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Google discounts the 32GB Nexus 6 to £303 from the UK Play Store, £378 for the 64GB

Posted by wicked July - 2 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Google Nexus 6

While the rumours are going round about Android M and the Nexus 5 (2015) being released together, the Nexus 6 isn’t dead and buried just yet. If you live in the UK and have thought about upgrading to the Nexus 6, today might be the day you should take the plunge.

Nexus 6   32 GB or 64 GB. Midnight Blue or Cloud White.   Google StoreFor reasons unknown, Google has slashed the prices of the Nexus 6 on the Play Store in the UK, the 32GB version has been discounted to a lowly £303.99, while the 64GB is a far more reasonable £378.99. Don’t forget that free shipping is included as well. Both the White and Midnight Blue variants are available, and all models are set to leave the warehouse in 1-2 business days. To put the today’s price slash into perspective, it was only a couple of weeks ago the 32GB Nexus 6 was discounted to £399, with the 64GB version dropping to £469 as part of Motorola’s UK summer sale.

It has to be asked if this is Google clearing its stocks of the Nexus 6 to make way for the rumoured new Nexus handset(s), and the answer is, who knows? There are no details available on how long the Nexus 6 will remain discounted, so if you were thinking of buying Google’s flagship handset, now’s the time. There’s (almost) nothing worse than seeing a great deal, dithering about whether you really need it, deciding you do and losing out on the discounted price. If you do, don’t forget to let us know which model you went for in the comments below.

 

Source: Play Store

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Google Drive now works with custom maps from My Maps

Posted by wicked July - 2 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

google_drive_my_maps_integration_web

Google has announced that My Maps, its custom map tool, is accessible for Drive users. Custom maps can be attached to documents, forms, presentations, and spreadsheets that are housed in Google’s cloud storage service. Drive users can use the search functionality to call upon items so they never waste time sifting through files for the right custom map.

The blog post announcing the features appearance in Drive contained the following statement:

Whether you’re planning your next event, mapping out the best route to visit clients, or sharing the location of your food truck with fans, Google My Maps makes it easy to put your world on a custom map. Starting today, you can access My Maps right from Google Drive on your Google Apps account, so it’s even easier to create, find and share your custom maps.

And here are some of the potential uses, according to Google, for My Maps being integrated with Drive:

  • A food truck owner composing a form for people to vote and decide his or her next location. The votes are gathered and the food truck owner can decide where the most popular location is.
  • A businessperson is preparing for an annual conference and forward’s everyone the event and hotel’s locations. Tickets, event information, and a custom map are bundled into a single folder.
  • A delivery coordinator plans efficient routes for deliveries.

My Maps is a feature that Google has not pushed to the forefront; however, this type of integration will make it more accessible and useful.

Source: Google

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Tegra X1 Chromebook might be happening, codenamed “Smaug”

Posted by wicked July - 2 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Chromebook_GenericIf you’ve kept up with Chromebooks over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed how different manufacturers have been testing out different processors for their ultra-portable laptops. Most Chromebooks tend to use Intel’s low-power chips, but we’ve seen some experimentation from other companies, such as Samsung using their own ARM Exynos processors and Asus using Nvidia’s Tegra K1 chips. However, ARM processor usage has been pretty limited up to this point, mostly because ARM processors just haven’t completely matched up to Intel’s offerings in the performance category.

The Asus Chromebook that used the K1 processor fared better than any other ARM-based Chromebook, offering fantastic battery life with very little compromise in terms of performance. It looks like we might see Nvidia’s chips make their way into more Chromebooks in the future, too, if some new software commits from Google are any indicator.

Google’s Chromium team engineers have added support for Nvidia’s high-powered Tegra X1 processor into Coreboot, which is what Google uses instead of the BIOS firmware you’ll typically find on Windows laptops. That hints pretty heavily that someone is working on a Chromebook with an X1 processor, which is even more likely since another commit was added for an X1-board for Chrome OS. This board was codenamed Smaug, and it would mark the first ever 64-bit ARM Chromebook. It’s also a pretty good indicator that someone at Google is a Tolkien fan.

Nvidia’s Tegra X1 is currently used in their Shield devices, and it offers some pretty fantastic performance, especially since it’s using Nvidia’s highly efficient and powerful Maxwell architecture, which is the same architecture that you’ll find in their laptop and desktop graphics cards. Hopefully this translates into a beefy Chromebook with fantastic battery life.

source: Tom’s Hardware

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Samsung_Galaxy_S6_Main_TA

If you live in Canada and you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a Galaxy S6 smartphone, Samsung has just announced another incentive to tip you over the edge; a free six-month subscription to Google’s Play Music service.

The six-month Google Play Music subscription allows you to listen to over 30 million songs from the catalogue, tons of radio stations as well as playlists suited to any occasion ranging from cooking to working out at the gym. You can also upload up to 50,000 songs from your personal music collection.

If you’ve been thinking of buying a different Samsung smartphone, don’t fret, you can take advantage of a free 3-month Google Play Music subscription. Is the inclusion of a Google Play Music subscription incentive enough for you to order a Galaxy S6? Let us know in the comments.

Via: MobileSyrup

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Google adding logo branding to app splash screens on Android

Posted by wicked June - 29 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

2015-06-29 22.10.29Google has added an interesting tweak to their current crop of Android apps; splash screens with the Google logo. If you’ve updated and used some of Google’s Android apps lately, you may have noticed a brief splash screen upon opening the apps. The screen is simple, displaying the app’s logo and Google’s brand logo at the bottom, but it definitely creates a slight delay when opening the app. That’s not a good thing.

Most of us want our apps to open as quickly as possible, but Google wants to give themselves and other developers a chance to push some brand recognition. They’ve even changed Android’s app developer guidelines to suggest making a brief splash screen while an app initializes, recommending a concise logo or tagline without flooding the screen with too much text.

It’s not completely clear while Google is doing this, although it could have to do with trying to maintain brand recognition and loyalty through Google services, not just Android. That is, after all, where Google’s actually making money off of this whole “smartphone” thing. So far there aren’t any other major apps that have followed suit, at least not that I can find, but if Google wants to set this precedent we might end up seeing this become common practice for Android apps.

Out of the apps I’ve tested, I’ve seen the splash screens on YouTube, Google Maps, and Google Drive. Gmail, Inbox, and Google’s Play suite of apps (Play Music, Play Games, etc.) launch straight into the application without any sort of delay. Resuming an app if you’re multitasking also doesn’t appear to have changed, so you’ll only have to see the splash screen if the app is starting up after being closed in the background.

With that being said, there’s a good chance that Google will update all of their apps to include this splash screen, and I just haven’t gotten those updates yet. You know how Google is with updates.

If you have any Google apps on your phone, test them out and see if a splash screen is showing up for you. Let us know which apps are affected in the comments.

source: Forbes

via: Pocket Now

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Federal Railroad Administration to partner with Google on grade-crossing data

Posted by wicked June - 29 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

google_maps_street_view_rail_crossing

The Federal Railroad Administration and Google are entering into a new partnership to help make the roads just a little safer. As part of a project between the two organizations, Google will include grade crossing data in their Google Maps platform for all rail crossings in the country. More importantly, Google plans to add in audio and visual alerts for drivers using the navigation feature available on their smartphones.

According to the FRA, rail crossing deaths had been on a decline, from around 12,000 per year in the 1970s down to only about 2,000 per year more recently. However, in 2014 the trend inexplicably reversed with a 9 percent increase in accidents. These resulted in 270 deaths, compared to 232 in 2013, and 843 injuries. The FRA says grade-crossing accidents are the second highest cause of rail deaths after trespassing incidents.

The data being added to Google Maps will cover approximately 130,000 crossings on public roads and 85,000 crossings on private roads.

The FRA says they have also reached out to other mapping software companies like Apple, MapQuest, TomTom and Garmin to try to get similar data into their products along with the alert system.

Sarah Feinberg, the acting administrator for the FRA, says

“The vast majority of these accidents and deaths are preventable. In some cases, maybe a driver intends to beat the train, thinks they are familiar with the route or still have time to cross. But there are many cases where drivers lack situational awareness, because it may be dark or the route is unfamiliar.”

Feinberg says it made more sense to provide grade-crossing data to Google, and others, to be incorporated into their products rather than trying to get users to access it using the FRA’s own app.

Operation Lifesaver president Joyce Rose notes,

“It’s another tool in the toolbox to make the public safer. This is going to help raise awareness about where crossings are and, hopefully, remind drivers to act safely as they approach.”

source: The New York Times

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Supreme Court inaction is good news for Oracle in case against Google

Posted by wicked June - 29 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

google-oracle-lawsuit

Since 2010 a lawsuit between Oracle and Google has been wending its way through the court system as the two tech giants battle it out to determine whether Google will have to pay Oracle for the use of Java code in the Android operating system. The latest stop was the Supreme Court where Google hoped the justices would hear an appeal concerning the ability of APIs to be copyrighted. The justices declined to take action to overturn a May 2014 appeals court ruling that favored Oracle.

At the appellate court level, the justices had determined that 37 APIs were entitled to copyright protection. Until then the concept of APIs being protected by copyright had been unsettled. Given how the software world is moving increasingly to the use of APIs to enable interactions between different systems and programs, the ruling could have a far-ranging impact.

Even though the Supreme Court let stand the ruling that APIs are protected by copyright law, Google has a separate argument pending in which they argued that even if the code making up the APIs were subject to copyright protection, Google could still use it without paying a fee under fair use provisions. The original jury trial was deadlocked over the fair use argument and the issue still has to be retried.

At stake is $1 billion that Oracle claims Google owes for the use of the Java code in Android.

source: Wall Street Journal

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Google uses a robot to check for lag on Android and Chrome OS devices

Posted by wicked June - 29 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Screenshot 2015-06-29 10.33.07Testing for input lag on a smart device seems like something only a human would be able to do, but Google apparently uses a giant robot to handle the task. Is there anything we can’t develop a giant robot to do?

The machine is called TouchBot and it tests Android and Chrome OS devices by tapping the screen in different places, then recording what’s going on. It’s a pretty cool automated concept, and apparently works well for Google. Hit the video below to see it in action.

source: François Beaufort (Google+)

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Google will improve the quality of mobile ads by blocking accidental clicks

Posted by wicked June - 28 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

Google_Logo_Visitors_47558

According to a new report, over 50% of advertisement clicks on all devices are accidental. In order to reduce this number, Google has announced that it will improve the click quality of mobile ads by automatically blocking accidental clicks on several occasions.

The search engine giant also stated that it will enforce a delay between the time a user clicks an ad and when it actually opens to detect if the click was intentional or accidental. Developers will no longer have the ability to force advertisements upon users.

These new changes will allow users to fully enjoy the applications they are using without being catapulted to another page or to the Play Store. Advertisers will see improved conversion rates and reduced overall costs as a result of these changes.

What do you think of thee changes? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below.

Source: Google

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You can now check your Project Fi invite’s status

Posted by wicked June - 27 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

google_project_fi_banner

Still waiting for your invite to join Project Fi? Google has launched a way to check the status of your invite. Most people are seeing 3-4 weeks as the estimated wait for an invite while a few are noticing a longer wait of 4-8 weeks. Google did note that everyone would have an invite by mid-summer. So things actually seem to be on schedule. Even after getting an invite, people will have to decide whether or not spending hundreds of dollars on the Nexus 6 is worth it. Then, and only then, they can try Google’s new wireless service throughout the United States.

You can check your invite’s status by heading over to Project Fi’s signup page.

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