays us for answering their short polls. Here at Android Central, our weekly polls are one of the many ways we try to see what you, our readers, think about Android and the burning questions of the day. But what about when you want to get some opinions about which app is better, or what you should do with some old tech? Well, you can run your own poll, right there on Google+. In ye olden days, you ran a poll in Google+ by making a post, commenting on your own post with the answers, and then disabling any more comments. The votes were cast using +1s, but since you could +1 more than one comment and there was no further dialog, things got a bit hectic, and bit boring. Since Google bought and integrated the polling app company Polar into Google+ last year, giving us the ability to conduct our own proper polls at a whim, those days are behind us.

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5 months ago

How to turn photos into Android wallpapers

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You can tell a lot about a person by the wallpaper on their phone...

Be it a battery-efficient black wallpaper or one of the millions of pictures of your kids that has consumed every byte of free-space on your phone, a wallpaper says a lot about its user. Even if they're still using the bland, boring wallpaper that came with it. It says: my phone isn't here to look pretty, it's here to make calls and answer texts. But maybe that's not true. Maybe you just didn't like the wallpapers included on your phone and you didn't think about adding one of your own. Well, setting a new wallpaper is easy to do and something you really should do, as a good wallpaper can help give you a nice little pick me up every time you see it.

If you need some images to use as your wallpaper, check out our lovely wallpaper gallery!

Let's personalize!

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5 months ago

The best ways to get photos off your Android

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Photos aren't much good to you on a camera. They need to get off your camera to reach their potential.

They say the best camera is the one you have with you.

That means that your Android smartphone is likely the camera you use the most and the one you'll be taking pictures off of the most. Nothing can be quite as frustrating as taking a picture you need to print out, or send off to the print shop, but not being able to get it off your phone and onto your necessary machine. And while there are many, many ways to get a photo from your phone to your computer, cloud storage, or anywhere else you'd like to keep it, here are the best ways we've found to get from Point A to Point B.

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5 months ago

How to switch accounts on the Google+ app

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Things in mobile apps tend to not be in the same places as their desktop browser counterparts.{.intro}

Whether you're trapped between Google Apps and regular Google accounts, helping maintain a Google+ Page, or you're running an intricate multi-user text-based RPG through a G+ Community, switching accounts is one of those things that tends to make your digital life much easier. It hasn't always been easy to switch between accounts on Google's services, but the company has worked hard over the last couple of years to make that a priority. There can be no finer example of this progress than Google+, where it is positively effortless to switch between several different kinds of Google accounts in order to participate in Google+ in many different ways. The quick two-click switch offered on the browser version of Google+ is second only to the ease with which you can perform the same function in the app.

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5 months ago

How to Auto Backup images and movies to Google+

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The memories you capture with your smartphone don't have to disappear when something bad happens.

There are many photo backup services available to Android users today. Almost all of these services rely on offering a small amount of storage in a cloud backup somewhere, and when you take a photo or record a video that data is sent off to be stored until you need it. While each of these services offer something special, everyone with an Android phone and a Google account already has one of these services ready to go on their device. It's a part of the Photos app, which is actually a part of Google+. Auto-backup is simple, fast, and has several important settings that help ensure the service is something everyone can use if they choose.

The best part? All it takes is a single toggle to activate the service.

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5 months ago

How to get March Madness scores with Google Now

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The Big Dance is just beginning ...

And while there are apps aplenty to keep bracket-makers and die-hard fans watching and trash-talking, not all of us need that. Some of us just want to see how far our local team has gotten so far. Some of us just need a quick way to find out what channel the next good game's going to be on. Some of us just want a quick way to get the score and then get on with our lives.

Some of us just need Google Now.

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5 months ago

How Google+ affects your Google account

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Google has taken your data out of the individual silos you signed up for and created something bigger, but it's up to you to decide if that's good or bad.

When the service first launched, Google+ was described by its creators as a social layer for all of Google's products. This meant you could invite people to a document from Google Drive, check your notifications from Google Play Music, and effortlessly invite anyone with a Google account to a Hangout for anything from a quick friendly chat to a serious meeting. This plan has been scaled back a bit since its inception, as it turned out not everyone wanted every Google product connected to a highly personal social network, but there are still plenty of ways in which your Google+ account can affect your Google Account.

The good news is most of these things are actually quite helpful. The bad news is some of these things can't really be turned off.

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5 months ago

Hangouts and Google+

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Hangouts are nevermore than a mouse away in Google+.

Instant messengers and video chatting go hand in hand with social networks.

Facebook has Facebook Messenger, Twitter has direct messaging, and Google+ has Hangouts. However, Hangouts is a bit more than just the private messenger behind Google+ and Gmail, as Hangouts also powers one of the better live video broadcasting platforms on the net right now. Hangouts is an app with many tricks, talents, and features, and as a Google product, it crisscrosses several platforms, but none so much and so well as Google+.

So, anyone wanna hangout?

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5 months ago

Getting to know Google+ - Pages, Communities, and What's Hot

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Some areas of Google+ are great for immersing yourself in a topic, but it's easy to get overwhelmed when the signal to noise ratio tips.

Once you gotten yourself settled in to Google+, by which I mean your account has been completed and you've either located your current friends or gone out to find some new ones through Google's recommendations, it's time to really make the service yours. Google+ has some terrific tools filling your stream with as much or as little information as you choose, and that content can either be narrowed down to specific topics or a firehose of whatever is popular on the service right now. If you so choose, there are even tools to set yourself up as a broadcaster of exciting content. All you need to know is which buttons to push, and how to turn it all off if you've made a mistake.

We're going to explore some of the content-specific portions of Google+ here. Using Communities, exploring What's Hot, and how to set up and manage a Page.

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5 months ago

All about photos on Google+

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Photos can make or break your experience on social media.

While text may be the way we primarily communicate online, when we add visuals to our words, social media becomes a lot more fun, a lot more addictive, and to an extent a lot easier. After all, a picture says a thousand words. Communities like the Art of Bread probably could still capture interest and share recipes with text alone, but its the pictures that make not-so-diehard bakers come to drool and to learn. Pictures are also important to more technical pursuits on Google+ like beta testing. You could just describe the issue you're having with the new material beta in Nova Launcher, but when you have pictures to show your particular bugs, not only is it easier for users to report but it's easier for the developers to see.

Google+ has been a platform loved by photographers and artists because of the freedom offered by Google+ Photos. Photographers like Trey Ratcliff and Patrick Smith have racked up tens of billions of views. Yes, billion with a b. And their massive public collections of full-scale, quality photography has been put on display through Chromecasts all over the world.

So, what makes photos so special on Google+?

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5 months ago

Android 5.1: Muting your Lollipop phone overnight just got a bit easier

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Android 5.1 Mute option

Android 5.1 Lollipop brings new 'interruptions' options that make it easier to silence your phone while you're sleeping.

It's a long-running complaint with many Android Lollipop phones — you want to mute your phone, but that option's just not there anymore. Instead you have to deal with the slightly confusing interruptions system and decide whether you want to mute absolutely everything — including alarms — or set up "priority" mode and decide what you want to let through.

Now, thankfully, in the new Android 5.1 release, there's there's an easier way.

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5 months ago

Managing your Google+ stream

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The Google+ homepage — called the stream — can be somewhat unpredictable at times. That label at the top may say All Circles, but posts from your communities and from complete strangers — in the form of Extended Circles or Hot and Recommended posts — wind up here, too. It can be wild, it can be unruly, or — even worse — boring if you don't have your stream set up right. But with a few simple tools, you can try to tame your Google+ stream and sculpt your stream into a fountain of knowledge.

Or a black hole of fan community posts, gifs, and cat videos. We're not judging.

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5 months ago

Zen and the art of Google+ circles

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Circles in Google+ provides layers to your interactions.

Circles — like Google+ itself — are often misunderstood.

See, on most social media platforms, lists are something of an afterthought. You follow someone and then you add them to a list through the profile options or some similar method. On Google+, your lists — called Circles — are front and center. Anyone you follow must belong to one of your circles, and you can add them to more than one if you so choose. And while you may have everyone you follow in a 'Following' circle and have that be the end of it, managing your circles is about more than just getting their posts. In fact, circles have as much to do with your outgoing posts as incoming ones.

Let us begin on the path to enlightenment, or at least better circle management.

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5 months ago

Getting started with Google+

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If you already use Google, making the jump to Google+ is surprisingly easy.

In several subtle ways, you probably are using parts of Google+ already. Your Google+ profile goes a lot of places. It ties into the Google Play store, putting a name and face to your +1s, ratings, and reviews. It ties into YouTube, tying together your comments and allowing you to reply to subsequent comments more easily from the notifications count that appears on most Google websites. Your Google+ profile photo may well already be in the top corner of your quick settings screen on your Android devices. If you're sending emails to Inbox users, your Google+ profile photo even shows up on your emails. So even if you're not going to be hanging out in your stream or the plentiful beta communities all day every day, you should at least set it up and put your smiling mug up in place of that little blue silhouette picture.

Time to visit the haunted mansion.

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5 months ago

Does the switch to Daylight Saving Time mean I have to do stuff to my Android?

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Date and time settings

Let's do the timewarp again ...

The yearly springing forward of time for much of the US is upon us, and this inevitably leads to folks new to the platform wondering what they have to do to their Android so things work right after the switch. If this sounds like you, we've got good news:

Nothing.

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