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4 years ago

Expanded availability for Google+ custom URLs coming this week

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google.com/+YourNameHere

Previously only available to a select few verified accounts, Google is to expand the availability of Google+ custom URLs this week. Custom URLs give you an easy way to link friends and followers to your Google+ page, for example you'll find Android Central at google.com/+androidcentral.

There are a few (easy) hoops to jump through before claiming your URL — you'll need to have at least a 30-day-old account with a profile photo and at least 10 followers. If that's you, you should start seeing the link to claim your URL on your profile page sometime this week. (The rules are a bit different for businesses — local Google+ pages must be verified local businesses, non-local pages must be linked to a website.)

As with all Google features, it'll take a short time to roll out to everyone, so keep an eye on the "About" page under your profile over the next few days. Good luck claiming your name of choice!

Source: Google; via: +Otavio Silva

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4 years ago

Facebook Messenger updated with a new look, improved phone number integration

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Facebook steps up its design game and adds chat features at the same time

Facebook is rolling out an update to its dedicated Messenger app today that brings a fresh new interface and an improved experience for chatting with friends who aren't on the service. The latest version, which Facebook claims is rolling out to a limited number of users to start, ditches the kind of bland old interface for a new slick white and blue one that feels appropriately modern for an app released in late 2013.

You'll now have a clear indication on your friends list who is using Facebook Messenger, Facebook on the web or not using either one of the chat programs. If your friends aren't using them, you can easily invite them to chat over SMS with just a phone number. The new setup process after installing will also prompt you for a phone number (it doesn't seem to work with Google Voice just yet), moving the process along easily.

If you have been selected as one of the early users to receive the update, you'll find it at the Play Store link above.

More: Facebook

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4 years ago

First look: New Google+ update with all new photos app

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Auto-awesome all the things with the new Google+ application

The new Google+ app is out in the wild (ask a friend with a soon-to-be-released phone for a copy) and along with comes an all new Google Photos app. It's the one we saw earlier in the Google+ mini event, and they new layout is pretty darn slick.

The Google+ part itself seems mostly unchanged, with everything as we're used to from the last version. You can choose the Google account you would like to use and manage a page right from the slide-out menu, check on your communities, perform a search and do everything else you would want to do on Google's social network. There is a new shortcut in the menu to Hangouts, which is handy.

The big news, and the most fun news, is in the new Google Photos app. Hit the break, let's have a look.

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4 years ago

Watch day 2 of the Android Central Live show from SDC!

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And we're back for Day 2 of Android Central Live, coming to you live from the Samsung Developers Conference

We're kicking today off with a bunch of interview guests, and will be winding down #SDC13 with a final Android Central podcast.

Tune into the live stream below - we'll keep it going all afternoon - and be sure to say hello in chat room. And if you missed any of the action, be sure to visit androidcentral.com/sdc13.

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4 years ago

Snapseed update now available, adds HDR feature

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Some of the rather major photo improvements announced at this morning's Google+ event are on the server side, but some are headed to our phones as well. And to that end, Google's Snapseed image editor has received its update, bringing following improvements:

  • HDR SCAPE: Give your normal photos a psuedo-HDR look.
  • Shadows slider added to the Tune Image option for brightening your image.
  • Bugfixes and other improvements.

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4 years ago

Twitter updated with inline photo and video previews

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Inline previews and new, easier ways to reply, retweet and favorite

The official Twitter app for Android has been updated with a feature that's long been popular in third-party clients, inline previews for photos and videos. The feature, enabled by default but toggleable in the settings menu, shows an expanded preview of photos and Vines (but not YouTube videos) directly in your feed. You can then tap the inline image to show a larger version.

In addition, todays update brings reply, retweet and favorite buttons directly underneath each tweet, meaning you no longer have to long press to access these. (You'll still need to long press to share individual tweets to other apps, however.)

The new version of Twitter for Android (ver. 4.1.9) is rolling out now on Google Play, so check the Play Store app to grab the update.

More: Twitter blog

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4 years ago

Viewsonic to release giant 24-inch underpowered Android serving tray that doubles as a PC monitor

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Yo dawg, I heard you liked Android so we put Android in your computer monitor

If you are looking for a 24-inch Jelly Bean tablet with last years internals, Viewsonic has just the thing for you. The VSD241, a concept which we first saw last January at CES with the VSD240, is what Viewsonic calls a "smart display." This means it can double as a monitor through its HDMI input, or act as a stand-alone Android tablet. And at 24-inches, I almost hate to use the word tablet.

In all fairness, it's not such a bad idea. Hook it up to your laptop for a second display, or if you need access to Android you can use the VSD241 stand alone. The internals, however, may not be up to the task of pushing modern Android apps out to 24-inches.

It's packed with a Tegra 3 inside, which Viewsonic says will deliver blazing performance, but there is no mention of how much memory will be on board, or the resolution. The VSD240 we saw at CES had a 1080p resolution, so we imagine this model will be the same.

It's good to see companies push the envelope. I think we all agree on that one, but I can't help but think this is one envelope best left un-pushed. What say you? Speak out in the comments and let us know if there's any interest in this one. The full press release is after the break.

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4 years ago

Industry experts weigh in on the future of mobile health at SDC 13

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The idea of a 'quantified self' may not be as far off as we think

Smartphones, wearable technology and ongoing consciousness about our health is at the top of many people's minds today. New markets for data-collecting devices heading towards the "quantified self" are beginning to emerge, so how are the people making these services and devices planning to make it happen? Representatives from Cigna, Khosla Ventures, Basis Science, Samsung and FOCUS were all on hand for a roundtable discussion about the topic at SDC 2013.

Although each differed slightly in their ideas on how it should be executed, the group could easily agree that bringing together data from many different sources and devices into a central area for analysis is the biggest leap forward we can make in health tracking today. Whether it's a device on your wrist, your head, your foot or even inside you in the form of a pill, there is a serious need for a simple way to bring in data from all of these sensors and make some sense of it.

But how do we accomplish that goal? It starts with creating an ecosystem of connected devices and sensors that can technically talk to each other. Andreas Hoffman of Samsung explained how the company is building an open platform with S Health that lets developers build apps and devices that can both read and write data to a central place.

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4 years ago

Google introduces Auto Awesome Movies and other new photo features

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Automatic video highlights through Google+ and new photo enhancements 

At the "Morning with Google+" event today, Google VP Vic Gundotra announced a range of new photo and video features for Google's social network. Google's "computer vision" now recognizes more objects, auto photo enhancements can be dialed up or down, while Snapseed gains a new HDR scape filter. Google+'s "Auto Awesome" photo features have been upgraded with some smartphone-like capabilities, including motion shots — showing the subject several times in the same image —and eraser shots — automatically cutting out moving objects.

Google's also added Analog Efex Pro to its Nik collection of professional filters, which sells for $149.

But the most interesting new feature for mobile watchers is Auto Awesome Movies, which is essentially identical to HTC's video highlights feature from its latest Android phones. Auto Awesome Movies cuts video clips and photos together, adds filters and puts it to music, giving users the kind of reel you see in the video above. All in all, very similar to what we've been enjoying on the HTC One for the past several months.

We'll let you know when the new photo features start to hit Google's apps on the Play Store. In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Google Blog

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4 years ago

SMS messages, animated gifs and location sharing to come to Hangouts app for Android

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Big changes are coming to the Android Hangouts client

As expected. Google has announced a few new features to the Android Hangouts app during their Google+ event today. There are three new features coming:

  • Locations sharing
  • Animated gif support in chats
  • SMS messaging support

We reckon the first two have their fans, and we can see that they would be useful, but let's be honest — SMS support is what everyone wanted. With Google's planned changes to the messaging API we predicted this would happen, and we're glad to see it wasn't announced as a Kit Kat-only feature.

No exact word on when we should see any updates, and Vic Gundotra simply said they were happy to announce this today. We'll be on the lookout for it, and we imagine many of you will be, too.

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4 years ago

'A Morning with Google+' event video

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Google's having some last-minute power issues this morning, leading to the scheduled "Morning with Google+" event starting around 30 minutes late. Nevertheles, you'll find Google's livestream embedded above for your viewing pleasure. The video features Google VP Vic Gundotra walking through some new features Google+, including photo enhancements and changes to Hangouts.

Update: The stream has now finished, but you can replay the event in full above. The presentation begins around 12 minutes and 30 seconds in.

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4 years ago

Testing the voice-activated 'find my phone' feature on the Moto X

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'You can't find your phone? Where's the last place you had it?'

More often than not, that's the answer I get when I can't find something and ask a human being where it might be. Helpful, right? Yeah, not so much.

Motorola this week added in a voice-activated (ahem, "Touchless Control") feature that helps you find your phone if you've left it laying around somewhere. Speak the words "OK, Google Now." (And then wait a few seconds, because there's still a wee bit of latency there.) Then follow up with "Find my phone." Providing that your phone can hear you, you'll be rewarded with an active sonar-sounding ping

That's all fine and dandy if your phone's out in the open somewhere — it's just that you don't know where it is. 

But what if your phone's fallen into the couch cushions? Or slipped between the sheets? Only one way to find out.

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4 years ago

Samsung Developers Conference day one demos + sessions highlights

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As we prepare to kick off day two of the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco, there's just enough time for a quick recap of what we saw at yesterday's keynote presentation and dev sessions, as Samsung Tomorrow has put together a playlist of some of the highlights from Monday's events on YouTube.

The videos include keynote demos of the multiscreen and mobile SDKs, backstage interviews with some top-level attendees and a full VOD of yesterday's mobile SDK session, covering a lot of the new Galaxy Note 3 and Note 10.1 features. Check 'em out after the break.

Source: Samsung Tomorrow

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4 years ago

The best basketball apps for Android

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Alright basketball fans, it's time to crack open Google Play

Basketball season is starting off today, and fans will want to stay up-to-date with the latest scores and otherwise get into the spirit of things. We've dug through Google Play to see what's big, and though hardcore fans may already be familiar with what's available, there may be a few hidden gems here.

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4 years ago

SIM-free HTC One Max arriving at UK retailers

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Prices for the 5.9-incher start at £585

The HTC One Max has been available from Vodafone UK since shortly after its announcement, and now we're starting to see stock trickle through to SIM-free outlets. Unlocked Mobiles has the device in stock today, priced £584.98 inc. VAT; Clove, MobileFun and HandTec are expecting stock in the next day or so, and offer similar price points.

The One Max is a competent enough big-screened phone, but it's a tough sell at its current SIM-free price, which is perilously close to the higher-spec'd Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For a complete walkthrough of the Max, hit up our full review.

More: HTC One Max review

Source: Unlocked Mobiles

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