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Send Your WhatsApp and Viber Messages With Voice Instead of Thumbs

Posted by Tim-o-tato July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Tired of using your thumbs like a Neanderthal to send messages to friends via your favorite 3rd-party messaging apps? Well, Google now wants you to use your beautiful speaking voice, allowing you to speak exactly what you want sent through messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat. 

The idea is pretty basic. On your home screen, say, “Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message to Kellen: You partying in NYC with Diddy tonight?” With that command, the Google app will instruct WhatsApp to send the message to that specific contact, and then you are all done. The same can be done for Viber, WeChat, Telegram, and NextPlus.

In order to get this going, you will need updated apps from Google Play, but once you have them, it should all work seamlessly with zero issues.

Try it out and give those hard-working thumbs a break.

Play Links: Google | WhatsApp | Viber | WeChat | Telegram | NextPlus

whatsapp2

Via: Google

Send Your WhatsApp and Viber Messages With Voice Instead of Thumbs is a post from: Droid Life

Google teases details of new boot verification system, possible Android M feature

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

We have a few things we know about Android M, the mobile operating system that will come out of Google’s production line pretty soon. But what we have here are some new warning messages that Google posted on its Nexus support site, and because we haven’t seen this on the current crop of Android devices yet, something tells us we should watch out for this on the next iteration of Android.

Google tells us that this is part of a new boot verification system – a process that will check the Android software in your device for verification markers. In this sense, this will probably be something that tweakers and custom ROM users will face a lot of times. We all know that one of Android’s strongest features is that it allows for community development and after-market software. This feature might cause a few raised eyebrows here and there.

new_androidm_error

The post shows three new error messages associated with the boot verification system. First is an error with a yellow exclamation, saying “Your device has loaded a different operating system” – which means the obvious, that you are using a custom ROM that is unofficial. Secondly, we have an error with an orange warning icon that means something is preventing the system to check your OS. Thankfully, you have the option to ignore the message. Lastly, there’s the red error, saying “Your device is corrupt. It can’t be trusted and may not work properly.” This might be because you tweaked something, or that there really is some corruption in the OS you are using.

The messages should go away after 10 seconds, or you can alternatively press the power button quickly to bypass the messages. The Nexus support page doesn’t reveal much about the new boot verification system, so we will have to wait for that. The thing is, I have a sneaking suspicion that for a time, this will probably increase the numbers of worried Android users who don’t understand what the warnings are for.

VIA: Android Police

Changes afoot in Google+ profiles, YouTube comments 

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

As Google continues to figure out what to do with Google+, they are slowly making changes to the “social network” and admitting that they may have made several mistakes along the way. Today, they shared some tweaks they are doing, just a few days after they announced how Google+ Photos and Google Photos will be different as well as changing the private management aspect of the former. YouTube is also undergoing a few minor changes, specifically in how creators can manage comments.

Google acknowledged that they needed to rethink some choices that they made with regards to Google+, which is seen as a confusing and sometimes failed attempt to draw users away from such major social networks like Facebook and Twitter. One of the major complaints from users is that they were “forced” to use their Google+ profiles to access all other Google products, including YouTube. While this may be convenient to some, others felt like it “doesn’t make sense” since it is a public profile. So in the next few months, they will be changing that policy and you can choose to not use your Google+ profiles, but instead just use a Google account. And you will even be able to delete your public profiles soon.

Meanwhile, over at YouTube, changes on how your comments appear are also underway. If before, whatever you commented on in the video sharing platform appears on your Google+ profile, it will not anymore, effective immediately. And later on, you will not be required to use your Google+ account in order to upload, comment, or create a channel. As for content creators who want more control over the comments they receive on their channels, they can now review comments first (if they have time) and even block specific keywords. They can also now auto-approve comments from certain fans that they know will not troll or spam them. A new ranking system is also in place, to make junk or spam comments less visible and not drown out the legit ones.

We still don’t know now if all these changes in Google+ will actually make a difference, but they still seem determined to experiment with it and move things around. They’ve even added new features like the Pinterest-like Collections where users can create and organize posts/boards about specific topics and share it with their network.

SOURCE: Google (1), (2)

Android devices vulnerable to “Stagefright” infection through MMS

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Do you remember when the Heartbleed virus scared the heck out of computer owners last year? And then iPhone owners were also vulnerable to hacking through text message earlier this year? Well, it is the turn of Android users to be paranoid as a cybersecurity company goes public with a detected flaw in the heart of the platform’s system called Stagefright. Around 95% of Android smartphones is vulnerable to hacking through a picture message that can be sent through MMS.

According to Zimperium, they found out this flaw, which is found in the “deepest corners of Android code” and sent out a warning to Google immediately, saying that this can affect all smartphones that use Android software from the last five years, starting with Froyo up to the current Lollipop. Because Android automatically processes incoming messages even before you open it, a malware-laden file can already start infecting a device as soon as the message is received. And unlike the iPhone hack that just freezes their gadgets, this hack can actually gain control of your whole smartphone, going as far as accessing your apps, turning on your camera, or even wiping your device clean.

They warned Google last April 9 and the tech giant acknowledged the vulnerability and said they will immediately issue a patch to clear this. But until now, 109 days later, no fix has been issued and so Zimperium decided to go public. Google has also no way of pushing out a fix themselves, as they have to go through the smartphone makers or the carriers to issue patches, so how fast everyone involved in this will respond is the key.

Google said that they have already sent out the security patch to its partners, and reiterated that Android can actually limit hackers’ access to separate apps and phone functions. But as we’ve seen in the past, determined hackers can actually get past these limitations. So Android users will now have to adopt a cautious wait and see attitude towards this whole thing and hope against hope that their device will not be infected with Stagefright.

Cat1

SOURCE: Zimporium
VIA: CNN

Android Auto hidden gems: vehicle diagnostics, secret sensor support and more

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

 

android auto review aa (14 of 16)

Android Auto is useful and fun, but no one can deny it has much maturing to do (we figured out as much during our Hyundai Sonata review). It’s not exactly a complete replacement for vehicle infotainment and security systems currently available in the market, but Google does seem to have some pretty big plans for Android Auto to grow into.

The guys at Ars Technica took it upon themselves to do more than a consumer-based review. They flipped the developer switch on and decided to delve deeper into the operating system. Buried inside thousands of lines of code and legal information, they found some evidence of what could be future projects for the driving-optimized platform.

Disclaimer: Even though all this data and information comes straight from Google’s Android Auto system, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will all be hitting the market. This is still unannounced content, so treat it as such. Regardless, it seems unlikely that some people at Google worked hard to build each of these elements into the operating system just to see them die later. 

android auto first look (17 of 18)

With that out of the way, let’s touch upon these new discoveries.

Vehicle diagnostics

Most users will find the “Car” screen is pretty basic. All you get is a button to exit Android Auto, but Google may have bigger plans for this page. Turning on developer mode will result in the appearance of four new options: “Vehicle Check”, “Service History”, “Roadside Assistance” and “More Car Apps”.

Clone-Stamp

These are all pretty self-explanatory. “Vehicle Check” will allow you to see your car’s current status. It’s in charge of checking for tire pressure, oil status, windshield fluid and more. On the other hand, “Service History” will keep a record on your vehicle’s maintenance track record. Lastly, “Roadside Assistance” helps get you out of unpleasant situations by aiding you when you face major issues.

In addition to adding these sections, Google made sure to create non-functional mock-ups of the interfaces within these apps. They are simply images, but it took someone’s work and time, meaning this is likely more than just something on the back burner.

Hidden sensors

After digging in deeper, it was discovered that many of the sensors listed within the Android Auto code are not in use, and could suggest some very interesting features to come.

Let’s take a look at the list:

Compass
Car Speed
GPS
Night Data
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
RPM Data
Odometer
Environment Data

  • Pressure
  • Temperature

Fuel Level

  • In Distance
  • In Percentile
  • Low Warning

HVAC Data

  • Current Temperature
  • Target Temperature

Gear Data

  • Park
  • Neutral
  • Reverse
  • Drive
  • Gears “First” through “Tenth”

Driving Status

  • Fully Restricted
  • Limit Message
  • No Keyboard
  • No Video
  • No Voice input
  • Unrestricted

These are all sensors and situations the operating system is keeping tags on, or “listening to”. Things like the fuel level, odometer, RPM and gear data have no reason to be there… at least so far. Reading the temperature could help automate the AC, for example.

There’s also some wording in the legal writing that states the system will know if there is a passenger in the vehicle, effectively making it possible to unlock some features that would otherwise be locked while driving (for safety reasons).

2015-07-24-16.41-640x360

Conclusion

All this information, put together, gives us hope that Android Auto will become more than just a glorified GPS and media system. The UI is great, voice actions are unbelievable and it’s a breeze to use. We just need some polishing, and making the system more thorough like these hidden gems suggest would be the perfect start.

What do you guys think of these new hidden features and characteristics? Are there any other creative uses you could find for them? Let us know in the comments below!

2016 Honda Accord with Android Auto™

2016 Honda Accord with Android Auto™

Google introduces safety warnings for corrupted and modified Android software

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

An interesting page has shown up in Google’s support website. It’s titled “Warning about operating system safety”, and looks to be a fresh guide for understanding what a new set of notifications mean. These new warnings haven’t been seen in previous devices, making us believe they are something to be introduced with Android M. What are they all about, though?

SecurityKnox New York Post

Moving forward, your Android software will be checked every single time the device boots, giving you a specific warning if the phone has been somehow tinkered with, or is corrupted. I can see this being a great feature for those who have a habit of buying used smartphones. You never know what others have done to second-hand devices, and a warning like this will prove to be a good red flag for those who would rather stick to stock software.

By the way, all these messages should disappear after 10 seconds, or if you press the power button. So if the software is not actually corrupted and you just happen to have an unlocked bootloader or a ROM installed, this will be nothing but a slight distraction.

smartphone privacy security 1 Shutterstock

Now, let’s move on to what these 3 different warnings will tell you about your handset.

android-yellow-warningYellow – “Your device has loaded a different operating system”

The yellow warning will show up whenever the device boots an OS that is different from what was originally installed in it. This means you are likely running a third-party ROM. In this case, you can choose to continue using this ROM, or reach out to your device manufacturer to try and get some help reinstalling the original software. Hopefully they will want to help you, as the warranty is usually void after choosing to install a ROM on your device. If it doesn’t work out with them, Google is your friend!

android-orange-warningOrange – “Your device software can’t be checked for corruption. Please lock the bootloader.”

As the warning itself mentions, this message will show up whenever your bootloader is unlocked. As with the previous situation, you can refer to your manufacturer or forum threads to figure out how to revert the procedure.

android-red-warningRed – “Your device is corrupt. It can’t be trusted and may not work properly.”

This is the ultimate warning, and you likely don’t want to see this message show up on your screen. Shall this appear, it would mean your device is not safe to use, not trusted and/r corrupted. The OS could still work, but there’s high chances you will encounter performance and security issues.

Wrapping up

What do you guys think of these new improvements? Is it good to have these security systems in tow, or will it be more of an annoyance to those of you who like to tinker with devices’ software? Hit the comments and share your 2 cents!

 

Google almost got in the burger biz

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

impossible-burgerGoogle reportedly tried to buy Impossible Foods, a plant-based cheeseburger company for $200-$300 million. A deal was unable to be reached because Impossible Foods wanted a larger amount.

We are unsure why Google would want a burger company or if they will continue to look for others in the future. Google has been buying up all different kinds of businesses in recent years, but this seem a little out of the norm.

One reason why might be because Impossible Foods is backed by the likes of Bill Gates and Google executive Tony Fadell. It is one of many recent sustainable food companies that rely less on large animals.

Source: The Information

Come comment on this article: Google almost got in the burger biz

Nextbit gears up to launch its own Android phone

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Nextbit

Nextbit, the startup that brought a host of continuity features to Android, is now gearing up to launch its own smartphone. While the San Francisco-based company has not revealed much about its debut in the hardware business, it has announced that its Android device will be quite unique.

“We want to set this off as something different,” Croyle said. “We don’t have to be for everybody,” Scott Croyle, Nextbit’s Chief Product Officer, was quoted as saying.

In fact, we expect nothing less than a revolutionary design from Nextbit as Croyle happens to be former HTC design chief. Speaking of formers, Nextbit’s co-founders Tom Moss and Mike Chan used to work for Google.

The phone that Nextbit is planning to sell in the coming weeks will make a good use of its cloud-based continuity app known as Baton. The service lets you pass the application data from one Android device to another without any hassle. For instance, if you are playing a game on a phone whose battery is about to die, you can pick up the game from the same level on your other Android device, provided both of them have Baton and the game installed.

There is only one glitch- Baton cannot be downloaded from the Play Store; it must come preloaded with the device. Perhaps that’s the reason why the company is launching its own phone.

“We’re really shifting the focus to a controlled experience,” CEO Tom Moss said. “We don’t want to do piecemeal services anymore.”

The 20-employee company has raised $18 million from Accel Partners and Google Ventures, but it won’t be a cakewalk to survive in an overly-saturated market that sees rise and fall of mobile brands on a daily basis.

Source: Recode

 

Come comment on this article: Nextbit gears up to launch its own Android phone

Google Text-to-Speech app adds four more languages

Posted by wicked July - 28 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Sometimes, those who live in huge English speaking countries and societies tend to forget that the rest of the world do not always speak the same language. This is still true when it comes to devices and apps, that is why, even if it might not be relevant to you, we tell you about new languages added in updates, because somewhere in the world, some people are relieved that their language has been included. Google’s Text-to-Speech app has now added four more languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai, and Turkish.

In case you’re just new to Android or you’ve never used the Text-to-Speech feature of your device, this enables several apps that you’ve installed to read aloud to you the text indicated on your screen. For example, the books on your Google Play Books can be read aloud to you. When you’re using Google Translate, maybe you’d like the foreign language to be read aloud to you (if said language is supported by the feature) so you’ll know how it is pronounced exactly.

The latest update to Google’s Text-to-Speech are Cantonese and Mandarin (two of the most widely spoken languages in the world), Thai, and Turkish. This brings to 20 the number of languages that can be read aloud by the apps, which includes Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, among others.

The latest update also has the usual bug fixes and improvements. If you want other languages added to Text-to-Speech, you can always let Google know, and maybe they will listen. For now, you can check the Google Play Store page to update.

Operating System Warnings May Soon Come to Your Boot Screen

Posted by Tim-o-tato July - 27 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

According to a Google support page, a small change should be hitting select Android devices in the future, most likely Nexus devices, one which will inform you if your smartphone or tablet is secure for using. Upon boot, if you happen to be an OS tinkerer and flash custom OS images, you may see one of the follow warnings.

A Yellow warning will inform you that your device has loaded a different OS, allowing you to either dismiss the warning or instructing you to follow a link that gives instructions on how to flash the stock image file for your device. An Orange warning means the device software can’t be checked for corruption. The same options are offered – you can either dismiss and continue using your phone, or flash a stock image. A Red warning, which looks somewhat scary, indicates the device is corrupt and “can’t be trusted.” 

Android OS Warnings

Of course, if you tinker, then it is likely that all of these warnings will be seen from time to time and you won’t need to worry about it. However, if you do not tinker, and you somehow come across these warnings, it may be a good idea to go ahead and flash a fresh image to your device, just to be safe.

It is reported that these changes may come preloaded with Android M, but that has yet to be confirmed by Google. Regardless of when it comes, it is nice of Google to be proactively looking out for users, even if they will likely cause a bit of annoyance for frequent custom ROM flashers.

Via: Android Police | Nexus Support

Operating System Warnings May Soon Come to Your Boot Screen is a post from: Droid Life

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